Bodyguard’s gripping series finale is on course to become the most-watched TV drama in a decade, with almost 11 million tuning in to Sunday night’s episode.
The nail-biting conclusion to Jed Mercurio’s six-part series drew in a peak of 10.9 million viewers – almost half of the total share of all television – and an average of 10.4 million.
The figure doesn’t count iPlayer ratings; after the first episode of Bodyguard aired, the viewing numbers increased by more than 50 percent after taking into account streaming and catch up figures.
It’s a hit: Bodyguard’s gripping finale is on course to become the most-watched TV drama in a DECADE as almost 11 million tuned in
With this in mind, the anticipated figures will likely propel to at least 16million if the trend is to continue at the same pace.
This will see the show’s viewing figures come above Britain’s Got Talent with 11.2million viewers and Call The Midwife, with 9.6million viewers.
But coming on top was the World Cup: Croatia vs England match with 20.7 million viewers – the Sweden vs England matches, with 17.4million viewers.
Biggest show of the decade: No BBC show has seen as big an audience since Doctor Who’s 2008 Christmas Day episode, which was watched live by 11.7million people
Viewers were left on the edges of their seats in the ‘gripping’ finale of BBC One’s Bodyguard – as the plot delivered a ‘bombshell’ twist
Almost 18 million tuned in to watch the Royal Wedding coverage, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in May, across the BBC, ITV and Sky channels.
Bodyguard is ALREADY the BBC’s most-watched drama in a decade.
According to BBC, no other drama on the channel has drawn a bigger audience since Doctor Who, whose Christmas Day episode in 2008 was seen by 11.7 million viewers.
The show has the biggest overnight drama figures since 10.5 million saw Downton Abbey’s series two finale back in November 2011.
Big numbers: BBC One took 48 percent of the total audience share, more than five times as much as ITV’s Vanity Fair, that was viewed by slightly less than two million people
Viewers were left on the edges of their seats in the ‘gripping’ finale as the plot delivered a ‘bombshell’ twist.
Meanwhile, writer Jed Mercurio has revealed that the series could potentially continue for several more seasons, saying there could be as many as four to come.
MOST WATCHED TV SHOWS OF 2018… (estimated figures)
1. 20.7m – World Cup Croatia vs England match
2. 18m – Royal wedding
3. 17.4m – World Cup Sweden vs England
4. 16m – Bodyguard
Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘It’s probably fair to say we would probably approach any thoughts of a second series with the idea that it would create an opportunity for a third or fourth.’
Fans watched in horror as it was revealed it was David Budd’s own boss Chief Superintendent Lorraine Craddock played a key role in Julia Montague’s death, before the final twist was revealed.
It was a double blow for Budd as the true identity of the female train bomber from the first episode, Nadia, who he believed he had saved, was revealed as the bombmaker who attempted to murder his own children, a twist that made one viewer joke they’d ‘fainted 15 times’ during the big reveal.
Number one: The World Cup: Croatia vs England match had a huge 20.7 million viewers
Special moment in history: The Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received almost 18m viewers across BBC, ITV and Sky channels
‘Omg. Now that’s what you call a twist in the story!’ one tweeted.
Another wrote: ‘What a bombshell! Not one single person could have guessed who the bomber was.’
‘I have never been so on edge in my life,’ a third posted.
Viewers watched as Craddock had been delivering information to Luke Akins, an organised crime boss against the RIPA-18 bill led by the home secretary, which enabled him to execute the bomb attack in which she perished in the third episode.
Fan theories had also been rife that the Home Secretary wasn’t actually dead, especially as viewers weren’t shown her demise on screen – but they were left ‘fuming’ that she had been killed after all.
David Budd finally discovered the truth about the conspiracy to murder Julia Montague during the dramatic conclusion of BBC’s Bodyguard
Budd’s boss Chief Superintendent Lorraine Craddock had been working with organised crime boss Luke Akins to stop the home secretary from bringing in a bill that would monitor their activity
Viewers were in for a shock when they learned that the mastermind behind the bombs was actually Nadia. She revealed her role in the terrorist attacks blaming Budd for being so easily duped that she was an ‘oppressed weak woman’
Budd had been captured by Akins and strapped with a suicide vest and had his hand taped to a dead man’s switch – but had to convince the police that he had been set up
Bodyguard fans took to social media to vent their shock and surprise after the show’s finale delivered plot twists and turns – with many saying they had been on the edge of their seats
LURED INTO A BOMB TRAP
Richard Madden’s Budd had been hot on the heels of crime boss Luke Akin, after learning that he had supplied his former army comrade Andrew Apstead with the weapons used in the first assassination attempt of Julia Montague, played by Keeley Hawes.
He was lured into a trap set up by Montague’s former PR advisor Chanel Dyson and ended up being punched unconscious and kidnapped – waking up with a suicide vest strapped to his chest with a dead man’s switch taped to his thumb.
Meanwhile SO15 officers DCI Deepak Sharma and DS Lousie Rayburn were left seething when they learned of Budd’s connection to Apstead and were out for his blood.
