Producers deny Bondi Rescue avoids scenes dealing with mental health

CJZ says it's "not all sun, sand and good times" at Bondi but denies claims by former lifeguard.

Producers CJZ have rejected claims by former Bondi Rescue star Clint ‘Clipper’ Kimmins that the show has held off screening confronting incidents in which surf lifesavers have had to deal with death.

On the Good Humans podcast Kimmins said, “On Bondi Rescue, they don’t show any of the suicide stuff, they don’t show any of the mental health stuff.

“The things that we were dealing with, especially throughout Covid, the mental health thing … You’ve got young lifeguards going around on jet skis doing body retrievals … And it’s ugly. It’s not healthy at all.”

But Executive Producer Michael Cordell told news.com.au the show had touched on suicide “a number of times” over 16 seasons.

Bondi Rescue doesn’t shy away from difficult stories, but it’s simply not appropriate for us to cover every body retrieval the lifeguards undertake.

“However, I certainly believe we’ve changed the public’s perception of lifeguarding by showing the mental strain lifeguards experience when confronted with a drowning, or a near death rescue. It’s not all sun, sand and good times.”

Bondi lifeguards are employed by Waverly Council, not by CJZ or 10.

Kimmins was one of several lifeguards let go by council after they failed to comply with vaccine rules or disclose their status. Having featured on the show for 4 years from 2018, Kimmins believes the matter had been poprly handled after saving many lives, and sadly witnessing many deaths.

It isn’t clear if the show included such scenes during the 4 years Kimmins was involved.

Bondi Rescue will air its 17th season on 10 this year.

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4 Responses

  1. I would take Kimmins’s word over the PR spin from producers any day of the week, however, the most likely explanation would be classification issues (though that’s arguably moot now that M rated content is permitted from 7.30pm, though that would prevent Ten from airing such episodes should they opt for 6.30pm repeats later on, for example), and whether it would be appropriate to film/broadcast such sensitive material without coming off as exploitative and/or disrespectful to the deceased and/or their families. Themes of suicide/mental health can still be dealt with at PG, but obviously, it must be handled with care and restraint.

    Alternatively, they could produce a more “adult” season, or even a series of retrospective “adults only” specials that reveal some of the more confronting material cut from past seasons.

  2. Suicide is such a complex issue and our television networks avoid mentioning it whenever they can.
    Certainly beach or cliff suicides are extremely common and if the aftermath was shown would be more realistic than the ‘light’ rescues the lifeguards do. I have seen lifeguards doing boy retrieval and it is one of their more common activities than what is seen on the show.
    Likewise, tv and radio news will note disruptions or blockages on a particular rail line without noting the reason why tracks have had to be taken out of use.
    If we were more honest about how often this occurs I think people would be more realistic about the numbers involved and the care needed for people who are thinking about it. Giving out a Lifeline number is frankly the least useful action they can engage in.

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