Review of Broadchurch – Series 1, episode 6: Will David Tennant recover?

Daisy Wyatt

Broadchurch 3 300x225 Review of Broadchurch – Series 1, episode 6: Will David Tennant recover?


SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not see series 1, episode 6 of ‘Broadchurch’

Broadchurch has established a pattern (much to some viewers’ dislike) of one slow-paced filler episode followed by one that dramatically furthers the plot. Last night’s episode was the latter.

In the final ten minutes the plot hurdled towards a drastic ending, showing David Tennant’s character Alec Hardy choking on the floor after being strangled.

In the events leading up to the incident, Ellie Miller’s son Tom was discovered by the vicar smashing a computer (presumably full of files from Danny), followed by a call to the police station that said torchlight was seen in the cliff top hut where Danny was killed.

Hardy and Miller rush up there and open the door to find someone running out, they chase him down to the boatyard and surround him but (typically) Ellie’s phone goes off and the suspect attacks Hardy, who falls to ground in the final scene with difficulty breathing as if he has been strangled- which is how Danny died.

The figure running from the cliff top hut (from what we could see of him) was tall, lanky and had a crop of blondish hair. He looked just like the vicar. Unless it was Nige or Miller’s husband in a wig…

The forensic evidence from the boat was found to have paint chips matching Danny’s skateboard, and use of a domestic cleaning product on board. This can only point to Pauline Quirke’s character Susan Wright, who had (until now) Danny’s skateboard hiding in her caravan, and is a cleaner by trade.

It also emerged from young journalist Olly that Nige, Mark, Brian, the postman, three of Tom’s teachers and the vicar had used the boat at one time. This adds more weight to the likelihood of Susan and Nige conspiring in something together.

But Nige has obviously gone off Susan this episode, after he kidnapped her dog and killed the beautiful chocolate lab in the back of his lorry as she was whisked away to police questioning (finally). Something tells me that wasn’t Nige’s original intentions for his weapon, but thanks to ITV for not showing the dog’s death. I’m not sure we could bear much more after Jack Marshall’s suicide (and let’s hope Tennant makes it through to next week).

It seems Nige took Susan’s dog out of revenge. I’m sure he has something to do with the boat and trying to cover up the death, but I don’t think he was the murderer.

The vicar on the other hand has used the boat, looked like the figure running out of the cliff hut, and is still lacking an alibi for the night of Danny’s death. He is also suspiciously earnest.

But Ellie Miller’s son Tom seems to have a link with him too. Rev Paul Coates was seen putting his hand reassuringly on Tom’s knee after Jack Marshall’s funeral, and Tom sought his advice about deleting files permanently from his computer.

There was definitely something up with Tom this episode. He totally denied his friendship with Danny, shouting at Chloe: “Why does everyone keep saying I was Danny’s best friend? I hated him and you know what, I’m glad he’s dead.” There has to be something incriminating on that bashed up computer- but it can’t be do with Susan Wright. Tom acted like he had never seen her before when she accosted him on the beach.

In a particularly tense scene where you thought Susan would kill Tom at any moment, she opens her cupboard not to throw him in the chokey but to give him Danny’s skateboard. Why would she dob herself in by giving him Danny’s skateboard when she knew that he was the police woman’s son? Maybe she is trying to throw the scent off someone else.

A lot of you (judging by Twitter) think Ellie’s husband is the murderer. He did joke this episode about the possibility of being the killer- and if Ellie’s sister really does know something about the night of the murder (as revealed last episode), it could be to do with him. But if he was out of the house on the night Danny was murdered, you would think Ellie would have twigged- although knowing her she’s too forgiving and wouldn’t have. Hmmm.

There are just two episodes of Broadchurch remaining, but this week I wondered why there needed to be eight episodes rather than the more common six. I don’t know how much more we can feel for the family, and the slow motion shots of Beth Latimer running through the Dorset landscape are beginning to tire.

The scene where she meets the mother from the previous murder case that Alec Hardy messed up seemed staged and melodramatic. There was no awkwardness between the two and the conversation became unrealistically familiar too soon.

Also, Jack Marshall’s death served no further plot development this episode. Aside from being agonisingly sad and questioning our assumptions about humanity, it seems to have no overall purpose for the story line.

But perhaps I am undermining Chris Chibnall’s hopes for the series. As a seasoned crime writer, he says his intentions for Broadchurch were different.

“When I was writing Law & Order: UK, I always used to worry for the victim’s relatives we would bring in for one scene: what happened to them when they left the screen. Broadchurch is, in part, an answer to that, a desire to honour those people more fully,” he said.

Some of you love it, some of you are bored with it.

Prime suspect: The vicar, Rev Paul Coates

Oh-no-he-didn’t suspect: No-one’s left!

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  • HELP17 .

    as many as Midsummer?

  • Marc de Salis

    He was quoting Matthew 22:39, not the 10 Commandments

  • TheWhiteBee

    That thing with the skateboard was a big point. Why would she give it to him? She knew what was going to happen! Whatever it is, Susan Wright is a smart woman, and this is much more complicated even than it has seemed so far.

  • Angharad Evans

    Perhaps Hardy is being poisioned

  • permabull

    I’m very late with this – but I think it’s Joe Miller. It’s a great series – but there’s a few hard coded obvious things.

    1. It’s a strangulation murder by a person with large hands – probably a male.
    So, that includes all the adult males and Susan Wright. It excludes all females except Wright and all children/teenagers. If it turns out to be an accident or murder by a person with small hands – well – we can call the whole thing a waste of time.

    2. It can’t be the only multi cultural actor – it never is in any Brit crime series episode where there is only one multi cultural actor in a secondary/minor role.

    3. It can’t be any secondary male character ( plus Wright ) that we’ve guided to by large searchlights. Too obvious – all red herrings.

    4. It has to be a male character who’s been in every episode as a secondary/background character and – right up til the final episode – is presented in a positive/neutral way with only one or two very minor deviations from Mr. Average or Mr. Nice Guy.

    5. Well, they’ve made all the male characters out to be suspicious types except Joe Miller and the cub reporter Olly. However, Olly is slim, weedy and can’t possibly have large hands.

    6. So, it’s Joe Miller. Apparently lots of other people also think it’s Joe. So, very little value add from me except I’ve set out my case. ( And yes – it’s the same approach anyone would take to any Agatha Christie murder mystery.)

    So, let’s see how it all plays out.

  • p0t80 .

    Accidental death with strangle marks on the body? Hmm.

  • Chris Downing

    Aarr – ahem – perhaps he wore really big gloves…….? I’m really zoned out on this series, so much so, I’m happy to wait till it’s finished and watch the last ten minutes on replay or read the final results. The plot involing so many characters, also means I don’t really care about anyone because there is not much character development.

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