TV Review By Calum

Written by Jed Mercurio. Directed by Thomas Vincent & John Strickland


From the makers of the UK hit ‘Line of Duty’ comes an exciting, political thriller – ‘Bodyguard’

Police Sergeant David Budd – a troubled war veteran – is assigned as a principal protection officer to a cabinet minister, the ambitious home secretary, Julia Montague. Due to her ambitions in pushing a new counterterrorism bill through Parliament, Julia is now currently a high-profile target and needs David to protect her at all costs. Though dedicated to his job, David finds himself divided with his loyalties as traumas from his past start to resurface. Could David become Julia’s greatest threat?


Before the broadcast of the first episode we were promised that ‘Bodyguard’ was going to be a really tense ride. And that promise kicks off in dramatic style within the first minute of episode one!

The series opens with the introduction of our main protagonist, David Budd, in a heart-pounding sequence on a train involving a terrorist. I won’t give anything away, all I’ll say is that the opening of ‘Bodyguard’ is one of the most gripping and maddest starts to a series I have ever seen. As the situation was escalating, my anxiety was increasing, reaching to the point where I nearly fell off my seat screaming.

What brought me to this series was two things: Firstly, the writer, Jed Mercurio, who is a natural at creating an exhilarating thriller that manages to grab hold of its viewers with the plot and the high stakes, whilst keeping them guessing about what could happen next, and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, Jed’s writing will then smack you in the face with a sudden plot twist that takes his stories into new, unexpected and exciting directions.

And the second thing that brought me to ‘Bodyguard’ was actress Keeley Hawes, who is one of my great inspirations in the acting profession (I shall discuss more on Keeley and her character later).

And I am pleased to say that the two things that brought me to ‘Bodyguard’ did not let me down. They were both are amazing. And so was everything else.


Jed Mercurio offers us six tantalising scripts in which he raises a gripping question – what happens when you’re tasked to protect a person you despise?

Before the series, and after the credits of episode one rolled, me and my sister had a little concern. We both discussed how great the first episode was, but were wondering if we were really going to be watching six episodes of Richard Madden’s character just standing around and debating in his head whether he should or shouldn’t hurt or kill the Home Secretary.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Jed’s writing (as I described earlier) was a blaze of great drama and thrilling tension. The first half of the series was moving forwards with a fantastic pace and at the time I could just about see a clear path on where I thought the story was possibly heading. However, in the final moments of episode two, the writing took a sudden turn, taking the audience down into a new and unexpected path. And just when I thought I knew where things were heading, Jed let out his magic again with a shock ending in episode three which completely threw me off my seat!

The scripts are constantly shifting and making turns into new areas that continue to add more layers to the show, making the whole series groundbreaking, fascinating, unpredictable, and most importantly – exciting!

Another part of the writing which I adore is the dialogue. Every single line is consistent in quality and they are always true and believable to the characters, and I love the dark humour that Jed has scattered around here and there, they just add to the thrill of the show.


The quality of the acting throughout all six episodes is OUTSTANDING!

Richard Madden (above) is phenomenal as our fascinating protagonist – David Budd. What I love about Richard’s performance is how he balances the two sides to his character. David is so commanding, powerful and confident when the job asks him to be, but underneath that strong Scottish steel is a really vulnerable man who desperately needs help, and those moments were the ones where Richard’s performance had me in tears.

Keeley Hawes (above) is fantastic in the role as Home Secretary – Julia Montague, I personally cannot think of anyone better to play the role. Keeley’s performance is firing with great energy that kept me engaged throughout all her scenes, I love how Keeley’s acting abilities gave more layers to the character, making sure Julia doesn’t just come across as a pompous and ambitious cow. Like David, Julia has another side to her – a more human side – underneath the hard surface she puts on in her job, and I really like that parallel between our two main characters.

The supporting cast are also great, no weak links here at all, everyone is on top-form. Sophie Rundle is terrific as David’s ex-wife Vicky, Pippa Haywood gives us a marvellous performance as Craddock, we also have Gina McKee as Sampson who does a tremendous job in the role, but my favourite supporting character is Rayburn played by Nina Toussaint-White. She is my favourite because of the great on-screen chemistry she has with David. She has a really nice bond with him that gives David a close friend in the force, someone he really needs in this tough time, and Nina plays the role superbly, and she works really well with Richard Madden.


The directors also deserve a lot of credit for ‘Bodyguard’, they have gone out full guns blazing with this thriller.

Thomas Vincent and John Strickland bring such a great, contemporary style to the camera work and the cinematography of the series. ‘Bodyguard’ just looks gorgeous. The opening sequence on the train was very well shot, they created a gateway, for me as a viewer, which pulled me into the rising tension. The action sequences throughout all the episodes are put together very well, but so are the more quieter, emotional scenes. And without giving anything away, my favourite moment of direction goes to the moment in episode 4, where David is alone in his flat after hearing some terrible news – but no more shall be said from me (apart from Richard’s performance in that bit – absolutely amazing).


‘Bodyguard’ is a thrilling series, riddled with twists and turns, filled with very well rounded characters who are NOT to be trusted!

The series does a great job at playing with the themes of trust and loyalties in all six episodes. It will have you biting your fingernails in panic, until halfway through when you’ve run out of fingernails, you’ll be biting away your toenails – because the tension just continues to get bigger and bigger.

And then the finale – my goodness, THAT FINALE!!! You won’t have any nails left at that point. So you’ll probably need to get one of your mates and bite their nails off. Seriously, the finale was a MASTERPIECE!
‘‘Bodyguard’ result = 10/10
‘Bodyguard’ is available now on BBC IPlayer for five months

It will be available to purchase on DVD from Amazon and HMV on October 1st.

© Calum Brown Visable Inc

Do you have a film, TV or theatre review to share with us? Do you have a film you would like Calum to review? Email write@visableinc.co.uk with REVIEW in the subject line.

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