As it returns for a third and final series, broadchurch introduces a brand new case for its detective duo. Crime scene goes behind the scenes with the cast at the seaside shoot for the shocking conclusion to a landmark tv drama.
The sun is beating down during a summer heat wave, driving tourists to the artisan ice cream van on West Bay’s seafront. Families stroll along the promenade, turning their faces towards the sunshine and admiring the towering sandstone cliffs that form the backdrop to this stunning stretch of Dorset coast. Close to this tableau of Britons at leisure, however, is a hive of bustling activity. A stone’s throw from the centre of the pretty fishing village is Broadchurch HQ, a collection of trailers in a car park where the makers and stars of the ITV hit drama are busying themselves with filming the third and final series of the twisty crime thriller.
Crime Scene has been invited on set to interview Broadchurch’s actors and to drink in a stretch of World Heritage coastline that illustrates the show’s central paradox of terrible things happening in an idyllic setting. When Broadchurch debuted in 2013, investigating the effect on a rural community of the murder of an 11-year-old boy, Danny Latimer, it was a sensation. Creator Chris Chibnall had woven a dark and complex tale heavily influenced by Scandi Noir dramas like The Killing, featuring compelling cops, characters whose lives overlap in surprising ways, an evocative landscape and haunting music – in this case by an actual Scandinavian, Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.
Today, we spot Broadchurch locations all around us, bathed in summer sun. DI Alec Hardy’s waterside cottage can be glimpsed in the distance; the stretch of shingle beach where Danny Latimer’s body lay in Series 1; the East Pier, where characters meet betwixt sea and cliffs; the modern seafront apartment block called The Folly, which does duty as the police precinct exterior.
As the third series progresses on air during March, it’s clear that Chibnall has left behind Series 2’s Sandbrook subplot and developments in the Latimer case – criticised by some viewers – and refreshed the series. Three years have passed since the events of the last season, and Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) have been reunited on the Wessex Police Force to investigate the rape of shop worker Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh). At the same time we’re reminded of past horrors by the presence of familiar Broadchurch characters: bereaved parents Beth and Mark Latimer (Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan), vicar Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) and local newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe (Carolyn Pickles). Fresh blood has arrived in the form of new locals played by Lenny Henry, Sarah Parish, Mark Bazeley and Charlie Higson.
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