Broadchurch 2, first episode verdict

Oliva Colman as Ellie Miller in Broadchurch 2 ITV
It’s a lonely road for Ellie Miller in Broadchurch 2. Pics: ITV

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]riter/creator Chris Chibnall has hit a bullseye in re-energising a popular drama that seemed to have reached a pretty conclusive end in series one.

David Tennant said ‘by the first commercial break people will be enthralled‘, and he was spot on. Because by then we had the first major twist – Joe spoiling everyone’s day by pleading not guilty to the murder of Danny.

Sandbrook’s as bad as Broadchurch

Getting detectives Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) and Alec Hardy (Tennant) back into the action was smoothly done, too. We’d assumed Ellie would have had to move to Timbuktu after husband Joe was exposed as the hateful small-town child killer, but traffic duty in Devon was bad enough.

Nige helps a distressed Mark, while Jocelyn looks on

We also found out more about Hardy’s big case that turned sour before Broadchurch – in Sandbrook. Hardy’s health was rocky in series one and he is no longer a detective, but he is still trying to protect Claire (Eve Myles), who testified against her dangerous-looking husband, Lee Ashworth, whom Hardy had pegged as a murderer. Ashworth walked free when the Sandbrook trial collapsed, and is now stalking Claire and Broadchurch.

Charlotte Rampling v Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Another terrific new plotline involved Charlotte Rampling as retired lawyer Jocelyn, fronting up to Oscar-nominated Marianne Jean-Baptiste as QC Sharon, Jocelyn’s former protégé and now defender

MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE as Sharon, Broadchurch 2
Sharon has Danny’s body disinterred

of Joe Miller. Their polite but highly charged face-off on the Broadchurch sands at the conclusion of this opener has set up a blockbuster confrontation between the women in court.

My one doubt about the story now is that if Joe ends up being proved not to have killed Danny, Chibnall will have led us all up the garden path and it could end up making a nonsense of the drama that gripped us all in series one. Not quite on a level with Bobby Ewing dying in what turned out to be a dream in Dallas, but still potentially annoying.

Favourite scene from ep1? Mine was Miller resisting Hardy’s offer to ‘hug it off’ in the Ladies. Olivia Colman even blew David Tennant away in a heartbreaking scene that was still tender and funny. Superb.

Broadchurch on ITV Player
10 Lessons from Broadchurch 2, Mail Online

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Broadchurch 2, ITV, David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker PREVIEW

Spot the new faces in the line-up for Broadchurch 2. Pics: ITV

Rating: ???

ITV: starts Monday, 5 January, 9pm

Story: Probably another crime in the seaside town of Broadchurch, investigated by Alex Hardy and Ellie Miller…

OMG, this is so exciting. Broadchurch 2 is so amazing they won’t let anyone see it!

What happens next is so thrilling they don’t trust the media to view it without incontinently blabbing

JODIE WHITTAKER as Beth Latimer, CHARLOTTE BEAUMONT as Chloe Latimer and ANDREW BUCHAN as Mark Latimer Broadchurch 2
How will the Latimers fit into Broadchurch 2?

all the show’s secrets on social media within seconds of the end credits.

For the first time in my experience of working in TV publications going back a decade or two, there will be no previews of the opening episode or any that follow.

Is this a slight overreaction? When the first series launched in 2013 ITV courted publicity and reviews, and the series was a huge success, reaching audiences of nine million and winning four Baftas, two Royal Television Society awards and an international Peabody gong. Was the series spoiled by the huge level of coverage the media devoted it?

Broadchurch secrecy

All of Broadchurch‘s success was deserved. But now that Doctor Who levels of secrecy have descended on series two, it suggests the makers are perhaps putting too much stress on the drama’s twists and surprises. Broadchurch wouldn’t have won its audience if it had simply been viewed to find out whodunit.

New character beside the seaside – Sharon (Marianne Jean-Baptiste)

It was also about the quality of the acting and production and the emotional impact of the storytelling.

Writer/creator Chris Chibnall says: ‘We’re doing this because we loved how audiences connected with, and responded to, Broadchurch the first time round. We know we’ll never replicate the way the first series took hold but nonetheless we’re doing our best to ensure our story goes unrevealed, and the audience can remain unspoilered, until it’s broadcast on ITV. We’d like everyone to see the pieces fall into place (and they will) when you watch episode one on that Monday night. And for people to find out – as much as possible – together, at the same time.

‘That’s not such a crazy idea, is it?’

