Broadchurch is ITVs latest 8-part Drama which will no doubt fill the Drama shaped hole that will no doubt have been left once Mr Selfridge finishes.
Tonight's episode kicks off the whole series and establishes what has, or rather hasn't happened.
We open with the story of Danny Latimer who at 11 has gone missing having not turned up to school that day. However it's not long before we find Danny, sadly not alive, lying bloodied and dirty on an idyllic beach. Was it suicide? Well, DI Alec Hardy, David Tennant's character certainly seems to think so whilst DS Ellie Miller, Olivia Colman's character seems to think the opposite. And after a while it becomes clear that the positioning of his body means it was staged to look like suicide but in fact someone had killed Danny
Not just a murder story the drama really gives you the sense that Broadchurch is a community and explores what happens when it suddenly becomes the focus of a major event and is subjected to the full glare of the media spotlight. Everybody knows one another in Broadchurch, which we are aware of right from the off as one of the opening scenes sees Danny's father Mark Latimer, played by Andrew Buchan, walk through Broadchurch bumping into and saying hello to everyone he meets and asking how people's parents are etc. So there's no denying how small Broadchurch is and how much of a friendly and community atmosphere, the seaside town really is.
Broadchurch explores the press and press intrusion into cases like these. In the days of the Soham murders Twitter didn't exist but now it does and has become one of the most useful tools out there for journalists. In the opening episode, Olly Stevens is seen sending a tweet which confirms who the body is based on seeing his sister leave a teddy in memory of Danny's death. Interestingly the account is shown on screen to be @broadchurchecho, the paper for which Olly writes. At the time of writing, the account. Is locked but I'm hoping this is lifted once the series airs to reveal another layer to the story. I'm hoping that across the 8 episodes we can turn to Twitter and see what the fictional account of the Broadchurch Echo is saying about the case.
Let's talk about the characters then. First of all this is very clearly led by David Tennant and Olivia Colman who each give sterling performances in their respective roles as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller. I'm putting it out there, I'm not a fan of Doctor Who, but that doesn't mean I don't think Tennant is a great actor. In fact the very opposite, when I see him in Dramas like Single Father and True Love, I can see how talented he is as an actor and his portrayal in Broadchurch is an example of yet another stellar performance from Tennant. In this he plays DI Alec Hardy who is an out of town detective who along with DS Ellie Miller who he beat to a promotion. A promotion Ellie thought was hers. So already there's tension there between the two characters which continues to grow as the series goes on.
And then there's Olivia Colman who, if you've taken even a quick glance at my blog you'd know, is one of my favourite actresses this country has and in a recent article from The Independent, the question "Is Olivia Colman this country's most versatile actress?" - to which I believe the answer to be YES. If you were in any doubt as to Colman's acting credentials then this more than anything she's done before shows how great she can be and how believable she is a character.
Her versatility in playing comedy one minute (Peep Show, Rev) and hard hitting drama the next is second to none. In this she plays DS Ellie Miller who on returning back to work finds the promotion she so thought she had gone and one of her first cases back being the death of her friend's son. This makes the case even more important for her. On the one hand she's eager to prove herself and show that the promotion should have gone to her, whilst on the other she needs to think hard about how she handles the case as it's so close to home.
It's not just Tennant and Colman who give their all to the series, but there's also a stunning supporting cast which includes This Is England's Vicky McClure who plays Karen White, a national journalist with a special interest in this case. There's also Pauline Quirke from Birds Of A Feather who plays the rather mysterious Susan White who lives in Broadchurch, and I'm sure she's hiding quite a few secrets of her own. Also starring is White Van Man’s Will Mellor, who plays Steven Connelly Judging from the final scene of the first episode, the press conference, it feels as though this scene more than any other sets up the series as a whole and gives us a rough idea as to how the story will evolve and more importantly perhaps, who the main suspects will be in the hunt for Danny's killer.
Do I recommend Broadchurch? Yes. Of course I do, and I'm pretty sure the story will have viewers hooked Monday night and fingers crossed for that extra cherry on the top, a BAFTA a few months down the line.