Is BBC series Boat Story based on a true story?

Two strangers decide to team up after a shocking discovery (Picture: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Nowadays, it can be hard to decipher which outlandish TV dramas are fact and which are solely fictional.

Take last year’s The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, for example, which saw Edde Marsan depict John Darwin, a man who faked his own death in real life, and lived in a secret room in his own house before reappearing several years later.

Now, the BBC brings a brand new show for viewers to become transfixed by titled Boat Story.

The series follows two strangers, played by Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph, who discover a mass of illegal drugs on a boat that’s washed up on shore.

They decide to team up in the hope of scoring their fortune after being down on their luck… but then, they end up having the mob and the police to contend with.

So is Boat Story based on a true story, where is it set and who’s in the cast? Here’s what you need to know.

Is the Boat Story based on a real story?

While the actual narrative of Boat Story isn’t based on a true story that happened in real life, certain elements of the drama are inspired by actual events.

Tchéky Karyo plays an ominous figure called The Tailor (Picture: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Harry Williams, who wrote and directed the series alongside his brother Jack Williams, explained that the idea for the tale ‘came from having seen articles about similar things involving large amounts of drugs washing up on shores somewhere’.

‘Most of the shows we come up with are through a series of conversations that we have with each other. This one, was what would we do if we had stumbled across a boatload of washed-up drugs?’ he shared, noting that they most likely wouldn’t have acted in the same way as their lead characters.

Jack added: ‘Boat Story is a contemporary morality tale and the challenge we wanted to set ourselves was to say, how do you tell this story in a way that is going to feel fresh, original, and different?

‘What we landed upon, was to make it a show about stories themselves, and why people tell stories and why people watch and enjoy them. There’s a meta layer to the whole show as well.’

Where is the Boat Story filmed?

Boat Story is set in Yorkshire, which is where filming also took place.

The Thick of It star Joanna Scanlan appears in the series (Picture: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Writer Jack outlined how he and Harry ‘wanted somewhere by the coast’ when visualising their story.

However, it ‘wasn’t going to be the depiction of a traditional British TV coastal detective drama’.

‘We started to consider how to get a touch of that, but also somewhere urban that can also be rural, and we looked at a lot of different places,’ he shared.

‘We started from the coast and began working back and as we looked around Yorkshire and particularly Leeds and York, we found it offered a massive variety of locations to stitch together.’

He added that while there was ‘no town in England’ that ‘offered absolutely everything’ that viewers will see in the show, it’s a ‘slightly storybook version of it’.

Daisy said that she found filming in Yorkshire ‘beautiful’, and especially enjoyed eating fish and chips on her lunch break.

Craig Fairbrass puts on his mean face to play Guy (Picture: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

‘There’s such a beauty to Yorkshire. It’s stunning and there’s something about the bleak beauty of a winter, being on the beach and the wind just stripping you. There’s something about that and the story that I think really, really works. I love Yorkshire, I think it’s stunning,’ she said.

Paterson added that he ‘loved every minute’ of filming in Yorkshire, and found discovering Halifax a ‘big surprise’, including ‘going into the covered market and finding “the street in the sky”, which is five-bedroom houses above a market’.

‘It’s a beautiful place and should be renovated as I think artists would love to live up there. I knew the Lake District quite well, but I didn’t know the Yorkshire Dales and everywhere we’ve been, has been beautiful,’ he said.

Who is in the cast of the Boat Story?

The two leads of Janet Campbell and Samuel Wells are played by Daisy and Paterson respectively.

Daisy is best-known for roles in shows including Back to Life and Breeders, while Paterson has starred in Noughts and Crosses and Vigil.

Other cast members include Tchéky Karyo as an ominous figure called The Tailor, Joanna Scanlan as Pat Tooh and Craig Fairbrass as Guy.

Boat Story airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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