Bodyguard (British 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
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 formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release26 August (2018-08-26) –
23 September 2018 (2018-09-23)
External links
BBC Website
Production website

Bodyguard is a British police political-thriller television series created and written by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions as part of ITV Studios for the BBC. The six-part series stars Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, alongside Gina McKee, Sophie Rundle, Vincent Franklin, Pippa Haywood, Paul Ready, Tom Brooke, Nicholas Gleaves, Stuart Bowman, Stephanie Hyam, David Westhead, Matt Stokoe, Nina Toussaint-White, Ash Tandon, and Anjli Mohindra.[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. Since ITV Studios Global Entertainment acquired 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.[6]

The series is set around the fictional character of Police Sergeant David Budd, a British Army war veteran suffering from PTSD, who is now working for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London's Metropolitan Police Service. He is assigned as the principal protection officer (PPO) for the ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics he despises. As the series unravels, the series comments on many issues regarding the controversy around government monitoring of private information and its regulation, and also on PTSD.

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Richard Madden as PS David Budd, a Scottish Afghanistan war veteran and dedicated Principal Protection Officer (PPO) at Protection Command. His wartime experiences have left him struggling with PTSD, mistrustful of politicians and prone to volatile behaviour. Assigned to protect Montague, whose politics he loathes, Budd is left conflicted over where his loyalties lie.[7][8]
  • Keeley Hawes as The Rt. Hon. Julia Montague MP, the Home Secretary and Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Thames West. Both Montague's political ambition and her controversial "Snoopers' Charter" RIPA 18 bill, which infringes civil liberties, leave her with many enemies.[7][9]
  • Gina McKee as Commander Anne Sampson, Head of Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) and Sharma's superior. Threatened by Montague's preference for MI5, Sampson enlists Budd's help.
  • Sophie Rundle as Vicky Budd, David's wife and the mother of their two children, who works as a ward sister at a London hospital. David's unpredictable moods and issues with PTSD since returning from Afghanistan left them estranged.[7][10]
  • Vincent Franklin as Mike Travis MP, Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism, who grows increasingly resentful over being excluded from Montague's dealings with MI5.
  • Pippa Haywood as CSI Lorraine Craddock, Budd's commanding officer at Protection Command who assigns him to protect Montague.
  • Paul Ready as Rob MacDonald, Special Advisor to the Home Secretary, who has a crush on Montague.
  • Tom Brooke as Andy Apsted, a war veteran and friend of Budd's. Scarred both physically and mentally by his experiences in Afghanistan, Apsted leads the anti-war Veterans Peace Group.[11]
  • Nicholas Gleaves as The Rt. Hon. Roger Penhaligon MP, the Conservative Party Chief Whip, Member of Parliament for Surrey North and Montague's ex-husband. A staunch supporter of the Prime Minister, he becomes increasingly suspicious and wary of Julia's political ambition.
  • Stuart Bowman as Stephen Hunter-Dunn, Director General of the Security Service (MI5), whose surveillance powers will be significantly enhanced by RIPA 18. Montague's preference for MI5 over SO15 puts him at odds with Sampson.
  • Stephanie Hyam as Chanel Dyson, the PR Advisor to the Home Secretary before getting fired by Montague.
  • David Westhead as The Rt. Hon. John Vosler MP, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.
  • Matt Stokoe as Luke Aikens, a mysterious organised crime leader.
  • Nina Toussaint-White as DS Louise Rayburn, an SO15 officer working under Sharma who starts to work with Budd.[7]
  • Ash Tandon as DCI Deepak Sharma, a senior detective in SO15 leading the investigation into the recent series of terror activities. As things fail to add up, he becomes suspicious of Budd.
  • Anjli Mohindra as Nadia Ali, implicated with her husband in an attempted bombing.


  • Shubham Saraf as Tahir Mahmood, Montague's PR Adviser.
  • Claire-Louise Cordwell as Constable Kim Knowles, a Protection Command bodyguard in Budd's team.
  • Richard Riddell as Constable Tom Fenton, a Protection Command bodyguard in Budd's team.
  • Michael Shaeffer as "Richard Longcross", an enigmatic MI5 agent working under Hunter-Dunn who becomes involved in a cat-and-mouse game with Budd.
  • Matthew Stagg as Charlie Budd, David and Vicky's 8-year-old son.
  • Bella Padden as Ella Budd, David and Vicky's 10-year-old daughter.


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 terrorists 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. A bombing attack on the school is prevented by a police ARV shooting the terrorists, but the terrorists detonate the bomb in the street by timer prior to being shot. Both terrorists and three police officers are killed. 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, who is revealed to be Apsted, on the roof of a building, where he shoots himself dead. Budd hides his relationship with Apsted. That evening, Budd and Montague have sex. The next day he is instructed by Anne Sampson, Head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, 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
A man calling himself Richard Longcross gives a tablet to Montague, with instructions to use it to access encrypted information. Budd researches Longcross, but is unable to find his profile. With Budd serving as her driver, Montague corners the Prime Minister at Chequers, but viewers do not see what transpires between Montague and the PM. Budd is interviewed by Counter Terrorism Command detectives Sharma and Rayburn, who seem skeptical of his account of the sniper attack. RIPA 18 passes the third House of Commons vote. Mike Travis, Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism, meets Penhaligon to express concern about Montague's relationship with MI5. Budd and Montague's relationship deteriorates when he accidentally chokes her during a PTSD episode. 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 by 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. Seconds later 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. Travis is appointed Acting Home Secretary and transfers responsibility for investigating the bombings back to Counter Terrorism Command. The police suspect 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 MacDonald 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, the suicide bomber, about who had supplied the explosives for the foiled train attack. Nadia 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. This attracts the attention of Luke Aikens, a powerful crime lord and another member of the conspiracy. When information regarding Budd's relationship with Montague and his attempted suicide is leaked, Craddock suspends him from duty and revokes his firearms licence. 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. The police are called, but they do not believe his story and instead suspect Budd's involvement in the conspiracy due to his newly revealed connection to Apsted, which Budd insists he lied about so that he would not become a fall guy. 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 pepper spray, temporarily blinding 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 and Budd escapes so he can prove his innocence. He discovers Craddock is Aikens's police insider and stops himself from shooting Aikens dead. The two are arrested and Craddock confesses to leaking Montague's movements and enabling her assassination. She also admits that she chose Budd to be Montague's PPO because his background made him a perfect fall guy. Nadia is interviewed again and reveals she lied about recognising Longcross's E-FIT. Nadia built the explosive devices and remembered the details Budd told her about his children during the disarming of the first suicide vest, which resulted in the attack on their school. The kompromat is leaked, apparently by Sampson, and she tells Budd that the Prime Minister and the Director-General of MI5 will resign. Budd starts occupational health treatment, and he and Vicky travel with their children to visit his parents.


