Team behind Poldark bringing Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones to small screen
Filming is set to get under way in and around Belfast this autumn on new miniseries Tom Jones, based on Henry Fielding’s classic novel.
The ITV four-part drama, a reimagining of the 18th century book The History Of Tom Jones: A Foundling, tells the story of a young man’s complicated journey to find love.
The miniseries sees ITV team up with Masterpiece and Mammoth Screen, which have delivered some of the UK’s biggest dramas such as Poldark and Victoria.
It has been adapted for screen by Gwyneth Hughes, who adapted Vanity Fair and also wrote the script for the recent BBC network drama Three Families, shot in Northern Ireland.
Solly McLeod (The Rising) stars as the hero Tom alongside Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as the heroine Sophia Western.
Fielding’s novel scandalised readers when it was originally published in 1749.
But, according to Hughes, who also acts as executive producer, it’s the “mother of all romcoms” and is “just what we all need after the last couple of years of misery”.
“Henry Fielding’s 18th century novel is sexy and fun; it’s also a dramatic rollercoaster, addressing so many modern concerns around consent, sexual equality and the pursuit of happiness,” she said.
“Tom and Sophia overcome enormous obstacles before finding their way home and to each other.
“This is a classic adaptation with a wise soul and a great big smile on its face.”
Mammoth Screen executive producer James Gandhi said: “With Gwyneth Hughes’s masterful scripts, Georgia Parris at the directing helm and rising stars Solly McLeod and Sophie Wilde leading the cast, we couldn’t be more excited to bring this joyous 18th century story of identity and romance to the screen.”
Parris described the period piece as an “escapist romp into the sights, sounds and textures of 18th century England”.
“It is an intimate story that shows how love and desire drive and confound us all, both women and men,” she said.
“I can’t wait to get started on telling this classic story, one of the first ever English novels, and making it resonate with a modern audience.”
With funding from Northern Ireland Screen, Tom Jones will film locally in the next months.
Its chief executive Richard Williams said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Mammoth Screen, Masterpiece and ITV on the latest drama to film in Northern Ireland.
“We are sure audiences around the world will enjoy this exciting adaptation of Henry Fielding’s classic novel.”
Masterpiece, the company behind hits such as Downtown Abbey and Sherlock, has won 83 Primetime Emmy awards. Mammoth Screen, part of ITV Studios, includes Endeavour and The Serpent among its shows.