Windsorite Dan Woods has had considerable success with classic automobile television shows like Chop Cut Rebuild and Classic Car Restorations, but for most viewers he’ll always be remembered as Principal Daniel Raditch on Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation. The star of the quirky, cutting edge CBC and CTV shows will be at Windsor ComiCon with fellow Degrassi stars Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah) and Stacie Mistysyn (Caitlin Ryan) on September 29 and 30.
“You don’t really realize how much the show has impacted people’s lives until you have people coming up to you telling you how important the show was to them when they were younger,” Woods says of the Degrassi phenomenon in an interview for 519 Magazine. “You sort of lose that over the years and forget about it. And then you get a great reminder when people are so enthralled to come meet you. It’s really humbling.”
The original cast of Degrassi High reunited for the first time in 20 years at Toronto’s ComiCon in 2017 amidst Degrassi Junior High’s 30th anniversary. For more than three decades Degrassi has grown to become a large part of Canadian pop culture and almost an international calling card for growing up in Canada.
The original show ran from 1987 until 1989, and was followed by Degrassi High in 1990-91 and the long lived Degrassi: The Next Generation from 2001-2015. Over those years, the Degrassi gang dealt with topics such as suicide, HIV and AIDS, drugs, and alcohol. For Woods, the controversy peaked with a two-part special depicting a high school shooting at Degrassi High in 2004.
“There’s actually been a few shootings on the Degrassi series,” Woods explains. “There was a suicide in Degrassi High, followed by Aubrey being shot in Next Generation and then a couple seasons later another primary character was killed. The writers of the show were watching things going on in the US at the time and would take stories from the actors about what was happening at their actual school and incorporate them into storylines. The big thing at the time was Columbine which happened in between Degrassi High and Next-Generation. The idea that Mr. Raditch would have been transferred as a result of that shooting is generally what the Canadian attitude would be.”
Woods is looking forward to Windsor ComiCon.
“We’re going to give fans of the show an opportunity to talk with us, meet us and share their stories about the show,” Woods adds. “You’ll find that Pat, Stacie and myself are very open to talking about the show and sharing our memories with fans. And we’re getting the good fortune of meeting the ones who gave us a chance to enter their homes and lives.”
Windsor ComiCon takes place at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor September 29 and 30. Tickets start at $20. Visit windsorcomicon.com.