Tonight kicks off David Tennant's return to television with the new mystery series "Broadchurch" on ITV. The Radio Times spoke with series stars Tennant and Olivia Colman about the anticipated new series and what viewers can expect.
The series revolves around out-of-town Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, played by Tennant, as he investigates the mysterious death of an 11-year-old boy in the small tightly-knit community of Broadchurch.
Hardy is joined in his investigation by Colman's local Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, not only the local lead investigator on the case but also the mother of the dead boy's best friend. Colman points to the emotional tie-in to the case as one of the aspects that drew her to the project. "I just remember reading [the script] in one go, sobbing, crying, sobbing, crying, oh, it’s finished," said Colman. "I don’t think I was meant to cry as much as I did. But I found it so upsetting, I just couldn’t stop. I usually try not to cry in things, but it’s so emotive."
The mystery, created by Chris Chibnall ("Law & Order: UK"), has drawn early critical praise leading into its premiere. "I was immediately pulled in, on two levels – literally, the what-happens-next could take your breath away. And it was all happening in a world with all these brilliantly drawn, proper characters. That was the cocktail. Usually, it’s one or the other or, worst of all, neither," Tennant said of what drew him to the series.
Still reeling from the young boy's death, the townspeople are further torn apart and at each other's throats when the case brings unexpected media scrutiny. "I suppose it’s fairly obvious, the moral dilemmas that this community faces – their lives that were private have turned out horribly exposed, for the world to make judgement on, and they turn on each other," Colman explained.
Tennant added, "The complexities of the case risk being oversimplified by the arrival of the press. Certain characters get cast in roles by the press, which I think we have seen in life."
Broadchurch premieres tonight on ITV.