Sinbad (TV series)

Written by
  • James Dormer
  • Jack Lothian
  • Steve Thompson
  • Harriet Warner
  • Neil Biswas
  • Jack Thorne
Directed by
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Danielle Brandon
  • Sophie Gardiner
  • Tim Haines
  • Anne Mensah
  • Elwen Rowlands
  • Andrew Woodhead
  • Donal Geraghty
  • Grainne Marmion
  • Andrew Wood
Running time 40–45 minutes
Production company(s) Impossible Pictures
Original network Sky1
Picture format 16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original release 8 July (2012-07-08) – 23 September 2012 (2012-09-23)

Sinbad is an action-adventure fantasy family saga television series that was broadcast on Sky1 from 8 July 2012, consisting of 12 episodes. It was produced by Impossible Pictures, the same company who made Walking with Dinosaurs and Primeval. The series stars Elliot Knight as the titular hero, Sinbad.

On 27 February 2013, Sky announced that they had axed the show, saying its "story has now been told".[1]


Sinbad accidentally kills the son of the powerful Lord Akbari in a fist fight. As recompense for the blood debt, Sinbad's brother is killed in front of his eyes. Sinbad escapes, but his grandmother uses a magic talisman to curse him for the death of his brother. The curse prevents Sinbad from staying on land for more than one day; if he tarries the talisman will choke him to death. This prohibition against remaining on land leads to a life of adventure at sea that holds many wonders. Sinbad is unaware that he is still being hunted by Lord Akbari, who does not consider Sinbad's brother's death as sufficient payment of the blood debt.

Cast and characters

Actor/Actress Character Episodes
Elliot Knight Sinbad 1–12
Dimitri Leonidas Anwar 1–12
Marama Corlett Rina 1–12
Elliot Cowan Gunnar 1–12
Junix Inocian Cook 1–12
Janet Suzman Sinbad's Grandmother 1-2, 6-7
Estella Daniels Nala 1–7
Tuppence Middleton Tiger 9–12
Orla Brady Taryn 1–7, 11–12
Naveen Andrews Lord Akbari 1–7
Yigal Naor Emir 1-2, 4, 6
Robert Gilbert Tazeem 1-2, 5, 7
Devon Anderson Jamil 1, 12
Sophie Okonedo Razia 2
Timothy Spall Anicetus 4
Nikki Amuka-Bird The Professor 10
Dougray Scott Father La Stessa 11
Mathew Horne Philippe 11
Evanna Lynch Alehna 12


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
1"Pilot"Andy WilsonJack Lothian8 July 2012 (2012-07-08)1.91

When street rat Sinbad accidentally kills Lord Akbari’s son, Akbari kills Sinbad’s brother Jamil in revenge. Sinbad escapes, but his grandmother Safia places a curse on him that until he atones for his sins he can’t stay on dry land for more than 24 hours.

Sinbad stows away on the Providence, but magical sea creatures attack and all on board die except for Sinbad; Anwar, the ship’s doctor; Gunnar, a Norse trader; Nala, a noblewoman on the run; Rina, a thief; and the ship’s Cook.
2"Queen of the Water-Thieves"Andy WilsonJames Dormer15 July 2012 (2012-07-15)1.46

The crew are captured by water-thieves, a feral tribe. Sinbad tries to seduce their fierce leader Razia (Sophie Okonedo) to save himself, but despite satisfying her, he learns she will kill him that night. Sinbad escapes with the help of Razia’s chained Roc, a giant mythical bird, and creates a diversion allowing his friends to escape.

Sinbad returns to Razia’s chamber and frees the Roc, but Razia attacks him. As his curse kicks in and is about to destroy him, the Roc swoops in and rescues Sinbad.
3"House of Games"Brian GrantSteve Thompson22 July 2012 (2012-07-22)1.32

When Anwar loses The Providence in a bet to merchant Abdul-Fahim (Ashley Walters), Sinbad confides in Anwar about the curse – he will die unless they get the ship back.

