Broadchurch writer at Playhouse

First published in From the Art

IT’S not often I get star struck, but I don’t mind admitting I was just a little bit this week.

I went to the Playhouse to interview Chris Chibnall, the writer behind Broadchurch.

The hit ITV drama had our entire newsroom enthralled last year – along with most of the rest of the country.

Not only was it very well-written, plotted and acted, but it’s about the only thing we’ve ever seen on TV that didn’t portray all journalists as the absolute scum of the earth.

Maybe that epithet can be quite accurately applied to the paparazzi hounding some poor unfortunate, or a tabloid hack making a living by demonising everyone who claims benefits or dares to live in this country without having been born here, but we’re not all like that.

Local papers are a part of the community, staffed by people who live in the community themselves and whose role it is to make sure their neighbours are kept informed about things that might affect their lives.

It’s a very different job to working for a national paper, and it’s lazy stereotyping to lump us all in together.

But Chibnall is a man who does his research and makes sure he knows his subject.

At the moment he is at the Playhouse working on a comedy called Worst Wedding Ever, which he has written especially for the theatre.

And before starting on the script, he talked to wedding planners, photographers, vicars – anyone who would have the inside scoop.

He chose to stage it in Salisbury partly because he knows and trusts the Playhouse’s artistic director, Gareth Machin, with whom he has worked before, and partly because the venue is the nearest producing theatre to his home so he wants to support its drive to encourage local writers to produce new work.

“And I love the feel of the theatre and the way it’s connected to the community,” he added.

It’s a real coup for the Playhouse to be staging the premiere of a play by such a highly regarded writer, and for us in the city to have the chance to see it.

Chibnall says his aim is to leave the audience “thoroughly entertained”.

On past evidence, there’s no reason to doubt that he will.

The only downside to meeting him was that he wouldn’t tell me anything at all about the eagerly anticipated second series of Broadchurch, which he’s currently writing.

Or rather, he said he would, but then he’d be forced to wipe my memory with a handydandy alien mind control device.

You’d never guess that his other writing credentials include Doctor Who and Torchwood.

* See next week’s Journal for the full interview with Chris Chibnall.

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