Broadchurch star Olivia Colman returns to her role as the whip-smart DS Ellie Miller in the show’s third installment, premiering June 28 at 10/9c. Here she spills on working with David Tennant and shares what’s in store for the final season.
How would you describe the chemistry between your character DS Ellie Miller and David Tennant’s DI Alec Hardy?
Colman: Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch‘s creator) has written them brilliantly. They are really good mates — possibly each other’s only mate. They need each other and it is quite funny, a bit like watching the old Hinge and Bracket, like old ladies always having a go at each other. It feels like they have been friends for longer than they have, the way they bicker, but they clearly deeply respect each other and would staunchly defend each other against other people. I think it makes people feel quite secure in watching their friendship. Maybe it just makes them laugh at how horrible they are to each other, even though they clearly love each other.
It really helps that David and I get on so well. You can sort of tell that Hardy and Miller like being together because David and I like spending time together — it makes it much easier. I will miss working with David, if we could stand next to each other on set every day I would be so happy. We giggle, he is never late, knows all of his lines… he is a dream person to work with.
What is happening in DS Ellie Miller’s life when we return to Broadchurch in the final season?
Colman: We discover that her dad is living with her after her mom has passed, but I think she is finding her family quite annoying. She is on her own so her dad’s help is great, but her son… it’s not easy at the best of times for a teenager, but he also knows what his dad was put away for, so it’s pretty hard and he is becoming a bit of a pain in the backside. So it’s all quite trying for Ellie and I think it is probably quite nice for her to be at work.
How has Ellie’s relationship with Beth Latimer evolved this season?
Colman: It’s amazing, that friendship, considering what happened. They just really need each other. They can’t bear what’s happened but it is a miracle that Beth is still able to love Ellie — it makes her an incredible person. It’s not Ellie’s fault and she knows that. They look after each other as well. I am so pleased they’re friends, because I know Jodie and I found it really hard hating each other last season.
You and David Tennant get to interrogate all the guest stars this season. How was that?
Colman: We get spoiled because we get to sit opposite everybody, all these brilliant actors, and get front row seats to some amazing performances. Like Julie Hesmondhalgh who is brilliant in this. Speaking of that character, who is sexually assaulted… knowing that every moment of everyday there is someone reliving something like that. The bravery of Trish Winterman… the bravery of that woman is so fantastic to show. That there are people who want to help you and who offer their time and protection and love. If you have the bravery to ask for help, it is all there. That is a great thing to show people. Speak out, don’t let anyone get away with this.
How did you approach the difficult subject matter of this season?
Colman: I had done some research previously for other jobs, and I feel quite passionate about Refuge, domestic violence against women and children, and Tender, which is a charity that hopes to teach people when they are young about how to avoid situations when they get older. So I have become passionate about all of these issues — violence against each other and sexual assault. I’m really pleased to be a part of this story, and it’s amazing how people don’t know how common this is. People need to know, I think.
I met the representatives from the local organizations when they came to set, and there were a couple of women in particular who were our advisors who were just incredible. We had a policewoman and a woman from Dorset Rape Crisis who were amazing and it was really humbling. What they do I know I couldn’t do, but I am in awe of them. Thank God they are there. I hope they are happy that we have shown what they do, because they are so poorly funded and it’s going to be a shock to people when they realize that these people are volunteering to do the hardest of jobs. There’s no applause or awards show for them.
We have to do whatever it takes to stop this happening. We need to put everything we can into teaching and helping people to repair the damage. People have a right to be themselves and not to feel scared.
Catch up with Olivia Colman’s Broadchurch costar David Tenant LINK, and watch the trailer for the final season below.