Line of Duty, The Durrells, Bodyguard: Keeley Hawes’ best ever roles

As the actress returns in another top-notch role as Home Secretary Julia Montague in Bodyguard, we look back at some of her previous hits.

When you see that Keeley Hawes is involved in a drama, you know it’s going to be a good one.

The star has an uncanny knack of picking out some of the best projects around, which has been proved to be the case once more with her new BBC series Bodyguard.

[Read more: All you need to know about Bodyguard]

As the political thriller keeps us glued to TV screens on Sunday nights, here’s our pick of Keeley’s top roles to date.

Tipping the Velvet (2002)

One of the first major roles we saw Keeley in was an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Tipping the Velvet.

Keeley played Kitty Butler and starred alongside Rachael Stirling as Nan Astley, telling the story of a lesbian love affair between two women in the 1890s.

[Read more: Who is in the cast of Bodyguard?]

Her character was a male impersonator music hall star and her performance was a hit with viewers and critics, under the guidance of screenwriting royalty Andrew Davies.

Spooks (2002-2004)

In the same year that mini-series Tipping the Velvet was a hit, we were introduced to the much longer running, but even more popular, Spooks.

The BBC series followed the dangerous and exciting world of spies working for MI5 and saw her star alongside Peter Firth, Hugh Simon, Nicola Walker and David Oyelowo.

[Read more: Keeley Hawes based Bodyguard character on Amber Rudd]

Keeley had a relatively short run in the show, which continued until 2011 and went on to feature such big-name stars as Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lara Pulver, Robert Glenister, and Hermione Norris.

She also ended up marrying her Spooks co-star, Matthew Macfadyen.

Ashes to Ashes (2008-2010)

Many of us will remember Alex Drake in Ashes to Ashes as being one of Keeley’s best roles.

The sequel to Life on Mars saw Alex undergo a similar weird experience to John Simm’s character Sam Tyler – apparently waking up in a different decade after having suffered a traumatic injury.

Alex, who was revealed to have been Tyler's unnamed psychologist, found herself working with Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) and co in the police force of the 1980s after being shot in the head by a dangerous client.

The programme ran for three series and viewers were won over by Alex and Gene’s odd working relationship, before the sad conclusion revealed that she had died of her shooting injuries in the first series.

The Casual Vacancy (2015)

This adaptation of JK Rowling’s work - about as far away from Harry Potter as you can get - starred Keeley as Samantha Mollison.

Samantha was a scandalous character for the seemingly sleepy town of Pagford, an apparent alcoholic who was running a struggling bra shop that often shocked some of the more conservative residents.

Keeley’s character also kissed a 16-year-old boy as she appeared in the series alongside Rufus Jones, Julia McKenzie, Rory Kinnear and Michael Gambon.

Line of Duty (2014-2016)

Jed Mercurio’s enormously successful police corruption series is known for its stand-out performances, not just from its main cast of Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar, but also from each series' guest stars.

Keeley is in good company, joining the ranks of Lennie James and Thandie Newton as a series guest star. Critics labelled her performance one of the best of 2014.

[Read more: When is Line of Duty 5 on TV?]

Viewers were kept guessing at whether her character Lindsay Denton was in fact being bullied at work as a detective, or if she was scheming against the force all along.

She returned for another series of the show and as ever in Line of Duty, was part of a series of twists and turns that were thoroughly unpredictable.

The Missing (2016)

If we had to pick out another recent series apart from Line of Duty that is sure to have had everyone talking, it’s The Missing.

Keeley featured in the second series of the mystery drama as the mother of a girl who was kidnapped, presumed dead – until her apparent reappearance many years later.

[Read more: All you need to know about The Missing spin-off Baptiste]

Her character Gemma lived on an army base in Germany, which she’d refused to leave since her daughter’s disappearance, despite the huge strain it put on her family.

Keeley’s portrayal of a bereaved mother who wanted desperately to believe that her child had returned from the dead was masterful and heartbreaking.

The Durrells (2016–present)

Aside from the gritty dramas, Keeley holds a regular role in a cosy family series at ITV.

She plays Louisa Durrell in the TV adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s memoir, My Family and Other Animals.

The formidable Louisa moved her family to Corfu as a single mother in the 1930s, battling to cope with her husband’s death and carve out a new life for her children.

Viewers have fallen in love with the gentle, funny series that takes in some of Corfu’s most beautiful scenery.

Bodyguard (2018)

Bodyguard, the newest creation from Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio, has become the autumn's first must-watch TV drama.

Jed must have been as impressed as the rest of us by Keeley’s Line of Duty turn, as he’s cast her as the lead in this new show which is said to be the reason for the delay of his fifth instalment of the police corruption serial.

Keeley plays ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, who is assigned a new bodyguard from the Met’s special protection unit.

But he is a traumatised ex-soldier with wildly differing political views to Julia, and with closer access to her than anyone, the relationship will prove a test of loyalties and morality.

Bodyguard begins on Sunday, August 26 at 9pm on BBC One.

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