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Binge-watch 'BlackBerry,' the new original series on CBC Gem

The limited series (also adapted into a critically-acclaimed feature film) is now streaming free on CBC Gem with never-before-seen footage

The limited series with never-before-seen footage is now streaming free on CBC Gem

Jim and Douglas stand with a group of coworkers at Research in Motion. Jim, wearing a suit, is holding a BlackBerry in his hand. Douglas, wearing a yelllow tshirt and red headband looks on.
Glenn Howerton stars as investor Jim Balssille and Matt Johnson as co-founder Douglas Fregis in the CBC series BlackBerry. (IFC Films/Elevation Pictures)

New three-part miniseries BlackBerry tells the homegrown story of tech wizard Mike Lazaridis and cunning businessman Jim Balsillie, who charted the world's first smartphone in Waterloo, Ontario. 

Where can I watch BlackBerry?

Watch BlackBerry free on CBC Gem now.  

CBC Gem is available for free as an App for iOS, tvOS, Fire TV, Android TV, Android phones and tablets, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, Roku, and Xbox One/S/X and online at gem.cbc.ca

What happens in BlackBerry?

Seemingly overnight, Lazaridis and Balsille revolutionized the way people work, communicate and connect. Millions of people around the world became addicted to their BlackBerrys, and the company saw complete market domination. That is, until some shady business dealings, personal grievances and, perhaps most dangerously, the iPhone devastated the company's incredible success. 

Watch | The official trailer for BlackBerry

Is BlackBerry based on a book?

BlackBerry is based on the bestselling book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. It was optioned by CBC as a three-part series and then developed into a feature film which premiered in spring 2023. The film received wide critical acclaim and has grossed millions at the box office.

Who directed BlackBerry?

Both the feature film and the series were co-written and directed by Matt Johnson, who also stars as BlackBerry co-founder Douglas Fregin. 

BlackBerry was first conceived as a three-part miniseries, says Johnson. "Originally I had thought we would just make it as a three-part miniseries … That's why the film is split into those three eras, because I wanted to make each episode a different era of the company."

The three-part series contains footage not seen in the feature film. 

Known for his period work in Nirvanna the Band the Show, BlackBerry is full of nostalgic pop culture and artifacts from the '90s and early 2000s.

"We're always going for realism," Johnson said. "These characters are so ridiculous and elevated, [but] it needs to seem grounded."

Who's in it?  

The series stars Jay Baruchel (This Is The End) as Research in Motion co-founder Mike Lazaridis, Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as investor Jim Balsille and Matt Johnson (Nirvanna the Band the Show) as co-founder Douglas Fregin.  

An engineer sits at a bench with an array of tools and a BlackBerry in his hand. Matt Johnson who plays co-founder Douglas Fregis look on as do other cast.
Engineers from Research in Motion work on the BlackBerry, as recreated in the CBC series BlackBerry. (IFC Films/Elevation Pictures)

Cary Elwes (Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Saw), Saul Rubinek (Hunters, True Romance), Rich Sommer (The Devil Wears Prada, Mad Men), Martin Donovan (Tenet, Big Little Lies), and Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Scanners) also make appearances in the series.

Where was BlackBerry filmed?

BlackBerry takes place in Waterloo, Ontario but was primarily filmed in Hamilton, Ontario with some locations in London, Waterloo and Burlington. Some scenes were filmed in Silicon Valley, California.

Watch free on CBC Gem now.

 

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