The man behind the new ITV drama Broadchurch said he was ‘delighted and terrified’ as he awaited Bridport’s verdict after tonight’s (February 6) special sneak preview.

The Jurassic Coast shares the spotlight with actors David Tennant and Olivia Coleman in the star-studded primetime drama-mystery.

This evening’s sell-out screening at Bridport Arts Centre will be the first time the programme has been shown.

Series writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall says he is ‘excited and terrified at the same time’.

“I live in Bridport and when I am having problems writing I walk along the coast to West Bay or Eype or Freshwater and I have fallen in love with the place,” he said.

“It is an extraordinary landscape and I thought it would be a fantastic thing to capture it on film and showcase it.

“Then I started to think about what sort of story might be interesting and I thought about a small community and what it’s like living in one.

“We see a lot of dramas set in cities but very few in small towns, which is strange because most of us live in towns. I wanted to explore that.”

The eight-part series, which also stars Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Vicky McClure, Pauline Quirke and Arthur Darvill, explores what happens to a small community when it suddenly becomes the focus of a police investigation, following the tragic and mysterious death of an 11-year-old boy.

It was filmed in and around Bridport and West Bay last year and as a thank you to the community for all their support, the programme makers arranged the free preview screening of the opening episode.

Broadchurch centres on the investigation into the murder of a young boy in a British seaside town.

Leading the investigation are two detectives, local detective sergeant, Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), and newcomer detective lnspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant), a by-the-book investigator and just appointed as Ellie’s boss.

They are partnered to solve the murder, keeping the newspapers from derailing the investigation and trying to prevent the crime impacting tourism at the beach where the boy was murdered.

Chris, who has also written for Dr Who and Torchwood and worked with David Tennant before, said: “The cast is great, a really good team of actors and I am delighted they are all on board.

“Olivia Colman is the best actress in the country, I can’t say enough good things about her, and Jodie is just wonderful too.

“The same with David, he is so versatile and it is great to see him doing something different.”

He added: “They all loved it down here.

“We had a week of beautiful, sunny filming in September and they all fell in love with the place.

It was a bit different in November though when they were on a cliff at 2am in the pouring rain and a howling gale!”

The ticket-only screening will be followed by a question and answer panel with Chris Chibnall, as well as director James Strong and producer Richard Stokes.