Bodyguard ***** BBC1

NERVES: shredded. Pulse: racing. Clothes: half-off.

If you were not in a similar state of dishevelment at 10.15pm last night as Bodyguard ended then what a party you missed as writer Jed Mercurio delivered a finale so electrifying no-one will need to switch the heating on till February. Yes, even viewers in Scotland.

“Wham” went the red herrings, as key characters looked set to be revealed as the killer of Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). “Bam” went assumptions as all was revealed. “Thank you ma’am”, we said as one to Hawes for being killed off early and leaving noughties television with an “is she/isn’t she dead” cliffhanger to rival who shot JR.

Finale expected to draw record audience 

But praise above all to the leading man, Scotland’s Richard Madden, who was put through the wringer as Sergeant David Budd, the war veteran with PTSD turned Julia’s bodyguard.

Warning: what follows contains spoilers.

The evening started so well for our man as he met Chanel, the PR with cheap scent morals, for a drink. When Luke Aikens, the Mr Big of organised crime, turned up with his henchman and took Budd away it looked like case solved. But when did Mercurio, the creator of Line of Duty, ever give up the goods so easily?

By the time Budd woke up the next day wearing a suicide vest with his thumb taped to the trigger we were not even 15 minutes in. “I’m being set up!” he pleaded. “The people who did this to me killed Julia!”

One after one, a Greek chorus of the women in his life turned up. All were shocked he had kept quiet about his knowledge of the shooter, and they were ready to wash their hands of him, likely condemning= him to a grisly fate. All except one. Running to Budd’s side, thus ensuring he would not be shot, was his wife, Vicky. To paraphrase Kenny Rogers, you picked a fine time for a reunion, hen, but thank goodness you did.

Margaret Taylor: Bodyguard reflects reality of powerful women

Budd told police he would lead them to the evidence that would prove his innocence. So off he walked through the streets of London to his flat. Still wearing the vest, with Vicky by his side and half the Metropolitan Police following while news cameras captured his every step. It was like a slo-mo, very British, version of OJ’s white Bronco ride.

The other Scots start of Bodyguard

If this was nerve-wracking, how about when Budd opted to defuse the vest himself? “What a man,” sighed millions. “Thank God he’s only being asked to defuse a suicide vest under pressure and not build a chest of drawers from Ikea,” said millions more.

Four times Mercurio sent us to hot and sweaty high doh as this wire was snipped and that switch “shunted”, every victory being greeted by Budd with a near orgasmic moan of relief.

Susan Swarbrick interviews Richard Madden

With the last snip he was gone, off to nab who killed his beloved Julia. But there was still 18 minutes to go. Did a last minute twist, as in every Line of Duty finale, await? Would Julia rise from the dead? Mercurio wisely resisted reuniting Julia with her troubled Romeo, spending the last moments spreading the blame around further. Not every loose end was tied up satisfactorily, with the twist in Nadia’s tale least convincing of all.

“Some say you should get a medal,” said a superior to Budd. “Others reckon you should be kicked off the force. We’ll see.”

Make that medals all round for a series that showed terrestrial television was still able to bring millions together to cheer on a good man taking on a bad world. Sgt Budd, we salute you.