Bodyguard (UK TV series)

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series title on a black background
Created byJed Mercurio
Written byJed Mercurio
Directed by
  • Thomas Vincent
  • John Strickland
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Simon Heath
  • Jed Mercurio
  • Elizabeth Kilgarriff
  • Priscilla Parish
  • Eric Coulter
Production location(s)London, UK
CinematographyJohn Lee
  • Steve Singleton (ep 1–3)
  • Andrew John McClelland (ep 4–6)
Running time56–75 minutes
Production company(s)World Productions
DistributorITV Studios Global Entertainment
Original networkBBC One
Picture format1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release26 August 2018 (2018-08-26) – present
External links
BBC Website
Production website

Bodyguard is a British television drama series, created and written by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions for the BBC. The six-part series stars Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes.[1] The series began broadcasting on BBC One on 26 August 2018,[2] achieving the highest viewing figures for a new BBC drama in the multichannel era and the highest BBC viewing figures since 2008.[3][4]

The BBC commissioned the series from the then independent World Productions in 2016. After ITV Studios Global Entertainment bought the company in 2017, they have handled international distribution for the series.[5] Netflix agreed to a distribution deal to broadcast the show outside the United Kingdom and Ireland.[6]

The series is set around the fictional character of Police Sergeant David Budd, a heroic British Army war-veteran suffering from PTSD, who is now working as a specialist protection officer for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London's Metropolitan Police Service. He is assigned to protect the ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics stand for everything he despises.



