The Royal Bodyguard – 2012
It had all the ingredients for a success, prime time slot, bags of promo and David Jason in the title role. However this six part series that launched Boxing Day 2011 to impressive ratings of 7 million overnight and 8 million when i player etc were took into account, dropped to under 3 million by the final episode and was savaged from the outset by the critics.
David Jason in a recent interview for BBC News admitted that the comedy had not lived up to expectations.
“You can’t get it right all the time… We tried, we had a good go, we enjoyed doing it, and yeah, perhaps I think we didn’t quite bring it off and it came in for quite a lot of harsh criticism. But there you are – if you don’t put your head above the parapet you won’t get it shot off. You’ve got to do that occasionally.”
The idea for the series came about after the BBC attempted to create a new comedy series, written by writing duo Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni, after the success of their BBC sitcom The Worst Week of My Life. The two writers came up with the idea of a Johnny English-type character who had to defend the royal family, but ended up doing so in a comic fashion. The pair immediately decided to make the program family-orientated: but at this stage, they did not envision Jason as the lead character. it was BBC comedy commissioner Cheryl Taylor lured Jason to the role, after initially offering him the job of executive producer.
It would appear from media reports that it is unlikely that the series will return.
Captain Guy Hubble is an ex-guardsman who has seen action in Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
Now retired from active service he is Head of Security at Buckingham Palace car park. By pure chance he saves the Queen’s life in an act of bravery on the day of the State Opening of Parliament. This leads to his surprise appointment as Royal Bodyguard at the request of The Queen herself.
Hubble takes his new role very seriously but soon starts to upset foreign ambassadors, his colleagues and members of the public. He even manages to endanger Royal security repeatedly and on a colossal scale, manages to cause havoc at every turn, yet somehow every time he seems to pull it off coming up smelling of roses.
Written By: Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni
Produced By: Jimmy Mulville
Original Transmission Dates: 26th December 2011 – 30th January 2012
So what went wrong? It should have been a ratings giant, top writers, David Jason, family friendly, yet The Royal Bodyguard, was both savaged by critics and David Jason fans alike from the off.
We enjoyed it, the character and basic idea were quite good, but it was the setting that didn’t work and the constant emphasis to make it Clouseau/Johnnie English like that meant the viewer could see the jokes coming and that spoiled the comedy. The idea that a 70 year old would be such an action man also pushed the boundries of belief, even if David Jason did do all his own stunts.
Had the character been a retired police officer in more conventional setting, perhaps as a private investigator, it might have worked better as you probably would not have seen the jokes coming. It looks unlikely that we’ll see Captain Guy Hubble again, but we would like to see one last throw of the dice for the show perhaps as we said in a more conventional setting.
Overall we give The Royal Bodyguard 5/10.