Broadchurch paper Echoes real life spirited women editors

There’s no doubt what this week’s TV watercooler chat was all about.

In all the offices I’ve been in this week, the new series of Broadchurch has been under close scrutiny.


The cast of the new series of Broadchurch, with Carolyn Pickles and Jonathan Bailey, who play the journalists, far right. Picture ITV.

The consensus – echoed on Twitter – seems to be that it was a great start, with a gripping new storyline.

I would agree.

But I can’t help being bothered by some of the more ludicrous plotlines.

A murder victim’s family choosing the CPS barrister was one. That family not being told that their son’s body was being exhumed was another.

And then there’s the show’s depiction of the media.

I’ve written before about the bad press journalists get on TV dramas.

Broadchurch’s portrayal of the local media is – mostly – kinder than average.

But the idea that an editor and a reporter would go mobhanded to a murder scene on the eve of a court case to interview the case detective for something which wasn’t a pre-trial briefing needed a serious suspension of disbelief.

As did reporter Olly Stevens’s use of a Blackberry to get a story online.

Clearly I need to take a chill pill about all of this.

Because what is refreshing about Broadchurch’s depiction of our profession is the way Broadchurch Echo editor Maggie Radcliffe is shown as both a nurturer of talent and a community leader.

I can’t find much of a clue on Google as to who writer Chris Chibnall based the character on.

But whenever I see Maggie – played by Carolyn Pickles – in action, a couple of people spring to mind.

Sadly, as Hold the Front Page reported recently, they have both just been made redundant.

Sue Smith, editor of the Stroud News and Journal and Gloucestershire Independent, and Skip Walker of the Wilts and Glos Standard and Gloucestershire Gazette, have given a first break to countless reporters over three decades.

They typified a wonderful cocktail of tough love, determination, care, occasional eccentricity and utter devotion to both the truth and their patches.

I wish them the very best in their new futures.

I hope Maggie can hang on to Olly for a few more months before he moves on to a bigger paper.

But I know that – like Sue and Skip – she would never stand in the way of what was right for the reporters she has trained and nurtured so well.


One thought on “Broadchurch paper Echoes real life spirited women editors

  1. And there are oh so many more ludicrous things allowed in this drama.

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