Patrol action heats up
IN THE black of night, 600m off Moreton Island, Ian Stenlake is perched on a ship’s bridge wing.
Just as the actor takes the 7m plunge into the water for a scene in Sea Patrol, a sea snake slithers through his floodlit landing site.
Far from being panicked about the dangers of the job, he embraces the chance to perform such stunts.
‘‘That jump was a highlight for me this series,’’ says Stenlake, renowned for his steady-as-shegoes role as commander of the Armidale class navy patrol boat, Hammersley.
‘‘Check it out,’’ he says. ‘‘It was a thrilling kind of night for me. Snake and all.
‘‘There was a sense of, what if I hit something, like a dugong or something and broke my leg and couldn’t swim? That would have been quite dangerous. But I didn’t want to dwell on that. I felt exhilarated actually. It was beautiful and warm once I was in the water.’’
Lisa McCune, as Lt Kate McGregor, is also relishing the chance for a bit of action adventure this time around.
‘‘Last series Kate had more of an emotional journey,’’ McCune says.
‘‘She’s developing more but she still needs to know more about being a woman. She’s comfortable in the workplace, but the other part of her life is something she needs to work on.
‘‘But I love the action element of the show this season and I have to do lots and lots this year. We did a bit in the first series but we’re more confident with it now. We’re confident with the boats and we can go further now because we know the beast a bit more.’’
McCune gets to do some boatto-boat boardings and found herself in the middle of dangerous crossfire in this series’ first episode.
Stenlake’s character, Lt-Cdr Mike Flynn, also has his first boat boarding in series three.
‘‘Which is unusual for Mike,’’ Stenlake says. ‘‘His is possibly an anchoring role, but there’s a lot more scope to him because there’s a lot more passion and emotion occurring on the ship this time around. He has to deal with each character as these things come up in their life and so I’ve had the chance to flare up and really show the strong side of Mike.’’
It’s not only his character that is breaking out. Stenlake believes the whole show is hitting its stride, which excites him at a time Australian-made drama is dominating the ratings.
‘‘When Sea Patrol was commissioned, about three years ago, there was a real sense to me that this could be the start of a renaissance of Australian TV drama,’’ he says.
‘‘You could sense it. And this was even before we shot anything. I was praying— selfishly, I might add— that this thing would be picked up and nourished.
‘‘It went well, but it didn’t go off. Series two went better and so now there is a really great foundation for our show.’’
Lisa McCune and Ian Stenlake in Sea Patrol.