Goodness, that handsome David Budd is putting out fires everywhere. This is Sergeant Budd, a specialist protection officer of the Metropolitan Police. He is assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague in the BBC drama series The Bodyguard, which started this week.
We really should give him his full title, namely David Budd the brooding and wounded Saviour of Womankind. The opening sequence sees Budd talk down a female Muslim suicide bomber, Nadia, who we are made to believe didn’t really want to blow up the whole train but was ‘brainwashed by her husband’.
Budd (Richard Madden) is a veteran of the Afghanistan war and as such, according to BBC, is just like Nadia – mere collateral damage in political battles. You see what the BBC have done here – terrorists who blow themselves up on trains and politicians who try to stop them are morally equivalent! There are the bad guys on one side (politicians who fight terrorists in the Middle East) versus Budd and Nadia on the other. Don’t you just love that logic?
Anyway, this isn’t really about the politics of it all, but simply to say I told you so. This series, as feminist Janice Turner points out, is ‘pure Mills & Boon or, more precisely, a Black Lace imprint erotic novel. In their timeless narrative arc, the heroine, however spirited and strong, seeks a properly manly man, but one whose physical strength is under her control’.
Indeed, the BBC can stick in as many women as they want as snipers, bomb disposal experts, or boss of Bodyguard himself, but although this may thrill the feminists, it is not what brings in the viewers.
No, what brings in the viewers is, as I have said before, the raw, powerful masculinity that seeks to protect women.
Budd is literally Julia’s Specialist Protection Officer – that is his very title. Julia (Keeley Hawes) says to Budd early on: ‘I don’t need you to vote for me, I need you to protect me’ and by the end of the second episode Budd declares ‘my job is to protect you’ literally while nailing Julia against a wall. It is about as subtle as a bullet through the Home Secretary’s car window.
Earlier in the second episode Julia is left cowering in her car with her dead driver’s blood splattered everywhere. Once Budd drives her to safety he bravely seeks out the sniper (who is another war veteran, if you can believe that.)
Later, Julia gets all vulnerable and makes a move on her protector. Because this is the fantasy. The cinematography here is very interesting – Budd is taller than Julia (because men are usually taller than women) and she clings to him seeking not just protection but comfort too. Budd is the one who controls and dominates, although why on earth he would be attracted to Julia considering her politics is never explained. Anyway, he does his duty and rounds off a good day’s work by sleeping with her.
This is all good entertaining fun but there is a bigger issue here. Should the women of England ever admit in public or to their mates down the pub that they would like their own Specialist Protection Officer in the form of a husband, they are mocked and ridiculed and accused of ‘letting the feminist side down’. Yet that is what they seek. This is why they will be lusting over Specialist Protection Officer Budd for weeks on end. This, dear readers, is why they lap up series like this in their hordes.
So, do enjoy the stern yet brittle Julia and her brooding protector David Budd. We know why we are watching it and that’s OK.