TV & Movies

The Tourist Is An Identity Crisis, But Worse

Jamie Dornan's new BBC thriller is full of twists and turns.

Jamie Dornan stars in BBC Thriller 'The Tourist'
BBC/Stan/HBO Max & ZDF/Ian Routledge

Landing on screens on New Year’s Day to see us through the dark days of January, BBC thriller The Tourist, starring Jamie Dornan is bound to be our next TV obsession. The story of Dornan’s character, known simply as “The Man”, is an off-beat black-comedy-action series that promises plenty of “shocking, funny and brutal turns”, but is The Tourist based on a true story?

Set against the glowing red heart Australian outback, the audience is thrown straight into the action from the start. Driving through the vast and dusty scenery, we’re introduced to The Man as he is being chased by a tanker truck in an attempt to drive him off the road. “An epic cat-and-mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive,” the BBC teases. “Except he has no idea who he is.”

Over the course of the six-part series, the nameless hero searches for clues that might give away who he really is whilst merciless figures from his past continue to pursue him. “Are you sure you really want to know who you are?” is one of the questions that rings through the show’s explosive trailer. Will he work out his past before it catches up with him, and possibly kills him?

The story of The Tourist comes from the acclaimed writers of The Missing, Baptiste and Liar Harry and Jack Williams, who own and run Two Brothers Pictures. Although there is a book called The Tourist by American author Olen Steinhauer, this six-part series is not based on it, and the thriller was written and created especially for the BBC, HBOMax and Stan.

The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback. “At its heart, however, is a story of self-discovery with a ticking time-bomb underneath: as The Man starts to uncover the mystery of who he was, he’s also forced to ask who he is now — and fast,” adds the BBC. “Will he unlock the secrets of his identity before those who are trying to kill him catch up with him?”

Joining Dornan on the small but explosive screen is Line of Duty‘s Shalom Brune-Franklin and Bird Box‘s Danielle Macdonald. Also joining the cast is Icelandic-American actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (True Detective), Alex Dimitriades (The End) and Damon Herriman (Mindhunter, Justified), who has joined the series as Detective Inspector Lachlan Rogers.

The Tourist airs on BBC One at 9 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2022, and will be available to stream on iPlayer shortly after.