INTERVIEW: Olivia Colman Reveals David Tennant's Competitive Streak As Broadchurch Cast Prepare To Say Goodbye

Broadchurch star Olivia Colman reveals that she and David Tennant used to race each other to get to the set of the award-winning ITV drama.

"David and I had this game where he would race me to the set every day," she said "I’d be sitting in my trailer eating toast and I’d hear, “See you on set!” as he raced past my door."

Amazingly, she almost turned down the role of Ellie Miller due to the long filming schedule: "It’s just as well the scripts were amazing because I wanted an excuse to say no when I first read them, so I wouldn’t be away from my family for such a long time. Imagine if I’d said no and missed out on Broadchurch! It doesn’t bear thinking about." 

The third and final series of Broadchurch, which begins next Monday, sees Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller (David Tennant and Olivia Colman) reunite for their last case. When a woman called Trish, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, turns up on the steps of Broadchurch Police Station stating that she has been sexually assaulted, the detectives must begin a hunt for the rapist before he strikes again. The show's creator Chris Chibnall spent a long time working with specialist police officers and support services for sexual assault survivors in preparing his scripts, but Julie told the Daily Mail that she was still feeling the responsibility of getting the facts right.  

"I’m aware rape and sexual assault has been badly handled on TV at times in the past, and shoehorning it in as entertainment is a thorny subject. The first scenes were a baptism of fire for me. We were filming at a sexual assault referral centre and meticulous attention was being paid to getting it correct. But we had a police advisor there to make sure I was on the right track, and Olivia was brilliant. She was very protective of me because she knew I might not be comfortable with what I was having to do," she explained.

David added, "For research, we met women who help victims of crimes like the one suffered by Trish and I was hugely affected by those meetings. Hardy’s been even more difficult to play this time because he’s conflicted. For the sake of his work he needs to understand what kind of a man would commit this kind of crime, but he’s almost ashamed of his own gender, that a man could commit this sort of crime."

As with the first series, to avoid the actors playing scenes in a way that might hint at the conclusion, the identity of the perpetrator wasn't revealed to the cast until the end of filming, and viewers will find out who that person is in the final episode. After that, Broadchurch is gone for good and Chris Chibnall will be moving into his new role as the showrunner of Doctor Who.

"It’ll be tough saying goodbye,’ David said. "We all feel as if we’ve been doing something very special and that we’re part of each other’s lives now. I’ll miss seeing people like Olivia every day, I’ll miss Chris’s scripts."

Broadchurch returns to ITV on Monday 27th February at 9pm.