David Tennant Talks Broadchurch 2: “It’s a Very Different Type of Story”

David Tennant and Olivia Colman (ITV)
Credit: ITV

The return of Broadchurch is just days away (Monday, January 5th on ITV, eep!) and it’s safe to say this is one of the most hotly anticipated returning shows of 2015.

No one knows what the plot will revolve around, except presumably the cast and crew, but they’re not spilling a word about it. We know which cast will be back, and we have also met new members but little is known of the parts they will play in the show.

On one hand this is frustrating, but on the other it brings a refreshing change to be able to watch a show that really will unfold in front of our very eyes. Ahead of Broadchurch’s return, David Tennant has been discussing the show, how he feels about the pressure to deliver for series two and the plot line, which he’s not revealing at all.

“We had the advantage in the first series that no-one cared – because nobody knew what was coming. This time, there’s expectation, which is always difficult to manage – but if that means we’re a victim of success, that’s a good thing,” Tennant says of Broadchurch, which had everyone talking when it first aired a year ago.

It was a runaway success, due in part to the massive amount of mystery surrounding it. It became a real talking point among my friends and family, a proper whodunit worthy of any great Agatha Christie novel.

Tennant does admit though, that keeping the plot under wraps has been somewhat of a challenge. “But that’s the nature of a thriller,” he points out. “It’s more thrilling when you don’t know what’s coming next.

“There are certain things that we are desperate to try and conceal – certain plot points that we are working very hard to keep under wraps. I think we’re holding the line pretty well – we’ve announced everything we had to announce, in terms of returning characters who would be seen out in the open, and everything else has been sort of held back.”

The Broadchurch Cast (ITV)
Credit: ITV

But what of the press, who have tried incredibly hard to spoil some plot lines? “I think early on we were really being stalked quite heavily and there was some graveyard stuff that made it into the papers,” Tennant acknowledges.

“Some of [that speculation] was accurate; some… was widely inaccurate – so in a way, that’s useful as well. It feeds the beast; it gets people interested in it; it leads to some speculation – which won’t do us any harm.”

Of the series itself, David Tennant says that it is a ‘very different type of story’ to the first. “Even when it was mooted that there might be a second series, none of us knew what that would quite be,” he admits. “It would have felt wrong to just do another body on another beach – that wouldn’t have felt like the same world. It would have felt too coincidental and it wouldn’t have serviced the magnitude of the events of the first series to do that.

“So all of us were at a loss as to what series two might be and even after Chris explained what his idea was, I still couldn’t quite picture it until I’d seen the script for episode one and then it suddenly made sense. From the end of act one, I was absolutely hooked again.”

Given the calibre of Tennant’s work I am inclined to have faith that he would not have signed on for a second series unless the script was very strong indeed. With all that said though, he did agree to the US remake of Broadchurch, Gracepoint, which wasn’t particularly well received by US viewers and won’t be returning for a second run. Still, Tennant apparently speaks fondly of his time spent making it, and also gives mention to the French version of Broadchurch, which takes off in a very different direction right from the first episode- which was possibly the downfall of Gracepoint.

As for taking part in yet another TV phenomenon, Tennant is as usual humble and gracious about it all. “Even if it stops today, it’s been a huge part of my life,” he says. “It’s funny – when you do something like Doctor Who, you think, ‘That’s what people will recognise me for’, and that’s fine, I’m very proud of that.

“Then something like this comes along and you have to regard yourself as very fortunate to be attached to two projects that seem to grasp the national consciousness.”

Broadchurch returns on Monday, January 5th at 9pm. Join me here at 4YE as we recap the series, speculate on the clues and try and answer the all important question: Whodunit this time?