Great Britain is thought of by many to hold possibly the best pool of acting talent in the world. If in any doubt, give ITV’s recent series Broadchurch a watch, and you will know for sure. This series has exceeded all expectations of critics and audiences up and down the country, as well as gaining phenomenal ratings of over nine and a half million for a single episode mid-series; a reassuring fact, as it proves that intelligent storytelling and deep character design still has a place in the mass market of British TV, and not just on BBC Four, in Danish.
Watching the first episode it is tempting to dislike the show, simply because of how praised it is by others. The only problem with cynicism is that the show just really is excellent. The series covers the whole of an investigation into the murder of a child in a small seaside town called Broadchurch, but it is far greater than simply just a clever ‘whodunit’ story. It is a detailed, emotional, and heartfelt glimpse into not just the life of a grieving family, but a town and their quirks, suspect behaviour, and twisted histories. In fact, the tension and drama between characters almost makes the mystery virtually unimportant; like a tool used to force all the emotion into the air.
The eight part series, which will be released on DVD on the 20th of May, was riddled with red herrings creating genuine suspicion, allying the audience with D.I. Alec Hardy (David Tennant), D.S. Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), and Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) and the fact it saddled you in the seat of the police in their desperate search for the killer made the whole experience so much more enjoyable and enthralling.
Tennant has also proven through Broadchurch that he doesn’t have to shout and run and get very angry (as he did far too often on BBC’s Doctor Who all those years ago) to leave his impression on TV audiences. His sublime performance as a Detective with an awful history that both drives him and is killing him at the same time would leave anyone feeling nothing but sympathy and pain for the Investigator. There are moments through the series where 45 minutes may arguably seem too long, but it all feels rewarding and griping again literally moments later.
ITV have announced that series two begins production in 2014, after the initial series was such a success. It is unconfirmed whether or not any characters shall reappear, but with the first series’ casting being so sensational, it would be safe to presume ITV will try their utmost to match, if not improve upon the standard which has already been set. Viva British Drama!