West Bay traders and business leaders are hoping that the “Broadchurch effect” will lead to a bumper summer.

The team behind the website for the Bay, which plays a starring role in the high-profile eight-drama were amazed at the response as soon as the opening scenes, with spectacular clifftop footage, unfolded last Monday.

And tourism officials in Dorset have been working hard to maximise the benefits that the ITV1 series can bring to tourism in the west of the county.

The stunning scenery of the Jurassic coast is a major character in the series written by Chris Chibnall from Bridport and starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman and a host of other top TV names.

John May, of westbay.co.uk said he was astounded to see that as soon as the opening credits rolled, the site was receiving more than 100 visitors a minute.

“It actually took me by surprise,” he said.

“I expected some interest once the programme had finished.

“I checked the site statistics at the first commercial break and it had gone crazy.

“We have had double the normal number of visitors we would normally expect since the the programme.

“A lot of people are putting the site on their favourites, which means they can come back when they think of booking a visit. It is a very good sign for this summer and we must keep our fingers crossed.

“And that was only the first episode – there are seven more to go!”

The Visit Dorset tourism team has been working closely with ITV’s press office, the production company and Chris Chibnall, to ensure that promotional material is in place to make the most of this opportunity to support Dorset’s tourism industry.

Dedicated Broadchurch pages have been set up on www.visit-dorset.com and the team has carried out web marketing campaigns, including social media and an email campaign to 50,000 contacts. The team has also worked with local accommodation providers to offer people the chance to win breaks in Dorset as well as exclusive props used in the filming of the series.

The first episode attracted nearly seven million viewers and it created a buzz, trending on Twitter with many people asking where it had been filmed. The visit-dorset.com website received a significant spike in traffic at 10pm after the programme was aired and has continued to receive a high volume of visitors, with the website ranking highly for popular search terms on search engines.