‘Tom Jones’ reviews round-up: ‘Phenomenal cast’ have ‘off-the-charts chemistry’

The first reviews are in for ITV’s new adaptation of Tom Jones!

From the makers of Poldark and Victoria, the mini-series is based on the classic 1749 novel by Henry Fielding.

The four-part period drama is written by Gwyneth Hughes, who previously adapted Vanity Fair for ITV a few years ago.

Leading the cast as our hero Tom is Solly McLeod (The Rising), playing the role previously played by Albert Finney in the famous 1963 movie.

Watch a clip here:

Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) plays Sophia Western, while Emmy award-winning Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham is on scene-stealing form as the seductive and vengeful Lady Bellaston.

The cast also includes James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley), Alun Armstrong (New Tricks), and Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter), alongside Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who), Susannah Fielding (Life), Daniel Rigby (Black Mirror), Felicity Montagu (The Durrells), Janine Duvitski (Benidorm), Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Britannia), and Dean Lennox Kelly (Shameless).

Here’s the trailer:

Tom Jones premiered last night in the US on PBS Masterpiece, continuing on Sunday nights this month.

Over in the UK, the series launches on ITVX this Thursday, with all four episodes available to watch on ITV’s new streaming service as a box set.

We’ve rounded up a spoiler-free selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the series:


“…ultimately, Tom Jones fits solidly within the canon Masterpiece has established for itself, bringing books once banished to the bookshelves of college professors back to the forefront, with a style and tact that makes them accessible even for the most unread of us…

“It’s a great showcase for talent many already love, and really, if you’re disappointed in the direction Ted Lasso’s headed this season, it’s a great distraction for those who want more from Hannah Waddingham.” – Collider


“Screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes had a gargantuan task ahead of her in boiling down the tome into four hours, while also extracting the female voices that define Tom in the first place.

“To do so, she cut plenty of scenes from the middle of the novel and the plots that keep Sophia and Tom apart for too long, choosing instead to focus on the lighter, comedic moments and its sweeping love story. The result is this sprightly, if not surface-level, miniseries…

“In the end, this is a low-commitment and easy watch that should satiate period piece lovers with its subtle comedy, outlandish recurring characters and gorgeous handmade costumes. ” – Variety


“A rollicking romp through lusty, dusty, busty Georgian England is what one would like to call the new Tom Jones.

“But it is a far more gentle-bordering-on-bloodless treatment of the 1749 Henry Fielding novel than, say, the 1963 Best Picture with which it will inevitably be compared.” – The Wall Street Journal


“The first thing you notice about the series is its aesthetic. The colour palette is made up of dazzlingly bright blues and greens and everything is gorgeously lit, from the glistening exteriors to the candle-lit interiors.

“This lightness extends to the tone. That’s not to say it doesn’t tackle more difficult topics and see hardships placed upon the central characters, but everything is treated with a delicate touch, which gives the series the energy of a romp…

“…a phenomenal cast has been put together for this series and they are, as you’d expect, a delight.” ★★★ – Radio Times


“…while Henry Fielding’s 18th-century coming-of-age tome retains some mild shock value in its frisky particulars, writer Gwyneth Hughes’ brisk four-part adaptation — a welcome respite from the bloat of so many overlong streaming series — nestles perhaps too snugly in the Masterpiece costume-drama comfort zone.” – TV Insider


“Much of what is most delightful here comes from the corps of British character actors who fill out the supporting parts, including the ubiquitous Shirley Henderson as Sophia’s proper Aunt Western; Armstrong, perhaps best known for the old-cop series New Tricks, as the excitable Squire Western; and Fleet (lately King George in Bridgerton) as the moderate Squire Allworthy…

“From this side of the Atlantic, their mere presence tells a story inextricable from the story they’re telling. It doubles the pleasure, doubles the fun.” – Los Angeles Times


“…this version of Tom Jones boils Fielding’s extensive novel down to the romance between Tom and Sophia, and that’s just fine with us. It’s such a sprawling story, albeit one with a light comedic tone, that putting the focus on the unlikely couple makes it into something contemporary.

“It helps that there’s off-the-charts chemistry between Wilde and McLeod.” – Decider


Tom Jones will eventually be broadcast on ITV1 in the UK later this year.

Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones novel is available on Amazon.