Dorset TV town prepares for murder tourism bonanza

A small coastal town in the county of Dorset, UK, is preparing for a tourism bonanza after being the TV drama setting for the fictional town of Broadchurch, and the murder mystery that unravelled there over the show’s eight weekly episodes.

Desperate to experience all things Broadchurch now that the series finale has been broadcast on Monday evening, many of the hit show’s estimated seven million fans are keen to witness the macabre landmarks at first hand by visiting the town of West Bay, Broadchurch’s real-life alter ego.

The TV show’s plot centred around the murder of a young boy, Danny Latimer, and the host of likely suspects whose motives ebbed and flowed with each episode. But Broadchurch itself, or West Bay, was arguably as important to the show’s success as the stellar cast that acted around its environs. The passive, understated ambience of the town built on the eerie atmosphere and was a disquieting counterpoint to the eccentric activities of the prime suspects, while the brooding cliffs that featured so prominently in the story pressed in on the town from both sides.

West Bay’s sudden prominence is already benefiting its local businesses, with the Daily Mail reporting that shops, hotels and restaurants have seen a notable increase in visitors and healthy future bookings. A spokesman for West Dorset District council told the paper that the council’s tourism website was receiving three times the hits that it had received last year, with the increase attributed to the Broadchurch factor.

Speaking to the Times, Natalie Manifold, from Literary Lyme Walking Tours in Lyme Regis, said, ‘I already have bookings for July, which is unusual so far in advance, and visits to my website have quadrupled.’

West Bay’s flirtation with fame could be set to run and run, with the success of Broadchurch all but guaranteeing a second series, and more grisly goings-on in the peaceful seaside town.

Dorset Holidaymakers Warned After Landslide Death

Holidaymakers visiting the UK’s Dorset coast have been warned to be extra vigilant after a 22-year old woman died yesterday when she was caught in a landslide beneath the county’s famous coastal cliffs.

The landslide, on a stretch of cliffs near Burton Bradstock, claimed the life of Charlotte Blackman, a Derbyshire resident who was out walking with her boyfriend and her father. The two men were also trapped in the 35-foot deep pile of rubble, which gave way just after 12.30pm yesterday.

The accident has resulted in warnings being issued to other holidaymakers in the area to take care when in the vicinity of the coastal cliffs, as it is believed that more landslides are possible due to the terrain having been made unstable by the current hot, dry weather, following on the heels of a prolonged period of rain.

A statement on a visitor information website for the area, www.jurassiccoast.com, reads, ‘There is a heightened risk of rock falls anywhere and at any time along the coast while landslides have delivered thick mudflows and quicksands to the beaches in many places. One of the hidden hazards is that the sea can wash sand and shingle over the mud and quicksand giving the appearance of a solid beach, which is why we advise people to stay well clear of these hazards’.

Dorset Council said that, ‘due to concerns about continuing land stability in the area following the exceptional wet weather,’ the western end of the Esplanade at West Bay, near Burton Bradstock, was closed at the weekend.

The area is a World Heritage Site, dubbed the Jurassic Coast due to its cliffs dating back 250 million years, and the frequency with which prehistoric fossils are found there.