British TV terror thriller Bodyguard became the biggest new drama launch in the UK this year with a peak of 6.9M viewers and a 35% share watching its Sunday night debut.

The six-part BBC One drama, which stars Game Of Thrones alum Richard Madden and Line Of Duty‘s Keeley Hawes, launched with 6.7M overnight viewers across the 9pm hour.

The ratings may help distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment secure a U.S. deal for the show, created by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio.

The drama, which is produced by ITV-owned Line of Duty producer World Productions, is set in and around the corridors of power, Bodyguard tells the story of a heroic but volatile war veteran assigned to protect the Home Secretary whose politics run contrary to his own.

Madden plays David Budd who is now working as a Specialist Protection Officer for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. When he is assigned to protect the ambitious and powerful Home Secretary, Julia Montague (Hawes), whose politics stand for everything he despises, Budd finds himself torn between his duty and his beliefs. Responsible for her safety, is he actually her biggest threat?

Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio wrote and is exec producing the project with Simon Heath for World Productions and Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC One. Thomas Vincent and John Strickland are directing. Further cast include Gina McKee (Line Of Duty) Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders), Vincent Franklin (Happy Valley), Pippa Haywood (Scott & Bailey), Stuart Bowman (Versailles) and Paul Ready (The Terror).