Riptide — next episode, cast, plot, trailer, episode guide, air date, first looks, interview and all about the Jo Joyner drama

Riptide on Channel 5 sees Jo Joyner playing Alison (back row, centre) whose husband goes missing.
Riptide on Channel 5 sees Jo Joyner playing Alison (back row, centre) whose husband goes missing. (Image credit: Fremantle/Channel 5)

Get ready for Riptide on Channel 5 which is a four-part mystery thriller set in Melbourne, Australia. Leading the cast is former EastEnders actor Jo Joyner who plays a new wife Alison who becomes frantic with worry when her husband Sean suddenly disappears after he goes out for a morning surf trip.

Jo Joyner says: “I am really excited to be playing Alison. She is such a warm and layered character whose world is turned upside down, just when it seemed like her life was finally coming together. I was also thrilled to be filming in the fabulous city of Melbourne and surrounding countryside, an area that I have always wanted to explore.”

Created by Fremantle Australia’s Jason Herbison whose credits include Executive Producer of the hit soap Neighbours, here's everything you need to know about Riptide, coming to Channel 5 in December 2022... 

Peter O'Brien and Jo Joyner as newlyweds Sean and Alison Weston.

Peter O'Brien and Jo Joyner as newlyweds Sean and Alison Weston. (Image credit: Channel 5/Fremantle)

Riptide release date

Riptide is a four-part thriller that launched in the UK on Channel 5 on Tuesday 27 December 2022. The drama is now available in the UK on streaming service My5. In Australia Riptide is shown on Network 10 and was released on June 28 2023.

Is there a trailer for Riptide?

Yes trailer for Riptide has been released by Channel 5 via Twitter, so you can see all the Australian locations plus Jo Joyner and Peter O'Brien in action. Take a look below, and also watch Jo Joyner talking about her role in Riptide...

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Riptide plot

A newlywed couple living in the Melbourne suburbs have their lives shattered by tragedy. Alison Weston (Ackley Bridge star Jo Joyner) is left devastated when her new husband Sean (Neighbours star Peter O’Brien) goes out surfing one morning and fails to return home. After an extensive search of the coast near their home, the police conclude that Sean drowned in a dangerous riptide - but a grieving Alison, increasingly aware of the tensions among her family and close friends, begins to suspect that something else happened to him...

"What I think is unusual about this thriller is that you don’t spend all four episodes wondering who did what," explains Jo Joyner. "You spend a good amount of time being suspicious of everybody, but at a certain point the audience hold all the cards, and I think that has its own thrill. They will know who they shouldn’t trust, and then that becomes even more suspense-filled!"

Sean (Peter O'Brien) disappears after he goes surfing.

Sean (Peter O'Brien) disappears after he goes surfing. (Image credit: Channel 5/Fremantle)

Riptide cast — Jo Joyner on starring as Alison

Landing the role of Alison in Riptide was literally a dream come true for Jo Joyner, who had previously expressed a wish to work outside the UK more often.

"Every new year we talk about what we want to do as a family in the future,’" she told us. "Last year I had been very specific, which is unlike me, and said I wanted to be in Harlan Coben’s next thriller, and then lo and behold I was [in Netflix’s Stay Close]. This year’s resolution was that I wanted to travel with work more - and all I’ve done this year is film abroad!"

"Alison is more creative, and sort of artistic and hippy-like than the people I've played in the past. It made me realise I've played a lot of women who've got careers, or who are professional and are juggling life and their career, and actually Alison is now in the second phase of her life. She has a job, she's married for the second time, and she's reached a real peace within herself. Her daughter is grown-up — well, teenage, so still hard work but the frantic early years are kind of over, so when we meet Alison, she's a calm, happy, chill person. Like all good thrillers, she's in a really good place before it all goes wrong!"

As filming for Riptide coincided with the school holidays in the UK, this also meant that Joyner was able to have her husband and children join her for part of her time in Australia.

"My husband [actor Neil Madden] has family in Perth and Melbourne, so I got to take the family and have a big reunion as well," she says. "I completely fell in love with Melbourne - the people, the food, the culture, the art, and the buildings. It’s got a special place in my heart now.’

* Jo Joyner is best known as Tanya Branning in hit soap EastEnders. She played Max Branning's wife Tanya on and off from 2006 to 2017. Jo has also had plenty of other acting roles including in comedies such as No Angels and Candy Cabs. Her drama credits include Ackley Bridge, The Interceptor, Ordinary Lies and Trying Again. She currently plays sleuth Lu Shakespeare alongside Mark Benton in the BBC1 series Shakespeare & Hathaway.

Jo Joyner as very much in love wife Alison Weston.

Jo Joyner as very much in love wife Alison Weston. (Image credit: Channel 5/Fremantle)

Shakespeare & Hathaway Season 4: Mark Benton and Jo Joyner in character as Frank Hathaway and Lu Shakespeare, standing in front of French windows, with Frank giving a quizzical aside glance

Jo Joyner and Mark Benton in Shakespeare and Hathaway. (Image credit: BBC)

Jo Joyner as Tanya Branning in EastEnders.

Jo Joyner as Tanya Branning in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Who else is starring in Riptide?

Riptide has a big cast of well-known faces. Look out for Peter O'Brien, who was Shane Ramsay in Neighbours, as Alison's new husband Sean who goes missing.

Peter stars alongside Shameless star Ciaran Griffiths as Alison's former husband Michael Lane, Benny Turland (Neighbours, Home and Away) plays Sean's son Ethan Weston, while Ally Fowler is Sean's daughter Rachel Weston. Benjamin Samaddar is Ethan's boyfriend Jesse Patel and Asher Yasbincek (The Heights, Heartbreak High) plays Alison's daughter Hannah Lane.

David Berry (Outlander, A Place Called Home) plays Dan Burell, Yazeed Daher plays Logan Williams, Pia Miranda is Jenny Clark, Sonya Suares is Sergeant Bhromik, Toby Derrick is Constable Lang, Patrick Harvey plays Andrew White, Patrick Williams plays Philip Eldersly, Max Brown plays Finn Baker, Ashley Stocco plays Detective Abela, Adam McConvell plays Detective da Silva, Judy Baumont plays Sara, Hannah Ogawa is Melody Ling.

Peter O'Brien as Sean Weston and his son Ethan (Benny Turland).

Peter O'Brien as Sean Weston at loggerheads with his son Ethan (Benny Turland). (Image credit: Channel 5/Fremantle)

Peter O'Brien as Shane Ramsay (bottom right) back in his Neighbours days in the 1980s.

Peter O'Brien as Shane Ramsay (bottom right) back in his Neighbours days in the 1980s. (Image credit: Neighbours)

Ciaran Griffiths as Mickey Maguire in Shameless.

Ciaran Griffiths as Mickey Maguire in Shameless. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Riptide episode guide (with some minor spoilers)

Here's a brief episode guide to the four episodes of Riptide. If you wish to avoid some spoilers, please do move on! 

Episode 1: Tuesday December 27 9pm
Newlyweds Alison and Sean Weston’s life is just about perfect; they’re well off, they live in a beautiful surf coast home, and they’re madly in love. However, there’s tension under the surface… Alison’s daughter Hannah is struggling to adjust to her new, affluent life; Sean’s son, Ethan, is convinced Alison’s after his money; and Alison’s ex-husband, Michael, wants her back. While Alison embraces the future, everything changes one morning when Sean heads out for a surf and never returns. Given the dangerous riptide, police conclude that he drowned. In an instant, Alison’s plunged into a world of grief. However, as a memorial service gets underway, she can’t let go of the possibility that something else might have happened to him. With Ethan, Rachel, Michael, and Hannah’s friend Logan all keeping secrets, Alison’s instincts are right – something sinister has happened to her husband but what and by whom? 

Episode 2: Wednesday December 28 9pm
Alison’s blindsided when Ethan gives her two weeks’ notice to vacate the house. It seems Ethan only cares about Sean’s money and Alison can’t help but question his motives. Her suspicions rise when she learns that Ethan argued with Sean on the beach, just before he was presumed to have drowned. After sharing her concerns with neighbour Dan, Alison reports Ethan to the police. Hauled in for questioning, Ethan denies wrongdoing and Alison’s not sure what to believe. Late that night, she’s rocked by the sound of a window smashing downstairs. While she suspects Ethan is behind the stunt, Hannah wonders if Michael is responsible, trying to spook Alison so she’ll move into his flat. Meanwhile, as Alison continues to question Sean’s fate, Hannah becomes worried that Logan might know more than he’s letting on. Michael and Logan have a secret connection and greater shock unfolds – Sean’s murderer is revealed. 

Episode 3: Thursday December 29 9pm
Realising that Alison is determined to investigate Sean’s disappearance, Dan decides to frame Michael. Fate plays into his hands when Alison discovers Michael is possession of the watch Sean was wearing on the morning he disappeared. Encouraged by Dan, Alison reports the watch to the police, much to Hannah’s horror, the ultimate betrayal. As Alison becomes more emotionally dependent on Dan, Dan seals Michael’s fate by moving Sean’s body and planting it in Michael’s storage unit. After an anonymous 5 tip-off, police arrest Michael for Sean’s murder. However, evidence raises doubts about Michael’s involvement and his lawyer secures bail, escalating Dan’s resolve to sabotage Michael at any cost. 

