- I think with something like this, certainly an adaptation of something that hasn't been revisited for a while, both the creative team and us on the other side of the camera, you have to find some way of making it special.
(bright music) - With a text like "Tom Jones", it's a massive novel.
The plot is quite complex.
There's so many characters and different storylines interweaving, and so I think in a longer format, you have more time to explore that and really get to know the characters.
- [Sophia] We could just live happily ever after, but I would have no story to tell.
- This is a man's story, but it's told through the eyes of a woman, in fact, lots of amazing female characters, and that instantly makes this a more, I think contemporary adaptation of it.
- [Sophia] I meant to flee from trouble, not run straight into it.
- You can see that every character is their own individual person.
They have individual personalities, and you really love them.
- There's a real sense of equality in the sexual desire between men and women, and that's really, really important.
- Of course, Tom has his own desires, but it shows the desire from the women's point of view as well.
- Mr. Jones is awfully handsome.
- I was really struck by how joyful the book's attitude towards sex is.
It's a book of complete sexual equality.
Fielding accepts that both men and women have equal sex drive and have equal enjoyment in sex.
What goes wrong for women is the problems laid upon us by 18th century society.
Gotta be a virgin when you marry.
Gotta be a good girl.
- It's written in a way that's accessible.
- The dialogue feels relatable even though it's hundreds of years ago.
It feels like sharp and snappy, and it's just really fun to say.
- You've thrown yourself away on a quarrelsome bastard, who'd take advantage of a hole in the carpet.
- Well, you don't know him as I do!
- It's still true to the human condition and the difficulties of that time and the expectations.
- May I simply remind you that your duty is to your family.
- I need no reminding.
- And that your marriage bed is that family's most precious position.
- The book has always been about class prejudice and those sort of themes, but there's a element of racial politics to the adaptation, which feels really current and exciting.
- In the novel, "Tom Jones", there are no black characters, and we have a black heroine in Sophia.
And when we discovered the kind of possibilities there were to have black characters, really black characters who might have lived in London and lived in the kind of England we're describing, that was just so exciting.
- Dealing with some of the bigger themes in "Tom Jones" like identity and prejudice was really important for us to do.
We want to create drama that people can relate to, that they can recognize themselves in.
- My lovely girl!
- You can do that with a show like this with a lighter touch and that can actually reach further, and it can be very powerful.
- [Man] Love conquers all.