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Netflix Lands ‘Bodyguard,’ Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes Hit U.K. Drama

Bodyguard” is going global with Netflix. It has set ratings alight in the U.K., where it airs on the BBC and is the biggest new drama series for a decade, and will now launch internationally on the SVOD platform.

The drama starring Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) and Keeley Hawes (“The Missing”) is made by ITV-owned shingle World Productions. Madden plays David Budd, a war veteran-turned-cop, assigned to protect a senior politician, Julia Montague, played by Hawes.

The opening episode on flagship channel BBC One won a 40.9% share and generated a huge consolidated viewing figure of 10.4 million. In the coveted 16-34 demographic, it won 1.2 million viewers. That made it the biggest drama launch on any network in recent memory in Britain.

Viewers have stuck with the series. The most recent installment, the fifth, went out Sunday and garnered an overnight rating of 8 million and a 38.2% peak share. Those were the serialized drama’s best overnight numbers so far, and an increase of 1 million on the previous week.

The series was created by Jed Mercurio, who also made cop drama “Line of Duty,” a critical and ratings success in the U.K.

Announcing the deal with Netflix on Tuesday, ITV’s distribution arm, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said that the streaming giant had actually picked up the series at script stage. The deal allows the streamer to premiere “Bodyguard” internationally on its platform from Oct. 24.

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