The true story behind one of the most harrowing scenes in smash-hit drama The Cry. 


The people of Australia are currently both equal parts captivated and horrified by The Cry, the hit BBC drama now airing on ABC.

The Cry kicks off with new mother Joanna (played by Jenna Coleman) and her husband Alistair (played by Ewen Leslie) leaving Scotland with their baby son Noah to visit Australia.

However, it’s not just an idyllic holiday that has drawn them overseas, as they are also there to fight for custody over Alistair’s teenage daughter Chloe (played by Markella Kavenagh) against his Australian ex-wife Alexandra (played by Asher Keddie) and things quickly take a turn for the worst.

Check out the trailer for The Cry below. Post continues after video.

This captivating four-part psychological thriller is actually based on the novel of the same name by Helen FitzGerald and follows a very similar narrative to the book with just a few different scenes thrown in for good measure.

The TV adaption of the novel is already an international hit with critics and viewers alike, with over six million people tuning in to watch the series when it premiered on BBC One last year. It then went on to notch up a staggering 10 million-plus plays via BBC’s iPlayer and has gone on to enjoy international critical acclaim.


In the first episode of The Cry, schoolteacher Joanna is recounting her life as a troubled parent and wife via flashbacks to a psychologist, who we later learn has been appointed by the court. In one of the more intense and upsetting flashback scenes, she recalls the family’s journey to Australia.

In the flashback, Joanna reluctantly boards the long-haul flight from Scotland to Australia with her husband, even though she is nervous about the trip and suffering from post-natal depression.


During the flight to Australia, Alistair easily falls asleep leaving Joanna alone to desperately comfort a screaming Noah, who cries for pretty much the full duration of the overnight flight. After being asked by a flight attendant to keep the baby quiet as other passengers had made complaints, Joanna lashes out at the people on the flight, screaming at them that if anyone can do better than her then they are welcome to have a go.

It’s an intense scene to watch, and one that would make parents in particular ache with sympathy for her.

Of course, this sequence on the plane leads into a series of horrible, twisted events that take place later in the four-part drama series, while also playing an important role in providing the audience with a glimpse into Joanna’s own mental state.

Although the majority of the plot is just brilliantly penned fiction, there were some moments from Helen’s own life that inspired the novel.

According to the author, the plot of The Cry came to her after enduring two “nightmare flights” to Australia, flights similar to what we see Joanna and her son endure.


“A few hours after my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour, I jumped on a plane with my two children, then five and two. I was upset and not particularly in control of my toddler while I was sobbing in my seat,” Helen told Crime Fiction Lover at the time of the book’s release in 2013.

“When the air hostess approached me, I was expecting her to ask if she could help in any way, but she leaned down and said ‘your children are upsetting the passengers’, I went a bit nuts. This is basically what happens to Joanna in the first chapter of the book.

“Nine years later, I was doing the same trip for the same reason. I had no children with me for this flight, but the woman in front of me had three under five. They screamed for eight hours, and I wanted to kill her. How quickly we forget…

“Despite the screaming children, I wrote the final scene of The Cry on that flight.”

Helen’s story is a sobering reminder that even the most mundane of activities can quickly turn into nightmares, and that there is always a thread of truth in very god fictional story.

The Cry will air tonight Sunday 3 February at 8.30pm, with all four episodes available to binge on ABC iview, audiences won’t have to wait for each gripping installment.

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