When we think of thrillers, the words pacy, exciting and unputdownable might come to mind. Also: the idea of being “plot driven”, all about the action, not necessarily particularly highbrow or elegantly written. But what are the successful tropes of this popular genre? And why do they work so well? Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard garnered the highest BBC viewing figures for the past 10 years. The action-packed story of terrorism, conspiracy and political disillusionment is on the pulse of today’s interests and fears. But the tale is also an old one. The links to Romeo and Juliet, not only with the one of the main character’s names – Julia Montague – but also the protagonist’s despairing bid for suicide and the warring “families” of MI5 and the Met, are palpable. Yet more strongly perhaps, the Bodyguard is an archetype of the thriller genre, following in the wake of great canonical works of literature such as Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The Bodyguard and Monte Cristo both demonstrate the essential ingredients for truly thrilling entertainment: the perfect concoction of love, death and politics, spiced up with conspiracy, revenge and uncertain allegiances. Such a potion is not typical for all thrillers. The Silence of the Lambs,… Read full this story
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