Chris Mason thanks Broadchurch fans who hailed 'brilliant performance'

Between Two Worlds premiere - London

Broadchurch actor Chris Mason has thanked fans for their support after he was unmasked as the drama's villain.

The series finale left viewers shocked when it emerged that Leo Humphries, played by Mason, forced 16-year-old Michael Lucas (Deon Lee-Williams) to rape Julie Hesmondhalgh's character, Trish Winterman.

Mason? told fans on Twitter: "Thanks for all the messages on Broadchurch. It was an honour to be part of such an important TV show. Thanks for watching."

The 26-year-old, from Liverpool, won acclaim for his performance in the ITV drama, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman.

Christopher Moore? wrote: "Chris Mason, You have just portrayed one of the most skin-crawling TV villains I've ever watched. Brilliant performance."

Amelia Packer wrote: "Chris Mason was so brave to take on such a powerful and disgusting role, he played it brilliantly, made the nation feel ill."

Mason's previous credits include Legend, the gangster drama on the Kray twins starring Tom Hardy, and the lead role in Wonderkid, a short film about the inner turmoil of a young gay footballer.

His next film, The Mad Genius Project, is due out later this year.

Broadchurch ended on a record high as its last episode scored its biggest audience ever.

An average of 8.7 million viewers tuned in to watch as the identity of Trish's rapist was revealed in the shocking finale, peaking at 9.3 million.

Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, the new Doctor Who boss, has confirmed there will not be another series of the Dorset-set crime drama, saying the last episode was "the end of the story".