England Broadchurch was widely advertised and much hyped. It was what
the nine network used to call ďEvent TvĒ. Here, it quietly slipped on to
the ABC schedule and has just now finished itís run which means that if
you hurry you should be able to catch it on I-view surely the best use
of 8cents a day ever. If you arenít quick enough though buy the DVD
because for once the hype is accurate.
start off in the first of the 8 episodes with the death of Danny Latimer
an 11 year old boy. At first it looks like a suicide but the coroner
rules that itís most likely a murder and the community is stunned.
Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) leads up the
investigation aided by Detective Sargent Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman).
The murder is the focus of the eight episodes but along the way we meet
many of the townís residents, many of which have secrets that become
harder and harder to keep once suspicion and paranoia start to settle
in. One of the most effective things that Broadchurch does is highlight
what people turn into once they become scared, the community is filled
with flawed characters but that never feels contrived as each feels very
human. As the episodes go on you learn more and more about Alec Hardy
and his relationship with Ellie grows both characters become complete
and fleshed out. Another thing that Broadchurch does very well is
explore how unforgivable things on paper can become forgivable once
circumstances are understood; this happens time and time again with
Alec, Jack Marshall the paper shop owner, Nigel even Ollie and even
Ellie. This makes the ending revelation more thought provoking than it
might have been had everything been presented as black and white.
Nothing is treated as absolute, characters are given believable
motivations and the story is comfortable with its ambiguity.
to be pointed out that Broadchurch is a little bit like a Doctor Who
reunion both in front and behind the scenes. David Tennant, Arthur
Darvil (who plays the local vicar and played Rory in Who) even Olivia
Colman was in a Christmas special. Behind the scenes Chris Chibnall who
wrote the entire thing also wrote 42, The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood,
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three and if you think that I
was just rattling off a list of the ďmehĒ Doctor Who episodes youíd be
right but donít let that put you off, what Chris Chibnall has done here
far exceeded anything he ever did for Doctor Who. Many of the episodes
are directed by Euros Lyn another Doctor Who alumnus who shows more
subtly here than you would have thought possible given his Doctor Who
Broadchurch isnít going to be winning any awards for originality, itís a
simple tale of the effect that a murder has on a small sea-side
community, a who-dunnit that is at once very old fashioned and
completely of the moment. What carries Broadchurch and makes it standout
though is the excellent writing, outstanding directing and the brilliant
performances of everyone concerned. David Tennant and Olivia Colman in
particular are amazing but there isnít a sloppy performance that you
could point to. Broadchurch proves that you donít have to have the most
incredible idea in the world to make compelling television if your craft
it lovingly enough. Highly Recommended.
Audio is 5.1 and quite good, although the more I listened to the theme
music the less I liked it.
Video is fantastic for DVD, clear, good contrast. Itís clear that
whoever made it knew how to film.
Three of this three disc set is dedicated to special features and itís a
shame therefore that all you get is one half hour feature that was
clearly filmed on set before production really began and is aimed to get
people to watch the drama. Thatís fine but if I have this DVD not only
have I presumably watched it before I got to this doco but I bought the
DVD set. Cast notes donít cut much of a special feature with me, that
kind of nonsense on DVDís hasnít been tolerated since 2004.