As the last ever series of ITV's brilliantly twisty crime thriller Broadchurch approaches, what can we expect and what do we know so far?

We can’t wait for the third and final series of Bafta-winning ITV crime drama Broadchurch, which is set to return later this month. Here, we sifted through the evidence to work out what lies ahead…

 

broadchurch

What’s the case this time?

The action has moved on three years, and dogged detectives DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller, played by David Tennant and Olivia Colman, have to investigate a horrifying sexual assault that rocks the close-knit residents of the Dorset town. The harrowing case is based on extensive research with both the police and organisations that help victims of sexual violence.

 

Roy Broadchurch

How about Hardy and Miller’s private lives?

While Alec juggles the case with fretting about his daughter, mum-of-two Ellie has rebuilt her life after her evil husband Joe was drummed out of town for the murder of young Danny Latimer. But now she is set to face more difficulties thanks to her elderly dad David, played by Roy Hudd.

 

 Who else is back?

Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan return as bereaved parents Beth and Mark Latimer, who remain haunted by Danny’s death, while Arthur Darvill is back as vicar Paul Coates, along with Carolyn Pickles as local newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe, while Adam Wilson and Charlotte Beaumont reprise their roles as Ellie’s eldest son Tom and Mark and Beth’s daughter Chloe.

 

Broadchurch Julie

And who is new?

Several fresh faces will make their presence felt in Broadchurch including Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Trish Winterman, the victim of the assault, who works in a farm shop owned by reserved widower Ed Burnett, played by Lenny Henry.

Sarah Parish plays Trish’s bubbly best friend Cath Atwood, who’s married to garage owner Jim (Home Fires’ Mark Bazeley). One of Us’s Georgina Campbell plays ambitious young DC Katie Harford, who joins Ellie and Alec on the case and soon rubs them up the wrong way, and also look out for The Fast Show’s Charlie Higson and former Casualty actress Sunetra Sarker.

 

Chris Chibnall

What else can we look forward to?

The third series, written again by Chris Chibnall (pictured), is set to go back to the roots of the show’s acclaimed first series while also giving some closure to the lead characters we have come to love. “People have taken it to their hearts so much and Chris is brilliant and has come up with another beautiful story,” Olivia tells TV Times News.

Broadchurch returns to ITV in late February