Life

"Watching Bodyguard makes me gloomy and anxious"

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Anna Brech
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Watching the BBC’s headline drama prompted one writer to reform her TV habits (warning: contains second episode spoiler)

Five years ago, Bodyguard would have been the kind of TV viewing that I craved. 

The BBC’s showcase drama is a result of our booming appetite for all things noir; think the suspense of Gone Girl meets The Girl on a Train with a terrorism thread looped in.

It’s punchy and relevant, drawing on political intrigue and real-life threats the UK faces in an age of unprecedented alert.

But somewhere between its bleak cinematography and grim line-up of characters - who are collectively refused a glimmer of likeability - it left me feeling hollow.

Watching the first two episodes, I found myself yearning for some kind of silver lining; one that extends beyond schoolkids not being run over by a marauding van.

I understand life is hardly rosy when you’re an ex-serviceman suffering from PTSD, or a cabinet minister facing modern-day Armageddon.

But a little lightness here and there, a slither of sunshine (real or figurative) would have made the rest of it a more palatable watch. I would have felt more invested.

Instead, I had to abandon it just a few shows in.

On paper, Jed Mercurio’s six-part series is a slick production. It combines strong female leads with a stellar cast and a pacey, gripping narrative. 

Most people I know love it, and it’s picked up a string of rave reviews, with record viewing figures forecast for tonight’s finale.

But for me, it’s driven home the fact that I really need to take responsibility for what I watch on TV.

If I clock up gloom-and-doom dramas on a Sunday night, that’s inevitably going to cast a cloud over my evening. 

It’s not even Bodyguard’s alarmist terror plot that makes me anxious, so much as its generally bleak take on life.

Watching it is a bit like binge-eating cheese; my immediate instinct says yes, but then I feel a bit bloated and guilty afterwards, and kind of mucky around the edges.

I’ve realised I no longer have the stomach for such things. If I go down the thriller route, it has to be something a bit tongue-in-cheek (hello, 24)  or with some redeeming qualities thrown in (Game of Thrones and its residual silliness).

Either that, or I need to stick to altogether more warming material. 

Bake-Off, Gilmore Girls - you’re up. Call me an ostrich, but life’s too short for anything else. 

Images: BBC

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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