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TV Review: Bodyguard (Series One)

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For the last six weeks, everyone's Sunday night seems to have been consumed by one thing: BBC's latest drama series Bodyguard.

The series, which stars Game of Thrones' Richard Madden as Police Sergeant David Budd and Keeley Hawes as Home Secretary Julia Montague, follows Madden's character as the titular Bodyguard who gets embroiled in a conspiracy plot against the Home Secretary.


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The show certainly started with a bang (excuse the pun) as we see David Budd on a train to London Euston, talking down a suicide bomber from blowing up the train. What followed was six episodes of high drama, high action and a lot of conspiracy as David scrambles to work out who is behind all the attacks. 

Madden and Hawes as the lead characters in the drama, both put in incredibly compelling performances as the titular "Bodyguard" and Home Secretary alike and the chemistry between the two actors is just brilliant, making their at first untrusting relationship turned romance very compelling to watch. Madden puts in a stunning performance as Budd, able to turn from steely faced and emotionless to portraying a man in severe emotional turmoil with impressive ease. Hawes is just as impressive as the Home Secretary, a complicated and powerful woman who is up to much more than it first seems.

The first few episodes are definitely up there with the nerve shredding, edge of your seat action. Not only do we have the opening sequence with David talking Nadia (the suicide bomber) down on the train, in the subsequent episodes, we have two assassination attempts and a terrifying terror attack on Budd's children's school. Bodyguard certainly knew how to positively shred their viewers' nerves. The terrorist's creepy blood soaked smile after the van crash was possibly one of the most unsettling things I've ever seen. 

The latter three, well two, episodes leading up to the finale, are slightly quieter, which was a welcome break from the non-stop terrorist action in the first three episodes, but there is still plenty of intrigue to keep viewers hooked, not to mention some game changing twists that I can't talk too much about given the huge spoilers involved.

Is the show outlandish at times? Yes. There are definitely things that happen that would never happen in real life, like in the finale episode where Budd is walking down the street in a suicide vest or the huge leaps of faith that require serious suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer, but the show would be nowhere near as nailbiting without those moments!

The conspiracy was a little confusing at times, but mostly engaging and I had to admit, I could not for the life of me work out who was behind it, so when the reveal was finally made it was very satisfying (though I still have many questions as to how the whole thing worked!). The structure for the series was brilliant with the first two episodes acting as the introduction to conspiracy, the third one as the turning point, the fourth and fifth as unravelling the conspiracy and then the final one concluding it. 

Budd clearly struggles with his mental health throughout, it's not explicitly stated, but he has PTSD from his war years and watching him slowly spiral through the series to the point he reaches in the final episode was heartbreaking to watch. It was great that a hit BBC drama had a character suffering from PTSD front and centre, and his mental health issues aren't just brushed under the carpet. It would have been nice if his diagnosis had actually be named on-screen though. 

The finale episode, I loved, right up until the last five-ten minutes or so. It was intense all the way through, especially the scenes involving David and the suicide bomb, which yes, whilst requiring some suspension of disbelief were incredibly engaging. Anjili Mohindra who played Nadia in the series, and Sophie Bundle who played Vicky (Budd's enstranged wife) both put in standout performances in the final, as did Richard Madden as David reached the bottom of his mental spiral. 

However, I wasn't a fan of the way things ended. Whilst I think David totally deserved a happy ending after everything he'd been through, it just didn't quite seem to fit with the rest of the episode and everything worked out just a little too neatly for my liking.

There are however, still plenty of questions to be answered, so even though things wrapped up pretty neatly and it could be left as a single series, I'm pretty sure we are going to be seeing David Budd return to our screens in the near future, especially given what a hit the show has been. We still need to know what was up with Longcross for one thing, who Vicky's boyfriend was, what happened to the perpertrators of the conspiracy, there are so many things that could be expanded on!

Overall Bodyguard was a thrilling ride that kept us very well entertained on Sunday nights for the past few weeks, and I for one, would not be disappointed if they returned for a second series! 

Bodyguard is available for catch-up on BBC iPlayer.

 




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