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|Also known as||Tunnel|
|Opening theme||"The End of Time" – Charlotte Gainsbourg|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes approx|
|Picture format||16:9 (1080i HDTV)|
|Original run||16 October 2013– present|
|Also known as||Tunnel|
|Opening theme||"The End of Time" – Charlotte Gainsbourg|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes approx|
|Picture format||16:9 (1080i HDTV)|
|Original run||16 October 2013– present|
The Tunnel (French: Tunnel) is a British/French crime drama television series, adapted from the 2011 Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge (Broen/Bron). The Tunnel began broadcast on 16 October 2013 on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and on 11 November 2013 on Canal+ in France. The series stars Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy as British and French police detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wasserman, respectively. The plot follows the two detectives working together to find a serial killer who left the upper-half body of a French politician and the lower-half of a British prostitute in the Channel Tunnel, at the midpoint between France and the UK. They later learn that the killer—who comes to be nicknamed the "Truth Terrorist"—is on a moral crusade to highlight many social problems, terrorising both countries in the process. As the series progresses, the killer's true intention is revealed. A second series is reported to be in the works.
The Anglo/French adaption of The Bridge was announced as a joint project between Sky and Canal+ in January 2013. Ben Richards, the head writer of The Tunnel, worked with Hans Rosenfeldt, the creator of the original series. Due to the setting, the dialogue of the series is bilingual, a first for British and French television. With a budget of £15 million, filming took place between February and August 2013, and was shot on location in Kent, England and northern France. It was produced with both British and French crew members. The premieres on both Sky Atlantic and Canal+ received strong ratings for the respective channels, with an initial consolidated figure of almost 900,000 in the UK, and 1.3 million in France. Critical reception of the series has been generally positive, with Dillane and Poésy's acting being praised, as well as the plot's grittiness. The comparisons with The Bridge was also viewed favourably by some reviewers, though others criticised The Tunnel for being identical. Though the producers admit that the first episode is a copy of the original, The Tunnel would diverge as it progresses.
Stephen Dillane plays Karl Roebuck, an aging British detective used to getting his own way. Roebuck's role parallels that of Martin Rohde (played by Kim Bodnia), the Danish detective in The Bridge. Karl and Martin share some characteristics, but also differ in certain ways; for instance, Karl is "more educated and a more troubled man." Dillane was drawn to the political questions raised in the storyline, as well as the series' "novelistic telling".
Clémence Poésy plays Elise Wassermann, the French detective and Roebuck's opposite. Wasserman's role parallels that of Saga Norén (played by Sofia Helin), the Swedish detective in The Bridge. Elise shares similar mannerisms to Saga, including driving a Porsche, picking up men from bars for casual sex, and exhibiting behaviour consistent with Asperger syndrome. The innate seriousness of the character was a trait that Poésy found "quite annoying", but the actress came to appreciate Elise's honesty. Both Dillane and Poésy opted not to view the Scandinavian original series, with the latter stating that it would allow her more freedom in interpreting the character. Poésy dubbed her English lines for the French broadcast.
The series includes several guest stars. Joseph Mawle plays a social worker named Stephen Beaumont, Tom Bateman appears as journalist Danny Hiller, and Tobi Bakare plays Chuks Akinade. Thibault de Montalembert plays Olivier Pujol, who is the head of the Calais police service, and Elise's superior. Sigrid Bouaziz plays Cécile Cabrillac and Cédric Vieira plays Philippe Viot; these characters are police officers who work with Elise. Mathieu Carrière and Jeanne Balibar play banker Alain Joubert, and his wife Charlotte, respectively. Merlin actress Angel Coulby stars as Laura Roebuck, Karl's wife, while Jack Lowden plays Adam, his son. Keeley Hawes guest starred as Suze Harcourt, a care worker and drug addict, along with Liz Smith, who plays Harriet, an elderly woman under Harcourt's care.
James Frain plays Kieran Ashton, a former colleague of Karl, who faked his suicide and became the Truth Terrorist, serving as the primary antagonist. The character is motivated by the loss of his identity and family, as well as betrayal from Karl by his affair with Kieran's wife before her death. Frain believed that Kieran is the most disturbing character he has played. Portraying the character, the actor wanted to make his actions understandable, though not justifiable.
The Anglo-French adaption of the Danish/Swedish series The Bridge was first announced by Sky in January 2013. The ten-part series was to be a co-production between British broadcaster Sky and French broadcaster Canal+. Sky Atlantic Director Elaine Pyke commissioned the show with the intention of establishing the channel as a home for British dramas following the channel's release of the drama series Hit & Miss and Falcón. Due to the setting of the series, it would be bilingual, with dialogue being spoken in English and French. This would make The Tunnel—the producers claim—the first series in British and French television to be bilingual.
Being a "50–50 co-production" between the British and French, the crew were a mix from both countries, and neither party has "final control". The series employed both British and French writers and directors to collaborate on the series, with former Spooks writer Ben Richards leading the writing team. Multiple versions of the script were used, which were translated for both languages. Five directors were hired for the series, three of them British and the other two French. Dominik Moll is considered the head director, with the other directors being Hettie MacDonald, Thomas Vincent, Udayan Prasad, and Philip Martin. The series' executive producers are Sky's Anne Mensah; Canal+'s Fabrice De La Patellière; Kudos' Jane Featherstone, Karen Wilson, Manda Levin, and Ben Richards; Shine France's Nora Melhli; and Filmlance's Lars Blomgren. Ruth Kenley-Letts is the series producer. On the British/French collaboration of the series, Jane Featherstone—the chief executive of the production company Kudos—stated: "We have had to work very collaboratively to make sure we are appealing to both nations. I honestly don't know if we have got that right yet. The French like things to be slightly slower, we like them pacier."
In developing the storyline of the series, Featherstone said that "the team took what was wonderful from [the original] and then forgot about it, in the nicest possible way, and made their own show." While working for the series, Richards worked with Hans Rosenfeldt, the Swedish writer who created The Bridge. Many aspects of the first episode is virtually a copy of the first episode of the Scandinavian series, including: the female lead "stripping unselfconsciously to her underwear in the office", the male lead's relationship with his teenage son, and the "sleazy journalist [being] held captive in his own car with a ticking bomb", the latter of which was a sequence Richards wanted to repeat in the remake. However, Richards said that—as the series progresses and the drama unfolds—the storylines would diverge from the original. Featherstone also noted there would be plenty of changes, saying that many had "seen both [The Bridge and The Tunnel], who feel that they get satisfaction because the characters go on different journeys and the actors all bring a whole new level of interest in it."
As of March 2014, it is reported that Sky is developing a second series, although at the time the broadcaster had not yet officially commissioned it. The storyline of the second series will not parallel the eco-terrorism plot in The Bridge's second series, and will instead focus on another murder investigation.
The budget of the series is estimated to be £15 million. Filming began in February 2013 and concluded in August 2013, with location shooting largely taken place in Kent and northern France. Filming in Kent was based in Discovery Park in Sandwich, and was supported by the Kent Film Office. A former Pfizer facility was used as a number of sets, including the Calais police station and Elise's apartment. The series was filmed throughout five districts: Canterbury, Dover, Shepway, Swale, and Thanet. Several prominent locales were featured, including Folkestone Harbour; The Turner Contemporary art gallery; Westwood Cross shopping centre; and the towns of Dover, Folkestone, and Margate. Production also made use of the Kent Film Office's legal powers to close certain roads for uninterrupted filming. An estimated £2.5 million of the budget was spent on—among other services—accommodation, locations, parking, and catering, providing a boost for the Kent economy. The filming in France was supported by the Nord-Pas de Calais Film Commission and benefited from the Tax Rebate International. Shooting took place over 31 days across Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, and Dunkerque.
Some scenes of The Tunnel were also shot in the Channel Tunnel itself; this makes the series the first television drama production to do so. The producers spent "months of gentle negotiation" with Eurotunnel—the company which operates the tunnel—for permission to shoot scenes there. Eurotunnel allowed it. According to Moll, "The only thing they didn't want was to see train passengers in danger or fires." Moll also noted that they did not shoot in the actual midpoint of the tunnel, stating "once you are a few kilometres in, it all looks the same."
The Tunnel had a world premiere hosted at the international television market Mipcom in Cannes, France on 7 October 2013. In the United Kingdom, Sky Atlantic premiered the series at 9pm on Wednesday, 16 October 2013, and continued weekly until 18 December. The premiere episode was seen by an average of 362,000 overnight viewers, considered strong ratings for the channel. With consolidated ratings taken into account, the first episode went up to 803,000 viewers on Sky Atlantic, with an extra 90,000 viewing from its catch-up channel, Sky Atlantic +1. However, the second episode dropped a third of its overnight audience, leaving it with 236,000 viewers. The finale was seen by 267,000 overnight viewers. In France, the series premiered on Canal+ on 8:55pm at Monday, 11 November 2013. The first episode attracted 1.3 million viewers, marking it as one of the highest rated original series premieres for the channel. The first series was viewed by an average audience of 1.04 million viewers per episode.
The Tunnel received generally positive reviews from television critics. Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy stated that while remakes are "often underwhelming", The Tunnel was "gripping stuff", and believed that viewers "should find plenty to enjoy" in The Tunnel. The performances of Dillane and Poésy were also lauded. Gerard Gilbert of The Independent was positive in his assessment of the series, stating "as an avid fan of The Bridge, I am happy to report that The Tunnel works well in its own right – it's intelligently made, well cast and ambitiously cinematic", adding that it had "succeeded in its high-risk strategy of re-working a near-flawless Scandi-drama in our Anglo-French image." Ellen E Jones, also of The Independent, said that Dillane and Poésy's performances "stuck closely" to the original characterisation of the leads from the Scandinavian version. Of the execution, Jones stated "should you bother watching The Tunnel even if you've already seen the original? The early signs are good. The makers obviously have sense enough to preserve what was effective about the original, and invention enough to distinguish their work too."
Harry Venning of The Stage believed that—plotwise—the collaboration between the British and French police forces and style were "all very effectively done, creepily atmospheric and splendidly gruesome", but also stated that the best thing about the series was "the interplay between Stephen Dillane's easygoing, laddish, rosbif detective inspector and his po-faced, glacial but – wouldn't you know it – extremely sexy Gallic counterpart, played by Clemence Poesy." Metro reviewer Keith Watson—having rated the series four stars out of five—stated "the idea is great. But what's surprising about The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic) is that it's less a version of, more a faithful re-make."
The Guardian posted a number of reviews on its website. Julia Reaside deemed the series a "perfectly cast remake of Swedish-Danish crime hit", and stated that "this confirms Dillane as one of our very finest. Such control. Poésy is beautifully chilly and Joseph Mawle (another cracker) leads an asylum-seeker subplot. It's also really funny." Writing about the finale, Reaside stated of Dillane's performance: "If this were on a terrestrial channel, he'd be up for all the awards." On the Karl/Elise partnership, she stated: "I wasn't sure about them as a pairing but was immediately convinced by their uncomfortable chemistry." Andrew Anthony—having not enjoyed The Bridge—called The Tunnel an "attractive proposition", adding that "there's an engaging confidence to the slow revelation of the story. All in all, this looks good." However, Sam Wollaston was more critical of the series, stating that—while the tone was "atmospheric, intriguing, gripping" and there were strong performances from the lead cast members—The Tunnel was "exactly the same as the (recent) original." Wollaston felt that the only "obvious" difference was that, in the original series, there "was a bridge, this is a tunnel. However magnificent an engineering feat the Channel tunnel is, it can't compete as a spectacular location with the Oresund Bridge."
Gerard O'Donovan of The Daily Telegraph was also mixed on the series, saying: "there was no sense that this was doing much different from other mainstream crime thrillers. Sticking too close to the original script meant a golden opportunity was missed to dig deeper into the attitudes and history that both connect and divide the UK and France". However, he also wrote that he would be "happy to be persuaded otherwise if the action develops."
The series was first released on DVD in France on 20 December 2013, with special features including a making of feature and interviews featuring Moll and Poésy on a four-disc set. A release in the United Kingdom followed on 13 January 2014 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc by publisher Acorn Media UK, and includes three discs, with special features including a making-of feature, cast and crew interviews, and a picture gallery.
Starting on 1 February 2014 in the UK, the first episodes of The Tunnel—along with some other original Sky series—will be released for free on the video sharing website YouTube, in an attempt to attract more Sky subscribers.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||British air date||French air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Episode 1"||Dominik Moll||Ben Richards||16 October 2013||11 November 2013||0.893[nb 1]|
|French politician Marie Villeneuve is found dead in the Channel Tunnel, at the midpoint between France and the UK. When it is discovered that the body has been cut in half, and that the lower half belongs to Welsh prostitute Gemma Kirwan, Karl Roebuck (Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (Poésy), the respective British and French detectives, work together to investigate the killings. In France, Charlotte Jubert (Balibar) is a suspect, having made threats against Villeneuve before her death. Jubert insists that she only did so to stop Villeneuve from badgering her husband Alain (Carriere), a wealthy banker who is in hiding fearing for his life. In the UK, Stephen Beaumont (Mawle) runs a hostel for failed asylum seekers and takes in Colombian-born Veronica (Catalina Denis). Karl and Elise suspect tabloid journalist Danny Hillier (Bateman), whose car was spotted where Gemma Kirwan was last seen alive (although Hillier was in Prague at the time). Hillier enters his car to find it rigged with explosives. When the timer reaches zero however, it is revealed that there was no bomb. Instead, the killer leaves behind a message.|
|2||"Episode 2"||Dominik Moll||Ben Richards||23 October 2013||11 November 2013|
|The killer releases a viral video stating that the killings were the first of five "truths", "inequality before the law". Alain Jubert is run over by a high-speed train getting away from people who are following him. Stephen Beaumont moves Veronica and her son to an abandoned cottage to protect her from Anthony (Ed Skrein), the pimp who ran Gemma Kirwan. Karl further investigates Kirwan's disappearance, while Elise continues to examine threats made against Marie Villeneuve. This leads her to an anti-Zionist farmer, based on the coroner's observation that the victims were cut with a saw used in slaughterhouses. Elise finds the lower half of Villeneuve's body at the farm, but rules out the farmer as a suspect when she realises that he cannot speak English. The killer releases a second video, in which he reveals that intends to target the elderly for his "second truth", and attacks a Folkestone retirement home, poisoning the residents' medication and causing several fatalities. Care worker Suze Beaumont (Hawes), Stephen's sister and Anthony's lover, who uses the drugs for intoxication, also falls victim.|
|3||"Episode 3"||Udayan Prasad||Olivier Kohn & Ben Richards||30 October 2013||18 November 2013||0.709[nb 2]|
|The killer, nicknamed the "Truth Terrorist" (TT) by Danny Hillier, uses Hillier as a means to spread his message, and informs him he will continue his "second truth" in France, later kidnapping veteran Jean-Claude Delplanque (Pascal Laurent) and live-steaming his victim's ordeal. Profiling the Truth Terrorist, Elise comes to realise that he is a mastermind, having covered his tracks so thoroughly. However, a runaway teen couple accidentally find Delplanque, and are captured by the Truth Terrorist. Veronica calls Anthony for help and he instructs her to run away to London. Meanwhile, troubled teenager Sophie Campbell (Mia Goth) runs away from her abusive mother and is taken in by Benji (Paul Ready), an outwardly trustworthy person. Karl and Elise find out that Jean-Claude Delplanque is being kept in a cold-storage unit, and is slowly freezing to death. The Truth Terrorist emails Danny Hillier the photographs of four wealthy businesspeople who he says can save Delplanque.|
|4||"Episode 4"||Udayan Prasad||Chris Lang||6 November 2013||18 November 2013||0.596[nb 3]|
|The Truth Terrorist demands that the businesspeople make a significant donation to charity. Charlotte Jubert, who is one of those named, investigates her husband Alain's death and discovers that he had a second life, with another wife and home. The other three businesspeople opt out of paying, and Charlotte agrees to pay their shares as well so that she can eliminate all trace of Alain. Meanwhile, French police notice occasional vibrations on the live stream of Jean-Claude Delplanque's imprisonment, which they determine (via audio analysis) are caused by passing trains. They narrow Delplanque's location to two cold stores. Karl and Elise search what turns out to be the correct location, but the Truth Terrorist subdues Karl and shoots several police officers in effecting his escape. Delplanque does not survive, but the runaway couple are found alive. Elise suspects that the Truth Terrorist may know Karl because Karl has recently had a vasectomy and the Truth Terrorist kicked him in the groin. In the UK, runaway Sophie Campbell starts to believe that Benji, her "protector", is mentally ill, because she finds a cupboard full of unused prescription drugs. It is also hinted that Benji intends to go on a samurai-style suicide mission, later wielding a katana provided by the Truth Terrorist, who has been grooming him.|
|5||"Episode 5"||Hettie MacDonald||Yann Le Niver||13 November 2013||25 November 2013||0.534[nb 4]|
|For the "third truth", which involves the mentally ill, Benji, controlled by the Truth Terrorist, beheads a psychiatrist and several pedestrians, before killing himself with cyanide after his arrest. Karl sees Charlotte Joubert regarding her husband Alain's encrypted files, and she uses the opportunity to seduce Karl. He returns home to find that his wife Laura (Coulby) is pregnant. Karl and Elise have to track down Sophie Campbell before she is found by the Truth Terrorist, who has been posing online as her father in order to discover her whereabouts. Karl and Elise discover Sophie in an internet café, and Elise decides to lure the Truth Terrorist in a trap at the Folkestone docks by using Sophie as bait. The Truth Terrorist attempts to kill Sophie with a sniper rifle, but Elise saves her. Meanwhile, Karl's colleague Chuks Akinade (Bakare) finds a picture of one of the original victims, Gemma Kirwan, on Stephen Beaumont's computer. Now a suspect, Beaumont murders Kirwan's pimp, Anthony. The Truth Terrorist arrives in France to kidnap police officer Laurent Delgado (Dimitri Rataud), who has been accused of murdering a teenager named Mehdi Cherfi.|
|6||"Episode 6"||Hettie MacDonald||George Kay||20 November 2013||25 November 2013||0.575[nb 5]|
|Karl and Elise corner Stephen Beaumont on a Calais-bound ferry and he admits to killing Anthony because he had ruined his attempts to help people like Gemma Kirwan. Beaumont then kills himself. The Truth Terrorist demonstrates his "fourth truth" by burning alive four youths who had been arrested during the 2011 England riots. Journalist Danny Hillier ignores the Truth Terrorist's suggestion for a front page title, and as a consequence, the Truth Terrorist kills a woman with whom Hillier has just had a one night stand. Karl's wife Laura learns of his affair with Charlotte Joubert, while Karl is annoyed to discover that his son Adam (Lowden) has spent the night at Elise's flat. Calais police find out that some French youths involved in the fourth truth were killed during a riot, one of them being a boy called Mehdi Cherfi. The Truth Terrorist lures Yacine, Mehdi's brother, to an abandoned shop where Laurent Delagado has been imprisoned. Delagado is forced to confess to killing Mehdi. Yacine returns home where he is intercepted by Karl and Elise. Yacine and Mehdi's father later finds the imprisoned Delgado too, but decides not to exact revenge and releases him. Delgado is then shot dead by the Truth Terrorist.|
|7||"Episode 7"||Philip Martin||Emma Frost||27 November 2013||2 December 2013||0.537[nb 6]|
|Karl and Elise now believe that the Truth Terrorist is a police officer, due to his knowledge of police procedures. Laurent Delgado's widow suspects it is one of Delgado's colleagues, who participated with him in some training exercises. The police involved were financed by a company called ZP Holdings, but its offices are found to be deserted. The Truth Terrorist hijacks a minibus of school children in Kent and holds them in a farm. For his "final truth", relating to the exploitation of children, he urges the public to attack department stores known for using child labour in third world countries. He releases a child in return for each attack, and then asks the public to decide which of the two remaining children should die. Ultimately, he lets them both live and executes the minibus driver. The Truth Terrorist later calls Danny Hillier and offers to give himself up after giving him an exclusive interview, but instead, he kills Hillier with a bomb. Elise's colleague Cécile Cabrillac (Bouaziz) works out the identity of a police officer who could be the Truth Terrorist; Fabien Vincent.|
