BROADCHURCH wasn’t essentially about murder, retribution or violent sexual crimes – it was about community.
That was writer Chris Chibnall’s message to the audience who were at the Electric Palace in Bridport to watch the live screening of the final episode.
They were treated to an in-depth documentary about the making of the three series of the hit ITV drama with interviews from Mr Chibnall, the stars, and crew.
And after the final credits they were able to ask questions of the panel – Mr Chibnall, executive producer Jane Featherstone, Andrew Buchan who played Mark Latimer, Arthur Darvill who was the Rev Paul Coates and Julie Hesmondhalgh, who played rape victim Trish Winterman, and who got a round of applause after announcing she’d become patron of the Dorset Rape Crisis Centre.
They were introduced by former Bridport News editor Margery Hookings who told them that people were proud and privileged that Broadchurch was their Bridport and West Bay.
Chris said: “It is hard to put into words. It is genuinely emotional in the most positive way possible being here in Electric Palace, it just feels like a very Broadchurch way to end it. When I say Broadchurch I sort of mean Bridport, it is a very Bridport night.”
Executive producer Jane Featherstone said she felt immensely relieved now it was finally over. She said: “You have given us so much of your generosity and goodwill over so many years I felt such responsibility.”
And Julie said: “I stayed in West Bay last night and to feel the buzz and the ownership of this community for the show it was this incredible feeling. I am very privileged to be part of it.”
Mr Chibnall said series three was the most important story they’d told.
He paid tribute to Julie Hesmondhalgh and to her sense of responsibility playing the part of a rape victim.
He also thanked the organisations - the Dorset Rape Crisis Centre and Dorset’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre for their time, advice and encouragement - and without whom there would not have been a third series.He said: “Without them we just wouldn’t be here. It is easy for us to be up here but they are the people who deal with this every day and who make difference to people’s lives.”
Julie Hesmondhalgh added: “It cannot be underestimated the incredible work that is being done - it is quite patchy all over the country.
“In some areas people have to travel long distances to get the kind of support you have seen in this series.
“I am very proud to this week to become the patron of Dorset Rape Crisis Centre.
“If anything comes from this series and this particular story is that we must keep the pressure up.
“It is really important to raise awareness that these services are being cut massively all over the country.
“Right now it is not seen as a priority for this government I would urge you all to do everything you can to keep the pressure up to keep these services up and running and properly funded so that these incredible women can continue the work they are doing.”
“Change does not come from above. The government doesn’t suddenly decide to legislate in favour of women who who are going through these terrible experiences.It comes from the ground, from people working at the coal face.”