The third and final series of the hit ITV drama, Broadchurch begins tonight. Its creator, Chris Chibnall is moving on to pastures new/old, taking on the showrunning duties on Doctor Who, meaning this is the last time we see David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller, and Arthur Darvill as Rev Paul Coates.
The show first aired in 2013, looking at how the death of 11-year-old Danny Latimer affected the residents living in the eponymous seaside village; the idea, however, first came to Chibnall in 2003 when he was writing for Born and Bred, inspired by the Jurassic Coast, Dorset, where he lived. Regularly obtaining between 9 and 10 million viewers, with a peak of 11.34 million, both series proved popular (though the second to a lesser extent – unfairly so, I might add), and this final run of stories – directed by Daniel Nettheim (The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion), Lewis Arnold (Humans), and Paul Andrew Williams (The Eichmann Show) – began filming in May 2016.
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Executive Producer, Jane Featherstone says:
“We start the final series in the trilogy three years on from the last series, five years on from the start. There is a bold new crime story which forces us to ask whether the town has a crack running through it caused by Danny Latimer’s death; is this new crime somehow the long-term legacy of that dark moment? Our central characters must contend with this possibility as they battle to make hope, friendship and love triumph over fear and suspicion, as a host of new suspects present themselves. The great privilege of long-form storytelling is building a meaningful relationship between our characters and the audience and I am excited for the audience to see how Ellie, Hardy and the Latimers have fared in the last few years. It is a fond farewell for those of us involved in the series for so many years, but as far as I am concerned, the community of Broadchurch will carry on living long after we’ve gone.”
Producer, Dan Winch adds:
“With the final series we strive to entertain and to tell a brilliant story, but we’ve never lost site of our responsibility to do justice to those who may be directly or indirectly affected by this particular investigation. We hope to have struck a balance which sensitively tackles the darker story elements, whilst enabling our audience to comfortably lose themselves in the world of Broadchurch each week… We were incredibly lucky with the weather. There was one memorable scene where we had to weight a picnic blanket to the grass to avoid it flying off in the wind! In a new addition to the physical perspectives of Broadchurch, we worked with a drone camera this series. When working with a bit of kit such as this you’re reliant on perfect weather conditions. We managed to fly our drone up and down the coast and achieve some amazing images of the iconic cliffs, the bay and the rolling Dorset Hills.”
Meanwhile, Chris Chibnall has introduced this third series:
“Welcome back to Broadchurch, and our third and final story.
“It’s been an extraordinary journey: from tiny beginnings inspired by a walk in 2011 along the Jurassic Coast where I live, to a global success in 180 territories, with two international remakes, a novel adaptation and Broadchurch walking tours that take a similar route to my first walk. It’s been quite a ride. We’ve kept a lot of secrets, had a lot of fun and hopefully given people another reason to stay in on Monday nights.
“The world we live in now feels some distance from the world I was writing about when we started. The state of the country and its preoccupations are different. Each story has deliberately tackled a new area. For the final story, Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy conduct a new investigation, into a serious sexual assault.
“We’ve spent the time since the series was last on air researching and developing this story. Myself and Script Executive Samantha Hoyle have worked closely with support organisations in the Dorset area who work with victims of sexual assault. We’ve spent time with the amazing support workers who run referral centres.
“We’ve developed relationships with and talked in depth with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, as well as police who investigate these crimes, and survivors of these crimes. These extraordinary people have advised us every step of the way: from storylining, to scripts, on set during production (some of our advisors even appear in one sequence later on in the series) and through the post production process.
“I wanted to tell this story because these crimes are increasing. Recorded sexual offences have been increasing year on year for the past decade: the most recent annual statistics showed an increase of 41% in reported rapes, compared to the previous year. Representations of, and attitudes to, sex have become more oppositional and confrontational. Sexualised images are all around, access to porn is easier and seemingly more common. It’s an issue for couples, for parents and families, for individuals and for communities. And amidst all this, the gender divide often feels more polarised than it has in decades.
“To explore this, I needed to call on DS Ellie Miller and DI Alec Hardy one last time. This story begins three years after we were last in Broadchurch. Lives have moved on. Some people have left, some have arrived – and there’s a new case to test this old partnership. There are new suspects, new revelations and fresh truths to be confronted in the lives of Broadchurch’s residents.
“You can expect to meet old friends, and new faces. You’ll see more of Broadchurch than ever before: new locations, and more extraordinary Dorset landscape.
“What hasn’t changed is the amazing array of acting talent in the show. Our cast, led by the incomparable Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker and Andy Buchan, are joined by a host of brilliant new recruits: including Julie Hesmondhalgh, Sarah Parish, Lenny Henry, Mark Bazeley, Georgina Campbell, Charlie Higson and Roy Hudd.
“Broadchurch has been a life-changing experience for me, and for many of us who make it. It’s been a strange, mad honour to experience the passion of audiences for this story and these characters. It’s been wonderful to film in (and showcase) the South West of England — the people of Bridport, West Bay and Clevedon have done us proud across all three series. But all good stories come to an end. I hope this one has enough twists and turns, laughter and tears to go out in style.”
Broadchurch Series 3 starts tonight at 9pm on ITV.