|8||"Episode 8"||Thomas Vincent||Ben Richards||4 December 2013||2 December 2013||0.555[nb 7]|
|The hunt for Fabien Vincent (Thierry Frémont) is hindered by direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), who are using him as an asset. Vincent helped investigate ZP Holdings, who were suspected of gun-running. Karl investigates Danny Hillier's murder and discovers that Hillier's original name was Giles Haddock. Before the name change, Haddock was involved in a drunk driving incident that resulted in the deaths of the wife and child of Kieran Ashton, a police officer with whom Karl once worked, but who had since committed suicide. Meanwhile, Fabien Vincent kidnaps Elise, and she realises that he is not the Truth Terrorist. Vincent reveals that he was a part of "Peloton", a joint operation of several European intelligence agencies, and killing Alain Jubert was one of their assignments. After escaping an assault by gangsters, Fabien Vincent releases Elise. Attention now turns to Kieran Ashton, who is revealed to have faked his suicide.|
|9||"Episode 9"||Thomas Vincent||Chris Lang||11 December 2013||9 December 2013||0.535[nb 8]|
|Calais police trace Kieran Ashton's bank records following his supposed death, leading them to a John Sumner, who has become a friend of Laura Roebuck. After Karl positively identifies Sumner as being Ashton, confirming him as the Truth Terrorist, Karl and Elise go to Ashton's house in Kent, where they discover that he has been planning his mission for several years, and that his next target is Laura Roebuck, as a consequence of an affair Karl had with Ashtons's wife before her death. Sumner/Ashton takes Laura and her children on a day out, and ultimately traps her in an empty house by making her keep her foot on the pressure trigger of an improvised explosive device to prevent it going off. As Elise looks after Adam Roebuck, Ashton tells the police where Laura is. The bomb squad reveals that although the device cannot be disarmed, it was not designed to be detonated immediately on release of the switch. Laura steps off the trigger and is able to run out of the house before the explosion. Adam Roebuck manages to sneak out of home to meet his online girlfriend, unaware that "she" is really Ashton, who is luring him to a trap. Elise realises that Adam is Ashton's real target.|
|10||"Episode 10"||Thomas Vincent||Ben Richards||18 December 2013||9 December 2013||0.660[nb 9]|
|Ashton kidnaps Adam and mentally tortures Karl by leading him to a number of dead ends in his search for his son. Now that Adam is involved, Karl says he must resign from the case. He acquires his grandfather's Mauser pistol, and begins searching for Ashton alone. He is lured to a location where he finds a phone Ashton has planted. Meanwhile, Elise discovers that Ashton had also been a Peloton operative, and returns to France to meet Fabien Vincent, who reveals the location of a safe house in England used by Peloton, where Elise finds Adam. Ashton calls Karl to arrange a meeting with him at a Channel Tunnel ventilation shaft near the tunnel entrance in Folkestone. There, he provokes Karl to initiate a stand-off with the police. Elise, realising that Ashton wants Karl to kill him as way of bringing his "mission" to an end, persuades her superiors to let her into the ventilation shaft and talk Karl down. There, she tells Karl that Adam has been found. Ashton, realising his plan has failed, reveals that he injected Adam with enough morphine to make him overdose. Elise denies this, and Karl is initially relieved, but as she approaches, he sees that Elise is on the verge of tears, and realises that she is lying, and that Adam is dead. Maddened with grief, he orders Ashton on his knees and considers executing him, but hesitates when Elise insists that killing Ashton would merely fulfil his plan. At that moment, the police begin to set their sights on Karl, and Elise, realising that they are preparing to shoot him, quickly rushes forward and embraces him, shielding him, and pushes his arm down to get him to lower the weapon - but Ashton immediately tries to grab the gun and complete the deed himself. In the subsequent struggle, the gun discharges into the ground, throwing gravel up into Ashton's eyes and blinding him. After Ashton's arrest, Karl decides to leave the police force, and he and Elise say their goodbyes.|