‘A Town Wrapped in Secrets’

You don’t know chills and thrills until you’ve sat and listened to the theme song of ITV’s hit mini series ‘Broadchurch‘. Set in the small English sea-side town of Broadchurch, the murder of 11 year old Danny Latimer takes place; sending the town into chaos confusion and suspicion, with a host of characters being framed as the murderer at some point. The series sets up reasons for guilt, questioning the role of the media in the investigation and the position of children in our society.

But who dunit?

A challenging issue that has arisen with the growth of technology’s power in our world is role reversal; to challenge our beliefs on who is to blame for negative impacts in society. In the mini series, the misuse of twitter by a reporter leads the media to the identity of the murdered boy before the police have a chance to release the information formally, creating a mistrust and back step in the investigation. From this I learnt it is imperative for the greater world to challenge the popular but mis-informed idea that the media is to blame, especially when dealing with such sensitive issues as minors in the spotlight. It also pinpointed the power one holds when they are both involved in and in control of different media platforms.

As mentioned, the mini series manages to squeeze most minor characters into the forefront of guilt through different circumstances, with the local newspaper, ‘The Herald’, latching on to one particular suspect, Jack Marshall, a 60-something man running the local Scout group. One reporter discovers Jack’s incriminating past, writing a story that turns the whole town against him in a hate campaign, creating an intense and violent moral panic. It is through this episode in particular that I began to realise the strength of public opinion when a common thought, encouraged by the media, drives them to action. This also enhances the internal mediated public sphere within the town. Through the science of semiotics what is denoted in the newspaper (and the evidence as seen by us, the audience) frames Jack and through connotations from the public sphere (and Jack’s apparent guilt) suspicions are strengthened. However, after Jack’s suicide it is revealed that he was in fact innocent, raising the question, can the image be trusted?


Oh, and I won’t tell you who the murderer is, you’ll just have to watch to find out!


Broadchurch Cast




IMDb 2014, ‘Broadchurch’, (episode overview and character description), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2249364/?ref_=tt_ov_inf (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

Youtube 2014, ‘Broadchurch finale – clips and review’,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvc2YWMQGSs (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

Youtube 2014, ‘Broadchurch Episode Two Trailer with David Tennant and Olivia Colman’, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxigkP3WkE (Accessed 14th of April 2014)


The Independent 2013,Wyatt D,  ‘Review of Broadchurch – Series 1, Episode 3’,  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/03/18/review-of-broadchurch-%E2%80%93-series-1-episode-3/ (Accessed 14th of April 2014)


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