TV Review: Bodyguard, BBC1

Jed Mercurio hits the mark once again with new drama Bodyguard, led by two excellent performances from Kelley Hawes and Richard Madden

“Looks like the Home Secretary couldn’t be in safer hands”

The weather taking a turn for the blessedly British feels like a most appropriate herald for the return of proper drama to our tellyboxes and first out of the gate for this year’s slate of autumn dramas is Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard with a properly nail-biting opening 20 minutes which serve as a remarkable statement of intent for this series.

In an expertly tense sequence, Afghan vet turned special protection officer David Budd (Richard Madden) negotiates the peaceful surrender of a suicide bomber of a train in Euston. The perpetrator(s) (as it turns out) may be Islamists but its the gung-ho approach of the police that emerges as much as a threat to a peaceful resolution.

And so the seeds for what is to come in the next five episodes of Bodyguard are planted.  Budd gets a promotion to look after the hawkish home secretary (an excellent Keeley Hawes), but as he’s revealed to be suffering from PTSD, we also discover that he is far from alone in wanting to exact revenge on such a polarising political figure. 

As with the best of thrillers, it is far from clear which of the strands are going to be the key ones to follow.  I’m betting on a strong dose of conspiracy involving Stephanie Hyam’s marvellously gobby PA, something nefarious with Paul Ready’s SPAD, and the obviously looming threat of Matt Stokoe’s Luke (who pops up twice) will prove a red herring.

A cracking opening then, to what promises to be a gripping drama

Photograph: Des Willie/BBC/World Productions


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