Broadchurch, the new ITV drama in eight hour-long episodes starring David Tennant, aired earlier this week and I've just caught up with it. Initial verdict - very promising. The drawn-out structure suggests the influence of the success of The Killing, although I've heard that those involved say that the story has been under development for a while, and that the Scandinavian serial's success is really a coincidence. I can believe that, since it's not too uncommon for similar ideas simply to be "in the ether" at around the same time.
Broadchurch is a pleasant community on the south coast ripped apart by the murder of a boy, the son of a seemingly very likeable couple. He is found dead on a beach, and it soon becomes apparent that he is a murder victim, though the killer may have tried to make it look like an accident, a fall from a cliff. The locale photographs well, by no means as bleak as those Scandinavian settings for crime with which we've become familiar, but none the worse for that.
Tennant plays a newly appointed Detective Inspector, who has arrived in Broadchurch to get over a career disaster. This made me think immediately of Hannah Scarlett, whose calamitous involvement in the Rao case is the trigger for appointment to cold case work before the action of The Coffin Trail begins. But again, I'm sure there's no question of plagiarism. It's just a great idea for a senior police officer's backstory!
There are sure to be plenty of suspects, and so far we've only been introduced directly to a handful of them. The victim' s best friend also knows more than he is prepared to admit to his parents - silly boy! I hope it doesn't prove to be a fatal mistake. Quite simply, I found myself engaged from start to finish. The journalists covering the case are nicely portrayed, as are the various cops, while Jodie Whittaker was terrific as the bereaved mother, in a number of rather poignant scenes. The first episode had me hooked, and I only hope that the rest of the series is of the same quality.