Pa­trol action heats up

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - GE­OFF SHEARER

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.’’

Sea­wor­thy:

Lisa McCune and Ian Sten­lake in Sea Pa­trol.

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