The gang follow Abdul-Fahim to a gaming-house and Sinbad wins back the ship. But the twisted gaminghouse owners, twins Faris and Essam (both Iain McKee), challenge Sinbad to free his friends from a series of enchanted rooms before his curse kills him. He succeeds, but his friends have to drag him back to the Providence. When he recovers he comes clean about his curse.
4"Old Man of the Sea"Andy WilsonJames Dormer29 July 2012 (2012-07-29)1.15

Running low on water with Cook severely dehydrated, the crew find a strange old man on a deserted ship. They are unaware it is Death come to reclaim his bride, Nala, who ranaway from their ritual wedding.

Nala agrees to wed Death, believing it will bring back her dead father. Realising who the old man is, Sinbad rushes to save Nala, but in vain. It is only when Death accidentally reveals he has no knowledge of Nala’s grief that the spell breaks and Nala escapes. The rain comes, reviving Cook.
5"Hunted"Brian GrantJack Lothian5 August 2012 (2012-08-05)1.00

Gunnar and Sinbad are ambushed by the Khaima, a band of warriors, who avenge injustice. Their leader, Obsidian (Carsten Norgaard), sentences Gunnar to death for his brutal Viking past.

Taryn (Orla Brady) creates a magical Stalker, which hunts down Sinbad at the Khaima camp just as Obsidian is about to kill Sinbad and Gunnar. The Khaima slash at the Stalker, but it repairs itself. As Gunnar urges, Sinbad defeats the Stalker by mastering his anger. Obsidian pardons Gunnar and invites him to join the Khaima, but Gunnar declines.
6"The Siren"Brian GrantHarriet Warner12 August 2012 (2012-08-12)1.00

The tables are turned this week when it’s Sinbad who requires rescuing. Following a far from friendly encounter with a snappy sea creature, he awakes in the company of his mysterious (not to mention aesthetically-pleasing) rescuer, Roisin (Georgia King).

Life at sea is lonely so you can’t blame our hero for falling for Roisin’s charms, but don’t go expecting a soft-focus romance. No ordinary girl, Roisin has a penchant for pinching memories and has set her sights on Sinbad.

Taryn and Akbari have also concocted another fiendish plan to snag Sinbad – and this one hits our hero where it hurts. All is not as it seems when he receives a vision of his grandmother calling out for help and heads back to Basra…
7"Homecoming"Andy WilsonNeil Biswas & Jack Lothian19 August 2012 (2012-08-19)1.07

Sinbad is back in Basra to rescue his grandmother, unaware that it’s a trap set by Akbari and Taryn. Our hero’s hometown has undergone a few changes since he set sail, and they’re not for the better. Akbari’s tyranny has forced many residents to flee and its scholars and scientists are being rounded up in witch hunts to make way for the return of old magic; by old, read evil.

Worried about his doctor father, Anwar races off with Rina to find his parents and get them to safety. Thankfully, they’re fine. In fact, despite everything that’s happening around them, they’re acting normal – suspiciously so.

With Akbari’s coronation looming, Sinbad couldn’t have picked a worse day for a spot of heroics. Not only is Basra teeming with Akbari’s armed-to-the teeth men, but Taryn has flipped through her recipe book of nasties and summoned the Shadows, who take a particular ‘liking’ to Gunnar and Nala. Calling in a favour with a seemingly trustworthy friend, Sinbad sneaks into the palace to find Safia… and Akbari and Taryn. Their plan has come together nicely, until the latter decides to spring a last minute surprise.
8"Kuji"Colin TeagueJack Thorne26 August 2012 (2012-08-26)1.14

While Sinbad and co rush into action with scant regard for the consequences, Anwar feels his more thoughtful (some would say sensible) approach to perilous situations is mere proof of his lily-livered uselessness. It just so happens that the Doc is having these doubts on his birthday, which none of them have remembered.

Things look up, though, when the gang enjoy a spot of treasure-hunting on an island, with Anwar making the biggest find in the form of a great big box. Counting their chickens, they imagine riches beyond their wildest dreams so are surprised when the box reveals itself to be a teenage girl called Kuji (Hannah Tointon).

