If you haven’t heard about the acclaimed Bodyguard BBC miniseries that’s about to drop on Netflix, then you may want to take a moment to read this. Why? Because the latest from hotshot U.K. writer Jed Mercurio is about to take the U.S., and the world, by storm.
Bodyguard BBC series cast
Starring Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as a former military man turned Special Protection Officer named David Budd, the Bodyguard BBC series follows its titular lead as he takes on a new assignment: protecting Home Secretary Julia Montague, played by Keeley Hawes. On the surface, it sounds like Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s 1992 film The Bodyguard, but it is quite the opposite.
What is the Bodyguard BBC series about?
Instead of Budd and Montague falling for one another, the Bodyguard BBC series deposits both in a House of Cards-like world of political intrigue and violent drama in which everything, and everyone, is not what they seem. Budd is supposed to be a serious, all-business and emotionless protector. Montague, as British Home Secretary, is supposed to protect the citizens of England and Wales. Both parties stick to their job titles, of course, but ulterior motives and agendas also drive their actions as well.
What makes the Bodyguard BBC series even more prescient is Mercurio’s decision to set it the modern-day fight (if not struggle) against the prevalence of terrorism, both international and domestic, and the disparate influences that government policies and those who oppose them can have on such atrocities. The first trailer that Netflix dropped for the series features plenty of unfortunately recognizable scenes – a rental truck being used as a battering ram against bystanders, a woman with a bomb strapped to her body — and the show itself is relentless in its efforts to use such instances to make its audiences as retrospective as they are uncomfortable.
And that’s the key to what makes Bodyguard so good. It’s not just another politically-set action thriller with a seemingly superhuman everyman who swoops in and saves the day. Rather, it gives that character trope – in this case, Madden’s Budd – a greater sense of agency. It lets him think and feel, an ability that proves most unfortunate for the person in his care, Montague, whose political beliefs and desire for power butts heads with Budd’s past traumas.
Judging by the show’s numbers in the U.K., where it aired in August and September, it seems Mercurio’s story has struck a fairly resonant chord. It’s currently rated 100 percent fresh on Rotton Tomatoes, where the average critical rating rests at 8.8 out of 10. Audiences, meanwhile, have given the series an average score of 89 percent.
As for viewing numbers, Deadline and other outlets reported that nearly 11 million people tuned in for the finale in late September. The first episode totaled 10.4 million in same-day and on-demand viewing numbers, making Bodyguard one of the BBC’s most-watched programs in over a decade.
Whether or not these numbers translate to Netflix remains to be seen, if ever, as the streaming giant never releases its internal viewing figures to the public. Considering the show’s massive appeal in the U.K., however, it seems they’re willing to bet it will be big with their subscribers.
When does the Bodyguard BBC series premiere on Netflix?
Bodyguard streams Wednesday, Oct. 24, on Netflix.