The final episode of Bodyguard will be broadcast tomorrow night. This leaves many of us in a telly quandary, unsure whether to dread the end of this series, or enjoy the relief of finally knowing what happened.
Key questions include the following: Is Home Secretary Julia Montague really dead? Who is the evil Richard Longcross? And is Sergeant David Budd ever going to comb his hair again?
Throughout the five episodes to date, David’s barnet has been a barometer of his inner turmoil.
Gelled and quiffed when he is at bodyguard battle stations, droopy and flat when the going gets rough.
Last week it was particularly bad, looking as if a carpet tile had been stuck to his forehead with jam.
Will there be redemption and curls tomorrow? We shall have to wait and see.
The final episode of Bodyguard (Richard Madden pictured) will be broadcast tomorrow night. This leaves many of us in a telly quandary, unsure whether to dread the end of this series, or enjoy the relief of finally knowing what happened, writes JAN MOIR
In a bumper 75-minute episode, writer Jed Mercurio must tie up all these loose ends and more, while explaining to 10.5 million devoted viewers whodunnit, how they dunnit and why they dunnit in the first place.
Not an easy task, given the intricate plot lines and barricades of complicated police acronyms we have had to negotiate, including EXPO (Explosives Officer), RaSP (the Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection branch) plus HCA (Hunky Cop Alert) and HOISHF (Hands Off I Saw Him First).
The only outcome that is beyond all doubt is that the BBC’s Bodyguard has been a smash hit. It has had the biggest opening viewing figures for a British drama since the launch of the Inspector Morse spin off series Lewis, back in 2007.
After picking up more viewers along the way, Bodyguard seems to have singlehandedly proved that a quality drama on a terrestrial station with a fixed broadcasting time can still compete with streaming services like Netflix.
Certainly, it has been such fun to enjoy together; a lively point of national debate amid the ongoing drear of the Brexit chronicles.
For Bodyguard has gripped the country like no other drama for years. It has enriched the reputation of peerless Keeley Hawes, who plays Home Secretary Julia Montague as a kind of modern-day Margaret Thatcher, via Amber Rudd and a dash of Mrs Robinson.
And it has also made a star out of Richard Madden, the handsome Scot who is tasked with being Montague’s PPO (Personal Protection Officer) at a time when any number of bad hats seem to want to send her to that great Cabinet meeting in the sky.
Bodyguard has gripped the country like no other drama for years, writes JAN MOIR. Pictured: Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard
Was it really only six weeks ago when Sgt Budd took his fateful train journey from Glasgow to London, and a whole new seam of dark British drama peeled open?
His courageous handling of a suicide bomber incident led to a swift RaSP promotion that put him right at the side of the Home Secretary, who initially wasn’t impressed.
‘The thing is, David-slash-Dave, I don’t need you to vote for me, only to protect me,’ she snootily tells him. Later she calls him a ‘smug married’. When he informs her he is separated from his wife, a dim ember of lust glows in the depths of her dark eyes.
Perhaps Bodyguard’s chief allure is that one of the most enduring female fantasies lies at its heart: the mutual enchantment of a woman, and the bodyguard who would lay down his life for hers in a heartbeat.
There is Julia, powerful but vulnerable, in need of a guardian. There is David, a taciturn cube of solid muscle, a watchful presence bristling with wires and firepower.
In this world of crisis and attack, his authority is absolute, trumping even hers. When he is booted and suited, his hair gelled and immaculate, Budd is irresistible; a hunk of bruised masculinity behind the smart tailoring, ready for whatever the bad guys throw at him — and her.
So what first attracted the Home Secretary to brooding David Budd? It certainly wasn’t his conversation.
Key questions include the following: Is Home Secretary Julia Montague really dead? Who is the evil Richard Longcross (pictured) And is Sergeant David Budd ever going to comb his hair again?
‘Have you home in no time, Ma’am,’ he chirps, as they speed through the Westminster streets.
‘This is very generous of you, ma’am,’ he says, when she buys him fish and chips. ‘Kettles, ma’am, they can be quite the danger in untrained hands,’ he opines, as he takes charge and makes the coffee in her soulless apartment.
Everything changes when they survive a sniper attack. ‘I need to get you to safety. Ma’am, this is what I do, trust me,’ he says to his blood-soaked, shrieking charge.
Later, they enjoy a different kind of post-traumatic sin-drome. While her hands are shaking over the teacups, his are rock steady. So she nuzzles into his unyielding neck like a spaniel searching for a hidden Doggydrop.
‘I’m not the queen. You are allowed to touch me,’ she says. Suddenly his arms are around her.
Last week I wrote that Bodyguard was stretching credulity to extremes, because a woman as powerful and smart as Julia Montague would never risk her career to sleep with her PPO.
Hundreds of women got in touch to convince me of the error of my ways. ‘Just look at him,’ was the tone of their replies. ‘You’re completely wrong. Of course she would.’
And of course, if all the characters behaved to the highest standards expected of those in public life, there would be no drama at all.
And I want to be honest. In these complicated times, the lure of an old-fashioned Milk Tray Man, one who shows courage under fire, exudes competence, strength and crisp shirt cuffs, remains truly, deeply madly seductive.
Feminism, with its ceaseless clarion call to be independent, self-sufficient and resilient at all times can get absolutely exhausting.
I hate to defy the sisterhood, but sometimes all we women want is someone to watch over us, to call us ma’am, put a firm hand in the small of our back and lead us to safety when danger threatens.
A bodyguard, can you imagine? In the adjoining bedroom? Smashing. Apart from anything else he is officially and professionally obliged to look at you a lot and give you heaps of attention, which sounds delightful.
In many ways, Julia and David are the unlikeliest of lovers.
Both are frosty and remote. It is not love that attracts them to each other, but a kind of dark need and their relationship shows signs of fracture from the start.
There is a telling moment when she wearily asks him not to be like ‘every other man.’ And of course, it all goes very wrong, very soon.
The last thing Julia Montague ever sees is her lover David Budd sprinting towards her as her eyes widen in panic and the bomb goes off. The blast is catastrophic for many reasons.
Not only does it apparently kill her, his hair never really recovers either.
The last we saw of PPO David Budd, he was a man with a greasy fringe and at a low ebb. If he only looked up, things would start to look up. Perhaps they will tomorrow night.