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The town behind Broadchurch

Broadchurch Episode Two

The new ITV crime drama has peaking ratings, with nine-million viewers watching its nerve-shredding plot. But also, the shows’ success is guaranteed by the superb scenery where the action takes place. Broadchurch, who stars the former Dr.Who actor David Tennant as Dl Alec Hardy and Olivia Coleman as sidekick DS Ellie Miller, was shot in the beautiful West Bay, Dorset.

After the first episode, the West Bay website got 200 hits per minute, as viewers rushed to discover more about the film’s location, as well as the tourist board Visit Dorset who spiked its online traffic numbers.

The manager of West Bay’s Bridport Arms Hotel,  which has housed various members of the cast while filming,  Steve Jones, talked with The Sun about how West Bay will become more popular because of the TV series: It was great to see stars like David Tennant in the village. All the actors and crew were very friendly. Weather-wise the last three summers haven’t been great but I’m hoping that seeing our town on TV will encourage more people to visit. For too long people have driven down the M5 to get to Devon or Cornwall and forgotten about Dorset. But seeing the amazing cliffs and beaches on TV will hopefully make them want to see more.

This touristic phenomenon of visiting locations where popular movies or TV shows were filmed, called ‘set-jetting’ , is in continuing growth. You can go to the Yorkshire Dales and hop on an ‘Emmerdale Country’ coach tour, or you can visit the Highclere Castle in Hants, where Downton Abbey is set.

The crew had to use a local cafe’s store room to transform it in a police HQ, because the small village doesn’t even have a police station, which left the owner very excited: The crew turned the round building containing our store room into Broadchurch police station. We’ve had several customers asking if this is where the TV show was filmed.David Tennant would regularly stop in for his morning coffee and we were invited to a private viewing of the first episode, he said. West Bay really is a wonderful place to live and work and I’m sure people will see it on TV and say ‘wow’.

The leader of West Dorset District Council, Robert Gould, also expressed his gratitude for the show: Broadchurch represents a unique opportunity for Dorset’s fantastic Jurassic Coast to gain national coverage. It is promising that the initial response is generating a large amount of interest.

Broadchurch has been compared to the great Scandinavian drama The Killing because they both have strong character studies and focus on how the activity of a small village has been changed after the death of a 11 year old boy.

Broadchurch runs every Monday at 9 PM on ITV.


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