Have you been watching Jed Mercurio’s latest series, Bodyguard? Jed Mercurio Bodyguard David Budd (RICHARD MADDEN), Julia Montague (KEELEY HAWES) - Photographer: Sophie Mutevelian

Do you trust him?

A review in a paper this week said, not to worry: the bodyguard himself is the star role and the star always survives.

Really?

OK – this is NOT A SPOILER ALERT.

(An aside on spoiler alerts. It annoys me they are always so close to the spoiler itself that you can’t stop your eye from reading on two or three lines and so seeing the very information you were supposed to be protected from?

Or is it just me?

A good spoiler alert should be at least a paragraph away. Anyway…)

As I said, this is not a spoiler alert because it’s not based on knowing Bodyguard but on Mercurio’s previous – in particular the grippingly amazing Line of Duty series.

And the question, for anyone who – like me – has been addicted is:

“When did Mercurio ever shy away from killing a central character when he wanted to?”

Graham Greene said that every good writer should have a splinter of ice in their heart.

I’d go further. A good writer watches other people’s pain and goes “Ah! A great story idea.”

A good writer sees awful things happen in the world and says, “Ooh, yes. That would be enormous fun to put in my next novel.”

We like to torture our characters. And before you get too smug, our readers are worse, because they pay us to do it.

Alfred Hitchcock said of his audiences, “Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.

Nice.

Have a good sleep.

Tell me below what tricks your favourite (or unfavourite) writers have played on you.

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