Olivia Colman is, as we all know, one of the UK’s leading actresses. It almost doesn’t need to be said. But she’s so brilliant in everything she puts her mind to – comedy, drama (I still can’t get her performance in Paddy Considine’s harrowing Tyrannsaurus out of my mind), you name it. There’s just something so natural and likeable about her, and Broadchurch she has fashioned a character who has really struck a chord with viewers. Ellie Miller is someone who has been put in extraordinary situations, but someone who we all, somehow, can relate to. That takes great skill to pull off, and Colman has the skills. We managed to get hold of an interview with Colman, which you can read after the old jumperoo.
The Killing Times: Hardy and Miller are back, which is great news, but what do you think makes the chemistry between them so great?
Olivia Colman: Chris Chibnall 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 Ellie 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.”
TKT: So where is Ellie at in this third series?
OC: We discover that her dad is living with her after her mum has passed, but I think she is finding 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 knows what his dad was 15 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.”
TKT: And Ellie’s relationship with Beth has moved on as well…
OC: 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 series.
TKT: There’s a new batch of guest stars in this series, what was it like working with them?
OC: 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. Knowing that every moment of everyday there is someone reliving something like that. The bravery of Trish… 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.
TKT: It feels like the theme of this series is an important one…
OC: 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 the charity that hopes to teach people when they are young how to avoid situations when they get older. So I have become passionate about all of these issues…violence against each other and that ties in with sexual assault obviously. 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 organisations, who helped Chris (Chibnall) with his research, 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 it’s going to be a shock to people when they realise 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.
Broadchurch III: Monday 27th February, 9pm, ITV