Friday, September 07, 2018

Who guards the guardians?


By New Worker TV correspondent

This Sunday night political thriller, Bodyguard on BBC1, centres around the relationship between Home Secretary Julia Montague played by Keeley Hawes (Tipping the Velvet, Spooks, Ashes to Ashes, The Durrells) and her bodyguard, David Budd played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Birdsong). Montague, an authoritarian figure with a possible hidden agenda, is loosely based around the disgraced former Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd, whilst Budd is an Afghan veteran war with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After Budd foils a terrorist attack on Montague in the middle of Whitehall their relationship becomes sexual.
Watching the programme, I was drawn to an article in this paper about the nature of the capitalist state. It reminded readers that the government is the executive committee of the ruling class whilst containing differences of its own.
The new BBC drama touches upon the competing interests between different sections of the state apparatus – uniformed Police Officers, Special Branch, and the Security Services MI5 and MI6. Montague’s hidden agenda is increased power to the Security Services by side-lining uniformed police force in favour of the much less publicly accountable wing of the state.
Bodyguard also touches on issues related to service veterans. Budd attends a meeting of an anti-war veteran group led by his former comrade Andy Apsted. Apsted, who is badly disfigured and feels he has nothing to live for, tells Budd: “At least you’ve got your face.” The issue of service veterans is one the left has paid little attention to. Some veterans, however, have managed to reach progressive conclusions about the conflicts in which they were involved.
So far, Bodyguard has managed to make good Sunday night viewing. It contains gripping action-packed scenes, with a high level of suspense – whilst at the same time you are left wondering what is really going on. Were the attacks on Montague some kind of set up and part of her agenda?
Last Sunday’s episode had a dramatic ending, and it is unlikely that the series will end favourably to both or either of the main characters.

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