Listen: Russ Matthews talks to Laura Bennett about new Australian series 'The Tourist'
Who would you be without your memories? If you’d forgotten your past, would you naturally gravitate toward the ideals and attitudes you held before, or would you become someone entirely different?
Set in the bleak South Australian outback, The Tourist sees Jamie Dornan (Robin Hood, The Fall) play The Man, an Irishman who’s run off the road during his travels and wakes in hospital with amnesia, with no idea of who he is and why – as he soon realises – someone is trying to kill him.
Over the six-episode series The Man’s true identity is masterfully uncovered, with a who’s who of Australian TV talent providing a supporting cast with their own histories to reckon with, and, in the case of The Umbilical Brothers, their own quirky humour to add.
Produced by the South Australian Film Corporation and BBC Studios, The Tourist draws on the best of British sensibilities and Australian colloquialism to deliver a series that’s both intriguing and heartwarmingly familiar.
The Tourist draws on the best of British sensibilities and Australian colloquialism to deliver a series that’s both intriguing and heartwarmingly familiar.
Jamie Dornan is the “big name” that gets people in, but Aussie characters like Helen (Danielle Macdonald), the aspirational police officer who’s wrestling with her own self-doubts and the ridicule of her drop-kick fiancé, keep you watching. In the case of Helen, you hope beyond hope she’ll realise her capabilities and ignore the “drongos”, and you feel a sense of personal pride as her story evolves.
There are moments of violence that make The Tourist a series for mature audiences, and show the influence of the Australian filmmaking as they capitalise on the harshness of our natural environment and the idea that rules don’t apply in the middle of nowhere: if you thought no one was watching, would that change how you behave?
If you thought no one was watching, would that change how you behave?
Between the script, the landscape and the nuanced characters, The Tourist offers a brilliant backdrop from which to consider big ideas about trust, identity, regret and manipulation.
It feels like a rarity among all the other shows endlessly rolling along the streaming platforms, but perhaps that depends on who’s using your account. Dang algorithm.
The Tourist is streaming on Stan now. Rated MA15+