Ex Home Office second perm sec advises new TV drama on government

Sir Leigh Lewis has helped BBC drama recreate the life of a home secretary


Photo: PA

By Richard Johnstone

24 Aug 2018

Former Home Office second permanent secretary Sir Leigh Lewis has provided advice for a new TV drama to be broadcast on Sunday that will explore the life of a home secretary and national security issues.

Lewis, who served as second permanent secretary for crime, policing, counter-terrorism and delivery at the Home Office from 2003 to 2005, and as DWP perm sec from 2006 to 2011, advised Bodyguard on the workings of government, its writer and creator Jed Mercurio said today.

The programme stars Keeley Hawes as a home secretary, and Julia Montague and Richard Madden as the bodyguards assigned for her protection, who also served in the Iraq war. The series deals with the tensions of the officer protecting a politician who voted for the war, and the national security threats they face.


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Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mercurio said that Lewis had been very helpful as he had worked in government and assisted in getting the details of the show right, while there had also been a number of advisors from the police.

Mercurio, who also wrote the TV show Line of Duty, said the programme is about the relationship between the police protection officer and Montague.

“What was really quite fascinating was the way their life gets taken over, particularly a high-profile politician and one who uses national security as a platform and therefore becomes someone who is potentially at jeopardy all the time. It was really quite fascinating how they really lose their personal life – everywhere they go and every decision they make, even something as simple as whether they stay in or go out for dinner, those decisions all have a security implication and it is probably something that is incredibly taxing to them.”

The first part of the six-part series begins on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.

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