Long considered to be one of the earliest novels in the English language, Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling will be adapted and reimagined for television by PBS Masterpiece. The story follows the growth and misadventures of the title character, played in this new adaptation by the young actor Solly McLeod (The Rising), who stars opposite Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as the heroine, Sophia Western.
Based on the novel that is generally acknowledged as Fielding’s greatest work and one that has both delighted and scandalized readers since it was originally published in 1749, the series will be written by Gwyneth Hughes, who has a long-standing history of adapting English novels, having created a serial version of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair as well as Charles Dickens’ unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She’s also behind the Masterpiece special Dark Angel which starred Downton Abbey‘s Joanne Froggatt and the PBS miniseries Remember Me with Michael Palin in the lead role.
“Tom Jones is the mother of all rom-coms and isn’t that just what we all need after the last couple of years of misery?” Hughes says. “It’s a story where the sun barely stops shining, where love conquers all, and at its warm heart stand a pair of young sweethearts everyone can root for. 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. Tom and Sophia overcome enormous obstacles before finding their way home and to each other.”
This new adaptation won’t be the first for Mr. Jones which began in 1963 with Albert Finney starring in the title role, followed in 1997 by the BBC adaptation starring Max Beesley, Brian Blessed and Samantha Morton which aired on, as we like to say, ‘another network’.
A co-production of PBS, ITV and Mammoth Screen (Victoria, Poldark), the 4-part miniseries begins filming this Fall in and around Belfast in Northern Ireland with a latter half of 2022, early 2023 proposed delivery targeted.