The 32-year-old actor picked up a nomination for best performance by an actor in a TV series, drama, for his thrilling Netflix show Bodyguard on Thursday morning. The show, which was also nominated for best drama, first aired on BBC in the U.K. It’s captivated audiences, with viewers loving Madden’s equally stoic, strong and vulnerable performance as personal bodyguard David Budd.
PEOPLE caught up with the former Game of Thrones star shortly after he heard about the nominations and was still processing the news. Read on for his thoughts!
Congratulations! What was it like getting the news?
Mindblowing. I didn’t expect or even think about it, it wasn’t on my radar that this would even happen. A bit of shock. I’m in London in a studio, I’m recording a documentary voiceover at the moment. I was in the studio and suddenly my phone started buzzing quite a lot and that gave me an idea that something was going on. I didn’t think that the show or I would be nominated at all.
It’s been brilliant. A lot of people worked really, really hard and you don’t do it for award nominations or anything like that, but for it to be nominated is a really special thing. It’s really thrilling and beautiful.
Who has been the most special phone call since learning about the nomination?
When I spoke to my mother, she screamed and was over the moon for me. That was a really nice phone call to have.
WATCH: What Richard Madden Misses Most About Game of Thrones
This role gave us a side of you we’ve seen, which is the strong man who takes control. But Budd is also a really vulnerable character and showed a side to you that audiences may not have seen before. Did you like getting to delve into both sides of him?
I loved playing this part because he is so inherently human in that sense that he’s both dark and light and strong and completely vulnerable. One of my favorite kind of parts that I’ve taken away from this job is playing this hero character that we get to see at the end of six episodes breaking down and asking for help. That’s something that’s a really brilliant, beautiful, important thing that we get to see, and that was something that I really enjoyed. This strong hero, impenetrable man, and this vulnerable, broken ex-soldier and father.
This is such a binge-able, addictive show. Have you liked hearing from so many people who watched it in one sitting?
It makes me feel better about my binging! [laughs] It’s brilliant to know that so many people have tuned into it. It had such a great reaction over here, and for it to be on a platform like Netflix and getting out to so many people’s homes is kind of mind-blowing for me. I think it’s 192 countries and that kind of boggles my mind.
You kind of got a taste of the awards show life with Game of Thrones, but this is the first time you and the show are nominated. Are you excited to celebrate with the rest of the cast?
It’s gonna be crazy, it’s very surreal. I’ve been to the Emmys before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Golden Globes. I think I went to the Emmys with Game of Thrones but never the Globes, so it’s kind of double-surreal for me.
Oh, this is the fun one where everyone drinks the whole time.
Great, that’s what we want! And now I’m going with my show, so that’s kind of really brilliant.
And what about a season 2?
It’s definitely a possibility. I’m meeting Jed [Mercurio] the writer tomorrow, actually. I think we’ll probably have a glass of champagne and do some talking.