Bodyguard has become the BBC’s first series to be nominated for an Outstanding Drama Series Emmy in nearly 50 years.
The thriller, which aired in the U.S. via Netflix as part of its co-licensing model, where it picked it up at “script stage”, was originally produced by ITV-owned producer World Productions for the British public broadcaster.
While rival ITV has been nominated in the category as recently as 2016 for season six of Downton Abbey, and Netflix picked up noms for its remake of BBC political drama House of Cards, the BBC has to go back to 1972 when Glenda Jackson-fronted drama Elizabeth R, aired by PBS in the U.S. for its original nomination in the main drama category. Strangely, that year BBC drama The Six Wives of Henry VIII, a limited series that aired on CBS, was also nominated.
In addition to its Outstanding Drama Series nomination, creator Jed Mercurio also scored a nomination for Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series for the first episode.
Simon Heath, CEO and Creative Director, World Productions told Deadline, “We’re delighted that both the series and Jed’s brilliant writing have been recognized by the Academy in a year of such fantastic drama. A huge thank you to the BBC and Netflix for their incredible support for the show.”
However, star Richard Madden lost out in the main drama actor category, despite plenty of predictions that he was likely to get the nod. He would have become the first Scottish actor to pick up an Emmy nomination for best actor in a drama series in over 50 years.
While Ewan McGregor was nominated in the outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie category for his role in Fargo and David Tennant won a daytime Emmy for his voice work on Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2013, a Scot hasn’t won the main drama actor award since Glasgow-born David McCallum in 1966 for his role as Illya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E
Created, written and executive produced by Mercurio, Bodyguard starred Madden as David Budd, a heroic but volatile war veteran now working as a Specialist Protection Officer for the Royalty and Specialist Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. When he is assigned to protect the ambitious and powerful Home Secretary Julia Montague, played by Keeley Hawes, Budd finds himself torn between his duty and his beliefs.
While Madden will be disappointed, he did pick up the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Drama Series. The former Game of Thrones star won his first Globe win over Ozark‘s Jason Bateman Stephan James (Homecoming), Billy Porter (Pose) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans).
Produced by ITV-owned World Productions, the series launched on Netflix in October 2018 as part of the SVOD service’s co-licensing arrangement after launching on BBC One earlier last year. It was a huge hit in the UK, where it became the biggest new drama launch in a decade with a consolidated audience of 10.4 million viewers and a 40.9% share for its opening episode and a similar audience watching its finale peaking with 11M viewers.
Bodyguard, which also stars Gina McKee, Sophie Rundle, Vincent Franklin, Pippa Haywood, Stuart Bowman and Paul Ready, was exec produced by Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions and Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC.
The drama is expected to return for a second season. Mercurio said he was “optimistic” about its chances of a renewal and revealed to Deadline at the Banff World Media Festival that he was in talks with the BBC to bring it back.