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.