Viewing figures for Broadchurch, starring West Bay and David Tennant, have left the team behind the top rating ITV drama “gobsmacked”.

The consolidated figures for the first episode showed that the West Dorset coast showed itself off in front of more than nine million viewers.

Writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who lives in Bridport, said that the statistic of 9.1 million, which includes the 6.8 million audience from the first ITV1 showing and people who have used catch-up options, was fantastic news, not only for the series, but for the area too.

“It is extraordinary - we are all gobsmacked,” said Mr Chibnall, who wrote the gripping eight-part series with the aim of featuring West Bay and the dramatic Jurassic coast.

“The figures show another three million viewers on top of the first showing.

“A really good result for a drama would be six to seven million and the second episode on ITV1 picked up 6.4 million, which hopefully shows that there is enough mystery and questions and strange things going on that people want to stay with it.”

“It has been a long time since ITV has done anything so serialised.

“This series is a big deal for ITV and a huge deal for all of us - it is very exciting for the show and the cast is absolutely over the moon.”

Mr Chibnall said that one of his main aims was to showcase the local “amazing” landscape and that he hoped that one of the reasons viewers were coming back to the series was to see more of Dorset's nature and beauty, which would translate into visitors.

“I would like to thank the town for its support. It was so hard for businesses last summer, so I hope Broadchurch might have a little bit of an effect this year. I hope everybody down here reaps the benefits.”

“You never know how something is going to go down, and we are not complacent, but I would say that the best episodes are still to come.”

Mr Chibnall refused to be drawn on how the murder mystery, which also stars Oliva Colman, Pauline Quirke and Will Mellor, will develop and urged viewers to keep watching.

The “Broadchurch effect” has already produced a spike in interest in local tourism and holiday businesses, with social media campaigns picking up on the worldwide interest in the series.

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