After revealing its first slate of original content on Monday, PBS returned to the Television Critics Association 2023 Winter Press Tour today with updates on a number of upcoming Masterpiece series. During the presentation, the network unveiled the trailer for its upcoming romantic comedy adaptation Tom Jones. The trailer sets up the relationship between its two main characters, played by Solly McLeod (House of the Dragon) and Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me), as they overcome vice, status, authority, and even violence to find love together.
From the outset, the series is set up as a lighthearted, fun, sexy romance following the escapades of the titular kind-hearted womanizer. Tom Jones (McLeod) is looked down upon for his vices and status as a member of the Allworthy household in name only, though Squire Allworthy vouches for his character. After a chance encounter with Sophia Western (Wilde), Tom is in love though his status is immediately an issue when compared to Sophia, an heiress touted as “the best match in England.” A lack of standing won’t stop Tom as they continually try to carry on their love despite rebukes from Sophia’s family and duels that put Tom in danger. He might be described as a “bad boy,” but to Sophia he’s everything but that as their chemistry together proves that true love is blossoming.
The series is based on Henry Fielding‘s landmark novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling which is largely seen as a classic rom-com. Although the trailer gives more attention to the drama and romance between Tom and Sophia, the series’ BAFTA-nominated creator Gwyneth Hughes attested that her experience writing the show was a breath of fresh air thanks to the positive, fun nature of it:
It’s been the most joyful experience to bring this sparkling romance to the screen. It’s a story in which the sun never stops shining, and in which Love Conquers All, and that just makes such a refreshing change after the last couple of years! Henry Fielding created brilliant characters, fully of their time, but still speaking directly to us in the modern world, as we strive towards our own versions of love and happiness. I’ve loved writing alongside him.
Tom Jones Features a Starry Cast Full of Familiar Faces
It also helps that Tom Jones boasts a solid cast beyond its two leads. McLeod and Wilde are joined by Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham who plays the famed seductress Lady Bellaston and Bridgerton‘s James Fleet who appears as Tom’s adoptive father Squire Allworthy. Rounding out the cast are Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) as Honour, Alun Armstrong (Breeders) as Squire Western, Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley) as Aunt Western, Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row) as Sophia’s Aunt Harriet and Julian Rhind-Tutt (Britannia) as Fitzpatrick.
Tom Jones airs on PBS in four parts starting on April 30 at 9 p.m. ET. Viewers can also stream the show through PBS.org, PBS Passport, and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel. Check out the trailer below.