Tom Jones writer says show contains 'meat' of the book’s love story but changes had to be made

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 4 May 2023
Solly McLeod

Solly McLeod plays Tom Jones in the new drama

‘Tom Jones’ contains the “meat” of the book’s love story, says screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes, but she admitted some changes had to be made

‘Tom Jones’ screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes wanted to keep the “meat” of the book’s love story.

The miniseries’ creator detailed how Henry Fielding's 1749 novel and her ITVX show – which is now available to stream – are different as she had to take out “big chunks” of the source material to make the show fit into the four-episode commission.

Speaking to media in a Q+A, she said: "I don’t really remember the terrible pain of that, it was a while ago. Obviously, I’ve compiled a few characters, I've taken big chunks out of the middle. Stuff that wasn't centrally to do with the relationship between Tom and Sofia, the meat of the romcom if you like, I sort of jumped."

Gwyneth didn’t find it “difficult” to adapt ‘The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling’ – which has already been made in a 1963 movie with Albert Finney and another television series in 1997 starring Max Beesley – for TV, which she credits to the author's plotting.

She said: "It wasn’t actually that difficult. Famously, ‘Tom Jones’ has been described as having one of the most perfect plots in the whole universe.

"And it is perfect, but it takes him 200 pages to unravel it and I've only got 200 pages for the whole project. So I did some simplification towards the end."

Meanwhile, Solly McLeod – who plays the titular character opposite his romantic lead Sophie Wilde – has teased that ‘Ted Lasso’ star Hannah Waddingham’s character Lady Bellaston is “just very bad” in the best possible way.

he said: "What can you expect from Lady B? Naughtiness. She's just very bad. But in a very fun way.

"You feel you're definitely attracted to her character. Even though you're kind of rooting for Tom and Sophia, there's a part of you that thinks, 'I do kind of like her as well.'

"So she's a great central villain, if you want to call her a villain – she's not really."