Sorry not girl, God. The ragtag crew, understandably, are stumped by Kuji’s revelation that she is, in fact, a deity, an Almighty claim that Sinbad, Gunnar and Rina immediately dismiss. Anwar, however, doesn’t judge so snappily, rightfully so when an army appears demanding Kuji’s return by sunset the next day. Or else.
9"Eye of the Tiger"Colin TeagueJack Lothian & James Dormer2 September 2012 (2012-09-02)0.93

Following Kuji’s couldn’t-be-vaguer musing that he must prepare for a big journey, Sinbad is eager to find out exactly what the future holds. Handily, a stone exists that predicts just that. Not so handily, the mythic MacGuffin is hidden away in a deadly maze protected by a group of guardsman known as the Order of the Stone and some poisonous darts.

Somebody else hungry to get their hands on it is Riff (Lee Ingleby, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)), the son of Azdi (Mark Lewis-Jones, Stella)head of the Order. Tired of his dad’s reluctance to share the predictive powers of the stone, Riff bumps into Sinbad and the gang and agrees to get them into the maze using a key stolen from his father.

That’s when the trouble starts. Azdi is none-too pleased to see our young hero and understandably so – the stone revealed that Azdi would meet his maker via the pointy end of a sword handled by a killer bearing a striking resemblance to Sinbad. Throw in Tiger (Tuppence Middleton, Sirens), a bounty hunter hired by Taryn, and it’s an especially eventful episode of the homegrown epic.
10"For Whom the Egg Shatters"Colin TeagueRichard Kurti & Bev Doyle9 September 2012 (2012-09-09)0.94

Tiger is proving to be a worthy addition to the team. Not only does she have information on how to get to the Land of the Dead, but the bounty hunter has secured Sinbad and co a lucrative deal to transport a professor to her desired destination. Hand luggage is permitted and hers is a giant egg.

Any hopes that it’s a chocolate one are dashed when the professor reveals that it requires regular washing. Anwar probes a little deeper and discovers that she’s planning to use the object to bring life to a barren island, but suspicions arise after the island is revealed to be inhabited already.

Consider these suspicions fully aroused and completely justified, then, when Anwar misses his dousing shift and wakes up to find a lot of egg shell, the food store ransacked and a terrifying snake-like demon in their midst. OK, maybe Tiger missed the mark with this one…
11"Fiend or Friend?"M. T. AdlerHarriet Warner16 September 2012 (2012-09-16)0.94

Sinbad and the gang make their way to a monastery in the hope that Tiger’s friend, Brother Angelico, will point them in the right direction of the Land of the Dead – unsurprisingly, an awkward place to find. Wanting no part of the mission, Gunnar turns his hand to silk trading instead. Even that proves troublesome when the Providence’s toughest crewmate falls for the charms of Lara, a new widower whose husband met a grisly end courtesy of the Fiend, a beast which, according to the islanders, comes with the wind. And it’s about to get decidedly breezy…

Bitten by an altogether different monster of the green-eyed variety, a jealous Father La Stressa (Dougray Scott) spots Gunnar and Lara kissing and weaves a tall tale that frames Gunnar as the Fiend. It falls to Sinbad and his friends to prove their comrade’s innocence by finding the real culprit.

Could it be that Taryn has turned over a new leaf and started to atone for her sins? You’d be forgiven for thinking so when the sorceress is spied at the same monastery dressed up as a nun. Alas, it is merely a disguise and an even more out-of-character one awaits when Taryn tries to hitch a ride.
12"Land of the Dead"Michael OfferJack Lothian23 September 2012 (2012-09-23)0.87

Flashbacks help explain even Taryn’s most morally dubious/diabolical actions. A grieving mother, the sorceress will do anything to reach the Land of the Dead and bring back her daughter Alehna, played by Harry Potter favourite Evanna Lynch. On board the Providence and Taryn – still in the guise of Tiger – is closer than ever to reaching the destination when Sinbad and the crew find the entrance: the vortex of a whirpool. Well, it was never going to be a simple rat-a-tat-tat on your everyday door.

