After all the hype and dramatic trailers, it was finally time to see the new BBC1 prime time drama BODYGUARD. Created by Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio, this was a first episode that promised so much and it duly delivered.
You do not get much more tense and gripping openings to a drama than a potential suicide bomber being discovered on a train. Straight away the narrative reached out and grabbed our attention. It was high stakes stuff indeed as our hero character David Budd (Richard Madden), helped to disarm the would be attacker. It really was acting of the highest order here.
Working as a bodyguard for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch (RaSP) of London's Metropolitan Police Service, Budd soon receives a promotion and is assigned to protect the Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Budd, for the majority of the time appears to be a man firmly in control of his role. However, this is set against the fact that he is a war veteran suffering from the crippling effects of PTSD.
We soon learnt that Budd's personal life was in turmoil largely due to his PTSD. For example, he is separated from his wife and the mother of his two children Vicky (Sophie Rundle). We see him finding solace in drinking late at night. The writing needs commending here because Budd is a complex character but he is absolutely a believable one. Actor Richard Madden needs congratulating because it would have been so easy to overact this role.
Trust was a running theme in this first episode, that was fundamental to the narrative. At first we trust Budd as a good guy, however as the plot unfolded this trust we had in him potentially appears misplaced. This was near the end when we saw him air his severe grievances about politicians to an ex-Army comrade. The Home Secretary now appears in possible danger due to being protected by him.
The trust we have in politicians was questioned when we saw Julia Montague, deliver an interview on a fictitious version of The Andrew Marr Show. Did she really believe what she was saying, or was she just saying what she thought should be said? Due to Budd's traumatic past in the army, he clearly no longer trusts those in positions of power.
We saw another break down in trust raise itself in Budd's personal life. He is utterly shattered and crest fallen upon hearing that his estranged wife Vicky, has started seeing another man behind his back.
As well as the great compelling performance throughout by Richard Madden, the rest of the performances in this stellar cast were top notch. Of particular note, was of course Keeley Hawes, as the Home Secretary. Keeley, remains one of the most talented actresses to grace our TV screens at the moment.
The narrative never wilted or burnt itself out at all. It was high octane stuff for the full sixty minutes from start to finish. This is a series to really get excited about. This is a series that can only continue to thrive and get even better!
- Watched on BBC One. 26/08/2018