Broadchurch Series 3: Five Reasons You'll Love It
When a 2011 walk along Dorset's picturesque Jurassic Coast gave writer Chris Chibnall an idea for a new crime series set in the area where he lives, he can hardly have imagined the huge success that the resulting show would enjoy; Broadchurch has been a huge hit for Chibnall and ITV, not just in the UK but on the international stage too, having been exported to 180 different territories and inspired a remake, Gracepoint, aired on the Fox network in America in 2014.
A key part of the show's success has been the on-screen partnership of the show's key characters, detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, superbly played by David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. The first two series have seen the pair tackling the murder of a 12 year-old boy and the subsequent trial of his killer.
This time around though it's a different sort of crime occupying Hardy & Miller, with a sexual assault case at the 50th birthday party of one of Broadchurch's residents soon turning into a hunt for a serial rapist. Tennant and Coleman both return for for the show's third series, as do other Broadchurch regulars Jodie Whittaker, Arthur Darvill, Andrew Buchan and Matthew Gravelle, while the new additions to the cast for the third series include Lenny Henry, Charlie Higson and Roy Hudd.
Broadchurch's third series will also be its last, with Chris Chibnall moving on to take over the reins from Steven Moffatt on the new series of Doctor Who.
If you've been following the final series, whose finale aired this weekend, you'll already know what to expect from this gripping crime drama, but for anyone who has been holding out in favour of bing-watching their way through the box set when it arrives in stores on Monday, here are five reasons to look forward to it even more...
This series really is Broadchurch back to its best
After the brilliance of the show's first series, some fans felt a little disappointed by series 2, which essentially covered the same ground from a different angle – in this case, the trial of Joe Miller and his subsequent acquittal before being hounded out of town by the angry mob. Here though the whodunnit element of the show is front and centre, with the main focus on identifying the serial rapist responsible for a series of sexual assaults. As ever, Chris Chibnall's writing offers up plenty of shifty suspects and plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up until the final episode.
David Tennant and Olivia Coleman are on top form, as usual
There's no doubt that one of the keys to the show's success has been the on-screen love/hate relationship between the show's main characters and you'll be pleased to know that Hardy's capacity for winding up his colleague remains undiminished in Series 3. The relatively lukewarm reception to show's American remake – in which Tennant essentially reprises his role alongside Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn – shows how important Tennant and Coleman's anti-chemistry is to the show and there are several moments in the third series where Miller's frustration with Hardy's attitude threatens to boil over. It's very entertaining stuff.
There are some truly brilliant performances from the rest of the cast too
Broadchurch has employed some terrific actors over the course of its three series, with the likes of Charlotte Rampling, Meera Syal and Marianne Jean-Baptiste having joined the cast at various points, and while there are some excellent additions to the cast this series too – particularly Charlie Higson and Julie Hesmondhalgh – there are plenty of great performances across the entire breadth of the show's ensemble cast. Andrew Buchan in particular has some outstanding moments as Mark Lattimer, still getting to grips with the death of his son in the first series. Keep an eye out for Horrible Histories' Jim Howick too in his role as the super-creepy Aaron Mayford.
We're not done with the Joe Miller saga just yet
You have to credit Chris Chibnall with the way the same narrative arc concerning Joe Miller has kept running throughout the show's three series – without this, the show could have turned into a generic crime series or becoe to similar to series such as Silent Witness. If you thought we'd seen the last of this particular saga, think again; Mark Lattimer is still out for justice and all the indications are that he may settle for the vigilante variety. There are clearly some aspects of the story that needed resolving and Chibnall works this into the main story masterfully.
The new series tackles a difficult subject with more than a little skill
The big difference in the third series is that the main crime in question is not murder but rape, and you have to hand Chibnall and the showrunners some credit for the way this is examined. Yes, there is the main story about a sexual assault and the possibility that this isn't an isolated incident, but the focus is also more broadly on other aspects of rape culture, exemplified by a side story about teenagers being caught watching pornography on their phones at school, and the issues surrounding revenge porn and the impact it can have on its victims. Broadchurch handles all of these admirably without getting too bogged down and detracting from the drama and its a welcome and refreshing take on a subject that is often shied away from.