A new Aussie TV series is about to start filming in Sydney and northern Queensland. Pitch document describes it as a “broad appeal action drama” with “blue skies, white sands, throbbing motors and star filled nights”, of “everyday heroes doing an extraordinary job.” Sort of McLeod’s Daughters gone fishing.

Remember that other soap set on a Patrol Boat called … Patrol Boat? This is cutting new ground. Or water, maybe. It’s called – get ready — Sea Patrol.

The pitch goes on to call it “Upstairs/Downstairs and unresolved sexual tension”. The crew is all blokes except for the second and third in command, two women who are either “Little Miss Perfect” who had “a brief, incandescent affair” with the commander of the boat, or a girl who “can drink with the best of them… yet she can also be feminine and s-xy when she wants to”.

Sorry, is this the Australian Navy we’re talking about? I’m not suggesting for a moment that these characters don’t exist, but don’t high achieving women get spat on in our ADF (at least when they graduate) then s-xually harassed until they stop being high achievers? Maybe they’ll save those stories for later in the series, once we’ve got bored with the throbbing motors and star filled nights. Or throbbing hearts and star filled boats.

You can imagine the appeal; Border Security meets Officer and A Gentlemen meets The Force meets Getaway. It ticks all the boxes for an ageing, frightened nation, worried about all those people to the north who steal our fish and then want to live here. Plus the blue skies and white sands.

Okay, it’s just TV. Not meant to be real. So I suggested a few episode ideas at the audition:

1) Illegal vessel is rescued. Government suggests the refugees were throwing their kids overboard. Navy stands up and shows it’s a lie.

2) Papuan refugees are rescued from sinking boat. Government orders patrol boat to tow them back into international waters. Heroic Commander refuses.

3) Sinking refugees picked up by passing container ship (following maritime law), which tries to land them in Oz. Government orders troops to board container ship and turn it around. Troops point out to government that’s not what they were trained for and smuggle refugees in anyway.

4) Sailor dies, shot in the head with his own pistol. Government and navy say it was an accident. Finally, Sailor’s family convinces comrades to tell the truth.

For some reason, they haven’t called me back.

Peter Fray

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