January has a purpose, thanks to Broadchurch
16:50 09 January 2015
Broadchurch, ITV, 9pm, Monday:
I hereby claim my reward: I guessed the Broadchurch twist before it unravelled on screen.
The return of ITV’s Broadchurch had been cloaked in the kind of secrecy generally reserved for covert spy missions or trips to the sales that your other half hasn’t sanctioned credit-card-wise. Writer Chris Chibnall had refused to give press previews, the cast had only been given small chunks of the script at a time, members of the public had been banned from taking pictures of filming, several endings have been filmed to protect the final outcome.
The only clue we’d been given was the teaser line used in trailers since late last year: “The end is where it begins”. And indeed it did – although it’s fair to say that devastated detective Ellie Miller (the brilliant Olivia Colman) wasn’t expecting her husband to plead not guilty and force her friends Mark and Beth to go to Crown Court to relive their son’s murder. No one saw that coming (apart from me, ahem).
So while the last series was a ‘whodunnit’, this new series, as we swiftly discovered, is going to be a “didtheydoit?” – referring to Detective Inspector Alec Hardy’s last two cases, both of which involved child murders and both of which now involve main suspects who claim they’re innocent.
In addition to the big twist – that Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle, who was deliberately left off the published cast list so we didn’t have an inkling that he’d be back at the heart of the drama) would plead not guilty to the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer – we discovered what brought Hardy (David Tennant) to the West Country.
Those of us who paid a great deal of attention to the first series, which I did, will remember that Hardy mentioned the disaster of the Sandbrook investigation where a crucial piece of evidence, a pendant necklace, went missing, causing the case to collapse, a killer to walk free and a detective to slink away, tail between legs.
That pendant was seen in a flashback at the beginning of this first, commanding episode, a flashback that also involved someone drowning – please make a note of this in your Broadchurch Series Two folder and be prepared to refer back to it at any given point.
We learnt on Monday night that the Sandbrook case involved the murder of two young cousins and, after referring to our last-Broadchurch-series-dossier, remembered that Hardy had taken the rap for losing the evidence to protect his wife and Detective Sergeant on the case who left said evidence in her car when she met the man she was having an affair with in a hotel.
When it was nicked, Hardy didn’t want the evidence theft linked to his wife’s adultery by the press and claimed it was his mistake to protect his daughter. He then moved to Broadchurch post-haste after offering renegade witness protection support to the former wife of the Sandbrook chief suspect, Claire Ripley (Eve Myles) who may, or may not, be stalking both Claire and Hardy. Are you keeping up at the back?
If it all seems very confusing, it’s because it is.
What isn’t confusing is the very visceral reactions that Danny Latimer’s family had to the news that the closure that had allowed them to try and move on with their lives had been ripped away from them and that their worst nightmare was about to be pored over in court and the newspapers.
And as Joe told the odd local vicar (the third Doctor Who refugee in one episode, Arthur ‘Rory’ Darvill): “Nobody’s innocent. Everyone’s hiding things,” we now know that everyone will come under the spotlight again, presumably a bigger one this time that actually finds out proper answers.
What else? There are two female barristers and ex-colleagues fighting it out in court, Oscar-nominated Marianne-Jean Baptiste and Cesar-winning Charlotte Rampling (Cesar as in French Oscar, not dog food), the latter of whom hasn’t exactly proven her fighting credentials having sworn she wouldn’t return to the bar to help the Latimers only to do an about-turn within a matter of minutes, as if this is really how the Crown Prosecution Service appoints lawyers.
Also: do you need the best barrister in Christendom, especially one who dresses from head-to-toe in shades of Draylon beige to prosecute a case where the accused (a) had the victim’s mobile phone for no good reason and (b) confessed? I could probably give it a go, to be honest. I’ve watched 12 Angry Men.
Oh, and Hardy’s due a medical procedure and still can’t drive, young reporter Olly is still really annoying, Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) is in the family way, Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) is spending ‘quality time’ in a caravan with a youngster playing Fifa, bluebells feature heavily and this is really good, quality drama. Hooray! January has a purpose at last!