This one was supposed to be easy. This was supposed to be brief: I said so, last time. You see – and there are going to be a lot of naval puns during this one, so brace yourself – Making Waves pretty much sunk without a trace.
After years in development hell and after being rescheduled four times, this ITV flagship drama emerged onto our screens in the summer of 2004, opposite Supernanny. Sort of Soldier, Soldier but featuring the Royal Navy (hence its nickname Sailor, Sailor), it depicted the arrival of a new captain – played by ex-EastEnders psycho, Scottish actor Alex Ferns – on board the fictional frigate HMS Suffolk, and his attempts to make it sea-ready, all to the backdrop of the relationships of the crew and various exciting naval events, such as piracy, illegal immigrants, smuggling and explosions.
With £5 million in budget and the might of legendary producer Ted Childs (Lewis, Inspector Morse, Soldier Soldier, Sharpe, Kavanagh QC) behind it, there were high expectations in some quarters, but after just three episodes, falling ratings meant it was cancelled. Despite there already being three more episodes in the can, ITV never repeated it or showed the remaining episodes.
There was a DVD of the show, but only ever 2,500 or so were pressed and they were mainly sold to the Navy. You can't get it from Amazon; you can't find it on eBay. And here's the only publicity still of our Joanna Page, who played new rating, Operating Mechanic Rosie Bowen, that appears to have survived online.
So I thought this was going to be brief, since I couldn't really say much about it. As I said, easy.
But then I found out that someone had uploaded the whole series to YouTube, so meticulous journo that I am, I had to watch the whole thing – you can, too, if you hang around to the end of this entry.
And I have to say, despite a shaky start, it was actually really enjoyable (although typically, mainly during the cancelled episodes), has possibly one of the most exciting, hardware-based episodes of anything ever made for British TV – and more importantly for Today's Joanna Page, has her only outing so far as 'action heroine'.
In fact, I'm quite cross – angry even – that it was cancelled.
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