INTERVIEW: David Tennant And Chris Chibnall On Broadchurch's Secrets And Clues

Zap2It have spoken to David Tennant and Chris Chibnall about Broadchurch, the eight part crime drama that premieres on BBC America later tonight. David Tennant stars with Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill and David Bradley in the tense series that follows the aftermath of the murder of a child in a small coastal town in the UK.

David's character, DI Alec Hardy, isn't the easiest person to get on with, as his new colleague DS Ellie Miller swiftly discovers.However, he explains that there is more to Hardy than meets the eye.
"I think this is only my second time playing a detective, which strikes me as something quite rare for someone who works a lot in television," he says, "It's also a change for me to play someone who is a bit more granite-like. When we first meet him, Alec Hardy seems a little flint-hearted, a man with ice in his soul, but of course as the series progresses we come to learn that still waters run deep with Hardy. There's a lot going on, and he has secrets that he tries to keep hidden."

What many critics have noted is that Broadchurch is set apart from other crime dramas by its focus on the impact of the crime and the subsequent investigation on the immediate family and the wider community. In a town where anyone is a potential suspect, it isn't long before the secrets of other residents start to surface. 

"In many crime dramas, the sheer impact of what it means to a community or, especially a family, to lose someone often is portrayed in shorthand or skated over so you can get directly to the whodunit," David explains, "What Broadchurch does so brilliantly is show this community being fractured, almost destroyed, and you see this family being just torn apart by this horrible event. Then, of course, there's my character who becomes the audience's objectivity, because I'm the outsider, the one who has no emotional connection to this. I'm just kind of a witness to all this crumbling. Finally, it's also a story about many of these people having secrets and what happens behind closed doors."

The show's creator Chris Chibnall advises viewers to watch carefully for themes and metaphorical images if they want to try to solve the mystery for themselves, "There actually are clues everywhere in Broadchurch….all deliberately embedded in there, if you're watching very carefully."

He is currently developing a US version of the show for Fox, for which he will be acting as executive producer as well as writing the first epsiode. At the same time he is working on a second series for ITV, which is currently being kept as closely under wraps as the first series. He is not even revealing which, if any, of the first series characters will be returning.

"It's another story that I am very passionate about telling," he said. "I can tell you that it's very different, but that's about it. We're keeping it secret, but I promise you that the second series doesn't start with a body on a beach. Broadchurch isn't a 'format' show, so you're right that the new episodes could be about anything, but I can't tell you more than that."

David Tennant, as much in the dark as everyone, added: "Personally, I think it would be disappointing if it were to be 'Oh, there's another body on the beach, and here's another list of suspects.' After all, this is a very small town. I think the story will come a little more out of left field than that. Who knows? It could be about a local shop and parking rights!"

Watch episode 1 of Broadchurch on BBC America tonight at 10pm/9c

Find out more about the series here - please be aware that some of the articles contain spoilers.