Episode 4: Friday December 30 9pm
After making it appear that guilty Michael has done a runner, Dan continues to make inroads into Alison’s life. Meanwhile, Hannah vows to find her father and clear his name. Just as Alison hits rock bottom, the walls start to close in on Dan as he learns the real owners of his house are returning from overseas and takes desperate measures to pursue his plan to have Alison to himself. Spiriting Alison to a mountain getaway, Dan presses his advantage, suggesting they both start a new life elsewhere. Alison is tempted, however when Dan kisses her, she snaps to her senses. The next morning, Alison reveals she’s not ready for a relationship. Sensing a change in Dan, a desperate call from Hannah confirms Alison’s suspicions. A terrifying cat and mouse game ensues in the bush with Alison running for her life. 

It's fair to say Sean and his son Ethan don't see eye to eye.

It's fair to say Sean and his son Ethan don't see eye to eye. (Image credit: Channel 5)

Benny Turland on playing Ethan Weston

What attracted you to star in Riptide?
Benny says: "I thought my character Ethan was really interesting because he's very angry and frustrated, but his behaviour is because he’s suffering a lot of hurt so I felt a little bit sorry for him, and I thought that would be nice to experiment with. I think Ethan has the best arc of anyone there and I thought I would really love to do justice to that." 

Tell us a bit about Ethan’s situation: his parents are divorced, so how does that affect him? 
Benny says: "He’s hurt by it, and he feels like he's getting pulled away from his dad. He was so close to him for so long. Since he was young, anything Ethan’s ever done stems from the fact he just wants his dad to be impressed and he wants to make his dad proud and prove to his dad that he can be just like him or be just as successful. So he's just really hurt when the whole divorce goes on. His parents don't really talk to him about the divorce, he just sees the hurt his mum is suffering. He really loves his mum and then this other woman comes along, and his mum is so affected by that. While his dad is off living his life, Ethan experiences the hurt that his mum’s feeling. On top of that, his stepmum has a kid, Hannah, who gets sent to the nicer school, and in Ethan’s head it’s all a bit of a shock. He’s thinking, “Why would my dad do that to us, to me and my mum?” It’s really hard for him to move on and change. He feels like he doesn’t really know his dad anymore."

Ethan can be pretty mean to his dad, and to Alison and Hannah, can’t he? 
Benny says:
"I think so. You do just see the anger and the hurt at first, but later you get to see beneath that. At first he’s being very mean and acting like a spoilt kid who is used to getting his way and that’s been taken away from him; but I really hope that by the end of it you can see a bit more about what’s driving him, and you can understand him."

The problems with his family have a ripple effect on his relationship with his boyfriend Jesse, don’t they? 
Benny says: "
Yeah, that's right. It does take a big toll because, like a lot of young males, they don't really know how to talk about their emotions and their feelings, and so you can see the consequences of that. I think that in itself is a nice message within the show: if you don't deal with your own emotions and manage your mental health, you can really affect other people around you. Jesse eventually sets a boundary and that’s where things change. And I think that’s a good message too: if someone’s treating you badly, set a boundary and let it be known that you won’t be treated that way."

When Sean goes missing, a few people come under suspicion and secrets are exposed. What was that like for you to play? 
Benny says:
"For me, acting is about finding the truth. And what is Ethan's truth? That's what I played towards. Yes, maybe Ethan is the prime suspect for a while, for some people, but I think in his head he was playing to his genuine truth of his care for his dad, his care for his mum. He's hurt. Once I figured that out, I understood why people took him as a suspect."

Benny Turland as Ethan with his boyfriend Jesse.

Benny Turland as Ethan with his boyfriend Jesse. (Image credit: Channel 5/Fremantle)

Riptide — filming, locations and more about the thriller

Riptide will be directed by Australia Directors’ Guild Award recipient, Scott Major (Lie With Me, Neighbours) and Natalie Mandel (Lie with Me, Wanted) is on board as producer. Riptide is the first of two Fremantle Australia drama series commissioned by Channel 5 and Network 10 in 2022. Details of the second series will be released later this year. Filming locations are in Victoria and Melbourne in Australia.

Greg Barnett, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment, Unscripted, Channel 5 & P+: commented: "Lie With Me proved incredibly popular with our viewers and I'm looking forward to expanding our drama slate even further, working hand in hand with our production partners Fremantle Australia and Network 10. Jo is an incredible talent, and I can't wait to see what she brings to this role."

Jason Herbison, Executive Producer, Fremantle Australia added: “I’m thrilled to continue the partnership with Channel 5 and 10 and to bring Riptide to life. It’s the best of British meeting the best of Australian casts and crews — and I can’t wait for the audience to see what we have in store.”

Asher Yasbincek as Hannah in Riptide, standing in front of a large window with a look of alarm on her face

Asher Yasbincek as Hannah in Riptide. (Image credit: Fremantle/Channel 5)

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.