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Broadchurch

TV ONE

Arthur Darvill is Reverend Paul Coates


Broadchurch on TV ONE and TVNZ Ondemand

Arthur Darvill felt a certain responsibility playing a vicar in the new drama Broadchurch.

"It was my first time playing a man of the cloth, and walking around in a dog collar and robes felt kind of weird," recalls Arthur.

"I felt a responsibility when in costume; my language certainly cleaned up a bit. Walking around on set near the church where we were filming people totally unconnected with production would nod to me. It struck me it is a strange thing being a vicar because you are always on show. It is something I think my character Paul must have felt. It singles you out for people to trust and come to talk to; you are never not on call.

"I went to meet a young vicar before I started filming. He told me that even in the supermarket he is still working, still a representative of God and the community and as such is always there to help people, to listen. You have a responsibility to live your life in a certain way to keep that respect. Especially someone of my age, I can imagine you want to stay clean as a whistle really."

"At first it was hard to get in the mindset of a vicar but the research I did made it more comfortable in my own head and the words easier in my mouth. It's been a rewarding role and I have learnt a lot working with such great actors."

Talking about his character, Rev Paul Coates, Arthur continues: "He is a nice guy, very young to be in that position someone who has completely dedicated his life to his calling.

"Broadchurch is his first parish on his own, a very nice and picturesque town with a small, loyal congregation. It's an early step in his career but somewhere he enjoys being. There are also a few demons in his past that he has run away from&

"When we meet Paul in the first episode he is in quite a good place, still learning and wanting to make an impact. He is a good reverend for someone so young and he feels he has a place within the community where people respect him, which is probably something he was quite worried about. Broadchurch has an elderly congregation with a history but they accept him and he fits in well. He has thrown himself into town life; as well as being at the church he teaches IT at the local school and plays five-a-side football for the local team. Paul has made himself a figurehead in the community."

At the same time as filming Broadchurch down in the West Country, Arthur was on stage in London's West End in Our Boys.

" I thought would be exhausting doing both at the same time but I enjoyed doing them both so much I didn't tire myself out too much even with the travelling. What really helped was that the characters were not at all close to each other. Maybe if there had been elements of similar character traits I might have slipped. And the techniques that I was using on stage every night came in handy with the many sermons I had to take in Broadchurch. It is quite a theatrical experience being in front of a congregation; quite stagey."

Arthur admits another job would not have stopped him from being in Broadchurch as the role was created especially for him.

"Chris Chibnall came up to me on set during my last week on Dr Who and said he had written a part for me. I was so excited about it I just wanted to do it no matter what, so once the logistics were worked out I didn't think twice. I feel very privileged.

"It was Chris's passion for the project that struck me. I had only read one script but trusted in him as someone who knows how to write a good script so I knew it would be brilliant."

Any memorable moments filming on location in Dorset?

"On one particular day we had been waiting around all day to do one beach scene. The weather was awful, torrential rain and strong winds and we could see the crew dragging themselves up the beach completely sodden. We were filming a dream sequence and were meant to be standing in the water but the sea was so rough we could have been swept away so we were asked to stand near the water. There was me, Joe Sims, Will Mellor and Andy Buchan at the side of the sea completely still looking at David (Tennant) when suddenly this massive wave came up and soaked us all to the skin. Three of us stood stock still in shock and Joe ran up the beach screaming!"


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