Bodyguard (UK TV series)
|Created by||Jed Mercurio|
|Written by||Jed Mercurio|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||London, UK|
|Running time||56–75 minutes|
|Production company(s)||World Productions|
|Distributor||ITV Studios Global Entertainment|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||26 August 2018– present|
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. 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. After ITV Studios Global Entertainment bought 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 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.
- Richard Madden as Sergeant David Budd, an Afghanistan war veteran and Protection Command bodyguard. He is married to, but separated from, Vicky, and they have two children, Ella (10) and Charlie (8).
- Keeley Hawes as The Right Honourable Julia Montague, the Home Secretary, Conservative MP for Thames West, and Roger Penhaligon's ex-wife.
- Gina McKee as Commander Anne Sampson, Head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.
- Sophie Rundle as Vicky Budd, David's estranged wife, and the mother of their two children, who works as a ward sister at a London hospital.
- Paul Ready as Rob MacDonald, Special Adviser to the Home Secretary.
- Vincent Franklin as Mike Travis, Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism and later Acting Home Secretary.
- Stuart Bowman as Stephen Hunter-Dunn, Director General of MI5.
- Nina Toussaint-White as Detective Sergeant Louise Rayburn, Counter Terrorism Command.
- Stephanie Hyam as Chanel Dyson, PR Adviser to Julia Montague.
- Tom Brooke as Andy Apsted, a war veteran and friend of David who leads the anti-war Veterans Peace Group.
- Matt Stokoe as Luke Aikens, an organised crime leader associated with Dyson.
- Pippa Haywood as Chief Superintendent Lorraine Craddock, Head of Protection Command and Budd's superior.
- Nicholas Gleaves as The Right Honourable Roger Penhaligon, the Conservative Party Chief Whip, Julia's ex-husband, and Member of Parliament for Surrey North.
- Shubham Saraf as Tahir Mahmood, PR Adviser to Julia Montague.
- Claire-Louise Cordwell as Constable Kim Knowles, a Protection Command bodyguard.
- Richard Riddell as Constable Tom Fenton, a Protection Command bodyguard.
- Ash Tandon as Detective Chief Inspector Deepak Sharma, Counter Terrorism Command.
- Michael Schaeffer as "Richard Longcross", an MI5 officer.
- David Westhead as John Vosler, the Prime Minister.
- Anjli Mohindra as Nadia Ali, implicated with her husband in an attempted bombing.
|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 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.|
|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. 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.|
|3||Episode 3||Thomas Vincent||Jed Mercurio||2 September 2018||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.|
|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. 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.|
|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. 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.|
|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. 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, 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.
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' original transmission run.
The series received positive reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season 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." On Metacritic, the season was given a score of 79 out of 100 based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favorable 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).
|2019||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||Bodyguard||Pending|||
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Richard Madden||Pending|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Drama Series||Richard Madden||Pending|||
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- 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.
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- "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.
- "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.
- 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.
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- "Four-screen dashboard (TV sets only, based on 28-day data) - BARB". www.barb.co.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
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- 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.
- 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.
- "Bodyguard most watched BBC drama since 2008". BBC News. 25 September 2018.
- 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.
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- 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.
- "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. December 6, 2018. Archived from the original on December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- Hammond, Pete (December 10, 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 December 10, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2018.