Jed Mercurio, the writer of hit BBC series Bodyguard, has admitted that he’s fine with ‘lying’ to viewers to increase the dramatic tension in his shows.
He also hinted that as he unexpectedly brought actress Keeley Hawes back from a seemingly definitive plot line in his last series, Line of Duty, so he may do again in Bodyguard.
Viewers have speculated that as Hawes’ character Home Secretary Julia Montague was not seen to die on screen that she may not actually be dead.
“The thing is, I don’t really feel a great responsibility to tell the truth, so it doesn’t really matter what I say,” he told The Sun.
“I tell the truth where it’s the ethical thing to do, but in terms of entertainment there’s a certain fun and a certain enjoyment that can be added to the experience by a few judicious lies.”
As for bringing Hawes back in Line of Duty, following a plot which saw her go to prison, he said: “Yeah, I’ve lied before about Keeley and it may well be I will lie again.
“We decided to keep secret the fact that Keeley Hawes returned in that series. And the BBC publicists weren’t permitted to lie. Their editorial guidelines say they’re not allowed to mislead.
“However, both Keeley and I felt it was absolutely fine for us to lie.
“So Keeley gave an interview saying she wasn’t in it, and I gave an interview saying she wasn’t in it. And we were able to progress this big, unexpected twist.”
In a later appearance on Newsnight, Mercurio also hit back at claims of a plothole in the show.
Viewers have debated that the connection between Richard Madden’s tortured soldier David Budd has with former serviceman turned would-be assassin Andy Apsted surely would have been discovered by now.
But Mercurio says viewers are actually making assumptions about something that’s not been made explicit in the plot.
“That’s something that was planted in the series and it has taken a considerable time to resolve that stay,” he said.
“No I don’t think they would have known that immediately. It required investigation and cross checking.
“Actually although there’s a thought they were in the same battalion they weren’t. I don’t know where that’s come from.
“They simply served together in a very big war at the same time but they were in different regiments.”
Mercurio also took those who have criticised the accuracy of the show to task, suggesting that some media outlets are going out of their way to try and pick holes.
“I don’t mind people saying its drama and it’s not meant to be realistic,” he added.
“But what we have going on is an editorial brief to go out and find people who criticise the show’s accuracy. We went through a rigorous and meticulous process with lots of advisors who came with excellent credentials.
“What annoys me is when a journalist finds someone who doesn’t have the right credentials but enjoys having the platform of s**gging off the programme.
“I just wanted to set the record straight on that.”
The show’s finale airs on BBC1 on Sunday night.