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A heavyweight cast steps up for the second missing-child drama of the week, with David Tennant and Olivia Colman the ill-matched investigators charged with finding the killer of a young boy in a seaside town. Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan are superb as the bewildered, grieving parents, and expect Vicky McClure’s nosey Fleet Street hack and Arthur Darvill’s footballing vicar to play bigger roles as the eight-part drama unwinds over the coming weeks.
Ostensibly a more traditional police procedural than its BBC counterpart ‘Mayday’, ‘Broadchurch’ scores strongly on the emotional realities of grief: the cracks in Whittaker and Buchan’s relationship are already opening up, while Colman’s local copper struggles to keep a professional distance. Chris Chibnall’s script is compact and reasonably plausible, but the production works a little too hard to build up the atmosphere (easy on the slowmo, guys). There’s really no need, with a cast of this calibre and a locale with such personality.