Boat Story full season guide: how to watch, episode guide, cast, plot, trailer, interviews and more

Boat Story on BBC One and Amazon Freevee stars Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph.
Boat Story on BBC One and Amazon Freevee stars Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph. (Image credit: Image: Two Brothers Pictures/Matt Squire)

Boat Story is a dark, comedic thriller on BBC One that sees Tchéky Karyo reunited with the writers of his popular series, Baptiste, Harry and Jack Williams. 

The story is set along the windswept coastline of Yorkshire, in northern England. Breeders star Daisy Haggard and Vigil actor Paterson Joseph play  Janet and Samuel, who find a stash of illegal drugs on a shipwrecked boat. The pair agree to sell the drugs and split the cash, but find themselves pursued by Tchéky’s sharp-suited gangster, known as The Tailor. Can they get away with the crime and survive to tell the tale? 

Here’s everything you need to know about Boat Story... 

Look what we found? Samuel and Daisy hatch a risky plan.

Look what we found? Samuel and Daisy hatch a risky plan in Boat Story. (Image credit: BBC)

Boat Story: how to watch and release date

Boat Story has now finished airing on TV. The series premiered on Sunday, November 19, 2023, and continued airing for three weeks in double bills on Sunday and Monday nights.

All six episodes are available to stream t on BBC iPlayer in the UK. Boat Story will be shown in the US on Amazon Freevee.

 Is there a Boat Story trailer? 

Yes a Boat Story trailer has been released by the BBC. So give it a watch below to see what an intense but in parts humorous drama this is going to be....

What is the plot of Boat Story?

In Boat Story, cash-strapped strangers Janet (Daisy Haggard) and Samuel (Paterson Joseph) unexpectedly discover a haul of cocaine on a shipwrecked boat. Janet was made unemployed after a gruesome accident at the factory she worked in, and Samuel (Paterson Joseph), an ex-lawyer from London with huge gambling debts

Unable to believe their luck, they agree to sell it and split the money but they soon find themselves fleeing not only the cops but also masked hitmen and a fearsome gangster known as The Tailor (Tchéky Karyo) and his henchman Guy (Craig Fairbrass). They will stop at nothing to recover the second of their cocaine shipments to go missing.

Can Janet and Samuel trust each other? How far are they each prepared to go to keep the cash that will change their lives forever? 

Where's our stash? The Tailor and Guy are on the warpath!

Where's our stash? The Tailor and Guy are on the warpath! (Image credit: BBC)

Boat Story cast — Daisy Haggard as Janet

Daisy Haggard plays the cash-strapped Janet. She’s known for her role as Ally in the Sky Comedy series Breeders. Daisy has also starred in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Back to Life, I Give it a Year, Episodes and Uncle. She voices Mum in the animation Hilda

* Read our interview with Daisy Haggard by scrolling below.

Daisy Haggard as Janet.

Daisy Haggard as Janet. (Image credit: BBC)

Paterson Joseph as Samuel

Paterson Joseph plays Samuel, who finds the drugs with Janet. He played Kamal in Noughts and Crosses and Mark Grace in Casualty and has also had roles in Vigil, The Sandman, That Dirty Black Bag, Green Wing, Survivors and Timeless

* Read our interview with Paterson Jospeh by scrolling below.

Paterson Joseph as Samuel.

Paterson Joseph as Samuel. (Image credit: BBC)

Interview: Tchéky Karyo on playing The Tailor

Tchéky Karyo is best known for his role as Julian Baptiste in the series Baptiste, which originated in the series The Missing. He’s also been in Mary Magdalene, Women at War, Nikita, The Patriot and Kiss of the Dragon. In Boat Story he stars as a notorious gangster The Tailor. Here's what he can reveal about his role...

So, how would you describe The Tailor? 
Tchéky Karyo says: "He is a mob boss and the head of a big cartel, but he has a passion for clothes. And in the back of his tailoring shop, weird things happen that are quite surprising! He has no emotion with the way he operates, but nothing’s personal, even when somebody gets erased from the Earth, it’s just business."

He’s a hard character to pin down, isn’t he?
There are moments where you are surprised by him, and there are different levels to his personality. But as the series progresses, you start to understand why The Tailor is the way he is – and it’s not what you might expect…"

The Tailor is a romantic, but also utterly ruthless. What was it like playing those different aspects of him? 
"I was constantly wondering how I should react to some of the crazy situations that he is in! But I loved that, because, sometimes in real life, you are ridiculous, even if you are an intimidating figure like he is. It was very exciting for me, and challenging as an actor to embrace those situations and play them against some amazing and very skilled British actors." 

