ITV was obviously confident in their darling drama show Broadchurch following the critical acclaim it won for Season 1, so much so that the third season was commissioned and green-lit before Season 2 had even finished airing. Nothing like planning ahead eh?
You can understand why though. Broadchurch was a runaway success when the first season aired back in 2013, winning several BAFTA awards and the love of both viewers and critics alike.
"This third chapter has been a glint in my eye for a long time. I’m thrilled to be writing these characters once again" series creator Chris Chibnall said of Broadchurch Season 3, but unsurprisingly he's keeping specific narrative details close to his chest.
The previous seasons of the show, particularly the first, were famous for the secrecy surrounding the identity of the murder(s). Chibnall was so determined to ensure that the identity of the first-season killer did not leak until the final episode aired that scripts were watermarked to discourage photocopying and kept in a safe on set when not in use. At the outset of production only five people knew the identity of the killer and all cast members had to sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that they wouldn't leak plot details.
Scripts were released to cast members periodically and on a "need to know" basis, with three key actors being told the murderer's identity via late-night phone calls just hours before they were due on the set to receive their scripts for the last three episodes. Not paranoid at all then.
It paid off though. And all we really know about Season 3 is that Chibnall has promised a "big story", and it's going to have to be pretty big to beat the high stakes of the last two seasons. One thing is for sure, Broadchurch is one of the most lovingly crafted and carefully guarded investigative shows of recent years, and hopefully the third season will be able to echo the success of the first.
Season 2 might not have critically lived up to the trail blazed by the first season, particularly the finale episode that drew disbelieving reactions from viewers. Season 3 is likely to address this issue, namely - why was Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) allowed to go free? Whilst we may not see him appearing in Season 3 hopefully this subversion of justice will be addressed, particularly in regards to the impact it will have on Ellie and her family.
The casting hasn't been announced yet, so all we know for sure right now is that David Tennant and Olivia Coleman will be back to reprise their lead roles as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller.
Andrew Buchan, who portrays murdered schoolboy Danny Latimer's father Mark Latimer, said a few months back that he's not sure if he'll be appearing in the new season, just as he has no idea what turn the narrative will take now. Hut he thinks Broadchurch can work well with a third series:
"As long as you keep that essence that made Broadchurch series one so addictive, then it’ll work. It had a dark heart to it, but it was also very emotional. A lot of people could empathise with a lot of the strands. Chris [Chibnall] has a very intuitive eye, so he’ll know where it needs to go."
On the flip side, Marianne Jean-Baptiste isn't expecting her character, barrister Sharon Bishop to return for Season 3. Which makes sense given that her character was there to function as the defence counsel for Joe Miller during Season 2, but it'll be a shame to see her go as she's a fantastic actress.
"Sharon was there to do something very particular so unless she gets a bungalow on the beach I don’t see her returning." Jean-Baptiste said. Again, the future of her character depends on whether or not Chibnall wants to further address the ramifications of Miller's release.
All ITV will say is that the season is still in pre-production. As tradition filming was initially believed to be starting this summer but was reportedly delayed by Coleman's pregnancy. It was then believed that filming would start in the autumn, which would make a nice change from the landscape of the previous two seasons.
However we are getting on towards the end of autumn now so the likelihood of filming being done this year is looking slimmer and slimmer, which means it could be a while before we see Season 3 on our television screens again, especially if they wait until next summer to begin principal photography. So right now all we can do is wait, and the first season is streaming on Netflix now so we can relive the brilliance that it was.
In the meantime, enjoy this image of David Tennant and Tracey Childs (CS Elaine Jenkinson) from Season 1 eating 99s ice cream cones.