Sea Patrol: articles

Patrol plays politics

It's a tricky business when TV dramas stray into real-world politics.

Push one side or the other of a particular agenda and you're bound to polarise the audience.

But when the drama is Sea Patrol and the subject is how the Royal Australian Navy would react if a coup threatened stability in our region, there's just no avoiding it.

Like it or not, said series star David Lyons, reacting to threats from our backyard is what the Australian Navy does and if the series ignored that it just wouldn't be believable.

"It's good to see them [the writers] getting pseudo-political about things," he said.

"The coup is not necessarily meant to be a reference to any other particular country but it's a good story to see because this is what the Australian Navy does.

"Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is a person's own opinion - and I'm certainly not going to push my opinion on that - but I think it is really important that those aspects of what the navy does are shown."

At the very least, he said, throwing the action of Sea Patrol into the middle of a Pacific coup gives huge scope for the more human drama to come to the fore.

"It's been great for the series to have something like that, it's such a massive storyline," Lyons said. "It really gives much more room for all the characters to develop."

For Lyons's character Leading Seaman Josh Holiday that means exploring another hot topic in the navy - what happens when crew members fall in love.

"The main story for Josh this season is his relationship with the ship's navigator [Lieutenant Nikki Caetano, played by Saskia Burmeister] and the difficulties caused by the fact protocol says you can't actually have a relationship," Lyons said.

"It's a really interesting one to play because there's only so much that is allowed to be said or done between the two. It's a very clandestine approach to a relationship and one which plays off both of their fears of being caught."

Rest assured it will all be resolved, Lyons said, but possibly not in the way that people expect.

"What inevitably will happen as the series progresses is that both characters will be put in some difficult circumstances outside that relationship that will help to galvanise their feelings for each other and decide why they can or can't be together," he said.

"It's going to be a very interesting trip getting them to that point."

By Scott Ellis
May 12, 2008
Sydney Morning Herald