‘Tom Jones’ on PBS: Masterpiece confirms release date for new adaptation

It’s been revealed when the new version of Tom Jones begins in the US.

The upcoming four-part period drama is based on Henry Fielding’s classic 1749 novel, a bestseller for nearly three centuries.

2023 marks sixty years since the Tom Jones movie starring Albert Finney and Susannah York.

That famous adaptation was nominated for ten Oscars in 1963, winning four, so this new retelling has a lot to live up to!

Fortunately there’s a great team involved, with the makers of Poldark and Victoria teaming up with Gwyneth Hughes, who adapted Vanity Fair for ITV in 2018.

Executive producer Susanne Simpson commented: “This new adaptation of Tom Jones is a big-hearted rom-com that will absolutely delight our viewers.”

She added: “It’s full of laughter and romance. I’m extremely proud to partner with producers Mammoth Screen, writer Gwyneth Hughes, and an outstanding cast on this joyful show.”

Writer Gwyneth Hughes added: “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!”

When’s the US release date?

Following last week’s trailer reveal, it’s now been officially announced by Masterpiece that Tom Jones will premiere in the US at 9pm ET on Sunday 30th April on PBS.

The four episodes will debut weekly on Sunday nights, with the finale airing on Sunday 21st May.

Tom  Jones will also be available to stream on PBS.org, PBS Passport, and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

Watch the trailer:

The series is expected to premiere in the UK this spring on ITV, but there’s been no date confirmation yet.

The official synopsis for Tom Jones reads: “Solly McLeod (House of the Dragon) stars as the handsome, resourceful title character, with Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as the beautiful and bright, seemingly unattainable love of his life, Sophia Western. He is a foundling of uncertain parentage, while she is an heiress.

“In 18th-century England, their class differences make their journey to find each other complicated and treacherous.

“Emmy-winning actress Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) plays the seductive and vengeful Lady Bellaston, who comes between Tom and Sophia.

“The cast also includes James Fleet (Bridgerton) as Squire Allworthy, Tom’s warm-hearted adoptive father, and Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit) as Allworthy’s hard drinking but loveable neighbor, Squire Western, who is Sophia’s doting grandfather.

“Felicity Montagu (The Durrells in Corfu) plays Allworthy’s reserved sister, Bridget, with James Wilbraham (In My Skin) as her odious son, William Blifil—an unrelenting antagonist to Tom. He and Tom eventually battle for Sophia’s hand, a contest that Blifil seems destined to win.”

Here’s a clip from the first episode:

The synopsis continues: “Sophia has a trio of watchful aunts, played by Shirley Henderson (See How They Run) as the headstrong Aunt Western, Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row) as the diffident Aunt Harriet, and Waddingham as Lady Bellaston, who is attentive in her own way.

“Sophia also has a worldly-wise servant Honour, played by Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who).

“When banished in disgrace by his adoptive father, Tom leaves for London. Not far behind him, Sophia heads there to escape a forced marriage to Blifil and seek the protection of her aunts.

“Along the way, Tom meets disgraced schoolmaster Partridge (Daniel Rigby, The Witchfinder), Mrs. Waters (Susannah Fielding, Wallander), and the irascible soldier-of-fortune Fitzpatrick (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Oliver Twist).”

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