REVIEW: Broadchurch DVD Extra - Behind The Scenes

Early in 2011, inspired by a conversation that he’d had with director James Strong towards the end of the United shoot, writer and Chris Chibnall started to write the first script for a drama that would turn out to be a TV phenomena that gripped the nation. Jump forward about 15 months and Chibnall’s project is about to come to fruition, as the cast and crew of Broadchurch meet at Bloomsbury Baptist Church one rainy day in August for the very first read through. And here we join them at the start of the 26 minute behind-the-scenes documentary that accompanies the eight-part series on its DVD release.

It’s a nervous and exciting time for the entire cast, many of whom are meeting for the first time. “Our first day of school,” says Vicky McClure, while Olivia Colman describes the experience as terrifying - “I don’t like read throughs. I find them very scary” – an emotion shared by Arthur Darvill, but Andrew Buchan just wants to get stuck in. A rain-dampened David Tennant reveals how much he knows about the storyline: “Not a clue at the moment. It’s all to be discovered”

It’s interesting to see the familiar faces that would come to dominate our TV screens and capture our imaginations in such a position of nervousness and curiosity, but what is very clear is that even at that stage many of them were very sure that they were taking part in something very special. It’s also fun to spot in the background the actors who would become so important to us over the eight weeks that the series aired: Joe Sims (Nige Carter), Matthew Gravelle (Joe Miller) and Carolyn Pickles (Maggie Radcliffe) all drift through in the background during the read through and the on-set footage.

We’re treated to interviews and comments from cast and crew aplenty. Andrew Buchan gives his ‘honest’ opinion of his fellow cast members, Vicky McClure and Jonathan Bailey muse on the possibility that Karen might be the killer, Jodie Whittaker explains the importance of staying entertained between takes and David Tennant and Olivia Colman are like a double act, bouncing character descriptions and accusations of murder and camp performances off one another. The actors express their joy of filming in Dorset, even in the torrential rain, and discuss how difficult it can be to convey credibly the levels of emotion experienced by their characters. Producer Richard Stokes illustrates the wisdom of having a plan B – and more – when an exterior scene is rained off and they have to come up with an alternative solution quite quickly.

At the time of filming the documentary, the cast still had no idea who the killer was and how the remainder of the drama was going to unfold. However, they were as captivated during production as viewers were while watching and anticipated even then that audiences would be hooked. Pauline Quirke makes an uncannily accurate prediction:” It’s certainly going to be a drama that you wouldn't want to miss many episodes…once you start with it you've got to stick with it because it’s so intriguing,”  she says, “It’s going to be really good telly”

There’s no arguing with that.

Broadchurch is released on DVD on Monday 20th May. Order your copy here

View more screencaps from the feature here: