We're already over 'Sherlock' following last Sunday's letdown, but luckily there's a Brit-thesp beefcake waiting in the wings to steal our telly-loving hearts. Saturday sees the launch of 'Taboo', a muscular period drama starring Tom Hardy, and co-created by Tom along with 'Eastern Promises' writer Steven Knight and Tom's Dad, Chips Hardy (is that a nickname, or did the Hardy grandparents just really, really like greasy food?). In the show, Hardy Jr plays James Keziah Delaney, an ex-mercenary who returns from a lengthy African adventure to learn that his recently deceased father has left him a piece of coastal land in the Americas. Trouble is, that same piece of land is highly valued by the plunderous East India Company, whose CEO Sir Stuart Strange (Jonathan Pryce) will stop at nothing to get his mitts on it.
We've seen the first episode, and can report that it's thunderously entertaining, if just a teensy bit ridiculous. Tom's facial expression never changes: he first appears scowling furiously at his Dad's embalmed body, and basically just goes around glaring threateningly for the next hour. He doesn't say much, chucking in the odd grunt to imply that here is a man who is half a beast, unpredictable and ferocious. Luckily, everyone else goes completely the other way: Pryce is as fruity as a basket of apples as the devious Strange, enunciating beautifully even when he says the word 'fuck', which he does quite a bit.
There's a spot of violence, the occasional glimpse of a bare buttock and a whole lot of period detail, from beautifully designed costumes to gloomy alehouse interiors. We haven't caught sight of Tom in his loincloth yet (see pic above), presumably that'll come when he heads over to the not-yet-United-States and throws off the shackles of polite society. Can't wait!
'Taboo' screens on BBC One this Saturday Jan 7, at 9.15.