Now the creator of the hit BBC drama has revealed why he decided to kill off one of the two main characters half way through the six-parter, making Keeley a rare example of an actress being written out mid-series.
In an interview with this week’s Radio Times, Jed Mercurio explains that he deliberately played on the assumption by viewers that you wouldn’t cast a major star only to then bump them off.
“I think there’s a certain expectation with series TV that it will always orbit around an equilibrium, in which nothing much changes for the main stars, and there are no drastic changes to the set-up,” he explains.
“But, with my work, I like to try to do things that move the story on, and with Bodyguard I wanted to have this event mid-series that would completely alter the dynamic.”
The writer says he was inspired by shows he watched as a child, where the main characters would seemingly have nine lives.
He says: “I remember watching TV as a kid and, whenever there was some sort of jeopardy involving the hero, I could reassure myself that they were what I’d call a ‘can’t-die’ character, so everything would be OK. Even though you’d just seen a completely crazed Mr Spock strangle Captain Kirk to death [in Star Trek], you’d know that a few minutes later there would be some bizarre twist involving the time-space continuum and Kirk would be alive on the Starship Enterprise.”
It’s not the first time Joe has killed off a character played by Keeley Hawes. Her stint in his other big hitter, ‘Line Of Duty’, as DI Lindsay Denton, was also short-lived, something he says the actress took with “good humour”.
“I think, for her, it’s about the work as a whole, and the role,” he explains. “I think – hope – she’d take the view that it’s better to do a few episodes of something meaty than lots of episodes of something thin.”
‘The Bodyguard’ continues on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.
Read the full interview with Joe in this week’s Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com