BBC Terror Thriller ‘Bodyguard’ Sees Off Ratings Challenge From ‘Vanity Fair’, ITV’s Amazon Co-Pro


BBC terror thriller Bodyguard comfortably beat ITV’s remake of Vanity Fair on Sunday night in the overnight ratings.

The Richard Madden-fronted thriller scored 6.6M overnight numbers with a 33% share and a 7M peak on BBC One. The third episode of the series was in line with last Sunday night’s opener but its peak was even higher than the launch.

It more than doubled the 3M (15%) that tuned in for Mammoth Screen’s remake of period drama Vanity Fair, which is a co-production for Amazon.

The two shows are both produced by ITV-owned indies, World Productions (Bodyguard) and Mammoth Screen (Vanity Fair), giving the production arm of the British commercial broadcaster a 48% share across 9PM

Bodyguard is set in and around the corridors of power and 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).


Meanwhile, Vanity Fair, an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic 1848 novel, stars Olivia Cooke and is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. Cooke play Becky Sharp, as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing, takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes along the way. Tom Bateman (Murder On The Orient Express) plays Captain Rawdon Crawley, while Doctor Foster‘s Suranne Jones plays Miss Pinkerton alongside Michael Palin.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international distribution for both shows.

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