|Created by||Jed Mercurio|
|Written by||Jed Mercurio|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||56–75 minutes|
|Production company||World Productions|
|Distributor||ITV Studios |
|Original network||BBC One|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||26 August –|
23 September 2018
Bodyguard is a British 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 centres around the fictional character of Police Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden), 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 (Keeley Hawes), whose politics he despises. The series draws attention to controversial issues such as government monitoring of private information and its regulation, the politics of intervention and terrorism, and PTSD.
The series began broadcasting on BBC One on 26 August 2018, achieving the highest viewing figures for a new BBC drama in the multichannel era and the highest BBC viewing figures since 2008. 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. Netflix agreed to a distribution deal to broadcast the show outside the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The series was met with critical acclaim, particularly for Madden's performance. The series received numerous award nominations including the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, with Madden winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama. At the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, the series was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series.
A second series is in development.
Cast and characters
- Budd family
- 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.
- 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.
- Keeley Hawes as The Rt. Hon. Julia Montague MP, the Home Secretary and Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the fictional constituency of Thames West. Both Montague's political ambition and her controversial "Snoopers' Charter" RIPA 18 bill, which infringes civil liberties, leave her with many enemies.
- 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.
- Nicholas Gleaves as The Rt. Hon. Roger Penhaligon MP, the Government 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.
- David Westhead as The Rt. Hon. John Vosler MP, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.
- Paul Ready as Rob MacDonald, Special Advisor to the Home Secretary, who has a crush on Montague.
- 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.
- Pippa Haywood as CSI Lorraine Craddock, Budd's commanding officer at Protection Command who assigns him to protect Montague.
- 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.
- Nina Toussaint-White as DS Louise Rayburn, an SO15 officer working under Sharma who starts to work with Budd.
- 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.
- Michael Shaeffer as "Richard Longcross", an enigmatic MI5 agent working under Hunter-Dunn who becomes involved in a cat-and-mouse game with Budd.
- 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 and attempts to kill Montague.
- Matt Stokoe as Luke Aikens, a mysterious organised crime leader.
- Anjli Mohindra as Nadia Ali, implicated with her husband in an attempted bombing.
- 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.
- Shubham Saraf as Tahir Mahmood, Montague's PR Adviser.
- Stephanie Hyam as Chanel Dyson, the PR Advisor to the Home Secretary before getting fired by Montague.
- 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.
|No.||Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||Episode 1||Thomas Vincent||Jed Mercurio||26 August 2018||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, allowing 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.|
|2||Episode 2||Thomas Vincent||Jed Mercurio||27 August 2018||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 foiled by a police ARV shooting the terrorists, but the terrorists had set a timer and the bomb detonates in the street. Both terrorists and three police officers are killed. Budd's family is relocated to a safe house. He is removed from Montague's detail, but she has him reinstated. She also arranges the offer of a place at a special needs 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 begin to fall in love and 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.|
|3||Episode 3||Thomas Vincent||Jed Mercurio||2 September 2018||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 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.|
|4||Episode 4||John Strickland||Jed Mercurio||9 September 2018||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.|
|5||Episode 5||John Strickland||Jed Mercurio||16 September 2018||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.|
|6||Episode 6||John Strickland||Jed Mercurio||23 September 2018||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.|
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The series was largely filmed on location in London, 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.
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. 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's original transmission.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a 93% approval rating, with an average rating of 8.2/10, based on 70 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "Bodyguard maintains a palpable tension throughout its pulpy proceedings to create an absorbing and addicting psychological thriller." On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews".
In a positive review, Variety's Daniel D'Addario describes the series as "Both juicy in its delving into character psychology and rippingly ready to tear up its playbook as it goes, it’s a six-episode ride that demands, and rewards, a quick binge." D'Addario further states that the series "excels at both the daring, gasp-inducing twist and the methodical construction of slower-burning thrills", and that Madden's performance "by turns tripping on his own empathy, and angrily operating beyond rationality, makes us believe anything is possible — a wonderful asset for a show that seeks above all else to keep us watching". Allison Keene, writing for Collider, lauds the performances of the cast, describing Madden's as "enthralling" and "absolutely heartbreaking", and depicts the series as "an exhilarating ride that truly showcases Madden as a major talent". Writing for Time, Judy Berman states that the series "subverts thriller tropes just often enough to earn its reliance on them", and in a five-star review Guardian critic Lucy Mangan expresses that "[Mercurio] has created something as dark and moreish as ever". Hanh Nguyen of IndieWire describes the series as "relentless", and the performances of Madden and Hawes as "mesmerizing". Robert Rorke of the New York Post writes that the series is "gripping" and that Madden "gives a magnetic performance".
In a more mixed assessment, Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "Some elements of the series struck me as odd...and certain climactic revelations had me talking to the screen. But the action is well mounted and the tension tightly wound; it uncoils, when it does, with a satisfying snap". In a similarly mixed review, The Atlantic's Sophie Gilbert acknowledged that "Hawes is elegantly unknowable as Julia...she gives just enough nuance in her performance to make you question whether she has a heart or is extremely deft at emotional manipulation", however she laments that "To watch Bodyguard’s six episodes is to suspend disbelief and submit to its surprises. It helps not to expect too much more than that, particularly when it comes to the show’s lavish employment of archetypes, which inevitably leads to its more questionable elements."
Intelligent Protection International Limited’s CEO Alex Bomberg on BBC Radio 5 Live said that the plot, in particular the personal relationship that Budd developed with his charge, would be frowned upon as both unprofessional and putting the charge at risk. Detective Chief Inspector Steve Ray, of the Royal and Specialist Protection Command (RaSP) told the BBC that “the relationship that we have with our principals is purely professional”, adding that anyone who crossed the line would quickly be identified and would not last very long in Protection Command or even in the police service”.
|2018||RTS Craft & Design Awards||Best Sound – Drama||Dan Johnson, Simon Farmer, Jamie Caple, and Marc Lawes||Won|||
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Richard Madden||Won|
|2019||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Drama Series||Richard Madden||Nominated|||
|National Television Awards||New Drama||Bodyguard||Won|||
|Drama Performance||Richard Madden||Won|
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television||Steve Singleton for "Episode 1"||Won|||
|Golden Reel Awards||Broadcast Media Longform Dialogue / ADR||Dan Johnson and James Gregory for "Episode 2"||Nominated|||
|Broadcast Awards||Best Drama Series or Serial||Bodyguard||Nominated|
|Globe de Cristal Awards||Meilleure série étrangère||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|TRIC Awards||Best Crime||Bodyguard||Won|
|Broadcasting Press Guild||Best Drama Series||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|Best Actress||Keeley Hawes||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|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|||
|Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Best TV Series – Drama||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|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|||
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Jed Mercurio for "Episode 1"||Nominated|
|Seoul International Drama Awards||Best Mini-Series||Bodyguard||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Richard Madden||Nominated|
|Best Director||Thomas Vincent and John Strickland||Nominated|
|Best Screenwriter||Jed Mercurio||Won|
|British Academy Scotland Awards||Best Actor in Television||Richard Madden||Nominated|||
Red Nose Bodyguard
A skit titled Red Nose Bodyguard was filmed in support of Comic Relief, featuring many cast members from the series as well as performances from Joanna Lumley, Adrian Dunbar and Sanjeev Bhaskar. The skit was first broadcast on Red Nose Day 2019 on 15 March 2019.
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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.
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