BROADCHURCH 2 hit the ground running with thousands of fans bombarding social media with their praises.

The lush seascapes of West Bay once again proved an important part of the show with much of the action taking place on the beach.

There were shocks aplenty as the show, broadcast on ITV on Monday evening launched its opening salvo and quickly ramped up the drama.

Twitter exploded as the action followed Joe Miller into the dock for what was expected to be a guilty plea to the murder of Danny Latimer.

But a last-minute change to a not guilty plea saw series two quickly take shape.

The opening episode left more questions than answers around the plot and characters and viewers learnt more about Alec Hardy’s back-story.

Broadchurch was the number one trending topic in the UK on Twitter by the end of the first nail-biting episode with 22,852 tweets.

The average audience was 7.6 million viewers – up from the 6.8 million who watched the debut episode of the original series. By the end of the first run in April 2013, it had built its audience to 8.7 million.

Superfan Becca Overton, from Lyme Regis, who created an internet storm with her fan page for the television show in the first series said the beginning of the new series was even better than she’d expected.

She said: “I honestly didn’t know where it was going to go but it has opened up a new can of worms now.”

She added: “It went absolutely mental on both Twitter and Facebook at one point I couldn’t cope on my Twitter it just kept crashing. We definitely have another hit on our hands.”

The praise came thick and fast for the return of the series on the @Dorsetecho Twitter page: @celeste_otter said: “10/10 superb – Can’t wait until the next episode.”

@CazR1chards tweeted: “All the right ingredients for a stonking second series. Oodles of intrigue, loose ends, red herrings... I’m hooked.”

@MomoMcLean said: “Loved Broadchurch. The music, the acting, the suspense, the new characters and of course West Bay and Charmouth.”

On Facebook, Sue Wormald said: “Great to see Charlotte Rampling in Broadchurch.”

Chris Radford said: “Best the author starts writing the third series, great twist straight off. Brilliant.”

West Bay businessman John Good, whose son Sam runs the West Bay Hotel, said the series was definitely good for trade.

He said: “I hope it will bring people in, its success is important to local traders. It has gripped people’s attention and imagination straight away.”