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Julie Hesmondhalgh and Charlie Higson join final Broadchurch season

Julie Hesmondhalgh

Story by Jack Foley

FORMER Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and actor and writer Charlie Higson are joining the third and final season of ITV drama Broadchurch.

ITV has not yet revealed who Hesmondhalgh and Higson will play but filming is due to begin this summer on the eight-part police drama series in Dorset.

Scriptwriter Chris Chibnall has, however, confirmed that the series will mark the show’s “final chapter”.

He said: “We have one last story to tell featuring familiar faces and new characters. I hope it’s a compelling and emotional farewell to a world and show that means so much to me.”

Other new members of the cast will include Mistresses star Sarah Parish and Murdered by My Boyfriend BAFTA-winner Georgina Campbell.

They will all line-up alongside series regulars David Tennant and Olivia Colman, as well as Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan, who will return as Beth and Mark Latimer, Arthur Darvill, as local vicar Paul Coates, and Carolyn Pickles, who will reprise her role as newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe, along with Adam Wilson as Ellie’s son, Tom.

The first season of Broadchurch – about the death of an 11-year-old boy – had viewers gripped when it launched in April 2013, with a peak audience of 8.9 million viewers. It also won critical acclaim, along with BAFTA and RTS awards.

A second series was shown in January 2015, with the first episode pulling in a healthy eight million viewers, but a US version of the series, starring David Tennant, was cancelled after its first series.

Of the new cast members, Hesmondhalgh is best known for playing transgender character Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street. She left the series in 2014 after an award-winning storyline, which saw Hayley die of cancer.

Higson, who wrote and appeared in the hugely successful comedy sketch series The Fast Show, most recently featured in the ITV drama Jekyll and Hyde, which proved to be a flop with viewers.

However, remaining upbeat about the series’ fortunes, Higson took to Twitter to write: “The one good thing to come out of ITV not making another Jekyll and Hyde is that I have time to do other things, like acting in Broadchurch… Really looking forward to joining the team.”

After Broadchurch, Higson will be replacing Steven Moffat as the head writer and executive producer for BBC One’s Doctor Who.

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