Broadchurch “killer” had to use a separate hotel and couldn’t socialise with the cast

Matthew Gravelle who plays Broadchurch killer Joe Miller reveals the difficulties of keeping his sensational return to the ITV drama a secret

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The actor who plays Danny Latimer’s killer in ITV’s hit drama Broadchurch has revealed that he was forced to wear a disguise and use a separate hotel to the rest of the cast in order to keep details of his return to series two a secret. 

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Matthew Gravelle, aka Joe Miller, was ferried to set wearing a long blonde nylon wig and glasses to avoid being spotted. And he was not allowed to stay in the same hotel as the rest of the cast or join them in meals out after filming.

“That was a bit of a taunt, but it was fine, it was fine,” he told RadioTimes.com with a laugh. 

“Coming back to it, because we all got on so well, I was expecting it to be the same dynamic as before [with the rest of the cast]. And it was, it was, but with the proviso that I didn’t actually spend any time socially with them.”

So did he feel left out?

“I got a bit lonely but I was there to work and it helped because my character… well, he hasn’t got a lot of friends! It made it easier for me to act the part.”

Joe Miller made his shock return on Monday night when he pleaded not guilty to the murder of schoolboy Danny Latimer. His character had confessed – and was also seen perpetrating the crime in a flashback – at the end of series one. Now it remains to be seen whether he will be found guilty following his plea in the stunning courtroom scenes that opened season two.

Welshman Gravelle was told mid-way through the broadcast of series one that he was to return in series two, which also sees stars David Tennant and Olivia Colman reprise their roles as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller.

“[Writer] Chris Chibnall called me and said ‘I am thinking of doing this courtroom thing after the murder, would you be interested?’ And obviously I said yes. I didn’t hesitate.”

But this meant that the actor had to keep the news of his return a secret for more than a year – and he only felt able to tell his wife.

“Not a lot of people expected me to be in it so it was an easy secret to keep from that point of view,” Gravelle, who has appeared in BBC dramas Torchwood and Holby City, added. “But I didn’t like having to be cagey about stuff when people asked.”

How did he react when he found out he was the killer three weeks before filming finished on series one?

“I was very surprised. I am a little dense when it came to second-guessing that it might have been me. And when I have seen bits of the episodes now we have done series one, I feel a bit of a dunce.

“Up until then I thought that Joe was a nice bloke so I had to knit the fact that he wasn’t into my performance. I suspect he did what he did because of a need to be loved and wanted and needed. He spent so long being defined by being in the home and looking after his kids and doing that daily thing day in and day out, I think he felt slightly undervalued.”

And the big questions – will he be in it for all of series two and will there be a third Broadchurch?

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“I can’t say that,” he says, adding with a laugh: “I am employed purely for keeping secrets.”