New faces: Charlotte Rampling and Marianne Jean-Baptiste

We can at least reveal that the familiar faces – David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker – are joined by new characters played by Charlotte Rampling, Eve Myles, James D’Arcy and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, with the latter commenting on the show’s secrecy: ‘All I’d say is you

ARTHUR DARVILL as Rev Paul Coates in Broadchurch 2
Will the Rev Coates feature more prominently this time?

think you know what you know but you don’t know anything…’

There’s no denying it will be interesting to see how Chris Chibnall breathes life into a story that reached such a shattering climax. The show was filmed during last summer in West Bay, Dorset, with Tennant and Colman recreating their characters, detectives Alex Hardy and Ellie Miller.

But after the last series, which focused on the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer, Hardy’s health and career were shattered and Miller discovered her husband Joe was the murderer.

David Tennant: ‘Clever and exciting bit of writing’

Let’s leave the last scintilla of a clue to the new series to David Tennant: ‘It’s a very different type of story. I think we all found it hard to predict where Chris (Chibnall) was going to go and how he was

DAVID TENNANT as D.I Alec Hardy and OLIVIA COLMAN as D.S Ellie Miller Broadchurch 2
In deep again: Miller and Hardy

going to tell a story faithful to season one without underselling the veracity of it. It would have been ludicrous and a bit disappointing to discover another body on the beach and begin another eight episodes of whodunnit… he absolutely doesn’t do that. Tonally it’s the same show but structurally it is completely different.

‘This is a really clever and exciting bit of writing, still a thriller but not the same type. Without giving anything away, it is almost impossible to describe, but by the first commercial break people will be enthralled.’

Cast: David Tennant Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman Ellie Miller, Jodie Whittaker Beth Latimer, Andrew Buchan Mark Latimer, Charlotte Rampling Jocelyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste Sharon,

Arthur Darvill Rev Paul Coates, Eve Myles Claire,  James D’Arcy Lee, Carolyn Pickles Maggie Radcliffe, Jonathan Bailey Olly Stevens, Tanya Franks Lucy Stevens

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Broadchurch 2 – cast pictures

SO HERE is the cast for the second series of ITV’s Broadchurch in a script read-through. In a week when series one won three Baftas – best drama, best actress for Olivia Colman and best supporting actor, David Bradley – it seems there is already quite a lot of anticipation for the next instalment of what was one of 2013’s outstanding new crime dramas. Pictured here for the first time are returning cast David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Arthur Darvill, along with some of the actors who are joining the drama for series two including Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eve Myles and James D’Arcy. And this is just a few months after former Doctor Who David Tennant was in America filming the US version of the series, called Gracepoint.

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Dexter series 8 ep3. What We’re Watching!

Vogel and Dexter (Charlotte Rampling and Michael C Hall). Pics: Fox

SO DEBS IS OUT of control now, as far as Dex is concerned. This third episode of the last ever series got right to the heart of Dexter the serial killer’s incomprehension with his sister’s crisis. She’s got a conscience, duh!

That Debs (Jennifer Carpenter) shot their boss LaGuerta at the climax of the last season, instead of shooting/arresting Dexter, is now eating her up. She’s on a drug and booze plunge, unable to face the world, arrested last night for DUI, and then drunkenly barging into Miami Central and demanding to make a confession that would finally detonate Dexter’s secret vigilante lifestyle as the killer of killers.

Fortunately for Dex, Quinn (Desmond Harrington) has been on hand to keep her away from doing the right thing – not that he knows it was the right, because everyone believes Estrada killed La Guerta.

Debs is horrified that Dex keeps turning up

What is Vogel up to?

Charlotte Rampling’s character of Evelyn Vogel – an expert on psychos who helped Dexter’s dad Harry to channel his killer tendencies into destroying other remorseless murderers – is a very interesting addition to this series.

As the video below shows, when she asks Dexter why he never killed his sister after she discovered his secret, it’s as though she is not just playing devil’s advocate. ‘Not that I’d ever advocate such a thing,’ she says, averting her eyes. Is she suggesting to him that the smart thing for a ‘perfect psychopath’ to do would obviously be to eliminate Debs.

In response to Vogel’s probing about Debs, Dexter says, ‘I don’t just want to keep making her worse.’ That almost sounded as though he might put her out of her misery. Vogel looks all empathetic, offering to help Debra – but can she be trusted?

