THE MAN who has held worldwide TV audiences on the edge of their seats as the creator of smash hit series Broadchurch has got used to keeping secrets.

And the Bridport-based writer and producer refuses to be drawn as to whether he has again cast West Bay in a leading role in the hotly awaited Broadchurch 2, to be filmed next year.

But in an exclusive interview with the Bridport News – the role model for the Broadchurch Echo – Chris Chibnall gave a tantalising hint that he has not forsaken the Jurassic Coast location.

“We haven’t said anything about what we are doing in Broadchurch 2 yet, so I can’t confirm or deny anything at this point,” said Mr Chibnall.

“But,” he added over coffee at the Bull Hotel in the town, “I am a local boy and have been for ten years now and one of the reasons I wrote Broadchurch was that it is a love letter to the area.”

So has that love affair ended?

“No, I haven’t fallen out of love with this area,” he smiled.

“Through the whole process of Broadchurch and the way people round here have supported it, in the preparation and the filming, during the broadcast and the aftermath and the incredible, unexpected response, what has been really, really humbling for me and for the whole production team is how everyone round here has got behind it and made it their own and taken ownership of the idea of Broadchurch.

“I really love that and feel very, I don’t know, flattered by that. That feels very Bridport to me.”

Olivia Colman has already confirmed that she will be in the second series – is there anything at all you can tell us about it?

“Has she? I might have to go home and change what I’m writing then! It will be a long time before the next series is on air, so what I don’t want is for people to be bored reading about it by then. So generally my policy is we will tell you things when we are ready and there will be some things you think you already know and there will be some surprises.

“Hopefully we will be able to keep some things up our sleeves, because I think the thing that people really responded to was that we didn’t tell them everything that was going to happen.

“So who’s in it and where it’s going to be filmed and what the story is, my instinct is to keep it secret and then it will be more of a treat when it comes on television.

“I am not being difficult and I am not being neglectful of people who love it, but it is to try and preserve what might make it special.”

The popularity of Broadchurch across the world has made the man who already has a CV which includes Doctor Who, Torchwood and Life on Mars into a very hot property in the world of screenwriting. So what is it like being Chris Chibnall, living in the middle of the small town that he made into a star?

“It is exactly the same as it was, apart from the fact that every other week there’s a picture of me in the Bridport News!

“So it’s no different, apart from a few more people know what I look like and my wife is sick of seeing my picture in the paper.

“I am still here, I am still at the same desk at the same computer in front of the same blank pages.

“My children don’t obey me more, nobody is any more respectful to me!”

“When I went out when Broadchurch was on, there were lots of people stopping me, asking me who did it and I couldn’t go and get my eyes tested or order a minicab without people asking.

“But I loved that. Because none of us expected it to happen.

“I didn’t, the producers didn’t, David (Tennant) and Olivia (Colman) didn’t.

“It was a complete shock and surprise and remains that way now.

“We really had a great time making it and were proud of what had done, but that didn’t mean it was going to take off – there are a lot of great shows that don’t explode in the way Broadchurch did and I don’t know why it exploded.”

Was there an organised social media campaign behind the show to get people talking about it?

“We didn’t have a social media campaign! There was no hashtag, people just started using it.

“People just started to talk about it. I think everyone loves a whodunnit and a mystery and I think we just got lucky that people wanted to talk about this one.

A US version of Broadchurch is being made starring David Tennant as an American detective. Mr Chibnall has written the first episode and revealed that the working title is Gracepoint.

“It’s the same story. It is set in America, there will be differences along the way, certain character changes. I went for two weeks to research in northern California over the summer and yes, there are places, not identical, but there are places that have resonances of West Bay. There are places it can be set – we are just talking about exactly where we shoot it.”

How is Broadchurch 2 coming along?

“I am writing Broadchurch 2 at the moment . I stopped writing it to come out to talk to the Bridport News.

“I storyline with my script executive Sam Hoyle. So she comes down and we get huge whiteboards out and we plot it out – don’t worry, the curtains are closed and they are all locked away.

“We storyline, I will write and then I will re-storyline, so a lot of the plotting is done with her. “We drink a lot of tea and discuss where the story is going and why. But then the scripts I write by myself.”

The mantelpiece at the Chibnall residence must be groaning with Broadchurch awards now?

“I know it sounds like we are always off to awards. It has been lovely because it is so unexpected. But it is really nice.

“I really mean it when I say whenever I have to go up, I accept it on behalf of everyone here as well because it is such a team effort and because everyone here in the town and in West Bay supported us so brilliantly. It feels like I’m holding that big piece of plastic on behalf of a lot of people – hundreds of people.”