Stream On: Philippa Braithwaite talks about Manhunt the runaway hit on Acorn TV staring Martin Clunes as you have never seen him before

Clunes is brilliant as DCI Sutton in Acorn TV’s Manhunt

Acorn TV has a brand new “must see,” hit called Manhunt a three part mini-series that is produced by Philippa Braithwaite and stars her husband Martin Clunes. They are the team behind the worldwide hit series Doc Martin. However, it was this true story behind Manhunt, that they wanted to bring television because they along with most of U.K. were following the cases for two years starting in 2004.

Clunes plays Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton (who was part of the writing team behind the project), who was in charge of the investigation of the killing of a young French woman that took place in a London park back in 2004.

For Doc Martin, fans there is no doubt that playing DCI Sutton is far different than the role of the GP who takes care of the residents of the village of Portwenn. But as much as I love Dr. Ellingham there can be no question that DCI Sutton is a character Clunes was born to play.

Clunes is a true force in Manhunt, it is his best dramatic performance to date. It doesn’t take long for viewers to feel that he is DCI Sutton who is a deeply driven man who has more than his share of problems both professional and personal.

Manhunt brilliantly does a deep dive into how cases are really solved. Not in a tidy slick way but through good old fashioned boots on the ground detective work. Not every lead pans out and not everything that happens can be found on closed-circuit cameras.

Clunes outstanding ability to capture DCI Sutton dogged passion to work with everyone on his team to first connect the dots that showed that what looked like a single murder turned out to be the act of a serial killer. Then to use all of that information to track down the killer in a slow methodical process that stays true to the story in every way.

But Braithwaite shows that while staying true to Sutton’s story, does not mean that has to be boring. Her talented team was able to advance the story in a very compelling and gripping way that hooks the viewer from the very start.  

Braithwaite is my guest on this week’s edition Stream On with Jim Williams, powered by Care/Of. Join us as we go behind the scenes of the Acorn hit Manhunt. 

Braithwaite on this being a very British story. “I was familiar with Amélie Delagrange [the French girl murdered] because she was the first girl we featured who died on Twickenham Green. Milly Dowler was probably the most famous murder victims in the UK. She disappeared, she was a schoolgirl, she was just one of those cases that the nation picked up on and they never found the killer. You don’t even need to say her surname in England, it’s just Milly.”

Braithwaite on one of the many ways Clunes researched being a detective.

“Martin spent a whole day with Hampshire Police murder squad who had just had a case they were starting to investigate and they very kindly allowed Martin to be witnesses for the day as to what happens in the first 24 hours. He found that to be incredibly helpful. Martin said that the adrenaline was extraordinary. No one goes home, they’re dialing in the pizza which is what we were determined to get in. That’s the reality of it. How are we going to eat, what are we going to do, who is going to take this lead, who’s going to take that lead and, the sheer numbers of policeman you get when you have a serious crime like that. In reality, there were 70 policemen on Colin’s team, which is a huge amount of manpower to have to manage. Absolutely fascinating. “

Manhunt had great numbers in the U.K. with a strong average draw of around 8.95 million viewers on ITV each of the three episodes. The ratings put them in the rare air of another ITV hit the Bodyguard which was a winner for Netflix.

Manhunt should put both Braithwaite and Clunes along with the talented cast in line for a number of BAFTA’s come Sunday, May 12th in London. The nominations will be announced on March 28th and the program will likely be in the miniseries category.

Make sure to listen to the entire interview with the delightful Ms. Braithwaite and of course I highly recommend that you binge Manhunt.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.