Scottish actor David Tennant is to remake his hit U.K. crime drama Broadchurch for American audiences with Anna Gunn as his new co-star. The former Doctor Who star won critical acclaim for his role as a detective in the murder mystery opposite Olivia Colman as his onscreen police sidekick, and now he is to return in a new version of the show with Breaking Bad actress Gunn.
Broadchurch will become Gracepoint in the American adaptation for the Fox network, and the series will also star Australian actress Jacki Weaver in the role originally played by Pauline Quirke in the U.K. show.
Gracepoint will begin filming in January (14).
The BBC murder mystery Broadchurch just ended its run on BBC America, earning rave reviews for its depiction of the ripple effects of murder on a small town. It was a great show with some truly standout performances, especially from Doctor Who’s David Tennant as a tortured police detective and Olivia Colman as his competent and put-upon partner.
Now FOX is taking Broadchurch and bringing it to America, again, with a remake also starring David Tennant. And the burning question is: why?
Broadchurch was (and maybe still will be, since it was renewed for a second season in the UK) a great show. It took a hard look at the repercussions of a young boy’s murder on the small town in which he lived, spending time with his family as well as with the media, police, and handful of sketchy suspects.
What Broadchurch is not, however, is remarkably original. Looking at the above description of the show a host of other “murder in a small town” movies and TV shows come to mind. The weird Twin Peaks, for example. Or the moody but imperfect AMC drama The Killing.
What made Broadchurch work was the economy of the storytelling and the deeply felt performances by the main cast. Remade for American audiences and probably expanded to more than the original run’s eight episodes, I can’t imagine Broadchurch will seem like anything remarkable to those who aren’t familiar with the UK original.
“Oh, another season-long murder mystery in a small town? Great.” You can already hear audiences hitting the snooze button. What made Broadchurch a great show didn’t lie in its premise, but in its execution.
The American remakes of British originals that work, however, usually work because the American version can spin something new and interesting from a unique premise. Like a documentary about a paper company (The Office) or a vampire, ghost, and werewolf living together (Being Human).
The first season of Broadchurch was a perfectly paced, self-contained story with a far from unique premise. Replanting the story to America and giving it more episodes to fill isn’t likely to make the show any better. For every successful American remake, there are at least five British to American disasters. Let’s hope Broadchurch isn’t one of those disaster adaptations, but even if the FOX version turns out to be good, it certainly doesn’t feel like a remake that needed to happen.
What do you think? Are you excited about the American remake of Broadchurch or scratching your head about why FOX is remaking it at all? Share in the comments!
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A certain doctor will be popping up on American television sets in a familiar role. David Tennant, who played a tortured British detective in Broadchruch, will now play a tortured American detective in Fox's remake of the show. Because foreign accents are different and scary, Tennant will leave his British accent behind, and adopt an American one for the new series that hopes to premiere on Fox in the 2014-2015 television season.
The original Broadchurch follows the lives of Alec Hardy (Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), two detectives investigating the death of a young boy in small town Britain. The first season of the ITV series just wrapped up its first season on BBC America.
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Former Busted star Matt Willis has joined the cast of revived British sitcom Birds Of A Feather. The show is set to return to the small screen early next year (14) after an absence of 15 years, and the musician has been hired to play Garthy, the eldest son of Linda Robson's character, Tracey.
Co-star Pauline Quirke will be joined on screen by her real life son Charlie Quirke, who will play Tracey's younger boy Travis.
Willis previously acted as a teenager with small roles in U.K. dramas including The Bill and Casualty. He returned to medical series Casualty for a guest role in an episode which aired earlier this year (13).
He says of his new job, "I'm so excited to be joining Birds of a Feather playing the role of Garthy! I used to watch the show growing up so this is just a dream job. I can't believe I'll be working with (characters) Sharon, Tracey and Dorien."
The comedy, about two sisters who support each other when their husbands are sent to prison, first aired in 1989 and ran for nine years before coming to an end in 1998. It was previously revived as a U.K. touring stage show earlier this year (13).