The train used for filming the opening scenes.

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 and Senate House 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 critical acclaim. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 95% approval rating, with an average rating of 8.31/10, based on 58 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "Bodyguard maintains a palpable tension throughout its pulpy proceedings to create an absorbing and addicting psychological thriller."[18] On Metacritic, the series was given a score of 79 out of 100 based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[19][20]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 RTS Craft & Design Awards Best Sound – Drama Dan Johnson, Simon Farmer, Jamie Caple, and Marc Lawes Won [21]
2019 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Bodyguard Nominated [22]
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Richard Madden Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Drama Series Richard Madden Nominated [23]
National Television Awards New Drama Bodyguard Won [24]
Drama Performance Richard Madden Won
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television Steve Singleton for "Episode 1" Won [25]
Golden Reel Awards Broadcast Media Longform Dialogue / ADR Dan Johnson and James Gregory for "Episode 2" Nominated [26]
Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Bodyguard Nominated
Globe de Cristal Awards Meilleure série étrangère Bodyguard Nominated [27]
TRIC Awards Best Crime Bodyguard Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Best Drama Series Bodyguard Nominated [28]
Best Actress Keeley Hawes Nominated
British Academy Television Awards Best Drama Series Bodyguard Nominated [29]
Best Actress Keeley Hawes Nominated
Virgin TV's Must-See Moment Julia Montague assassinated Won
British Academy Television Craft Awards Director – Fiction Thomas Vincent for "Episode 1" Nominated
Editing – Fiction Steve Singleton for "Episode 1" Nominated
Sound – Fiction Simon Farmer, Dan Johnson and Marc Lawes Nominated
Banff Rockie Awards Best English-language Drama Series Bodyguard Won [30]
Monte-Carlo Television Festival Best TV Series – Drama Bodyguard Nominated [31][32]
Outstanding Actor in a TV Series – Drama Richard Madden Won
Outstanding Actress in a TV Series – Drama Keeley Hawes Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Bodyguard Nominated [33]
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Jed Mercurio for "Episode 1" Nominated
Seoul International Drama Awards Best Mini-Series Bodyguard Nominated [34][35]
Best Actor Richard Madden Nominated
Best Director Thomas Vincent and John Strickland Nominated
Best Screenwriter Jed Mercurio Won

Red Nose Bodyguard[edit]

A skit titled Red Nose Bodyguard was filmed in support of Comic Relief, featuring many cast members from series 1 as well as performances from Joanna Lumley, Adrian Dunbar and Sanjeev Bhaskar.[36] The skit was first broadcast on Red Nose Day 2019 on 15 March 2019.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Bodyguard: Series 1 Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Bodyguard: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Winners of the RTS Craft & Design Awards 2018 announced". Royal Television Society. 6 November 2018. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Golden Globes Winners: The Complete List". Variety. 6 January 2019. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  23. ^ Hammond, Pete (10 December 2018). "Critics' Choice Awards Nominations: 'The Favourite' Tops With 14, 'Black Panther' A Marvel, 'First Man' Rebounds; 'The Americans' Leads TV Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  24. ^ Harp, Justin (22 January 2019). "Here are all the big winners from the NTAs 2019". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  25. ^ Pedersen, Erik; Haithman, Diane (1 February 2019). "ACE Eddie Awards: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' & 'The Favourite' Take Top Film Prizes – Winners List". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  26. ^ Pedersen, Erik (18 January 2019). "Motion Picture Sound Editors Reveal 2019 Golden Reel Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 18 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Les Nommés 2019". Globe de Cristal Awards. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  28. ^ "BPG Awards TV Nominations". Broadcasting Press Guild. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Bafta Television 2019". British Academy Television Awards. 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  30. ^ White, Peter (10 June 2019). "'Barry', 'Bodyguard' & 'Sharp Objects' Score Rockie Awards At Banff World Media Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  31. ^ "Golden Nymph Awards Nominees".
  32. ^ Petski, Denise; Petski, Denise (18 June 2019). "'Escape At Dannemora', 'On The Spectrum', 'The Good Doctor' & 'My Brilliant Friend' Among Monte-Carlo Fest Winners".
  33. ^ Aridi, Sara (16 July 2019). "Here's a Full List of the 2019 Emmy Nominations". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Seoul International Drama Awards 2019 Nominees Announcement". Seoul International Drama Awards. 26 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  35. ^ "Seoul International Drama Awards 2019 Winners". Seoul International Drama Awards. 29 August 2019. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  36. ^ Silverstein, Adam (15 March 2019). "Bodyguard's Keeley Hawes returns from the dead in Red Nose Day spoof – and asks if she's in series 2". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 April 2019.

External links[edit]