Navy Divers

27 young men undergo the “week from hell” as they are tested of endurance and strength of character in the ABC's new factual series.

I don’t know about you, but I’m as good as done with all these factual series. They’ve forced their way into our primetime schedules and taken over the party like a boorish gatecrasher. Just about everybody else on the guest list has made polite apologies and gone home early. Except for Charlie Sheen, he just refuses to leave.

There was also a time when factual series used to be called documentaries. That’s when they were made by filmmakers, who actually had a statement to make and raised ethical questions and proffered conclusions from their experience with their subjects. Nowadays factuals tend to just hire actors to provide voiceovers, without actually requiring them to spend any time on location.

Our public broadcasters haven’t prostituted the genre anywhere near as much as the Seven Network – but both have certainly dabbled. The ABC’s Navy Divers, like those series with customs officers, cops, doctors and lifesavers, is another series produced in concert with a government or municipal department. It skates close to being two parts propaganda and one part recruitment advertisement.

But it’s also a diverting 30 minutes at Sydney’s RAN diving training school. Twenty-seven young men undergo the “week from hell” as they are put through endurance challenges to test their strength and character. All the while they are reprimanded, yelled at and humiliated by their superiors. Y’know: the sort of thing you’ve seen on An Officer and a Gentleman or Top Gun.

The sailors are expected to swim 6km across Sydney Harbour in the dead of night and freezing temperatures. Deprived of sleep, they slowly begin to crack. One poor sod loses his water bottle. “What happens if that’s diving equipment you lost?” roars one drill commando. “Costs the taxpayer!” What happens if it’s vital life saving equipment and one of your mates gets into trouble? He dies. Fantastic.”

A handful of candidates are profiled, including one country boy hoping to prove himself to his family. Typically, there is a lot of mateship and team bonding in this most war-like of fly on the wall television. By episode’s end there’s one clear message from the film makers: at least we know our tax dollars – at both the RAN and the ABC – are giving us bang for our buck.

Navy Divers premieres 8pm Tuesday on ABC1.

6 Responses

  1. Are you freaking kidding yourself? This is actual footage of my son, in training at 21. Have you ever pushed yourself to breaking point other then using the Australian media to make yourself a nice little bundle of cash.. Is my son out drinking, getting into trouble, bashing people ,drink driving, using drugs? Nooo he is training, does he want to kill anyone? Nooooo he will if they fire at his country and his people. The knockers are the ones he will protect with his own life and you will probably sit at your dumb ass computer and write crap still. Go and do some research. go to the Navy dive school and see if it’s glorified. Then come back on here and apologize for your narrow mindedness. Then go to dinner and drink and live a free life that all our boys would lay down there lives to keep for you. Maybe you should have watch that actual 60 minute show last night about the 31 year old guy who lost his right hand and leg. Then sit at your freaking PC and tell me what you think then. Or did you see and I can expect a correction or apology for your crap, I will keep a check on it and forward to my son and his mates and Paul. Your revoked article.

  2. Yeah but this is different – These guys arnt trying to impress you dropkicks, the camera and crew were thrust at them. They are doing what you clowns could never do.

    well done guys.

    We (even the tools) sleep better at night with the knowledge you are out there looking after our freedom if you are required.
    A short look into your history – CD’s served in Vietnam and both Gulf conflicts and Timor. not to mention the Soloman’s ( Didnt know that?) evidence they arnt in it for the glory.

    Well done again.

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