The Brain Surgeon

No question, she is up to something. Of course, at the moment she needs clever Dexter to kill the Brain

Quinn tells Dexter that Debra is trying to confess

Surgeon, who seems to be a former patient who is circling her.

There was a touching moment when Dexter, the ever excellent Michael C Hall, tried to prove to Debs that she is a good person. Having cajoled her into going to dinner with him, he showed her a man in the restaurant whose life she had saved when she was a police officer. He was there with his kids.

But even here Dexter’s cold machinations backfired, making Debs realise that if she is a good person, she should confess to LaGuerta’s murder.

UK television lacks Dexter’s cutting edge

Dexter is light years better than most UK dramas. A series that dares to make us side with a mass murderer – and pulls it off superbly through its wit, satirical expose of the schemers and fakes in us all, and its sheer devil-may-care audacity.

Do we dare hope for a happy ending for Debs and Dex? Do they deserve it?

Whatever… but what’s certain is we won’t see an anti-hero like him again.

Video: What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

Dexter is on Fox UK on Sundays at 9pm

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Dexter, Final Season, with Michael C Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Charlotte Rampling PREVIEW

Michael C Hall in generic shot from series 8 of Dexter FOX
It’s a wrap – the last series of Dexter is under way. Pics: Fox

Rating: ★★★★

Fox: starts Sunday 7 July, 9pm

Story: It’s been six months since LaGuerta’s murder and Dexter is still managing life as a dad, brother, and serial killer. Meanwhile, Miami Metro investigates the murder of a man who has had pieces of his brain removed.

DEXTER MORGAN has been balancing on a knife edge for seven seasons and tonight embarks on his final act.

It’s been an audacious show, inviting viewers to empathise with a mass murderer of other mass murderers, and through its subversive and satirical thrust it’s worked beautifully.

The last series heightened the drama by having Debs, his half-sister, finally uncover Dexter’s secret life, and concluded with her having to choose between shooting their boss, LaGuerta, who was also onto him, or killing Dex.

Debs now hates Dexter

Her snap decision to kill the innocent LaGuerta has huge ramifications for this final season. The opener, called A Beautiful Day, picks up six months after the detective’s murder, with Dexter’s voiceover telling us, ‘A better person would feel bad about LaGuerta’s death, but in truth it solved all my problems…’

Except that it hasn’t. Not by a mile. Because Debs has now turned against Dexter, the irony being that

Michael C Hall as Dexter in the final series from FOX
DIY enthusiast – Dexter

he can’t understand why she is disgusted with herself. ‘I’m in hell, which is what I deserve,’ she says.

Having left the police, she is also endangering herself, working as a bounty hunter and shacking up with a thief she wants to arrest, but not until she knows where his haul of stolen jewels are. When Dexter learns that a hitman is coming for the guy and will probably kill her too, she refuses to let her half-brother help her.

Charlotte Rampling joins the hunt for the real Dexter

Would a psychopath develop feelings for a half-sister? Dexter’s life has always been complicated, but the writers explain his desire to reunite with Debs by plausibly suggesting that without her he will lose his identity, and possibly turn into the monster that his foster father, Harry, tried to stop him becoming by directing his murderous impulses towards other serial killers.

But Debs is only the start of his problems. Charlotte Rampling has joined the cast in the form of a psychopath expert, Dr Evelyn Vogel, who volunteers to help Miami Metro track down the maniac who has removed part of his/her victim’s brain. As Dex says, ‘She’s the last person I need looking in my direction now.’

There is definitely something off about Vogel, and she seems to be more than an expert here. There is a

Michael C Hall and Charlotte Rampling in Dexter series 8 FOX
Dexter wants to know who Evelyn (Charlotte Rampling) is

really good twist when Dexter confronts her at the end of the episode.

Dexter has been cutting-edge TV

All in all, Dexter – which is showing on Fox just a week after it goes out in the States – is set for a fine send-off. It’s been a compelling and original show, inspired by Jeff Lindsay’s amusing, almost camp novels. But the characters have evolved to the point where it it the right time to conclude the story before it is stretched too thin.

It will be fun to see what the writers have in store for our favourite killer.

