Broadchurch Boss Escapes to SoHo

David Tennant missed out on a BAFTA for his work in Broadchurch (TV One, 8.30 Sundays) but perhaps he would have had a better chance of winning had he been nominated for The Escape Artist.

The three-part thriller stars Tennant as Will Burton, a criminal defence lawyer who specialises in getting people out of tight legal corners, hence his nickname “the Escape Artist”’, and will premiere July 16 on SoHo.

A promotion to the Queen’s Counsel is in his future when he defends Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell), a man charged with the horrific murder of a young woman.

The evidence against Foyle is overwhelming, but Will gets him off on a technicality — only to question the morality of what he’s done and to suffer the consequences of a serial killer who goes free.

Sophie Okonedo (The Slap) and Ashley Jensen (Extras) co-star; Brian Welsh, who directed Kebbell in one of the best Black Mirror episodes, The Entire History of You, directs.

The Guardian said it shows David Tennant at his best in “a taut, pacy, chilling – really chilling – thriller not just about what goes on in the courtroom, but about how that affects the lives of people outside.”

A less impressed The Telegraph said Tennant overcomes a “ludicrous plot to deliver an excellent performance” but acknowledged: “Even while telling yourself it was palpably silly, insultingly improbable and crudely manipulative – the cracking direction, pace, dialogue and, above all, terrific acting from the central trio of Tennant, Kebbell and Sophie Okonedo were enough to paper over the yawning cracks in the plot and keep you gripped.”

Here’s what other top UK critics thought:

“What The Escape Artist lacked in original characters, it made up for in scares. Even in [the] scene-setting episode, there were enough jumpy moments to have you hiding your eyes behind a sofa cushion and nervously counting down the hours till episode two.” — The Independent.

“The sheer quality of acting drew us into a superior legal thriller that got creepier and creepier until it threatened to spill over into gothic melodrama.” — Daily Mail.

“This looks like shaping up to into a cracking legal thriller. Toby Kebbell is spendidly horrid as Liam Foyle, charming in a way that makes you want to go and take a shower, while David Tennant does that hypnotic trick of showing you the range of his emotions with no more than his eyeballs.” — Daily Express.

“Events progressed with a sense of lamb-to-the-slaughter doom that had you shouting the kind of things that you shout at trashy horror films … Yet none of this mattered too much because it was all executed with chutzpah. Tennant combined dashing and geeky in Doctor Who-ish proportions, while Kebbell exuded weapons-grade creepiness.” — The Times.

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7 Responses to “Broadchurch Boss Escapes to SoHo”

  1. Sounds like a good show which I will definitely be watching.

  2. Ditto Mark.

  3. Hmmm. Have to say it really flops by the end and the risible plotting lets it down. Tennant goes way OTT in the teeth gritting and nostril flaring department and Tony Kebbell walks away with acting honours. David Tennant has yet to ever receive a BAFTA nomination for anything he has done. While he is quite prolific, so much of what he signs on for is mediocre, like this. Executives don’t seem to be willing to offer him the quality of roles they give to actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, John Simm, Martin Freeman or Andrew Scott. Anyway, if you don’t mind leaving your brain at the door and don’t mind some extreme face pulling, this can be enjoyed for its silliness.

  4. I see it’s been transported to the USA as Gracepoint starring a guy named David Tennant. Surely it can’t be the same person. It must be his twin cousin as this guy has an American accent! Meanwhile, series 2 UK Broadchurch is on its way. How many clones emerged from the red telephone box!

  5. According to The Daily Mail, “Fans reckon the Scots star is guilty – of murdering the American accent.”

  6. Philip, that may be so. Aliens should learn too many clones of the same body surely imperfection will show up somewhere. I mean, all those Doctor Who’s, a spy in Czechoslovakia, a Scots polissseman! An American cop. Now an escape artist lawyer. All that from a red phone box! Most people believe across the border and in parts of the USA they don’t speak English!

  7. David Tennant may have missed out on a BAFA for his work in BC1. However, it must be some sort of accolade to be picked for the [USA] Gracepoint , the US remake of Broadchurch1 to repeat the same role as he portrayed in BC1 UK. Usually they attempt a reboot. But Matt LaBlanc didn’t get this gig!

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