‘Heartland’ Writers Pull From One of the Actor’s Real Life for Story Ideas

Heartland premiered on CBC in 2007 and stars Amber Marshall as Amy Fleming. The popular TV show is going into its 16th season and centers around Amy’s life healing traumatized horses through natural horsemanship. In a 2019 interview with CBC’s official Heartland blog, Marshall revealed that some storylines in Heartland are inspired by her life.

Amy and Lyndy sit by a stream with a horse in 'Heartland'
Amber Marshall in ‘Heartland’ | Courtesy of CBC

What is ‘Heartland’ about?

Heartland is a Canadian drama that airs on CBC. The show is based on a book series of the same name by Lauren Brooke. 

On Heartland, Amy lives on her family’s ranch Heartland Ranch with her daughter Lyndy (Ruby and Emmanuella Spencer), her older sister Lou (Michelle Morgan), and her grandfather Jack Bartlett (Shaun Johnston). Amy and Lou’s father Tim Fleming (Chris Potter) is also a main character on the show.

Until the first episode of season 14, Graham Wardle played Amy’s love interest and eventual husband, Ty Borden. When Wardle decided to leave the show, Ty died following complications of a gunshot wound.

Earlier seasons of Heartland primarily showed Amy’s gift of working with horses. Since Ty’s death, the show has focused on Amy and her family processing their grief.

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Some of the TV show’s storylines are inspired by Amber Marshall

In 2019, Marshall was interviewed for CBC’s official Heartland blog. During the interview, Marshall revealed that after playing the character for so long, many of Amy’s storylines are inspired by her “real life.”

“I believe that over the years my character Amy has become more like myself and vice versa. The writers seem to gravitate to stories that of happened in my real life, and by living on a ranch in Alberta myself, I have intern adopted similar traits to my character. It makes what I do come easily and I love being able to bring a realism to the character,” Marshall said.

On Heartland, Amy’s greatest bond is with her horse Spartan, who fans meet in the first episode. Speaking with CBC, Marshall shared that storylines involving Amy and Spartan are her favorite.

“We have told so many great stories over the years. I think the stories I enjoy the most are the stories between Amy and her horse spartan,” Marshall revealed. “I love the connection between girl and horse and how much it has grown over the many seasons. The horse who plays Spartan is named Stormy and he has been playing the role since the first season. Rightfully so, him and I have formed quite the bond.”

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‘Heartland’ will return for season 16

After much speculation, it was announced on June 1 that Heartland will be returning for season 16. Marshall confirmed the new season in a new video on her YouTube channel.

In the video, Marshall shared:

“Hey Heartland fans, Amber Marshall here. And I am very excited to finally announce that season 16 of Heartland is a go. So we will start shooting next week. It’s already been a busy few weeks of prep, and I know that many of you have been speculating and saying ‘I think maybe it’s going.’ And I was sworn to secrecy so I appreciate everyone being so understanding and I just — it’s, it’s surreal really.”

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