Hit ITV crime drama The Bay finally returned to our screens for season 4 tonight.

We already knew that the new season would showcase a "very different Jenn", according to series star Marsha Thomason who reprises her role as DS Jenn Townsend.

But as is the format of previous seasons, each season explores an entirely new case and new family that Jenn has to look after as a Family Liaison Officer.

The heartbreaking new case at the centre of this series is the tragic late night arson attack on the Metcalfe family home, which leads to an overwhelming loss for the family.

The first episode opens with the fire itself quickly enveloping the house, and speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, some of the cast revealed what it was like to film such a scene, as well as exploring another emotional storyline.

Thomas Law, who stars as DC Eddie Martin, revealed: “When I saw the commotion on set, it was horrific – I can’t put it any better than that.

"What we've seen, they've managed to capture it so perfectly and with the music as well. The music, the score for this series, it hit me. It combines so perfectly to really hit you hard."

He continued: "I should also say that we've said the entrance to this series is horrendous, but it isn’t horrendous, it’s just shot in such a way that it’s really impactful. So hopefully it shouldn't turn anyone off to watch it because it’s a situation that actually occurs.

"It’s very clever – you’ll still be blown away by it. It’s great, it’s phenomenal."

Thomas Law in The Bay season 4
Thomas Law as DC Eddie Martin in The Bay.

Although it's a tragic plotline for this season, Thomason underlined that it's what fans of the show have come to expect over the years.

She said: "That's what you come to The Bay for, you come for that grief, that catharsis, helping this family get through it and watch them go through it."

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Daniel Ryan, who stars as DI Anthony Manning, also spoke of how "upsetting" the story of The Bay season 4 is.

He said: "With four series in, I read the scripts with a sort of Manning mindset. What I mean by that is it's only actually from watching episodes 1 and 2 that I feel the heartbreak that the audience are going to feel for a family torn apart.

"I've started to come at these now and sort of divorce myself from them, as you would if you were having to investigate the case. You've got to be practical, you’ve got to step out and be outside of it."

Daniel Ryan in The Bay
Daniel Ryan as DI Tony Manning in The Bay. ITV

He added: "It's only as a viewer, coming at it after the fact, that I realise how very, very upsetting the story is."

While the head-scratching crime at the centre of season 4 will keep viewers guessing till the end, Thomason previously also revealed that "Jenn is incredibly frustrated" by the father of the family, Dean Metcalf, who is played by Joe Armstrong (Happy Valley, Robin Hood).

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Thomason revealed: "She raises her voice and is combative with him, which is really interesting to watch. It’s a very different Jenn we’re seeing with this family from last year."

The Bay season 4 will premiere on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday 8th March. The Bay seasons 1-3 are available to watch on ITVX and BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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