No.EpisodeDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [12]
1Episode 1Thomas VincentJed Mercurio26 August 2018 (2018-08-26)14.42
Police Sergeant David Budd, an Afghanistan War veteran, is on a train to London Euston when he foils a suicide bomber's plot to blow up the train. Due to his actions, both terrorist suspects avoid being shot, enabling them to be arrested. His heroism results in his promotion to serve on the detail of Julia Montague, the Home Secretary. There is tension between the two, with Montague's steadfast support of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan and plans to infringe civil liberties by updating RIPA conflicting with Budd's experience as a soldier. Her ex-husband and Chief Whip Roger Penhaligon suspects her of exploiting the terrorist threat, and that she intends to launch a bid to replace the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Budd struggles to deal with both his PTSD and his deteriorating relationship with his wife. Budd meets Andy Apsted, an old army friend, in the anti-war Veterans Peace Group. Apsted is disgusted with his friend's new career.
2Episode 2Thomas VincentJed Mercurio27 August 2018 (2018-08-27)15.04
Stephen Hunter-Dunn, Director General of MI5, informs Montague of intelligence suggesting a terrorist plan to attack Budd's children's school, in retaliation for his foiling of the train bombing. He advises her to keep it secret, fearing a member of the police might have leaked Budd's information to the terrorists. Montague later controversially transfers investigation of the foiled bombing to MI5. The attack on the school is prevented by a police ARV, but the terrorists manage to detonate the bomb in the street, killing five police officers. Budd's family is relocated to a safe house, and although he is removed from Montague's detail, she has him reinstated. She also arranges the offer of a place at a special school for Budd's son. Returning from a COBRA meeting, Montague's car comes under sniper fire that kills her driver, but she and Budd survive due to the car's armour plating. Budd pursues and corners the sniper, revealed to be Apsted, who kills himself. That evening, Budd and Montague have sex. The next day he is instructed by Sampson and his superior, CSU Lorraine Craddock, to record Montague's meetings. They also tell him she had prior knowledge that his children's school would be targeted.
3Episode 3Thomas VincentJed Mercurio2 September 2018 (2018-09-02)14.16
Montague is given a tablet by a man calling himself Richard Longcross, containing compromising information about the Prime Minister. Budd believes Longcross is an alias he is with the security service. Montague corners the PM at Chequers unannounced, and appears to blackmail him into organising a reshuffle that would allow her to take his place. Budd is interviewed by Counter Terrorism Command detectives Sharma and Rayburn, who seem unconvinced by his account of the sniper attack. RIPA 18 passes the third House of Commons vote. Travis meets Penhaligon to express concern about Montague's relationship with MI5. Budd and Montague's relationship deteriorates when he accidentally attacks her during a PTSD fit. Before Montague gives her speech at St. Matthew's College, she confesses to Budd that she knew his children's school was a possible target. She says she wants him by her side, not because it is his job, but through choice. As she is giving her speech, Budd sees her PR advisor Tahir Mahmood outside the auditorium, but allows him in after checking his briefcase. However, seconds later, as Mahmood approaches the stage, a bomb explodes.
4Episode 4John StricklandJed Mercurio9 September 2018 (2018-09-09)16.18
Knowles and Mahmood were killed in the blast and Montague is in intensive care. Mike Travis, her junior Minister of State, is appointed Acting Home Secretary and transfers responsibility for investigating the bombings back to Counter Terrorism Command. The police believe that Mahmood was responsible for the bombing, although CCTV is not conclusive that the explosion emanated from the briefcase. Budd falls under suspicion for not spotting the bomb when he spoke to Mahmood. DCI Sharma and DS Rayburn interview him and search his property. The next day, the PM announces that Montague is dead. CCTV from the House of Commons shows adviser Rob MacDonald handing Mahmood the briefcase. Before he is interviewed by police, Travis tells him to stick to their pre-arranged story. Budd attempts suicide, but fails because someone has replaced the bullets in his hidden pistol with blanks. Returning to Montague's hotel, he discovers the security footage has been tampered with to delete Longcross's visit. On orders from Sampson, he accompanies Rayburn to interview Nadia about who had supplied the explosives for the foiled train attack, but she does not identify the bomb-maker among the pictures she is shown, which include one of Mahmood.
5Episode 5John StricklandJed Mercurio16 September 2018 (2018-09-16)16.85
Analysis establishes that the bomb was not in the briefcase, but under the stage. Rayburn discovers that CCTV footage from before the attack was altered, and Budd creates an E-FIT of Longcross. Apsted is identified by SO15, with his past as an army EOD officer raising suspicion that he might have been the bomb maker. Nadia identifies Longcross as the man her husband met. Budd researches the kompromat Montague was given, and ambushes Penhaligon at his constituency surgery, accusing him of trying to steal the tablet while she was in hospital. Hunter-Dunn denies any association with Longcross, but still refuses to share information with police. MacDonald reveals he and the party planned to embarrass Montague by altering her speech, but never intended physical harm. Budd meets with a gun dealer and attempts to acquire the same type of sniper rifle Apsted used. Luke Aikens (the man who collected Chanel after she was fired) is revealed to be a figure in organised crime, another party threatened by RIPA 18's surveillance. When information regarding Budd's relationship with Montague and his attempted suicide is leaked, Craddock suspends him from duty and revokes his firearms license. He visits Montague's flat and finds the tablet hidden in a photo frame.
6Episode 6John StricklandJed Mercurio23 September 2018 (2018-09-23)17.06
Aikens abducts Budd and fits him in a suicide vest with a dead man's switch. He emerges onto a street and police officers do not believe his story and suspect Budd's involvement in the conspiracy via Apsted. MI5 is monitoring the scene; suspecting that he is being watched, Budd gives false information about the location of the kompromat, and MI5 sends Longcross to retrieve it. However, Budd has booby-trapped the flat with tear gas, which temporarily blinds Longcross, who is then arrested. After a stand-off, Vicky runs towards Budd to prevent the police from shooting him. Still wearing the vest, Budd leads the police to his flat, where Vicky gives them the kompromat and the blank rounds that confirm Budd's innocence. The explosives officer helps Budd disarm the vest. Budd flees to Dyson's flat and forces her to get Aikens to meet his police insider. Budd follows him and discovers Craddock is the insider. She confesses to providing information about Montague's movements that enabled her assassination and to choosing Budd to be Montague's PPO because his background made him a perfect fall guy. Nadia is interviewed again and reveals that she lied about recognising Longcross's e-fit. She is an engineer who built the explosive devices. She had remembered the details Budd told her about his children, which led to the attack on their school. The kompromat is leaked, apparently by Sampson, and it is implied that the Prime Minister and the Director-General of MI5 will resign. In the final scenes, Budd starts occupational health treatment, and he and Vicky travel with their children to visit his parents.


