Squeamish viewers call ‘brutal’ new drama Boat Story ‘most violent series BBC has ever shown’

Viewers hoping to avoid Nigel Farage on I’m a Celebrity were forced to change the channel again after finding the first episode of a new BBC series too violent for a Sunday evening.

The six-part thrillerBoat Story started on BBC One, with all episodes made available to stream on iPlayer, and while many are praising the show’s twists and turns, others had to jump ship due to the levels of gore.

The series stars Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph as a couple who find themselves embroiled in a crime saga after finding a stash of drugs on a wrecked boat. They agree to sell the drugs and split the money but, unbeknownst to them, a gangster, known only as The Tailor (Tchéky Karyo), is in pursuit.

Boat Story is the latest show from Harry Williams and Jack Williams, whose previous shows, The Missing and Baptiste, have proved ratings winners for the BBC.

However, while many viewers praised the show for its Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino-style thrills, they acknowledged that it is “maybe the most violent thing” the BBC has ever broadcast, with one viewer stating: “Amazed this level of violence has been waved through”.

It seems this violence was one gory step too far for a contingent of viewers, many of whom switched off after deeming the show “too brutal”.

“That’s me done with Boat Story,” one viewer wrote, adding: “To just go into a police station and shoot people was too far for me.”

Others suggested the trailers for the show had misrepresented the tone.

“Well, this has turned out somewhat less cuddly than the show we saw in the trailers,” an additional viewer complained. Another stated: “I thought this was going to be funny and quirky. I think it’s a bit too brutal for me.”

However, it wasn’t enough to force those who were boycotting the new series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity back into watching the show. The launch episode of the 21st series, which many decided against watching due to the inclusion of controversial ex-politician Farage, was viewed by two million less viewers than 2022’s premiere.

Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph in ‘Boat Story’ (BBC)
Daisy Haggard and Paterson Joseph in ‘Boat Story’ (BBC)

This is not the first violent series to have ruffled feathers among BBC viewers. Earlier this year, Wolf, which drew comparisons to Michael Haneke’s home invasion thriller Funny Games, stunned viewers with its violent content.

Boat Story continues on Sunday (26 November), and is available to watch now on iPlayer.