You previously worked with Boat Story creators Harry and Jack Williams on BBC1’s The Missing (2014-2016) and its spin-off series Baptiste (2019-2021). What’s special about their writing? 
"There is a virtuosity in the way they write, because it opens all the possibilities you can get into; it’s a rollercoaster!"

Were you surprised when the Williams brothers cast you as a character who is so far removed from The Missing’s French sleuth Julien Baptiste?
"I was really thankful, and I have a lot of admiration for them for having the courage to give me this role, because it’s completely different. And I accepted the role without reading anything first!"

What’s it like for you having so many British fans, thanks to The Missing and Baptiste?
"I feel embraced by the British audience. It’s like they take me in their arms!"

Boat Story.

Tchéky Karyo as gangster The Tailor in Boat Story. (Image credit: Image: Two Brothers Pictures/Matt Squire)

Who else is starring in Boat Story? 

Boat Story has a stellar cast that includes former EastEnders star Craig Fairbrass as gangster Guy, plus Joanna Scanlan (The Larkins, Notes on a Scandal) as Pat, and stage actor Jason Pennycooke (Hamilton). Former EastEnders and Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels is also appearing in the show. 

Craig Fairbrass in Boat Story.

Craig Fairbrass as terrifying gangster Guy in Boat Story. (Image credit: Two Brothers Pictures/Matt Squire)

Interviews: Paterson Joseph and Daisy Haggard on starring in Boat Story

Daisy Haggard and Paterson Jospeh tell us plenty about Janet and Samuel.

Daisy Haggard and Paterson Jospeh tell us plenty about Janet and Samuel in Boat Story. (Image credit: BBC)

How would you describe the premise of Boat Story?
Paterson Joseph says:
"It is about two people who are desperate in their lives, for different reasons – Samuel through his own fault, Janet through no fault of her own. They find themselves with a dilemma: do you steal a boatload of illegal drugs and step over the two dead bodies that you find, or do you call the police? They both decide to take it and run!"

What can you tell us about your characters? 

Daisy Haggard says: "At heart, Janet is a good person, but she's had a really tough time. As we start the show, she plummets to her lowest ebb, and she's placed in a situation where she makes a decision I don't think she would have made at another point in her life. She's at rock bottom!"
Paterson explains: "Everything seems fine with Samuel on the surface, but we see a lot of cracks developing right from the very early scenes. He becomes more and more broken, and he’s a great character to have been able to play!"

Why do they decide to take the drugs they find on the beach? 
Paterson says:
"Samuel, who has gambling debts, wants to save his life and his family's existence, and he needs to get this money. He convinces Janet to think about the possibility of taking it and running. ‘If we take it, we could both succeed and, if we don't, we'll always regret it.’ That's the moral quandary he presents her with!"
Daisy says: "Janet makes a bad decision that is chaotic and catastrophic, but I don't think she's a bad person, and people can make mistakes, right? Fundamentally, she's a good egg, and there's no way she would have made that decision if Samuel was not there. She would have called the police immediately, cried and then walked away!"

Have you ever made such a wild, life-changing decision?
Paterson says:
"I think in life you should make at least one wild decision! The wildest one I have ever made was to live in Dublin for over a year. This was in the mid-90s, and it was a wonderful, crazy thing to do, but I have never regretted it!"
Daisy says: "I haven't! I once stole a penny sweet when I was little. I put it in my mouth and then returned it. That was probably worse than if I'd eaten it! That's the wildest thing I've ever done, and I’m definitely not cut out for a life of crime. As a child, I used to confess things I’d done at home to policemen when I was walking down the street!"

This series is a highly original and unusual mix of different elements! What should our readers expect? 
Daisy says:
"You should expect the unexpected from this show, and that's what excites me about it! It doesn't feel like anything else I've seen, it feels truly original. Boat Story takes you on a crazy ride, and you're never going to be able to guess where you're going!"

Interview: Joanna Scanlan on playing Pat Tooh

Joanna Scanlan as Pat in Boat Story.

