Trav­ellers tell of Par­adise Lost

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - GE­OFF SHEARER

CHEF Gary Martin­sons met and fell in love with Iwona while they were on work­ing hol­i­days in Lon­don. On bended knee, he pro­posed on Valen­tine’s Day.

They agreed to hold the wed­ding in Iwona’s home town of Gdansk in Poland, but while they were there cel­e­brat­ing in May 2008, they were as­saulted and bashed by a group of thugs, for no ap­par­ent rea­son.

The hellish tale that fol­lowed, in­volv­ing sick­en­ing in­juries and mys­te­ri­ous in­ter­ro­ga­tions by seem­ingly cor­rupt po­lice, is reen­acted in the Chan­nel 9 docu­d­rama Trou­ble In Par­adise.

The se­ries tells the sto­ries of Aus­tralian trav­ellers who have lived through ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ences over­seas.

Martin­sons, 28, says the hastily or­gan­ised wed­ding, which went ahead af­ter the cou­ple hid in the coun­try­side from the thugs and po­lice for two weeks af­ter the bash­ings, had been the ‘‘light at the end of the tun­nel’’.

‘‘We’d both sort of re­cov­ered by the day,’’ says Martin­sons, who suf­fered bro­ken fin­gers and ribs, a cracked eye socket and mul­ti­ple bro­ken teeth.

‘‘I had lung prob­lems and I still had a few mi­nor things — like walk­ing was a prob­lem and just breath­ing be­cause I had a bruised lung and so forth — but we ac­tu­ally didn’t look too bad, con­sid­er­ing what had hap­pened.’’

Trou­ble in Par­adise’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer David Ma­son is full of praise for Greg and Iwona, call­ing them ‘‘fan­tas­tic peo­ple’’ who openly shared their ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘All the Aussies in the show, they are so prag­matic,’’ Ma­son, who is from the UK, says. ‘‘They say at the end, ‘wrong place, wrong time and I’d go back there in a heart­beat’.’’

‘‘So in a way the show is pos­i­tive in that we go into the depth of ter­ror and come out the other side.’’

Martin­sons dis­plays that very prag­ma­tism by not hold­ing a grudge against Poland.

‘‘It’s a sad thing be­cause it’s a beau­ti­ful place, but it’s not go­ing to stop me from go­ing back,’’ he says.

Poles apart: the events in­volv­ing Gary Martin­sons and his wife Iwona are re-en­acted for the se­ries.

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