BBC’s PC Bodyguard

body1At the risk of sounding like some kind of dinosaur, what was going on with the BBC’s opener of its new drama Bodyguard? I only caught up with the first two episodes yesterday, and yes, its a well-crafted, tense thriller with some intriguing plot-lines going on, but crikey, its like it was written by a committee on a Political Correctness vendetta. It threatened to derail the whole thing for me, spoiling what could have been an absolute classic.

Our hero, special protection officer David Budd (Richard Madden) is on a train back to London with his two children when his sharp senses deduce trouble afoot. He is soon embroiled in a tense stand-off with a terrorist bomber threatening civilian casualties, but my word, the show gets awfully odd awfully quickly. The guard on the train (I think they are called ‘train managers’ now but that may have slipped by) is a woman, no problems there. The firearms officer leading the anti-terrorist unit waiting for the train is a woman, okay, wee bit unusual, but no problems there, its nice to portray women in positions of  authority/power. But then credibility starts to waver when we cut to a sniper preparing to take out the bomber and… its a woman. Yeah, another one. Okay. I’ll go with it. Our hero confounds the anti-terrorist bunch by ensuring the sniper can’t get a clean shot and so they will have to defuse the bomb and take the bomber alive (a woman coerced/forced to be a suicide bomber by her husband, because men are bastards and cowards). So the bomb defusal expert boards the train and credibility finally snaps- its another woman. FFS.

It doesn’t stop there. Budd is the hero of the hour and is summoned to his superior, and yes, his chief superintendent is a woman. Her boss is the Metropolitan Police head of Counter Terrorism Command, who, is, you guessed it, another woman. I’m beginning to wonder why David Budd wasn’t written as a Diane Budd and be done with it. At least then it could have had some LGBT credentials with a lesbian affair between Diane Budd and the Home Secretary (yes another woman), Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) when Budd is rewarded by being put onto the Home Secretary’s security detail and the inevitable sexual tension ensues.

I don’t know. Perhaps it should be construed as very bold and forward-thinking, but it all seems distracting to me and spoiled it somewhat. We’ll see where the drama goes as it unearths a theme of corruption in the corridors of power (the Home Secretary is described as a sociopath intent on the PM’s job and is clearly in cahoots with a shady Intelligence Chief), but I do hope it tones down some of its progressive agenda. Sometimes it can be taken just a bit too far, and people tell me Star Wars is far-fetched….

2 thoughts on “BBC’s PC Bodyguard

  1. I’ve not watched it yet so can’t comment fairly myself, but I guess the counter argument would be: if all those roles had been occupied by men, would you have noticed? Therefore, why can’t they all be women? It does feel a tad “done for the sake of PC”, but is that just our cultural assumptions about who does those jobs and what ‘equal’ representation might look like? Put another way: is there a real-life police force where all those jobs are held by women? I don’t know, but there conceivably could be (because why not?), so why not have that be the case in a drama?

    Though (again as someone who’s not seen the episode) this description makes it sound like any attempt at being PC might’ve backfired — “thank God there was a capable bloke there to help sort it out or all those women would’ve ballsed it up.”

    1. I was in two minds whether to put my post up or not. I’ve no issues with feminism or portraying women in positions of power (hello, Ellen Ripley etc) or authority, but I will take films or dramas to task for over-doing it. The first ten minutes of the opening Bodyguard episode just seemed to get further into the realm of the bizarre and I honestly felt it distracted too much. See what you think when you watch it. It was doubly frustrating because it is evidently a fine show and it probably has a lot to say- why muddle the message though with an opening like that? And yeah, the irony wasn’t lost on me that for all its positive approach to portraying women in positions of power and authority, it was a bloke who had to prove them all wrong and fix the situation.

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