Joanna Scanlan as Pat in Boat Story. (Image credit: Two Brothers Pictures/Matt Squire)

Like her much-loved character Ma in ITV1 drama The Larkins, Joanna Scanlan’s pasty-making paramedic Pat Tooh in Boat Story is a woman who enjoys the simpler things in life. Here, Joanna gives us her take on her character…

Does Pat bring a touch of normality to this drama?
Joanna Scanlan says: "With Pat, it’s about playing Mrs Ordinary, Mrs Fine and Mrs OK! Everything else around her is chaos, extreme and surreal – and she’s in the middle of it."

Pat seems pretty happy. What drives her?
"Nothing drives Pat. She’s not ambitious. She just wants to have a nice life, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Society, take note! She doesn’t even want to make a better pasty or have a nice time with her policeman son, Ben [After Life’s Ethan Lawrence], she just is content."

How have you brought her to life?
"I think it’s been about making it real and making something convincing, because some of the events that take place in this show are pretty out there, to say the very least! I’ve had to try and maintain a grounded, real quality to her to pass as a character but also to her reactions to the events around her."

What’s your take on the overall story?
"It is very complex and multi-layered. However, it’s not so much that it’s like a puzzle, it’s more fun than that. You go on a real ride with your characters, with lots of laughs, shocks and horrors along the way."

How did you find filming this series?
"We filmed through the winter, so the atmosphere on set was mainly about shivering and trying to keep your tootsies and fingers all nice and warm! But I also found it a real delight and pleasure, and I’ve loved working with Tchéky!"

Finally, why should people watch Boat Story?
"Because it’s massively entertaining! People sometimes forget to entertain an audience when they’re creating drama, but not Jack and Harry Williams. This is a properly entertaining show!"

Boat Story episode guide

Here's a brief episode guide for how Boat Story plays out. Things will get updated so do check back and avoid if you don't want spoilers...

Episode 1
On the windswept industrial Yorkshire coastline, a boat stands washed-up ashore. Two strangers stumble upon it: Janet, a factory worker hard up on her luck, and Samuel, a gambler hiding his habit and his colossal debt from his family. As the unlikely pair investigate the boat, buried within the stacked crates of frozen mackerel, they discover dozens of tightly wrapped parcels of cocaine alongside two dead bodies. 

Even though they’ve only just met, Samuel makes Janet a proposition. Sure, they could call the police… or they could… not? Samuel thinks he knows a guy who could help them shift it. They stand to gain an obscene amount of money. Think of how their lives could change. Janet’s hesitant but they make the choice to take the haul. Unfortunately for Janet and Samuel, the owner is a sharp suited French mobster who has no mercy for thieves. Little do they know the perilous journey they’ve begun, one that will irrevocably alter the course of their lives. 
* Boat Story episode 1 recap: rocking the boat

Episode 2
Samuel takes Janet to visit one of his old clients, a convicted drug dealer by the name of Craig who’s currently serving time in prison. Samuel hopes Craig still has enough contacts from his former life to help him and Janet find a buyer for the drugs. Selling their drug haul is far less straightforward than Janet and Samuel first envisioned. 

Meanwhile, The Tailor and his hitman are working their way through the town in search for his missing shipment, and a haphazard local policeman, Ben Tooh, finds an unlikely clue to solving the shocking recent events around his home turf. He doesn’t know how close he is to the truth when The Tailor comes knocking at Ben’s mother’s door. 
* Boat Story episode 2 recap: deaths and dealers

Janet chugs a whiskey bottle in front of her manager, Nigel (John Henshaw) in Boat Story episode 1

Janet drinking in front of her manager, Nigel (John Henshaw) in Boat Story episode 1 (Image credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Janet and Samuel sit across from Craig in prison visiting hours in Boat Story episode 2

Janet and Samuel with Craig during prison visiting hours in Boat Story episode 2 (Image credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Episode 3
Janet and Samuel make a bold move to sell their haul to local drug lord Vinnie. Can they finally get a taste of happiness and a chance at a different life? It seems unlikely as the wolves are closing in and circling far closer than the duo realise: The Tailor is becoming fixated with this town and its inhabitants, showing no signs of leaving. The Tailor’s henchman, Guy, is hot on their trail and a shocking discovery throws our heroes into more danger than ever before. 
* Boat Story episode 3 recap: sealing the deal

Episode 4
Over the course of one day, we see Janet, Samuel, Guy, The Tailor and Vinnie as their worlds collide. We flashback to Vinnie’s backstory leading up to the moment he meets Janet and Samuel, shedding light on his violent and ruthless streak. It’s a race against the clock for Janet and Samuel trying to complete an impossible task under The Tailor’s watchful eye - they’ll need to think fast to stay alive. But has The Tailor’s eye wandered? The stories converge at an unexpected location and the opposing forces are set to clash. But a surprise twist becomes the catalyst to a deadly situation, in which no one is guaranteed to survive. 

