The Tourist Series Two

The Tourist Series Two – the writers speak

Posted Filed under

The Tourist returns for Series Two on New Year’s Day.

The show continues the story of the amnesic Elliot Stanley across six more episodes. However for Series Two the action shifts from the Australian outback to the Emerald Isle.

he Tourist S2 - Helen and Elliot
Danielle Macdonald as Helen and Jamie Dornan as Elliot (Image: BBC/Two Brothers/Steffan Hill)

Ahead of its launch, writers and executive producers, Harry and Jack Williams, have spoken about the show’s new direction.

The first series was the most watched drama of 2022. What were the challenges and opportunities of writing the second series?

Jack: Writing a second series is always hard and when we wrote the first series, we weren’t planning on a second series.

Harry: It was only when we asked ourselves, what does a second series look like that we realised there’s an interesting question at the heart of a second series. Which is, Elliot now knows he’s done this awful thing – what does carrying that around look like? Can you forget something as massive as that? And how does that affect his relationship? The first one was always supposed to be a love story, and this sort of continues in that vein.

The Tourist Series 2 Jamie Dornan
The Tourist Series 2: Jamie Dornan as Elliot (Image: BBC/Two Brothers/Steffan Hill)

How did the themes of the story for series two come about?

Jack: The idea for season two started with the characters. We talked about what we loved about writing and making the first series, and what we enjoyed as both viewers and writers. For us, that’s the relationship between Jamie Dornan’s character and Danielle MacDonald’s character. The thing we wanted to write about was “what does that look like if it continued?” With the revelations at the end of series one, can you continue a relationship with something like that? Can you look past the past?

Harry: Additionally, we wanted to move it to a different country because we felt we had done Australia and none of Elliot’s history is from there. In series two we are asking where did he come from?

What were your ambitions for series two?

Harry: The ambitions were to continue what we did with series one, which was to strike a balance between the comedy, thriller, emotive elements of the drama. So, for series two we have dialled it up a bit as we know Jamie and Danielle can handle the balance so well.

What did you want to achieve with the look and feel of this series?

Jack: Visually, series one was very distinct: we loved the way it looked and felt, our director [Chris Sweeney] did such a good job, and while obviously we wanted it to have a lot in common with that, it is a new country, it’s a new story. The Australian outback is very different from the very green and rainy country that is Ireland. So, we’ve been trying to take what we did in season one and keep that very cinematic feel, getting some big wide landscape shots and finding a sensibility that works for series two.

The Tourist Series 2 Danielle Macdonald
The Tourist Series 2 Danielle Macdonald as Helen Chambers

What sort of Elliot do we see in this series?

Jack: After the events of series one we left Elliot in a state of complete despair. Elliot was on his deathbed, and he gets that message from Helen. So, when we pick up in season two, we find him in a relationship, and he is trying to move on and enjoy his life, but he is about to find out across the series that you can’t leave things behind that easily. And more importantly can Helen forget his past and accept this new version of him?

What is it about Helen and Elliot’s dynamic that you wanted to develop in a new series?

Harry: I think there’s a really unexpected romance in the first series, where Helen is so naive and just such a good person. In the first series, she was pretty much the only nice character. So having Helen with this deeply flawed man Elliot, who is trying to change, and watching their chemistry throughout was endearing. It is something we wanted to see more of and exploring their relationship was exciting.

Tell us a bit more about the new characters and what they bring to the story.

Harry: There is Ruairi Slater who’s the local Garda, and a little bit like the Helen of series one. He is a new cop character who comes in, but has also got his own story, his own mystery, and is a new flavour that plays into this story of him and Helen. Ruairi instantly likes the look of Helen, and their story gets kind of weird.

Jack: There’s also the McDonnell family. They’re a very important element to this series. We’ve got Frank, who’s the sort of patriarch of the McDonnells,. He’s a slightly sinister, history-obsessed man who believes in the value of knowing your past and where you come from. We also have Frank’s children Donal, Orla and Fergal. We find that the McDonnell clan clearly have some kind of agenda with Elliot, as he’s kidnapped by them in episode one. We don’t know what it is, but he’s done something to seriously upset them. Elliot of course has no memory of it, and that kicks off the events of the second series. On the other side there is the Cassidys where we have Niamh, who is this wild unpredictable, and slightly feral woman.

What should audiences expect from series two?

Jack: Audiences should expect the same show they enjoyed in series one. The story does continue, but it’s also its own new and unique journey. There’s more of the thrills, surprises, and offbeat characters. Everything in this series is dialled-up to 11, with a bit more of everything thrown in; hopefully it’s more thrilling, and hopefully funnier.

Please can you sum up series two in one or two sentences?

Jack and Harry: It’s surprising, funny, Irish, exciting, and offbeat.

All six episodes of The Tourist Series Two land on BBC iPlayer at 6am on Monday 1 January, 2024.

The first episode airs on BBC One at 9pm.

You can also catch up on Series One on iPlayer too.