David Tennant and his co-stars put the spotlight on Clevedon

PUBLISHED: 10:51 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 10:51 31 March 2015

The cast of Broadchurch, series 2

The cast of Broadchurch, series 2


The hugely successful Broadchurch returned to our screens recently, keeping us glued with its surprising twists and turns, as well as creating a special buzz around a Somerset seaside town

words: Sarah Ford

The makers of ITV’s multi award-winning television drama Broadchurch have done it again. Millions of us have been hooked on the much anticipated second series and for Somerset viewers the crime drama has felt close to home.

For although the fictional town of Broadchurch is set in Dorset’s West Bay, many of the scenes were shot in and around Clevedon.

The seaside town’s thriving independent shopping area, Hill Road, became Broadchurch High Street once more and other locations which have been used in the series include Poet’s Walk, Wain’s Hill, Clevedon Pill, St Andrew’s Church and Marine Lake which was used for the burning boat scene of series one. Private houses in St Andrew’s Drive and Lavington Close have been the setting for some of the programme’s most emotional scenes and Marshall’s Field and Bank become the crucial field location behind the home of the show’s main character.

Eagle eyed locals will have spotted the West Bay cliffs cleverly superimposed beyond the old Lloyds Bank in Hill Road; the exterior of the disused premises is used for the fictional Traders Hotel. Interior shots were filmed in the Walton Park Hotel and in series one, hotel scenes were also shot at The Bowlish House in Shepton Mallet. Parts of Portishead have also been used by the film crew.

The interior of the Walton Park Hotel was used in the filmingThe interior of the Walton Park Hotel was used in the filming

Meanwhile, vacant premises used to represent the Broadchurch Echo in series one have undergone a real-life transformation. Traders on Hill Road were so inspired by the fictional outdoor Broadchurch Market, they set up Seeley’s food and craft community market with help from a grant from North Somerset Council’s High Street Innovation.

North Somerset Council has put together a website - The Broadchurch Trail (tackk.com/broadchurch) – which gives information about different locations in Clevedon. Tourism Development Officer Ursula James says: “Once again the filming generated a good deal of interest among local people.

“We have been able to reacquaint ourselves with the crew and actors. Our working relationships with them has been as good as the first series.”

Clevedon had the right look for the drama, with a film-friendly council and accommodating local residents and businesses, according to Ellie Cook, Creative England Production Liaison Manager for the South West.

David Tennant and Olivia Colman in Marshall's Field, ClevedonDavid Tennant and Olivia Colman in Marshall's Field, Clevedon

Ellie’s role is to support productions coming into the South West by helping them source locations, liaise with local authorities and find local crew and facilities.

“When the production first got in touch with us they were looking for a town that could double for Dorset, so that West Bay didn’t have to accommodate a large TV production for the entire shoot,” she explains.

“As a drama usually brings in make-up trucks, dressing rooms, production offices and a fair amount of vehicles, it can be a bit of a big beast, and the production decided to split the location filming between two towns.”

Clevedon has previously been used for feature film Never Let Me Go and most recently for a One Direction music video filmed on the award-winning Victorian pier.

Filming is having a positive impact on visitor numbers, says Clevedon Pier Mistress Linda Strong.

“We had often thought how do we encourage a younger element to the Pier? One Direction did it overnight!

“There definitely has been a buzz around the town about Broadchurch.”

And some locals have certainly been getting into the Broadchurch spirit – especially at the Community Bookshop where they created a ‘crime’ window to commemorate filming in the town.

Marketing Coordinator Chloe Headdon says: “Artistic volunteers made bloodied weapons, fingerprints, shoeprints, wanted posters, a bottle of poison and more to put in the window. There was also some crime-scene tape, and the outline of a body on the floor for added effect!”

What’s the plot?

David Tennant returned as DI Alec Hardy and Olivia Coleman resumed her role as Ellie Miller, last seen having her life torn apart as husband Joe confessed to murdering schoolboy Danny Latimer.

Series two began with the trial, as well as the development of another murder case which rocked the small town of Broadchurch.

New additions to the cast for series two included legendary actress Charlotte Rampling, who says Broadchurch is adored by French audiences.

“I think the reason the French liked it so much is the same reason everyone loves it – the sense of community, the idea of solidarity in a small town and all that is broken when suspicion starts to creep in. There is something very human about it.”

Jane Featherstone, executive producer and chief executive of Kudos says: “We were so thrilled by the audience’s response to the first series and so it was our job to make sure that the second series offered something equally compelling and emotional.”

What the locals say…

“Broadchurch is quite a talking point, like in the old days when everyone talked about the previous night’s TV.

“It’s always a bit of fun brushing up with celebrities too. Marshall’s Field is prime BC spotting land. Dog walkers say competitively: ‘Olivia just loves my dog’ / ‘Oh, Charlotte (Rampling) really likes mine.’ ”

Luke Doran, Curzon Community Cinema

“Seeing Hill Road on screen is really strange for me. Seeing it on TV allows me to see it just like anyone else would. That’s a good thing – it puts the road into a real perspective.”

Sandy, Fizz Gallery and Framing

“I think it’s popular for several reasons: the great script and acting, the beautiful coastal locations, but also because of the way it slowly exposes all the tensions and secrets within a seemingly idyllic rural town.”

Chloe Headdon, Clevedon Community Bookshop

“The crew were very considerate towards the hotel and guests; the stars were all very friendly and approachable. The hotel occupancy has increased significantly, particularly with leisure guests, which could be a result of so much interest in the programme.”

Pat McCarthy, General Manager, Best Western Walton Park Hotel which was used as a location

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