No Spoilers – so don’t worry if you didn’t see it!
For me this has been the best original British Drama in years alongside the revamped “Sherlock”. By treating the viewers as intelligent human beings and showing the real emotions behind these kinds of events has made it must watch TV.
The writing has been brilliant and I don’t want to take anything away from Chris Chibnall’s words, but the cast was outstanding and they should all be going head-to-head at the big awards ceremonies next year. The two leads of David Tennant and Olivia Coleman played each scene perfectly with Coleman stealing hearts and minds with a performance that broke your heart from the first episode to the last. Tennant underplayed his role which allowed the story to unwind without him being the focus and allowed us to believe in the final episode’s revelations.
Three actors who deserve special praise are David Bradley as Jack Marshall, Pauline Quirke as Susan Wright and Andrew Buchan as Mark Latimer. Between them they shone throughout in very different ways. One of the most amazing scenes was between Bradley and Buchan as the two faced of after accusations about Jack’s relationship with Danny. What could have been crass and overplayed showed two actors at the top of their game. Quirke’s performance was a delicious mix of malevolent and distraught; you really wanted to hate her and some of the things she said made you cringe but when the truth was revealed you saw the reasons behind the maliciousness.
And that has been the key – character development. (Sorry to be all English teachery about it!) By allowing these characters to slowly emerge and grow over the eight episodes instead of ITV’s usual two hour show we saw the dimensions and subtleties to all the characters making it as much about the people of Broadchurch as it was the whodunit element. It was a story about the effect of the death on a small community and not a quick police chase episode of Cluedo. What Chibnall achieved was getting viewers to invest in these characters’ lives and the village as a whole; we cared about them, we wanted to know more about them, but we weren’t patronised in the way soaps often do. There was the puzzle/quest element to the show but it allowed us to watch this community to react and change because of the tragic death of Danny.
“Broadchurch will return” said the caption at the end and I would happily sit and watch another series to see how things continue for these characters because to see the court case, the aftermath and how the people learn to live their lives again will be as interesting as this series was.