Richard Madden has said he questioned if he wanted to continue acting after he finished working on Bodyguard, because the show took such an emotional toll on him.

The actor became a household name when he starred as David Budd in the hit BBC drama, but said it came at a cost – leaving him feeling “broken”.

He told The Hollywood Reporter: “At the end, I was like, I need to stop doing this for a while. Because it weighed very heavily on me.

Richard Madden
Richard Madden with Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard (Des Willie/PA)

“I was very isolated during it. You spend so much time in someone else’s clothes, saying someone else’s words, thinking someone else’s thoughts, that you lose a bit of yourself.

“And I’m not a method actor in any way, but you get a huge hangover. And at the end of that, I felt broken, much like the character was. Physically and mentally exhausted.

“I know we’re not curing cancer, but you’re giving everything you’ve got.”

Madden, who got his big break playing Robb Stark in Game Of Thrones and is hotly tipped to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, said he has learned to “never google your name”, adding: “Yeah, nothing good comes from it. But I was never more confident than when I had no success because I had nothing to lose.

“And then something goes down well and it starts to get worse. And it’s all in your own head and it should all be confidence-boosting, but you feel you have more to live up to and more to lose.”

He added: “I did 11 months where I was broke and had nothing. I was turning down theatre gigs — small theatre gigs — because I wanted to try and do some camera acting.

“And the offers stop coming after you turn them down for a while and you go, ‘Right, I’ve now ruined that bit of my career’. And I’m not getting the camera stuff. I’d shot myself in the foot.

“Then I got Game Of Thrones, and that helped change things a bit.”