They caught up with Budd in the middle of London and he tried in vain to convince his fellow officers that he had been set up, with his estranged wife Vicky making a strong case for innocence.
He was able to give vital information that proved he’d been set up, using the blank bullets from his gun that Akins had switched out and left fingerprints on – with Vicky confirming that her ex had tried to take his own life.
Budd had a set a booby trap for the security service knowing that the cagey boss Stephen Hunter-Dunn was monitoring their radio contact – and his suspect Richard Longcross was doused in a painful liquid.
The police protection officer’s wife Vicky was called in to help diffuse the situation but David managed to persuade her that he was telling the truth – she confirmed that he had attempted suicide
It was an extremely tense moment for viewers as Budd had to deactivate the bomb. He was talked through which wires to cut by the specialist unit leaving those watching on the edge of their seat
With everyone standing back, Budd took his chance as soon as the wires were cut and the bomb deactivated he made a run for it – to try and figure out the truth
It was enough to convince Commander Anne Sampson and DCI Sharma to help Budd and he was given the chance to deactivate the bomb.
Eventually in what some viewers called one of the most tense scenes they’d ever seen, Budd removed his thumb from the switch and cut the wires.
But many fans were unhappy with how the events unfolded, saying it was ‘unbelievable’.
They said there was ‘no way’ the Metropolitan Police would let a man armed with explosives to be let through the streets of London – and they mocked the fact officers believed he would try to blow himself up because he ‘was suicidal’.
Budd had been contacted by Julia’s former PR advisor Chanel Dyson and used her for information to find her boss Akins who she had been working for
Budd stumbled upon Akins having a heated discussion with Craddock outside her home, he disarmed his accomplice and turned the gun on the crime boss
Craddock tried to diffuse the situation after Akins confirmed he had murdered Julia Montague, enlisting the help of a terrorist organisation to plant the bomb, because it was ‘just business’
SOLVING THE FINAL PIECES OF THE PUZZLE
But the police protection officer fooled everyone and made a run for it as soon as the bomb was deactivated.
He eluded the police and made his way to Chanel to persuade to tell him more information on her boss Akin, who she had been working for, and was the man many viewers had believed was her angry boyfriend from the first episode.
Meanwhile a scene including Commander Anne Sampson, the Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit, led viewers to believe that she could be part of the conspiracy but ultimately proved to be Budd’s ally.
Commander Anne Sampson (left) the Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit, led viewers to believe that she could be part of the conspiracy but ultimately proved to be Budd’s ally
Budd watched on as his boss was questioned over her involvement in the conspiracy, bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together
Craddock explained how she had placed Budd as Julia’s police protection officer so that he could act as the ‘perfect fall guy’ for the entire plot to kill the home secretary
The Chief Superintendent broke down in tears as she confessed to her part in the conspiracy revealing that she was corrupt
She desperately tried to get the security service to take responsibility for their part in the conspiracy but they were able to avoid any form of punishment.
Right up until the final credits, viewers were holding out hope that Julia would reappear.
They were shocked when the hit show drew to a close with no mention of the Home Secretary.
THE MOLE IN THE POLICE
There had long being a belief from the beginning that there was a leak from within the police force and it was revealed to be Chief Superintendent Lorraine Craddock with.
She was caught redhanded talking to Akin and she was taken into custody after Budd told her it was all over.
Akin confessed there and then he was the man behind Julia’s death uttering ‘…It was business’ to an angry Budd.
Craddock wept as she explained in a police interview: ‘For some years I have disclosed information on sensitive police operations that might threaten his criminal activities.’
She admitted she had handed over Julia’s itinerary to Akin on the day of the first assassination attempt by Apstead and the fatal bombing at the college.
It was all to stop Julia transferring powers to the security service which would give them an upper hand over organised crime like Akin.
The officer then revealed she had appointed Budd so he could be made the ‘perfect fall guy’ for the entire operation.
After spending the majority of the episode trying to convince his police colleagues he was innocent, they finally apprehended the right criminals – including the initial train bomber Nadia
Nadia explained how she preyed on Budd’s emotionally vulnerable state and used information that he had given her about his children to attack their school
After the entire saga was wrapped up Budd was told there was one thing left for him to do – go to therapy and seek treatment for his mental health
But she denied any involvement in the attempted attack on Budd’s children’s school and he suddenly realised there was only one person who had know that information.
Nadia, the female suicide bomber from the first episode, who had been helping the police with their inquiries admitted she had given them false information and led the on a wild goose chase.
‘He thought so little of me he showed me pictures. To him I was just a weak woman, I remembered everything he told me about his children, their names, their ages. From prison I was able to inform my organisation…’ she said.
She revealed she had built all the bombs, including the one Budd had been strapped into and explained that she had enlisted ‘non believers and criminals’ to plant the bomb at the college that killed Julia on the request of Akins.
The entire Bodyguard boxset is available on BBC iPlayer