Due to the slowdown in content caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, ITV decided to show weekly reruns of ‘Broadchurch‘ season 1 in the very time slot on a Monday evening that it aired in 7 years ago.
The show seemed just like your standard British crime drama, and in many ways it was as it stuck to the tried and tested cliches, but the difference is that it perfected them.
It maintained a strong mystery throughout (even though by the final episode the killer was obvious to most) and carefully unravelled people’s individual secrets, it treated the stunning location like a truly key part of the narrative and used it exceptionally well.
The thing that really helps set the shoe apart is that whilst it is a crime drama, it has its focus very much on the characters and their inner life, mixes effective melodrama into the mix to create a potent blend.
The casting here is simply perfect. The whole ensemble does good work and it features all sorts of British character actors that really improve every scene (David Bradley, Arthur Darvill, Andrew Buchanan etc), but this show is really about three cast members, even though it was advised to be about its two stars.
I will start with the surprise package from this show, the current ‘Doctor’, Jodie Whittaker. Years before she would reunite with Chris Chibnall to tackle the first female time lord, she absolutely shone as the devastated mother of the 11 year old murder victim. She portrays such agony and desperation while never making it seem like over-acting. This is was a brilliant breakthrough performance to the mainstream for Whittaker.
Moving on to another star here with (Academy Award Winner) Olivia Colman. We all know now that Colman is one of the greatest British acting talents of the century, but back in 2013 she was more seen as a great comedy actress with little dramatic experience, but this all changed here. She is incredibly charismatic, deeply empathetic, and more than holds her own comedically too with Tennant.
That brings us on to the main man, who was very much the big name going into the show on the back of his time as the ‘Doctor’ (a lot of Doctor Who connections here) and it’s a very different performance than people were used to from Tennant. He is grizzled, depressed, and rude to everyone, and if played by anyone else, deeply unlikable. But Tennant brings a real humanity and even humour to the role that really makes him one of the all time great ‘TV Detectives’.
This was a real cultural moment in Britain at the time, and the show still stands up exceptionally well even after seven years. Brilliant TV.
Rating = 4.5/5