Broadchurch became a TV sensation when it launched in 2013 and for eight weeks the nation was obsessed with ‘who killed Danny Latimer?’ Series two followed the trial – and shock acquittal – of the 11-year-old’s assailant as the seaside town struggled to cope with events. Now bickering detectives, Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, are back for one final season which will tie up all the loose ends. We caught up with the show’s stars, David Tennant and Olivia Colman, as they prepare to tackle one last crime…
It’s three years on from series two, can you set the scene at the start of episode one?
David Tennant Hardy went off at the end of series two but he came back and now has his daughter living with him so, like Miller, he’s a single parent. He looks to Ellie for parenting advice although I don’t know how wise that is! That gives a slightly different dynamic to their personal relationship.
Olivia Colman My screen son Tom is going through the terrible teens so he’s being a pain in the arse and she’s being called into school. Ellie’s dad [played by Roy Hudd] is staying with them, which is handy from a child care point of view but he’s not the easiest man to have around. I think the job is probably the best part of her life, everything else seems quite difficult.
David I think for both of them it becomes their solace. They’ve certainly resolved any antagonism they once had.
Olivia They are each other’s best friend.
This series returns to the whodunit formula with Hardy and Miller investigating the rape of a single mum, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh…
David It’s brutal and it’s unlike any case that Broadchurch has seen before, which shocks them. Stranger rape is extremely rare so it’s completely accurate that a town like Broadchurch would never have seen a crime like this before. Writer Chris Chibnall did an enormous amount of work, talking to people, and we were given a lot of information.
Olivia A lot of these cases go unreported but there are incredible people who will look after you and help you through it. You will survive and it’s really important to tell people that.
Once again there are well known guest stars, including Lenny Henry, Sarah Parish and Charlie Higson. That must have been fun…
Olivia I grew up laughing at Charlie Higson so to watch him being brilliant was a masterclass.
David I’ve worked with Sarah loads of times and she’s so effortless at what she does, you forget how good she is.
It sparked a national conversation when it launched, was it the same when you were filming it?
David Yes, the whodunit was the topic of conversation in moments of down time because everyone was intrigued to know who the murderer was. When it broadcast that went from being chatter on the dining bus to being a national obession, which was very exciting.
Is it an added pressure coming back a third time?
Olivia Because people took it to their hearts so much you still hope you’re going to deliver. It’s awful once the first episode goes out, then you just have to stay in and not look anyone in the eye!
Are you sad to be closing this chapter of your working lives?
Olivia I think it might suddenly hit us and we’ll go, ‘Oh, what are we going to do!’ We’ve made good friends on this show and that will keep going.
David This show has meant a lot. Viewers link you with a show and when it’s something you’re as proud of as we are of this, then that’s a lovely thing.