When David Tennant was confirmed as a returning cast member, it was to the delight of his fans everywhere. Since then there has been much speculation about the direction that the second series of Broadchurch would take. With writer Chris Chibnall already ruling out a ‘murder of the week’ format, the plot was anyone’s guess. But when the drama finally reached our screens last night, any concerns that it might not live up to the first were instantly dispelled by the gripping twin plots.
Alec Hardy is back and he’s as socially inept and bad-tempered as ever. So why has the character become such a favourite? In real life, David is widely described as perpetually upbeat, patient and polite so kudos to his acting skills: in Alec Hardy he’s created an unlikeable curmudgeon but stopped short of transforming into a pantomime baddie.
Indeed, David has managed to make Alec Hardy subtly multilayered. Hardy is rude, demanding and impatient. He treats Olivia Colman’s Ellie Miller as his lackey and can’t even manage to learn her kids’ name. But at the same time there’s inner warmth to him which, increasingly, he shows. Alec is loyal and devoted. He wants to do the right thing by others and see his responsibilities through, even if that’s at the expense of his own well-being. David has allowed enough of his charm to drip through so that the character is saved from being pathetic and unlikeable; we realise Alec is actually fragile and vulnerable.
2014 was a lean year for UK viewers as David worked in the theatre and then in the USA on the Broadchurch remake Gracepoint, so it’s wonderful to have him back on our screens every Monday. What makes it even more of a pleasure is seeing him work with a cast of such high calibre and with such fine scripts. It’s also heartening to see David being recognised for more than just Doctor Who. I hope I speak for his fans everywhere when I say that to have David Tennant and Broadchurch back on our screens is the perfect televisual start to 2015.