Cast: Michael C Hall Dexter Morgan, Jennifer Carpenter Debra Morgan, Desmond Harrington Joey Quinn, CS Lee Vince Masuka, David Zayas as Angel Batista, Aimee Garcia Jamie Batista, Geoff Pierson Deputy Chief Tom Matthews, James Remar Harry Morgan, Charlotte Rampling Evelyn Vogel, Yvonne Strahovski Hannah McKay

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Restless BBC1 with Hayley Atwell, Michelle Dockery, Rufus Sewell, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon PREVIEW

Hayley Atwell as Eva in William Boyd's Restless on BBC1
Shady character – Hayley Atwell as Eva. Pics BBC

Rating: ★★★★½ 

BBC1: Starts Thursday, 27 December, 9pm 

Story: One day in 1976, Ruth’s mother Sally suddenly tells her she has been living a double life. She is not respectable Sally Gilmartin but in fact Eva Delectorskaya, a spy for the British Secret Service who has been on the run for 30 years.

Most of us would burst out laughing if our mum told us she used to be a spy. But in Ruth Gilmartin’s case, her mother has always been a bit off-kilter.

As Ruth’s young son says, ‘Is Sally your real mummy… She’s so strange.’

Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Dockery star in BBC1's spy thriller Restless
Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Dockery

So when Sally tells her daughter that her real name is Eva Delectorskaya, that she spied for Britain during the war and that someone, 30 years after the war, is now after her, we know we’re in for a highly intriguing drama. And this beautifully made and wonderfully cast two-part film lives up to its terrific premise, being one of the must-see dramas of this Christmas season.

Michelle Dockery and Charlotte Rampling
Ruth, played by Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery, is still incredulous as she learns more of Sally/Eva’s story. When she demands that her mother then speak Russian to her and her mum does so, Ruth realises that she barely knows her. Sally then says Ruth’s father also never knew of her secret past.

‘We all have secrets,’ says Sally, played by Charlotte Rampling. ‘No one knows even half the truth about any one else.’

Rufus Sewell as Lucas Romer in the spy thriller Restless on BBC1
Shadowy Rufus Sewell

The drama flashes back to 1939, when Sally was Eva – and looked a lot like Hayley Atwell, the Captain America actress who is also cropping up a lot on TV, having just been in Sky Atlantic’s Falcon and soon to star in ITV1’s Life of Crime next year. However, her casting here jars a little, as she and Charlotte Rampling in no way resemble each other (particularly with Charlotte’s pale blue eyes clashing with her younger self’s brown eyes).

Rufus Sewell is the mysterious Romer
But once this is forgotten, the plot thickens nicely. We learn how Rufus Sewell as the mysterious Lucas Romer recruits Eva in France after her brother is murdered by fascists. Reluctant at first, Eva turns out to be excellent spy material – she’s bright, resourceful and multi-lingual (as a Russian emigre in France who once had an English nanny).

The old spymaster Lucas Romer played by Michael Gambon in Restless
Michael Gambon as the older Romer

She trains in Scotland and impresses her spy masters. Having initially enjoyed the thrill of it all, she gets a terrifying reality check when her first operation on the German border goes lethally wrong for some British agents and she is chased by Nazi goons.

She ends up with Romer’s team in the USA, planting news stories intended to tip public opinion in favour of Uncle Sam joining the war. This is all suspenseful stuff. Eva does well but feels a bit like a pawn at times, with the added peril of possible betrayal by a British team member when a Russian agent passing them information turns up dead.

Engrossing adaptation of William Boyd’s novel
This strand is juxtaposed with the older Eva appealing to her daughter for help in finding the older Romer, as she believes he is only man who can help her now that her decades-old cover has been blown. ‘Someone’s going to try to kill me very soon,’ she says.

Hayley Atwell as the spy Eva in BBC1's Restless
Eva must seduce an ally

The first of the two 90-minute films ends on a suitably teetering cliff-hanger, with young Eva having been pressed into an assignment similar to Ingrid Bergman’s in Notorious – she has to sleep with a contact close to President Roosevelt – and Ruth having tracked down old Romer, who’s now in the House of Lords and played by Michael Gambon.

Restless is, of course, based on a novel by William Boyd, the man behind the next 007 novel. The alternating modern and wartime intrigues are both engrossing, and the characters grow convincingly into their dangerous lifestyles and keep us wondering how they will get through (and what would we do in their place?).

It’s an accomplished, rich drama. You can afford to miss two hours of Dullton Abbey this Christmas – but don’t let this spy thriller stay undercover.

Cast: Hayley Atwell Eva Delectorskaya, Rufus Sewell younger Lucas Romer, Michael Gambon older Lucas Romer, Michelle Dockery Ruth Gilmartin, Charlotte Rampling Sally Gilmartin

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