The series was largely filmed on location in London,[13] including the Whittington Estate for Budd's flat and Battersea for Montague's flat. The bomb scenes in the final episode were filmed around CityPoint near Moorgate and Woburn Square in Bloomsbury.

The train scenes in the first episode were filmed on the Mid-Norfolk Railway.[14]

BBC journalists including Andrew Marr, John Pienaar, John Humphrys and Laura Kuenssberg appear as themselves.


Viewing figures for the series were high, with 10.4 million (peaking at 11 million) viewers watching the overnight broadcast of the finale live on BBC One alone.[15][16] As significant numbers of viewers watched the show on catchup service iPlayer after transmission, the series sparked a debate on how the media should handle spoilers. Radio Times revealed the fate of Montague in a cover story during the series' original transmission run.[17]

The series received positive reviews. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an average score of 8.8/10 based on 18 reviews.

There was criticism that the character Nadia was Islamophobic, due to the replacement of one stereotype of Muslim women (that they are oppressed by Muslim men) with another (that Muslims, men and women, are terrorists).[18]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Bodyguard Pending [19]
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Richard Madden Pending


  1. ^ Griffiths, Eleanor Bley (3 August 2018). "Meet the cast of Bodyguard on BBC1". Radio Times. London: Immediate Media Company. ISSN 0033-8060. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hughes, Sarah (12 August 2018). "Jed Mercurio on Bodyguard, jeopardy ... and the next Line of Duty". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. eISSN 1756-3224. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  3. ^ Corrodus, Corrine (4 September 2018). "Bodyguard is the biggest drama on British TV in over a decade". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Bodyguard most watched BBC drama since 2008". BBC News. BBC. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018. Hit BBC drama Bodyguard kept an average 10.4 million viewers on tenterhooks as the series drew to a close on Sunday. The audience reached its peak - 11 million - in its final five minutes. [...] No BBC drama has drawn a bigger audience since Doctor Who, whose Christmas Day episode in 2008 was seen by 11.7 million people.
  5. ^ "BBC unveils brand new must-see dramas". BBC Media Centre (Press release). BBC. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018. Bodyguard (6x60') is produced by World Productions for BBC One. The series is Executive Produced by showrunner Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions and Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC One. ITV Studios Global Entertainment manage international distribution of the series and Priscilla Parish is the producer.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; White, Peter (18 September 2018). "Netflix Picks Up BBC Drama Thriller 'Bodyguard' Starring 'Game Of Thrones' Richard Madden". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "BBC – Bodyguard – Media Centre".
  8. ^ BBC One-Bodyguard-David Budd BBC One-Bodyguard.
  9. ^ BBC One-Bodyguard-Julia Montague BBC One-Bodyguard.
  10. ^ BBC One-Bodyguard-Vicky Budd BBC One-Bodyguard.
  11. ^ "Andy Apsted". BBC. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Four-screen dashboard (TV sets only, based on 28-day data) - BARB". Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  13. ^ Power, Ed (7 September 2018). "Shooting Bodyguard: the secrets of the hit show's filming locations". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  14. ^ Bennett, Daniel (28 August 2018). "Norfolk railway gets boost in TV requests after BBC Bodyguard success". Dereham Times. Archant. Retrieved 2 October 2018. Almost seven million viewers saw Dereham’s heritage railway station in the opening scenes of Bodyguard on Sunday evening. Filming was carried out in Dereham during January and February this year.
  15. ^ Waterson, Jim (24 September 2018). "Bodyguard audience peaks with 10.4m viewers for series finale". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Bodyguard most watched BBC drama since 2008". BBC News. 25 September 2018.
  17. ^ Heritage, Stuart (12 September 2018). "The real Bodyguard conspiracy: when is it OK to reveal spoilers?". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  18. ^ Lee, Jess (24 September 2018). "Bodyguard heavily criticised for Islamophobia as viewers slam episode 6's Nadia twist". Digital Spy. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 24 September 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018. Although the twist attempted to subvert one particular stereotype about Muslim women, this problematic development served to reinforce other negative and extremely harmful stereotypes about Muslims.
  19. ^ "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. December 6, 2018. Archived from the original on December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.

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