A FILM crew shooting the latest series of Broadchurch has come under fire for setting up camera close to the edge of a ‘dangerous’ and ‘unstable’ cliff.
Shooting for the second series of the BAFTA award-winning show is well underway in West Bay.
Coastguards have sent out a number warnings urging people to stay away from the cliffs in recent months, following unpredictable weather which has led to rockfalls and landslides.
But as these photos show, the Broadchurch film crew was spotted just inches away from the edge of East Cliff, sparking safety concerns.
Their ‘silly’ actions have been met with strong criticism from local coast experts.
An estimated 400 tonnes of rock fell on to the beach in February this year, leaving a large portion of the cliff face unstable.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard said: “We always advise people to stay away from cliff edges because they are so unstable, and especially this year with the weather we have had.
“There is a fairly fresh fall near East Cliff.
“People need to stay away and definitely away from the recent fall; either below the cliffs or anywhere that’s overhanging.
“It can go in an instant and doesn’t give any warning. It is definitely not wise to go near the edge.”
A coastguard rescue officer, who did not want to be named, said: "You can clearly see that the crew are sitting on what is the only bulge on that section of the cliff. Of all the places, that area looks to be the most at risk to a trained eye.
"We would never have any of our cliff teams in such a dangerous position without first having them being attached to double-staked secured safety lines and of course wearing full rescue harnesses.
"Their actions appear to be really stupid and why they were not attached to even some basic safety lines so close to the edge of the cliffs, I find remarkable in this age of health and safety."
But producers have defended the filming techniques, saying a number of checks were carried out beforehand.
A spokesman said: “The Broadchurch production team were granted permission to film in the area by the local council and the National Trust.
“We take health and safety of crew very seriously and do multiple pre-filming visits of the area to ensure any filming on these cliffs is as safe as possible.
“Precautions are always taken to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the cast and crew.”
The scene is about a mile from Freshwater Beach where holidaymaker Charlotte Blackman, aged 22, was killed in a landslip in summer 2012.
Filming for Broadchurch returned to West Bay on Wednesday, with stars Olivia Colman and David Tennant returning to the area along with new addition, Hollywood actress Charlotte Rampling.
Jamie Staple, station officer for West Bay Coastguards, said if the production team had told them it was planning to film from the cliff, ‘we would have told them not to do it.’ He added: “If people ignore our advice, it is up to them.
“These cliffs are always dangerous. It’s not a case of if they fall, it’s a case of when they fall.”
Richard Edmonds, earth science manager of the Jurassic Coast Team, said: “It’s just common sense to stay away.
“It’s an unnecessary, silly risk.”
Rescuers descended on West Bay in February after part of East Cliff collapsed