The first season of Broadchurch was nothing short of bloody marvellous. I don’t think many people have disputed that. The second season, however, seems to have received one criticism after the next and, after a truly satisfying albeit appropriately frustrating finale, I think it’s about time I threw my opinion into the mixing pot - given that everyone else already has!
There have been so many snide and smug comments made about factual inaccuracies appearing in this season. The Judge is wearing the wrong wig. The witnesses are in the courtroom. This is wrong. That’s outrageous. That just wouldn’t happen.
Blah, blah, blah.
And, after reading these complaints intermittently throughout the past few weeks, my response is the same now as it was at the very beginning: So what?
Okay, okay, I’ll expand a little. I appreciate that for people who work in these settings in reality, as opposed to watching them in a televised and totally fictionalised courtroom drama, the factual inaccuracies must be mind-numbingly frustrating, and you must be itching to throw your remote at the television screen and just scream at that bloody Judge: ‘Put the right wig on, you dozy mare!’ I get that. I really do. Unfortunately, Broachchurch isn’t real life, these people aren’t real Judges and witnesses and whoever else may have sported some kind of factual inaccuracy. They are there for entertainment purposes, and generally speaking I think if you’re not entertained, your best course of action might be to change the channel rather than make an official complaint - although I suppose ultimately it depends on how much free time you have on your hands…
As a big reader of crime fiction, I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve read a note from the author apologising for any factual inaccuracies. Are televised equivalents not acceptable? And if so, why the bloody hell not?
Also, might I add, that these people who found grievance with this latest series should perhaps avoid watching things like CSI, because that is also occasionally ludicrous - wildly entertaining! But ludicrous nevertheless.
Throughout the two seasons of Broadchurch, we have totally been there with the characters. We have been shocked, and outraged, and when Joe was released from court on a not-guilty verdict my jaw dropped along with everyone else’s. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that level of audience involvement a satisfying result from a televised programme? I don’t even remember the last time I felt so invested in fictionalised, televised characters prior to Broadchurch!
And that’s why, when it comes to things like televised series, you need to take them for what they are: a source of entertainment. If you want cold, hard facts then go and watch a documentary, and leave the rest of us to watch Broadchurch (season three - thank you, ITV!) in peace.