Wednesday, November 06, 2013


I hunted through the crowds of delegates to try and find those lovely people I had contacted before the festival and arranged to meet with. But with seven hundred people milling around the words needle and haystack came to mind.

Eventually after much exhaustive searching I settled for sitting down and listening to the extremely lovely John Yorke and the very talented Chris Chibnall chat about Broadchurch in the marquee. Unlike The Fall I had actually managed to catch up on all the episodes of Broadchurch before the festival, so I knew there would be no spoilers for me... I hate spoilers!

The first thing Chris Chibnall was keen to talk about was how Broadchurch was not a normal who-done-it. He deliberately wanted a strong emotional core and as with The Fall to focus on the emotion of loss rather than have anonymous victims. That was what I loved about both shows, Broadchurch especially; it was emotionally draining, very emotionally honest, as we witnessed how the death of the boy not only affected his family, but the community as a whole. Broadchurch could have been a community anywhere, even the community you or I live in, and that's what makes the show so appealing and unmissable.

I find that with crime drama, or any genre for that matter, the more of an emotional stake you have in the story, the more you emotionally connect with the victims, their family, their friends, as well as individual police officers with their own troubles, the more it has an impact on you. Broadchurch achieved this expertly. I'm not saying shows like A Touch Of Frost or Luther aren't worth watching because they don't explore who the victims were, because they are still very well written and extremely enjoyable and both are favourites of mine. What I'm saying is emotionally driven stories have a far greater impact and stay with the viewer for much longer.

The second thing Chris drew attention to were the red herrings. He pointed out they were actually smaller plot arcs playing out alongside the main one, with separate emotions, all of which were resolved emotionally at their end. During the series each character had two secrets; a personal one and one from the night of the murder, all of which had to be tied up by the end of the series.

The third thing Chris mentioned that stood out for me was that he was pleased with the quality of cast he was able to get, even those who didn't have much screen time, as they helped to make the series. He put this down to writing strong characters, great parts and powerful speeches that actors would want to play. Chris pointed out Pauline Quirke signed on despite her character having very few words of dialogue until later episodes, none in the opening one, simply on the strength of the character.

Another truly enlightening talk and extremely enjoyable. I can't wait to see what Chris Chibnall comes up with for the second series.

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