There’s somebody new in town and she’s got a secret. That’s the case at the start of Season 6 of the Hallmark Channel series Good Witch, premiering Sunday, May 3 at 9pm/8c. Joy Harper (Katherine Barrell) is that new person and Cassie (Catherine Bell) certainly seems to suspect something is up with the newest resident of Grey House. Joy is in town though for work and eager to get started renovating one of the Middelton’s oldest homes. Viewers will have to watch and see for anything else that she may be up to in town.
For Barrell, joining the successful series in Season 6 was a pleasant surprise. With the fate of Season 4 of Wynonna Earp, where Barrell is a regular and plays the popular Sheriff Nicole Haught, up in the air last year after a stall in production, Barrell found herself looking into other roles and landed the part of Joy. Filming on Wynonna Earp did resume early this year, after she was done filming Season 6 of Good Witch, unfortunately only to be interrupted by the pandemic.
Barrell recently spoke to The TV Junkies about her role on Good Witch and why it was such a great experience for her. She also shares her disappointment in another break of filming for Season 4 of Wynonna. Also, despite the postponement of the official ceremony, Barrell was the recent recipient of The Canadian Academy’s Audience Choice award that was voted on by fans.
The TV Junkies: So you’re on hiatus from Wynonna Earp last year, not knowing what was really happening there, and you get this role on Good Witch. How did that opportunity come about?
Katherine Barrell: It came about really quickly. I had been living in L.A. last year and just got back to Toronto. There was so much on hold because Wynonna didn’t go and I hadn’t auditioned for anything else. So I thought I’d get my demo reel together and get back in the audition pool, and Good Witch was right away when I got back to Toronto. I was in a session editing my new demo reel, hoping to book future jobs, and I booked Good Witch. It was a very funny moment.
It was a wonderful opportunity because I had just came back to the city, and I had that anxiety over not knowing what was happening with Wynonna, and so it was nice to get this. I had auditioned for Hallmark a few times for some movies, and knew they were interested in working with me, so it’s been a matter of finding the right fit. When this came up it was the perfect opportunity, especially given the fact that it’s shot in Toronto.
TTVJ: I never realized that and always figured it was shot out in Vancouver. KB: Yep! It is also shot in Hamilton right outside of Toronto and nearby where I grew up. The fun part is — Hamilton is about an hour and a half outside of Toronto — that my parents live close by. So if we were shooting nights and multiple days, I would just go back to their place and spend the night there. That was really fun and sweet and a whole other element of working from home. Not only did I get to go back to my house, but I got to hang out with my parents when I was shooting in Hamilton and that was really cool.
TTVJ: What can you share with us about Joy Harper and why she’s in Middleton? KB: When Joy first comes to Middleton she stays at Grey House, Cassie’s bed and breakfast. She tells Cassie there’s a job that she has her eye on in town and there’s this mystery around her. She’s a historic home renovator, which means that Joy basically has my other dream job of restoring old homes. It’s so funny when I got the part because I thought I could get to live this alter ego of the other job I’d love to do.
TTVJ: I actually was curious if that was something you picked up from her or if that has been a passion of yours that existed before playing her. KB: It existed! I was 13 or 14 and watching HGTV and all the renovation shows. I’ve always been obsessed with old homes and my dream is to restore a beautiful old Victorian one day. So yes, it’s actually a huge passion of mine, for real, and just a coincidence that Joy does it as well.
So Joy is an old home restorer and the mayor of Middleton, Martha Tinsdale (Catherine Disher), buys this old home and she hires Joy to restore it. That’s the job that’s brought Joy to Middleton, but it does seem there’s an ulterior reason why she’s there. There’s a bit of mystery around her that we’ll find out about in a few more episodes.
TTVJ: It definitely seems that Cassie is onto Joy right away and that provides some fun. KB: Yes, completely! Absolutely!
TTVJ: Good Witch is a pretty established and successful show. What was it like getting the opportunity to join that cast and working with those actors? KB: They were wonderful! There’s always anxiety going into a new cast because as you said, they are so established, have their routine, and have their friendships. You never know when you’re joining something that’s been around for a long time if you’ll be accepted and what the vibe is like on set. I was so pleasantly surprised and everyone is absolutely lovely. It sort of felt like I had been there longer than I had. They were just so welcoming to me and so kind. They really made me feel like a part of the team right away. I was so appreciative of that.
We all now keep in touch and text each other. I really feel like I’ve made some friends which is just the best part of the whole thing. I was so included from Day 1 and I appreciated it so much. It made working on the show a whole other level of enjoyment. They are such lovely people and I’m so grateful to be a part of the show.
TTVJ: A lot of your fans are pretty excited about the fact that you shot some Good Witch scenes with Elise Bauman (Carmilla). Is there anything you can preview about Elise on the show and working with her? KB: It was awesome! I love Elise and I knew her a little from working conventions together, but had never really spent a ton of time together. I just got to know her so much more. She’s so funny and we’d spend the whole day making jokes and laughing. Working with her was probably one of the most fun times I’ve had working with another actor on set, and I’ve worked with incredible people. Elise and I clicked right away and had a blast.
There’s definitely a history between Elise’s character and Joy. They’ve known each other since before the show started and have a big history together. She comes on the scene and definitely shakes things up in Joy’s world for sure.
TTVJ: One of the effects of quarantine was that you weren’t able to accept your Audience Choice Canadian Screen Award at the ceremony. What was it like winning that and knowing how hard the fans worked to bring that home? KB: I was so blown away by the work that everyone did to get that award. Honestly, there were several times during the voting that I wanted to go online and say, ‘Guys, don’t do this anymore. This is crazy and don’t kill yourselves over this. This is so difficult and you’re working so hard.’ I felt bad. I actually felt bad that the fans had to work that crazy for something, but I was blown away and so appreciative. It just goes to show that they can make anything happen and they are so dedicated. I think the strength of the fandom is how they mobilize together. They really work together and make it about the group. I really did feel like, especially this season, for that award, they really had to work together. They did that and I feel like it’s for the Earper fandom. It really felt like another win for Wynonna. I love that about it.
I’m really looking forward to hopefully being able to go and celebrate with the other CSA nominees at some point in the future. I don’t know if they are having a ceremony or anything, but I was really looking forward to that night because I have a lot of colleagues that are friends that were nominated like Kate Drummond and the Workin’ Moms people. I’m hoping from an industry standpoint that everyone still gets their chance because I was lucky enough to get my chance to say thank you and do a speech. I’m really hoping that they will be able to reschedule in some capacity to give everyone else that chance too.
TTVJ: Then you got to actually give a second speech, the one written for you by Melanie Scrofano. That was beautiful as well. KB: Thank you! You know, I was so worried about swearing and everything. [laughs]
TTVJ: I think Wynonna Earp fans thought it was pretty perfect and very fitting. KB: I liked it too. I was really emotional that day and feeling the heaviness of being away from work. We were in such a groove with Wynonna and so in the pocket. Everything was humming along and then all of the sudden this happened. I think the disappointment was really hitting me that day.
TTVJ: The Wynonna pain was lessened a bit by seeing you all participate in HomeCon. KB: I think so too! It provided such a lovely boost for everyone.
Excited to check Barrell out on Good Witch? Sound off below!
Good Witch Season 6 premieres Sunday, May 3 at 9 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.