Rollercoaster new thriller Riptide

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Riptide (Channel 5, 9pm)

If some British actors were offered a job in Australia, they might jump at the chance without even bothering to read the script.

However, it takes a very special project to tempt Jo Joyner to fly to the other side of the world, and luckily her new thriller Riptide fit the bill.

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The actress says: “I had a Zoom all the way from Australia with the writer and exec, Jason [Herbison], and our producer, Natalie [Mandel], and I could tell that they were really lovely people, so I knew I was going to have a nice time.

“If you’re travelling that far across the world during the summer holidays, when you could be with your kids or on a holiday yourself, it’s really important that not only do you like the script and the ideas, but that you feel like the people that you’re going to be with are going to be great. And they really were, and they are lovely.”

But then, Joyner can afford to be picky. She first found fame in No Angels and EastEnders, and more recently has scored a hit with the daytime detective drama Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators.

So, it’s not surprising that Riptide’s makers were keen to get her for the role of Alison, who, when the series starts, has just married the wealthy, older Sean (Peter O’Brien, who viewers of a certain age may know as Shane from Neighbours).

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Although her new, more affluent lifestyle is taking a bit of getting used to, it seems the couple are genuinely happy.

Joyner says: “They each feel like they’ve met ‘the one’, and they feel calm. It’s easy. They genuinely are in an incredibly good place.”

They also have a beautiful seaside home, and have made friends with their widowed neighbour Dan, but sadly not everyone is happy for them. Alison’s daughter Hannah isn’t happy with her new home, and her ex, Michael, still wants her back. Meanwhile, Sean’s son Ethan fears his new stepmother is a golddigger, and his ex, Rachel, can’t hide her resentment at his new life.

However, Alison’s problems really start when Sean goes out surfing and never comes back. The police conclude that he fell victim to the dangerous riptide (hence the title), but his grieving wife can’t help thinking that there could be another explanation.

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As it becomes clear Ethan, Rachel, Michael, and Hannah’s friend Logan are all keeping secrets, it seems she could be right. That might sound like a fairly standard thriller set up, but it seems there’s another reason why Joyner took the role – Riptide takes a different approach.

Jo says: “What I like about this show is that we don’t spend four episodes wondering who did it…

“From fairly early on, the audience are in on a secret and are on a journey that Alison isn’t. They know who they can trust and who they can’t, so they’re on that rollercoaster because they know who’s in danger and who isn’t. It gives the audience quite a bit of responsibility. It’s a different way of coming at it.”

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