Though the American title is "Anne of Avonlea", it is only partially based on that Lucy Maud Montgomery book (second in the series), and is in fact based on parts from books 2-4 in the series (out of 8). This was because Kevin Sullivan thought there wasn't "enough dramatic material for a film" in the sequel "Anne of Avonlea" alone.
One of the first scenes shot with Dame Wendy Hiller was the picnic scene. She had just recently had an operation and while climbing into the buggy for the scene, her hip was displaced. Everyone was confused and nervous, wondering if she had had a heart attack. When Sullivan got over to her, she said, "Get me a whiskey, dear boy." Unfortunately, her humorous mood was short-lived and she wanted to return to England at once, without finishing the film. Kevin Sullivan had to work hard to get her to stay.
During her time at Kingsport Lady College, Anne Shirley produces a play about Mary, Queen of Scots. Currently, Megan Follows, who played Anne Shirley, is starring in CW's hit show Reign, which is about Mary, Queen of Scots.
Two versions exist of this film. The first version is as originally aired on TV in 1987 and is available on the 2005 full-screen 'Collector's Edition' DVD. The second version uses alternate, outtake footage (due to negative damage on the first reel, first 30 minutes of film) and is available as the 2011 wide-screen 'Restoration Edition' DVD.
Actress, Susannah Hoffman ["Jen Pringle" character role] was born on Wednesday, March 20th, 1963. She was born 1,821 days (260 weeks & 1 day) before "Anne Shirley" actress, Megan Followss birth, on Thursday, March 14th, 1968.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Kevin Sullivan says that Anne's hairstyles kept getting bigger and more eccentric as filming went on. One of Anne's hairstyles he found to be particularly extravagant was when Anne and Gilbert walk along the lane discussing "Averil's Atonement". The hairstyle Anne sports towards the end of the movie when she goes to visit Gilbert when he's sick was the least favorite of Sullivan's.