Broadchurch Actors Had No Clue To the Killer Says Writer Chris Chibnall

TV viewers will have another seven weeks to wait to discover the identity of the killer in the new ITV drama series Broadchurch. However, even during filming the cast and crew were kept in the dark until the very last hours before the crucial final scenes were shot.

Broadchurch follows the investigation into the murder of an eleven year old boy in a picturesque seaside town. It’s a small, close knit community, and the next few weeks will find the finger of suspicion being pointed at a number of key residents. The producers are keen to keep audiences guessing right till the very end of the series, even eschewing the usual ‘Next Week’ trailers at the end of each episode.  And as writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall tells the Daily Mail, he also kept the secret from his cast over five months of filming, prompting an on set sweepstake among the actors and crew.

He said: “We adopted the kind of security you’d normally associate with a massive Hollywood movie. All of the scripts on set were kept in a safe, watermarked so they couldn’t be copied, and there were only five people, including myself, who knew the full story.
“For 85 per cent of filming, no one had any idea who was guilty. The cast and crew set up a rogues’ gallery and took bets on who they thought it was, but I was determined that secrecy was the key to the drama’s success.”

He had planned a group meeting to reveal the answers decided against it at the last minute.
“As we were coming to the point where we had to give people final scripts, I organised for everyone to meet at the beach so that I could tell them,” he explained. “But on set the night before, so many people admitted they liked the suspense and didn’t want to know who it was that when I arrived I told them I’d changed my mind.
“Olivia Colman, who plays one of the investigating police officers, looked like she was ready to murder me, while David Tennant grabbed hold of me and said he couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to tell him. But then he admitted he was actually glad.”

In the end the actors were told on a ‘need-to-know’ basis only hours before they were due on set. David himself has said that not knowing the outcome was of great benefit to his performance:

“If you are playing someone who is investigating a crime and the crime is actually unfolding as you go from an acting point of view, that’s very helpful as you can’t second guess. When you’re playing those initial interviews with characters and you genuinely don’t know what the truth is you can’t load those scenes with ‘actorly’ tricks; you have to play it for what it is which can only make it more real. You can be as exasperated about the mystery of the characters as the audience will be.”

Read the full Daily Mail article here

Broadchurch is an eight part ITV drama starring David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller, two police detectives who are thrown together to solve a boy’s murder. Other cast includes Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan as the boy’s parents, Arthur Darvill as the trendy footballing vicar, Vicky McClure as a snooping national journalist, Pauline Quirke as a mysterious loner and Will Mellor as a suspicious telephone engineer.

The series continues at 9pm on ITV on Monday 11th March

Keep up to date with all the latest news and informatiion about Broadchurch here