Safe Harbour (TV series)

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Safe Harbour
Written by
  • Belinda Chayko
  • Matt Cameron
  • Phil Enchelmaier
Directed byGlendyn Ivin
Composer(s)Stephen Rae
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes4 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Belinda Chayko
  • Debbie Lee
  • Sue Masters
CinematographySam Chiplin
Editor(s)Mark Atkin
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Matchbox Pictures
DistributorNBC Universal International Distribution
Original networkSBS
Picture format
Audio formatStereo
Original release7 March (2018-03-07) –
28 March 2018 (2018-03-28)

Safe Harbour is a four-part Australian thriller drama series, devised by Belinda Chayko, that first broadcast on SBS on 7 March 2018.[1] Produced by Matchbox Pictures, directed by Glendyn Ivin and written by Belinda Chayko, Matt Cameron and Phil Enchelmaier, the series follows a group of friends who travel from Brisbane on a sailing holiday of a lifetime to Indonesia, who cross paths with a fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers en route to Australia, which alters their lives forever.[2]

The series was produced by Sue Masters and Stephen Corvini.[3] Although critically acclaimed, the series did not perform well in the ratings, peaking at just 146,000 viewers.[4] Outside Australia, the series was made available for streaming on Hulu in the United States, and was broadcast on BBC Four in the United Kingdom from 2 February 2019.[5] The series was released on Region 4 DVD on 18 April 2018.[6]


Luke Buckmaster of Guardian Australia described the series as "deeply compelling".[7] Mama Mia's entertainment editor Laura Brodnik praised the series, claiming that it left viewers asking one nagging question: "What would you do?".[8]

Wenlei Ma of described the series as "unmissable", writing; "When Australian TV is seemingly filled, wall-to-wall, with one same-same reality franchise after another, it can be hard to find quality Australian stories that offer you something new. This is one, and you best not miss it."[9]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateAustralian viewers
1"Episode 1"Glendyn IvinBelinda Chayko7 March 2018 (2018-03-07)167,000[10]
Close friends Ryan, Bree, Olivia, Damien and Helen are in the midst of a sailing holiday to Indonesia when they find a stranded fishing boat, overrun with refugees, in waters just outside Australian territory. Initially reluctant to offer help, captain Ryan takes a vote from his fellow passengers, and as a result, decides to tow the stranded vessel back to shore. However, during the night the boat is cut loose by an unidentified assailant, leaving the refugees helpless in the midst of an oncoming storm. Flash forward to five years later, and Ryan finds himself in the back of a taxi driven by Ismail, one of the refugees from the boat. Ryan doesn't initially make the connection, until Ismail turns up the next day looking for answers as to what really happened that night.
2"Episode 2"Glendyn IvinMatt Cameron14 March 2018 (2018-03-14)146,000[11]
Ismail reports Ryan to the Australian Federal Police. As the five friends come under intense scrutiny, Damien refuses the right to counsel, while Helen manages to ensure that her interview is kept off the record. Communication between Ryan's daughter Maddie and Ismail's son Asad continues to grow, while Damien tries to settle matters outside the interview room, leading himself to become the victim of a harsh beating from Ismail's brother, Bilal. Although he decides not to report the assault to the police, Damien exacts revenge by informing Bilal's bosses of the incident, resulting in him losing his job.
3"Episode 3"Glendyn IvinBelinda Chayko & Phil Enchelmaier21 March 2018 (2018-03-21)138,000[12]
The AFP inform Ryan that will not face any charges. Damien is forced to admit that his reason for leaving shortly after the holiday was nothing to do with the incident itself, but instead because he cheated on Olivia by having a one-night stand with Bree. A homeless Bilal seeks refuge on the Liberame, but when the boat later goes up in flames as a result of a misguided attempt at revenge by Ismail, Bilal decides to take the blame. Damien learns that Olivia was pregnant as the time of their break-up.
4"Episode 4"[13]Glendyn IvinBelinda Chayko28 March 2018 (2018-03-28)N/A
Having overheard her father's confession of involuntary manslaughter, Maddie decides to take off, with a little help from Asad. Graham informs Helen that as a result of proceedings, he will be withdrawing his reccomendation for the magistrate's role. A confused Ismail tries to get Maddie to open up about what really happened.


  1. ^ Cronin, Seanna (7 March 2018), "New SBS drama's murky morality on the high seas", The Queensland Times
  2. ^ Cooper, Nathaneal (27 February 2018), "Compelling new SBS refugee drama, Safe Harbour, pointedly asks 'what would you do?'", Sydney Morning Herald
  3. ^ "SBS announces Safe Harbour cast". TV Tonight. May 15, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Groves, Don (5 April 2018), "Did the asylum seekers issue impact 'Safe Harbour's' ratings?", Inside Film
  5. ^ Knox, David (24 January 2019). "BBC picks up Safe Harbour". TV Tonight.
  6. ^ "Safe Harbour (Drama) [DVD]". Sanity. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (7 March 2018), "Safe Harbour review – tense, compelling asylum seeker drama offers no easy answers", The Guardian
  8. ^ Brodnik, Laura (6 March 2018), "The gripping new Australian drama that will keep you up at night.", Mama Mia
  9. ^ Ma, Wenlei (27 February 2018), "Safe Harbour: Unmissable Australian TV",
  10. ^ "Worrying sign for local drama as Safe Harbour struggles on SBS". TV Tonight. March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "Wednesday, we have a problem". TV Tonight. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  12. ^ ".75m: Ratings gold for Married at First Sight finale". TV Tonight. March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  13. ^ "Safe Harbour - Ep 04 (2017 - 60 min)". ISAN. Retrieved March 9, 2018.

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