Finding themselves in the City of Limbo, they soon realise that they’re not alone. The City is monitored by gigantic creatures called Guardians, who latch onto and ‘enlighten’ lost souls, forcing them to recognise the truth of their death. In our young hero’s case, this involves a disconcerting trip to an alternate, much more unpleasant Basra, where friends Gunnar, Anwar and Rina, and even brother Jamil, have no idea who he is.

It falls to Taryn, knocked out of Tiger’s body by Gunnar (quite literally), to work her magic and save Sinbad. Still dazed and confused, Sinbad decides to take drastic action, until a much-missed face comes to his rescue… Jamil. The brothers are reunited once more and, paying it forward, they help Taryn find Alehna. This is no happy ending, however, and only one loved one will make it out of the Land of the Dead, and, even then, they’re not quite who they seem to be.


In August 2010, the Sky1 director of programmes Stuart Murphy announced the commission of several new television series, including a 12-part multimillion-pound Sinbad the Sailor adaptation on August 2010, with Impossible Pictures, a production company known for producing the ITV science fiction series Primeval, on board to produce the show. The announcement was made as Murphy wanted to shed Sky's reputation for broadcasting primarily foreign imports and "shifting the budget" to put "terrestrial levels of spend" behind the shows. The remake was also intended to have "the ambition of Lost and the pace of 24". Filming began in Malta in February 2011.[3]


Sky1 controller Stuart Murphy explained the show offered an alternative as it would attract "a younger, cooler family who like sexy, cool heroes."[4] The series was originally set to air during Autumn 2011, however, for unknown reasons, the series was delayed until the following summer. The series began broadcast on Sky1 weekly from 8 July 2012 during the 7:00pm time slot.[5]


The first episode received overnight ratings of 1.06 million viewers, and an audience share 4.7 percent. Peaking at 1.25 million at one point, it became the highest-rated pay television programme for the night.[6] The first episode saw significant gains according to the final consolidated ratings, averaging 1.91 million viewers. However, over the following weeks ratings saw a gradual decline.[2]

International broadcasters

Sinbad has also been sold to networks around the world from BBC Worldwide.[3] In France, premium pay channel Canal+ pre-bought the rights to air the series in February 2012. Bell Media, a Canadian broadcaster, bought Sinbad and showed it on their Space channel.[7] Nine Network also bought the rights to air the series in Australia.[8] However, the BBC later took back the rights from Nine and sold it to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation instead, premiering on 8 September 2012.[9][10] Syfy has picked up the series in the United States.[11]

Country Network
 Australia Nine Network
Balkans Fox
 Canada Space
 Quebec Historia
 France Canal+
 Germany Super RTL
RTL Crime
 Hong Kong TVB Pearl
 Indonesia Kompas TV
 Malaysia ntv7
 Russia TV3
 Sri Lanka Hiru TV
 Turkey CNBC-e
 United States Syfy

DVD & Blu-ray release

The series was released on DVD & Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 22 October 2012[12][13] and in the United States on 3 September 2013.[14][15]


  1. Sperling, Daniel (27 February 2013). "'Sinbad' axed by Sky after one series". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  3. 1 2 Sweeney, Mark (3 August 2010). "Sinbad the Sailor leads Sky1 schedule". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  4. "Sea Who wins". The Sun. News International. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  5. "'Sinbad': Series 1 episode guide". Cult Box. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  6. Sweeney, Mark (9 July 2012). "Andy Murray Wimbledon final pulls in almost 17m viewers". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  7. Vlessing, Etan (27 February 2012). "U.K. Adventure Drama 'Sinbad' Pre-Sold to Canada's Bell Media". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  8. Knox, David (4 March 2012). "Nine picks up Sinbad". TV Tonight. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  10. Knox, David (26 July 2012). "Sinbad sails to ABC". TV Tonight. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  11. Munn, Patrick (5 September 2012). "Syfy Closes Deal To Acquire UK Drama Series 'Sinbad'". TVWise. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  12. "Sinbad [DVD]". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  13. "Sinbad [Blu-ray]". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  14. "Sinbad: Season 1". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  15. "Sinbad: Season 1 (Blu-ray)". Retrieved 30 January 2015.
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