What is it about lovable comedians turning into Broadchurch creeps?
We’ve already been introduced to Lenny Henry (dodgy farm shop owner Ed Burnett) and former Fast Show star Charlie Higson (Ian Winterman, the dodgy ex husband of rape victim Trish) and now there’s a third: dodgy convicted rapist Aaron Mayford, played by Jim Howick, that lovable Horrible Histories actor.
It’s not entirely clear what secrets Ed and Ian may be hiding; they may be entirely innocent, although there is clearly more to their hatred of each other than they are letting on (more on that later). But Aaron? Aaron’s enough to give anyone the shivers.
Not only does he have a rape conviction, for which he has served time (and feels no remorse), he clearly has not learned from his time behind bars.
“I wouldn’t mind being inside a police girl,” he sneered after forcing his way into DC Katie Harford’s surveillance vehicle, adding that he enjoyed being watched by her.
An obvious prime suspect for the rape of Trish Winterman then? Well, we’re only half way through and, experience has made us wary of Chris Chibnall’s storytelling – these early suspects are never the ones who dun it. But Aaron Mayford is doing nothing to dispel the idea that this is a Broadchurch laden with misogynistic males.
Aaron also has porn on the wall of his “man cave” – the kind of thing that doesn’t go down well with Olivia Colman’s DS Ellie Miller. She looked very sourly at him, just as she looked with vinegary disgust at Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley) when he admitted to being the man who slept with Trish on the morning of the attack.
Jim doesn’t seem like the nicest man in the world, but I couldn’t help but feel that Miller was being a trifle unfair. After all, we also learned this episode from Jim’s wife (Sarah Parish’s Cath) that their marriage was “loveless”. An extra marital liaison is hardly headline-grabbing news these days, especially in those circumstances. And it did little to dispel the idea that Ellie is becoming too quick to judge this series (though with her experience of men, who can blame her?).
It is clear too that there is more to Jim and Ed’s hatred of each other than they have been letting on. They have claimed it’s about the hours Jim’s wife Trish works in the farm shop, but given the lovelessness of their marriage that sounds rather phoney. And their dislike for each other spilled out onto the football pitch (below) at the game Cath organised to rally the community together.
Episode four also saw Julie Hesmondhalgh’s Trish face the harrowing prospect of revisiting the scene of the crime – and offered viewers the first flashback to the terrible events of that evening.
“I was so happy that night,” she said, before retracing her steps and lying on the ground where it happened. It was the smell as well as the sound of that patch of ground that finally saw her crack in a very moving piece of TV.
During the flashback moments, edited superbly, we saw her helping with the plates, a good deed that saw her fall foul of Chas the cook – the caterer of the birthday event. I wouldn’t be against him coming back into the equation somehow.
We also discovered that the attacker may have struck before. Laura Benson (Kelly Gough) turned up at the police station to report a historic crime that bore all the hallmarks of the attack on Trish. Hardy, father to a teenage girl, had worried about the rapist striking again, and it seems his worst fear could be realised.
Trouble is also looming for Mark Latimer, the grieving father of murdered Danny, who has traced the whereabouts of Danny’s killer Joe Miller.
He is clearly up to something, rather foolishly thinking he could recruit vicar Paul Coates into accompanying him on a visit to Joe before no doubt embarking on a vengeful journey himself. The sense of imminent danger intensified when he cooked a meal for estranged wife Beth.
“Just mates,” he said before attending to the bass.
Was this a last supper?