In this industry of action-packed trailers and endless spoilers, Broadchurch series two is a rarity. Why? Because where we’re used to being fed plot details and teasing titbits, creator Chris Chibnall and his star-studded cast have been frustratingly coy about what we can expect when the award-winning drama returns on 5th January (there’s fact number one for you).
We’ve tried to coax details out of them, but to no avail. Trust us, it’s like getting blood from a stone – but all the more surprises for us to enjoy come Monday, eh?
And, in the meantime, we thought we would round up what we do know. Not the rumours, but the dead certs. Here’s absolutely everything we have learned so far…
Returning cast members
As revealed exclusively by RadioTimes.com back in May, the bulk of series one’s cast are back for the drama’s second outing. That’s a roll call of David Tennant (as DI Alec Hardy), Olivia Colman (DS Ellie Miller), Jodie Whittaker (Beth Latimer), Andrew Buchan (Mark Latimer), Arthur Darvill (Reverend Paul Coates), Charlotte Beaumont (Chloe Latimer), Joe Simms (Nige Carter), Carolyn Pickles (Maggie Radcliffe) and Jonathan Bailey (Olly Stephens).
And, according to the cast list for Monday’s first episode, we should also keep an eye out for returning appearances from Simone McAullay (playing Becca Fisher), Adam Wilson (Tom Miller) and Tanya Franks (Lucy Stephens).
However, there are those who will not be back. Will Mellor’s creepy psychic Steve Connelly is absent from series two, as is Vicky McClure’s wily journalist Karen White, and there’s no word yet on whether Pauline Quirke’s Susan Wright will crop up.
Broadchurch’s familiar faces are joined by a batch of newcomers for series two, among them award-winning actress Charlotte Rampling (playing Jocelyn Knight), Torchwood’s Eve Myles (Claire Ripley), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Sharon Bishop), James D’Arcy (Lee), Meera Syal (in episode two, as Sonia Sharma) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Abby Thompson).
“They are not grieving relatives,” Chibnall tells Radio Times, “they aren’t the relatives of another body, it’s not another crime case.”
Besides the above, the details of each new character are – like much else – being kept firmly under wraps, but here at RadioTimes.com, we donned our detective caps and unravelled the mystery of Jocelyn. Charlotte Rampling’s character made an appearance in Broadchurch: the novel, written by Erin Kelly, as a clue specifically planted by Chibnall to give eagle-eyed fans a hint at series two.
In the book – published this summer – Kelly writes:
“Around a quarter to eight, on a Wednesday morning. Up past Jocelyn Knight’s house. On the road leading up to the clifftops, near Linton Hill.”
And our speculation was given the seal of approval by Chibnall himself last month, so it’s as good as confirmed.
Series two will not be another murder mystery
“It’s not Midsomer in Broadchurch,” producer Richard Stokes confirmed to Radio Times. And Chibnall – who has kept his cards close to his chest throughout the making of series two – adds, cryptically, “The end is where it begins. I promise we do not start with the discovery of another body beneath the cliffs.”
Dry those tears
Series one brought us plenty of weeping and misery from both the Latimer family and Ellie Miller, who discovered her husband Joe to be Danny’s murderer. But while we fully expect to witness a continuation of that grief, Chibnall assures us, “The feel of the show is slightly different this time… Grief is not our driving emotion this year.” Although whether we, the audience, will need to have a box of tissues at hand remains to be seen…
The clues were planted in series one
That crafty Chris Chibnall and his hidden clues. Olivia Colman has revealed that hints at the new plot have already been concealed within series one. “At the read-through we were going, ‘You sneaky bastard,’” she told Glamour magazine. “You find out very early in the first episode which direction it’s going in and it’s an instant, ‘Whoooa!’”
(Please excuse us, we’re off to embark upon a box set, clue-solving marathon.)
As series two wrapped, the crew revealed on Facebook that they’d gone to great lengths to conceal scripts, filming under the codename “Tea and Sympathy” – also the name of a 1950s play about bullying, sexual orientation and struggling to fit in. Are we reading too much into this…?
A “shock” ending shrouded in mystery
The cast remain in the dark once again when it comes to series two’s conclusion. Several different outcomes were filmed and even Tennant is unaware of the ending. “He was both offended and pleased,” Chibnall told The Mail on Sunday, before warning us this series “features the cheekiest cliffhanger yet – a real shocker.”
New reading material
Were you among those who pored over Erin Kelly’s Broadchurch novel? Chibnall was clearly pleased with her work, hiring the author to pen even more material to coincide with the broadcast of series two.
“We have an extra component this year,” he reveals. ‘After each episode, a new short story, written by Erin Kelly, will be available as an ebook single. We’ve been working on these alongside the series: each story will focus on a character from this series of Broadchurch. Put together, the eight stories will make up a collection.”
You’ve probably already got them marked down in your viewing calendar, but in case you’re still in the dark, you should know there will be eight new episodes of Broadchurch (the same length as series one) starting on Monday 5th January at 9:00pm on ITV. The programme information is – predictably – scant, although in episode two, “DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller pick themselves up and continue their investigative work.” So, despite looking pretty peaky by the end of series one, Alec’s back on the detective trail (whether in an official capacity or not is yet to be confirmed).
International air dates
Here in Britain, we’re not the only ones eagerly awaiting the return of Broadchurch – the drama has been an international hit, even prompting a (now-cancelled) US remake Gracepoint starring Tennant. So, if you’re watching outside the UK, here are some international air dates to get you excited (but be sure to avoid social media spoilers in the meantime…)
America – Wednesday 4th March on BBC America
Canada – Sunday 11th January on Showcase Channel
Ireland – Monday 5th January on TV3
New Zealand – coming soon to TV One
No series three… yet
At the start of December, speculation was rife that ITV had already given the green light to a third outing of the drama. Exciting news, but keep that champagne on ice for now as the broadcaster swiftly denied the rumours.
Although, that doesn’t mean Chibnall is out of ideas. “A [third series] sometimes crosses my mind,” he told RadioTimes.com back in August. Sounds promising, eh?
Broadchurch returns on Monday 5th January at 9:00pm on ITV