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TV’s lat­est must-see crime drama

At the mid­way point in the Chan­nel Tun­nel, 250ft be­low sea-level, a work­man makes a grim dis­cov­ery. Ly­ing across the yel­low line that marks the bor­der be­tween Bri­tain and France is a woman’s body.

Po­lice from both coun­tries are quickly on the scene, but de­tec­tive Karl Roe­buck ex­pects his in­volve­ment in the case will be min­i­mal. Not only does the vic­tim ap­pear to be a French politi­cian, but her head is over the French side of the line in the 31.4 mile tun­nel, mak­ing it a case for his op­po­site num­ber, Elise Wasser­mann. ‘We can go and snug­gle un­der our du­vets,’ Roe­buck tells his col­league, Chuks, be­fore head­ing back to Folke­stone.

But then comes the twist in Sky At­lantic’s ab­sorb­ing new 10-part thriller The Tun­nel, a re­make of hit Scan­di­na­vian drama The Bridge. The body is ac­tu­ally made up of two vic­tims: the top half be­longs to the miss­ing French MP and the lower part to a Bri­tish woman. And that means some close col­lab­o­ra­tion is re­quired be­tween the Bri­tish and French po­lice. ‘It does lead to con­flict,’ says Clé­mence Poésy, who plays Elise Wasser­mann and starred in last year’s BBC adap­ta­tion of Se­bas­tian Faulks’s Bird­song. ‘My char­ac­ter and Karl Roe­buck are chalk and cheese, fro­mage et ros­b­ifs. Wasser­mann is in­tense and has poor so­cial skills while Karl is all about hu­man in­ter­ac­tion and hu­mour. Their styles clash but they have to work to­gether on solv­ing the mur­ders.’

It quickly be­comes clear that the case is more far-reach­ing than ei­ther Wasser­mann or Roe­buck (Stephen Dil­lane) could ever have an­tic­i­pated. There ap­pears to be a se­rial killer at work and bod­ies start to pile up. Mean­while, var­i­ous sub­plots set at both ends of the tun­nel, in Folke­stone and Calais, help to keep up the in­trigue and sus­pense. Bri­tish jour­nal­ist Danny Hillier, who’s had a tip-off about the gory events, finds him­self trapped in his Range Rover with a tick­ing bomb. Trou­bled French fi­nancier Alain Jou­bert, who lives close to the tun­nel, is des­per­ate to flee his coun­try with help from his beau­ti­ful wife, Char­lotte. And there’s a ques­tion mark over Stephen Beau­mont’s mo­tives for let­ting a room in his Folke­stone guest house to failed asy­lum seeker Veron­ica.

The Tun­nel is a co-pro­duc­tion, fi­nanced by Sky and French TV chan­nel Canal +. Jane Feather­stone, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ku­dos, the UK pro­duc­tion com­pany, says, ‘We had two French direc­tors and two Bri­tish direc­tors, plus three French writ­ers and three Bri­tish writ­ers. We filmed in France and Bri­tain, as well as in the tun­nel it­self. And we used Bri­tish ac­tors and French ones, along with both Bri­tish and French crew.’

Whether The Tun­nel is a hit will de­pend on how au­di­ences take to the lead de­tec­tives; in the orig­i­nal, Swedish cop Saga Noren and Dane Martin Ro­hde proved a hit. Cre­ator Ben Richards says, ‘I re­ally think Stephen and Clé­mence have suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing very dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and mak­ing them their own. I be­lieve au­di­ences will be fas­ci­nated.’

The dis­cov­ery of a dead body in the Chan­nel Tun­nel leads to a com­plex An­glo-French mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in a re­make of hit Scan­di­na­vian thriller The Bridge

The Tun­nel, Wed­nes­day, 9pm, Sky At­lantic

ELISE WASSER­MANN (Clé­mence Poésy) A po-faced, Porsche-driv­ing French de­tec­tive with lit­tle time for small talk and even less for a so­cial life. KARL ROE­BUCK (Stephen Dil­lane) An as­tute, kindly de­tec­tive who tries his best to hit it off with his French­coun­ter­part, Elise, when they in­ves­ti­gate a dou­ble mur­der.

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