Nelson born writer of one of British TV's most successful dramas awarded an OBE in New Year's Honours List

Nelson born Jed Mercurio, who is one of British television's leading writers, has been made an OBE in the New Year's Honours List.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 12:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 12:14 pm
Nelson born Jed Mercurio, who created Line of Duty and Bodyguard, has been made at OBE in the New Year's Honours List. (Getty Images)

The writer and producer behind hits including Line of Duty and Bodyguard received the accolade for services to television drama.

Mercurio (54) was born in Nelson but grew up in Cannock, Staffordshire. He studied at the University of Birmingham Medical School before he was commissioned as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Medical Branch, receiving flying training with the University Air Squadron.

He had intended to specialise in aviation medicine and it was during his practice as a hospital physician that he answered an advertisement in the British Medical Journal and, despite little writing experience, scripted the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest under the pseudonym John MacUre.

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Subsequently he retired from medicine to pursue a writing career under his own name and went on to become a leading writer responsible for some of the most-watched dramas of recent years.

Mercurios's medical background has continued to influence his writing, with his series Bodies (adapted from his first novel) starring Max Beesley, and Critical, starring Lennie James, both set inside hospitals.

But it was Line Of Duty, which began on the BBC in 2012, which propelled Mercurio to household name status.

The series, following the investigations of police anti-corruption unit AC-12, has been a huge hit and attracted guest stars including Keeley Hawes, Thandie Newton and Stephen Graham.

Its viewership grew over time and the show was moved from BBC Two to a prime slot on BBC One for its fourth series.

But even the success of Line Of Duty paled in comparison to the juggernaut that was Bodyguard, starring Richard Madden as the police officer assigned to protect the Home Secretary, played by Hawes.

The 2018 show became the most-watched drama series of the decade, with the finale drawing a TV audience of 14.3 million. It was also a hit in the US and landed Mercurio two Emmy nominations.

Line Of Duty also landed in the top five most-watched dramas, with its nail-biting fifth series finale attracting a TV audience of 12.1 million.

Mercurio is also responsible for series including The Grimleys, Strike Back, and Invasion: Earth and his books include Bodies, The Ascent, American Adulterer and The Penguin Expedition.

The sixth series of Line Of Duty, which was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, has finished filming in Northern Ireland and is due to air in 2021.

It will star Kelly Macdonald as a senior investigating officer on an unsolved murder case.