The third and final series of Broadchurch begins on ITV next week and David Tennant admits that Alec Hardy is a role he will miss, along with his much loved co-stars in Broadchurch.
“It is sad to think we will never return to this world and to these characters because I feel so fondly towards them but I will always feel proud to be associated with this show,” he says.
“There is a massive personal legacy having worked on this show… we all feel like we have been doing something very special and that we are all a part of each other’s lives now so I’ll miss seeing people every day but hopefully I will see them fairly regularly. I will certainly miss Chris’s scripts but I look forward to watching them elsewhere and I hope it won’t be the last time we will work together.”
David explains how he felt reading the opening episode of series three for the first time: “That it was clearly very beautifully researched and realised and that it was touching and intriguing; a page turner and funny in places but gripping to read. That it was the same world but telling a different type of story and a sense that Chris Chibnall has been able to very fully realise this world again and that it was somewhere you were very happy to be back in.”
So where do we find Hardy at the beginning of this series?
“It’s a few years down the line and some stuff has happened in the interim which we will find out as the series unfolds. At the end of series two we didn’t know if he was getting in the cab or not… turns out he did but he has found his way back to Broadchurch and has found his way to be working with Ellie again and although he is never entirely happy with his lot he realises that this is probably where he is meant to be and that Ellie is the closest thing he has to a best friend.
“So there is a sort of acceptance to him, he is not railing against the world in quite the same way. What he ends up railing against is the perpetrator of this crime and that becomes, as it always has been, his focus, and his focus then becomes trying to understand the person who would commit this crime, trying to get inside their skin and that is something that he struggles with initially. That has been an interesting conflict to play, Hardy trying to come to terms with what sort of man would do this and almost feeling ashamed for his own gender which has been a very interesting take that Chris has afforded him this series.
“And the relationship between Hardy and his daughter Daisy is a bigger part of this series, and of who he is, why he is trying to do what he is trying to do and it gives him a different perspective on things…it makes him all the more keenly aware of the idea that there may be a threat to women in the community, which is something he feels all the more acutely through Daisy’s presence. He is trying to be a dad and it is not something he has a lot of practice at – he is a decent bloke it just doesn’t necessarily come so naturally to him.”
David himself was also affected by the research he undertook for the role this series and the people who advised the production throughout.
“Chris Chibnall’s research has been incredible. He has been working on this since the end of series two and I think what is particularly affecting about this is we are presenting something that is very difficult, an awful event in someone’s life and you have to present it realistically, accurately and sensitively and Chris’s genius on this is that he has almost forensically gone about looking at what the support systems are in this country, how they work and the amazing work that they do with victims of sexual assault and I think he represents that and bears witness to that in the script. We were hugely affected by meeting some of the women who meet victims and who help them and care for them and see the processes that do exist in a hugely underfunded set of services. The humanity there and the care of the people who work at Rape Crisis and those organisations has been humbling and something I hope we bear witness to appropriately in the show.”
A highlight for David was working with the new cast members which included actors such as Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lenny Henry and Sarah Parish.
“That’s always been such a joyous part of it. Olivia and I get the privilege of working with everyone because of the way it is structured. We will interview everyone that the case touches so we have this extraordinary treat of working with this range of brilliant actors and quite different types of actors who are equally brilliant and unique. On this series there are some old friends of mine from other jobs and some people I had not met before and we have been thrilled with them all.”
What is it about that partnership between Ellie and Hardy that has made audiences love watching them?
“It’s hard to be objective about something that you are that close to and I wouldn’t pretend to know why things necessarily work. I suppose Olivia Colman is a pretty significant part of it, she certainly has been for me, getting to work with her for all of these years and having had such a great time with her professionally but also having such a laugh, it has been such a joy to be part of that partnership.”
“I don’t know what ‘chemistry’ is though. It seems to be an intangible thing so I don’t know how one quantifies it and obviously I am delighted if people think we have it on screen… it’s not really for me to say but I think certainly Chris wrote two characters that made perfect sense and worked very well together and Olivia certainly brought Ellie to vivid life from the first moment she opened her mouth so I have been quite lucky to be on their coattails I suspect.”
What will David miss the most about not filming Broadchurch anymore?
” I will miss our trips to the coast. West Bay and the Jurassic coastline I will definitely need to visit because there is something very special about that place and it is an extraordinary part of the country. “