16/02/2017 12:27 GMT

'Broadchurch' Stars Olivia Colman, David Tennant Made Their Co-Star Julie Hesmondhalgh Speechless

The story picks up three years later.

‘Broadchurch’ star Julie Hesmondhalgh was so star-struck by being in the same scene as Olivia Colman, she could barely get her words out.

The former ‘Coronation Street’ actress takes a lead role in the third series of the crime drama, where she plays Trish Winterman, a local woman whose life is thrown into turmoil by a sexual assault she reports in the very first scenes of the new story.

Julie Hesmondhalgh plays sexual assault victim Trish Winterman in Series 3 of 'Broadchurch'

The scenes in the police station, where she is tended by DS Ellie Miller played by Olivia were among the very first to be shot, and Julie tells HuffPostUK she had trouble keeping it together.

“It was full on,” she remembers. “Those were the hardest scenes we had to do in the whole series, and we filmed them right at the beginning.

“I was filming with Olivia Colman and David Tennant, and I have so much respect for them. I was actually star-struck, which made it harder. I was just trying to keep it together.” 

As for the portrayal itself of a woman suffering from the turmoil of a brutal sexual assault, Julie rejects the idea that this made for a difficult working day.

“You just get on with it,” she says. “There are people who are really going through this stuff. As an actress, you can’t be like, ‘It’s so hard for me.’ You just have a responsibility to get it right.”

The new story picks up three years after the conclusion of the second series, when Ellie Miller’s husband Joe was exiled from his former community, despite being acquitted for the murder of Danny Latimer. 

The new story, starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant, picks up 'Broadchurch' three years after Series 2

As well as David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman as DS Miller, familiar faces include the Latimers, played by Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan, and the enigmatic Reverend Coates, played by Arthur Darvill.

New faces include Lenny Henry as local shop-keeper Ed Burnett, Sarah Parish as Trish’s best friend Cath Atwood, and Georgina Campbell as DC Katie Harford.

While the first series of ‘Broadchurch’ was one of those rare television phenomena with the audience growing each week as fans waited to discover who murdered schoolboy Danny, the second series suffered in comparison.

Julie is confident viewers will be moved by this third and final instalment.

 “The first series was always going to be a difficult act to follow, but this is a self-contained story.

“The things everyone loves about ‘Broadchurch’, the relationship between David and Olivia, the other characters you’ve come to care about, the weirdness of events against that beautiful background, every element is there, I promise.”

‘Broadchurch’ returns on Monday 27 February at 9pm on ITV. 

Photo gallery Broadchurch Series 3 See Gallery