British film cameraman/writer/director and naturalist John Stoneman always loved “critters”, and especially the swimming variety. As an environmentalist, John was very concerned about the effect on marine life of over-fishing, pollution run-offs and many other examples of man’s encroachment on his beloved sea creatures’ native habitat. As an experienced under-water photographer, he had already shot thousands of feet of exciting footage, and his passion persuaded CTV President Murray Chercover that there was a television series to be made about what John described as The Last Frontier.
John took his crew to many parts of the world to shoot material for the series; some of the most spectacular footage came from dives in such noted Caribbean undersea sanctuaries as those around Bonaire, Saba, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Florida. 100 half-hour episodes were produced, with John doing both on-camera and voice-over narration, with additional voice-over work from Henry Ramer.
The Last Frontier premiered on CTV in September 1987 on Tuesdays at 7:30pm, where it ran for three years. For its fourth and final season on CTV it moved to Fridays at 7:30pm in the fall of 1989. The series subsequently enjoyed considerable success in syndication and was seen internationally in over 60 countries.
The demand for more drama from CTV eventually meant there was no room for more nature and wildlife material in prime time, but Stoneman continued to make new underwater series, including The Ocean Worlds of John Stoneman, for the CBC.