Bodyguard star Keeley Hawes has said she finds it “weird” to be in demand as an actor after years of hard work.

The Bafta-nominated actress, 43, played home secretary Julia Montague in Jed Mercurio’s hit BBC drama series, opposite Richard Madden as her troubled bodyguard.

Previous to that she appeared in lesser known roles in a slew of productions including The Casual Vacancy and the rebooted Upstairs, Downstairs.

Graham Norton Show – London
Hawes had a starring role in BBC hit Bodyguard (Isabel Infantes/PA)

She said on Friday’s Graham Norton Show: “When you’re 43 it’s a bit weird – you’ve been in the business for so long and suddenly you’re ‘hot’. It’s an interesting thing.”

Hawes also expressed surprise at her recent success in shows like The Durrells and Mrs Wilson.

She added: “It is so nice and such a surprise. It’s so flattering and really lovely.”

Speaking about her inspiration for the controversial figure of Montague, she said: “I watched (Government minister) Amber Rudd a lot for research.

Graham Norton Show – London
Hawes appeared on the Graham Norton Show with Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Matt Lucas (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“I actually bumped into her in a restaurant and she told me she really enjoyed the show. She did ask me if I was really dead.”

Hawes appears in a new BBC series entitled Summer Of Rockets but gave little away.

“It’s very tricky to talk about it because everyone has a secret,” she said.

The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One on Friday at 10.35pm.