Broadchurch: 1.04 – Review

Halfway time in ITV’s sleepy village of death, and the media are finally hot on our heels!

Week four in Broadchurch, and in a moment of slack research, I’ve only just realised this series is eight episodes long, rather than the British TV standard of six. I must admit that’s kinda sad news, as I was excited for real movement towards an ending. But no, this is merely the halfway mark, so any question marks raised over characters could easily be red herrings.

With this in mind, is Broadchurch battling the dreaded mid-run sag? Watch the episode on ITV Player to avoid very mild spoilers.

Stop The Press! No, Really, Stop Them!

Well, they have one major character revelation about David Bradley’s news agent (past sex convictions), some intrigue with Pauline Quirke, further characterisation for the two detectives and, mostly, reminding us that the media are bastards, a point getting hammered home with some force in this series.

Obviously, the media coverage of murders, especially murders of poor ickle kiddywinks, has been appalling. In fact, the most depressing part is that Chris Chibnall’s depiction of the news attitude almost isn’t shitty enough. Would they really wait for an interview to be published with the mother before descending in vast numbers? Surely they’d hear about the death of a lovable child, smell opportunity and immediately get down there. But Chibnall wants to set up his detectives and suspects without the pressure of constant media intrusion, so they hang back.

The positive portrayal of the local paper editor is nice, though. It almost compensates for the caricaturing of the national press.

Doctor Who Does Death

Once more, the best scenes are with David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s detectives, as Colman tries to become a proper investigator against her will, while Tennant bonds with the country types and battles his personal demons. Also, amusing how Tennant lurches into Doctor Who-level hyper-excitement when they get a major break in the case.

There are still interesting directorial flourishes, although I’m not overly convinced by a few of the suspect/villager characters. Some are played by major actors, but others remain rather soapy, struggling to do much with the continuing blatant dialogue. You gotta assume that the killer will be one of the bigger name thespians, simply so they can do a great big performance on the confession scene – my money is still on Quirke, simply because having the vicar or former sex offender do the deed would be pandering too hard to cliché.

Anyway, another acceptable week in Broadchurch. I’m not super-excited, but neither am I entirely bored, and next week, the second half of the whole affair kicks off, so we might see the series picking up further momentum. Here’s hoping.

Broadchurch airs Mondays at 9PM on ITV, see the latest episode on ITV Player. Hope the killer doesn’t turn out to be David Tennant in his sleep.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Mar 26, 2013

Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
Broadchurch: 1.04 – Review | The Digital Fix