Thank you, Netflix for purchasing the rights to show the BBC drama Bodyguard. No this isn’t a remake of the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston hit. Rather, it’s a BBC One production that grabbed the United Kingdom audience and now gets to grab you wherever you are.
It stars the talented Keely Hawes and Richard Madden (who takes a while to understand his accent). Fantastic acting by all the cast, a nailbiting, tense thriller to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat.
Richard Madden plays the character of David Budd who is assigned as bodyguard to protect the Home Secretary Julia Montague played by Keeley Hawes. She’s a high and mighty politician while he is a former soldier dealing with residual PTSD but packing a gun. The story revolves around tense political scenes, terrorists around every corner, broken marriages, and love affairs. To top it off, it’s the usual well-done British show with the tense music in the right spots. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the plot twists in a surprising direction.
Great British television! There’s nothing like it, and this is one of the best. Just read the reviews online, and you’ll see many agree.
3 Kernels for the Show – 1 for the Stupid Ending
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a television series that has left me so bleeping mad that I cursed at the end and screamed, “what the hell?” BEWARE, before you tune into this BBC mystery now streaming on BritBox. They canceled the bleeping show and left everyone hanging at an extremely critical point in the story. Before you invest yourself in six episodes, please be aware it’s going to cause you to swear at the end.
After saying all that, it’s a story about a woman who returns to find her long-lost son who she gave up for adoption 32 years earlier. Apparently, it’s based on characters from the soap opera EastEnders, which I haven’t watched. It’s filmed in Ireland.
As the story unfolds, it’s a fairly good mystery with a few surprising twists that kept my interest through the six episodes. It’s the ending that leaves you hanging, but apparently the question of “survival” is answered upon the return of the characters to EastEnders, which I’ve not seen. I can only say it’s a rotten way to treat the audience and poor planning for those who are not invested in the soap opera or its characters. Frankly, it’s down-right cruel RTE One and BBC One. What were you thinking?
If you want to read more about the show and episodes before investing the time to watch it with the full knowledge of the outcome, I suggest you travel over to old Wikipedia.
Streaming on Britbox and available elsewhere is Small Island, adapted from a novel by Andrea Levy. It apparently streamed on PBS Masterpiece in 2010, which I obviously missed. If it hadn’t been for the Period Drama Facebook Group, I probably would have missed this one altogether. I watched the two-part series (90-minute episodes) in its entirety last night, staying up past my bedtime. It was well worth the lack of sleep.
The story, in the beginning, flashes back and forth between the lives of two young Jamaicans – Hortense (Naomie Harris) and Michael (Ashley Walters) – pre-World War 2. On the other side of the world, it’s Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Queenie (Ruth Wilson). Each has their own dreams – Hortense of marrying Michael; Michael rebellious in his upbringing; Queenie escaping her childhood and the pig farm; and Bernard a shy man, living with his father.
Eventually, life splits Hortense and Michael. Queenie marries Bernard to escape returning home to her parents, and then the war breaks out. War, as you know, throws everyone’s lives in various directions with new challenges.
The main focus of the story is the character of Queenie, who doesn’t have a prejudice bone in her body when it comes to black people. When Benedict leaves for war and she’s left alone in the house, she offers three airmen housing. One of the young men is the charismatic Michael, a handsome and alluring man in uniform. Queenie willingly succumbs to his seduction and the next day he’s off on another mission.
As the story continues, she meets Gilbert, also from Jamaica and they form a friendship. He marries Hortense, and the two of them eventually live in Queenie’s home because Benedict never returned after the war. I could continue the remainder of the series but will spare you spoilers.
The story, of course, shows the bias against the black Jamaicans among the English. Jamaican children under English rule were taught to love the “motherland” and obviously Gilbert did as a child and adult. Unfortunately, when he’s in the country who he believes supports and accepts him as an Englishman too, he finds the stark reality that prejudice against his skin color is no different than it is in the United States.
I enjoyed this two-part series and recommend it to those looking for another pre-WW2 or WW2 storyline that delves into a different aspect of human behavior during those years. It’s well acted and packaged to please.