Alan holding a tuba with Janet in the foreground in Boat Story episode 3.

Alan with tuba and Janet in Boat Story episode 3. (Image credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)

Episode 5
Reeling from what they just witnessed, Janet and Samuel struggle to catch their breath. But this is not over, far from it. With their backs against the wall will they consider the unthinkable? PC Ben Tooh is hot on the trail and closing in on our hapless heroes – but the deeper he gets into his investigation the more dangerous it becomes. Henchman Guy considers another life but after the events in Applebury will he find it easy to simply walk away? As we race towards the conclusion of the series, finally Samuel is forced to tell the truth while Janet’s worst nightmare becomes a reality. 

Episode 6
In a climactic finale, Janet and Samuel hurtle towards their final face off with The Tailor. To everyone’s surprise, their stand-off yields unexpected results. Janet finds herself tasked with a new mission as she begins to unravel the twisted past of The Tailor and realises she must act fast as Pat Tooh’s life hangs in the balance. After parting ways with Janet, Samuel believes he has found his ending, but it isn’t everything he had hoped for as he learns there’s a price for all his dishonesty. Janet, Pat and The Tailor discover it all ends where we began – with a boat. 

Interview: Harry and John Williams on what inspred them to write Boat Story

Harry and John Williams.

Boat Story writers Harry and John Williams. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Two of British television’s hottest writers, brothers Harry and John Williams started out in comedy, but have made a name for themselves  as the kings of British crime drama thanks to shows including The Missing, Baptiste, One of Us and The Tourist.  Here, they talk about the inspiration for and making of their latest creation, the darkly comic Boat Story…

Where did the idea for Boat Story come from?
Harry Williams says:
"From reading articles about similar things involving large amounts of drugs washing up on shores somewhere! Most of the shows we come up with derive from a series of conversations we have with each other. This one was: ‘What would we do if we stumbled across a boatload of washed-up drugs?!"
Jack Williams says: "Boat Story is a contemporary morality tale, and the challenge we wanted to set ourselves was how to tell this story in a way that was going to feel fresh, original, and different."

How do you balance the violence, domestic drama and humour in the story?
Harry says:
"We're trying to blend all these different genres into the same show, which is not something we do in the UK. It's more common in the US, and it's always a balancing act. Our last series, The Tourist, had a similar thing where there was humour, violence, and emotion. In Boat Story, we wanted to push it even more, and make the jokes sillier, the violence harder, the darkness darker and the light lighter!"
Jack says: "We've talked about Boat Story being a [Quentin] Tarantino [film] in the north! Quentin has tones in his work that are wildly all over the shop, and can be violent, dangerous, emotional, and then very funny. That, for us, always feels interesting." 

You’ve worked with some of your cast before, haven't you? 
Harry says:
"We have worked with Daisy Haggard for a long time, and know her well. The show is humorous as well as very dark, and we wanted somebody who could pull off those things. Paterson Joseph was in another show of ours called Rellik, and we did The Missing and Baptiste with Tchéky Karo. He had been the hero in both of those, so we thought it would be great to have him as the villain in this series!"

Jamie Dornan The Tourist season 2

Harry and Jack WIlliams wrote The Tourist, now heading towards season 2 in 2024, starring Jamie Dornan (above). (Image credit: BBC)

Behind the scenes and more on Boat Story

Boat Story is a Two Brothers Pictures (an All3Media company) production for the BBC, with the series written by Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing, Baptiste, The Tourist), who alongside Christopher Aird (Baptiste, Liar, The Tourist), Sarah Hammond (Back to Life, Fleabag) and Daniel Walker (The Tourist) serve as executive producers for Two Brothers Pictures, with Tommy Bulfin and Nawfal Faizullah as executive producers for the BBC. 

Matthew Bird (Isolation Stories, Strangers) is the producer, and Harry and Jack Williams directed block one. Alice Troughton directed block two and Daniel Nettheim directed block three. International sales are handled by All3Media International.

Samuel and Janet in prison in Boat Story episode 2.

Samuel and Janet in prison in Boat Story episode 2. (Image credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Matt Squire)
Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.

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