The Version Interview... David Tennant on Broadchurch series 3

The third and final series of Broadchurch, ITV's multi award-winning drama co-produced by Kudos, Imaginary Friends and Sister Pictures, will be back on air Monday 27 February 2017.

David Tennant and Olivia Colman reprise their roles as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller, this time investigating a serious sexual assault in the Dorset community.

Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan return to play Beth and Mark Latimer. They are joined by National Television Award winner Julie Hesmondhalgh, BAFTA winners Lenny Henry and Georgina Campbell along with Sarah Parish, Charlie Higson and Mark Bazeley.  

Arthur Darvill also returns as local Vicar Paul Coates, Carolyn Pickles as newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe and Adam Wilson as Ellie’s son Tom.

Creator Chris Chibnall has once again written all eight episodes of the drama which was filmed on location in the now familiar Broadchurch locations of Bridport, West Bay and Clevedon as well as Bristol's Bottleyard Studios. 

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."

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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 isnever 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."

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.