Broadchurch series two: meet the new cast

Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eve Myles, James D'Arcy and Meera Syal have joined the ITV drama – here's what we know about their characters...

Awards, plaudits, stonkingly good ratings – it’s little wonder Broadchurch has attracted a batch of stellar acting talent for series two. 

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Joining the likes of David Tennant, Olivia Colman and Arthur Darvill are… roll call… Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eve Myles, James D’Arcy, Meera Syal and more. 

But who are they playing? Find out below… 

Jocelyn Knight (played by Charlotte Rampling)

As previously reported by RadioTimes.com, Jocelyn’s identity was a clue planted by creator Chris Chibnall in Broadchurch: the novel, published last summer. In chapter 12, David Tennant’s DI Alec Hardy is having a chat with newsagent owner Jack Marshall (David Bradley) who recalls seeing Danny arguing with the postman: 

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.” 

So, who is Jocelyn? The opening episode reveals her to be a retired QC – for what reason, we’re not yet sure – and an acquaintance of Maggie Radcliffe. She’s the best in the business, apparently, although with Mark and Beth in need of a barrister ahead of Joe Miller’s trial, Jocelyn appears reluctant to take on the case. However, her hesitation doesn’t last long once it emerges her former pupil Sharon will be heading up the defence… So far, her case hasn’t been easy to build – with Miller’s “roughing up” of Joe discounting his confession, what once looked to be a simple case is proving ever complicated. 

And, as for Jocelyn, the last couple of episodes have confirmed our suspicions that the barrister could be going blind – listening to audio books, veering off the road while driving – the signs are all there. So now, the real question is, how much longer can she keep up the pretence? 

Claire Ripley (played by Eve Myles)

In typical Broadchurch style, we were given next to no details on the identity of Claire – but the opening half hour of series two revealed her to be a witness in the Sandbrook investigation, the case that nearly disgraced Alec Hardy. “I think he’s back,” she tells him. Who? Her ex-husband Lee, it turns out – the man Hardy suspects of committing the Sandbrook double murders.

With Lee now on British soil once again, Claire is more vulnerable than ever. Will Hardy and Miller be able to protect her? Or is it the two cops who need protecting from Mrs Ashworth whose shifty behaviour suggests she’s hiding something.

Last week filled out plenty more details as she and Lee shared a passionate reunion and Claire revealed her kinky bedroom habits – “will you tie me up this time?” – but has she also spent time between the sheets with DI Alec Hardy? A brief flashback suggests she has, but there’s another notch to Claire’s bedpost in the form of next door neightbour Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley) – a new suspect in the Sandbrook case. The final moments of last week’s episode revealed the pair are still in touch, a detail Claire failed to share with Hardy and Miller. Could the two be conspiring together? It’s looking likely… 

Ricky Gillespie (played by Shaun Dooley)

Shaun Dooley was a surprise addition to the cast when he popped up mid-series (quite how the Broadchurch team had managed to conceal his involvement is a mystery to us…)  But his character, Ricky Gillespie, is fast shaping up to be a prime suspect (or a sneaky red herring) in the Sandbrook investigation.

Let’s examine the evidence: Ricky no longer has a water-tight alibi (his wife Kate had said she was with him – she’s now claiming he was with a bridesmaid at the wedding they were attending). He also enjoyed sowing his seed around Sandbrook (his conquests included next door neighbour Claire) and, as mentioned above, Ricky and his next door neighbour are still in touch – his number is one of just two in her phone.

But there’s another reason Ricky’s at the top of Miller and Hardy’s suspect list – his insistence that they stop digging. Why would a father not want a re-investigation into his daughter’s disappearance? Our favourite detective duo aren’t the only ones wondering…

Sharon Bishop (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste)

As Jocelyn’s former pupil, Sharon clearly has an agenda when it comes to the trial of Joe Miller. Her client has already confessed to the crime but the talented defence barrister is making a decent stab at getting him off, beginning with a controversial exhumation of Danny Latimer’s grave before getting Joe’s admission struck from the evidence. Defence 1 – Prosecution 0. 

But Sharon’s background is mysterious. Her junior Abby Thompson (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) tentatively suggests accepting suspect Joe’s case might “show people nothing’s been affected by, you know…” and it’s since been revealed that her son is serving time for a mystery crime. Just what is yet to be revealed, but one thing’s clear: Sharon is a Rottweiler in the courtroom and she was in fighting form last week as she unveiled Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke) as a surprise witness. 

Lee Ashworth (played by James D’Arcy)

Creepy Lee is the stuff of Alec Hardy’s nightmares. The man Broadchurch’s erstwhile detective once suspected of committing the Sandbrook double murders is back in his life once again and on the hunt for his wife Claire (who is under Hardy’s protection).

Whether Lee was guilty of killing 19-year-old Lisa and 12-year-old Pippa, well, we’re yet to find out – but his former partner clearly has her reasons for being terrified of him (although that didn’t stop her hauling him into her bed last week). 

Is Lee as evil as Alec makes out? The audience are still in the dark, but we’re not the only ones beginning to doubt DI Hardy’s conviction. Could he have been framed by Ricky Gillespie? Is his wife Claire the one covering up a crime? Lee may have the moody stare nailed, but we’re not convinced he’s the Sandbrook killer.. 

Sonia Sharma (played by Meera Syal)

At the end of episode one we were still clueless when it came to Meera Syal’s character, Sonia Sharma, but the second instalment revealed her to be the firm-but-fair judge presiding over Joe’s trial. Already acquainted with Sharon, she proved to be “pivotal” in court as she chose to discount Joe’s confession from evidence after DS Miller beat him up in his police cell – a crucial development that left us wondering whether Danny’s killer could actually walk free. 

Abby Thompson (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge)

Joe’s original barrister was left humiliated in court when he switched his plea to not guilty, unbeknown to her, but it wasn’t long before Abby spotted the case’s potential, convincing her boss Sharon to make the trip to Broadchurch and mount a defence. Now young Abby is on the lookout for any information to pick holes in the prosecution’s case, which has already included parading Mark Latimer’s affair with hotelier Becca Fisher, much to the humiliation of his wife Beth. Usually seen in her courtroom gown and wig, perhaps she’s dressed casually here in an attempt to dig out Broadchurch’s darkest secrets? 

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Broadchurch continues next Monday at 9:00pm on ITV