PBS’ Tom Jones: Is the TV Show Based on Real People?

Image Credit: PBS

PBS’ ‘Tom Jones’ is a romantic comedy series that chronicles the story of the titular character who embarks on a journey to find his one true soulmate. His paths cross with an array of colorful characters, and he eventually meets Sophia Western, the one who he seeks. Immerse yourself in the world of this period romance, created by Gwyneth Hughes. Now, if you’re already mesmerized by every nook and cranny of this show and want to know about the inspirations behind it, we’ve got you covered.

Tom Jones’ True Origin: Adapted from Henry Fielding’s Novel

No, ‘Tom Jones’ is not a true story. It is an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s classic novel, titled ‘The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling,’ which was first published in 1749. The screenplay was developed for the screen by writer-creator Gwyneth Hughes, who masterfully draws you into the vivid and compelling world. At its heart, ‘Tom Jones’ is classified as a picaresque novel, a genre that chronicles the journey of a roguish but lovable hero who’s underestimated by many. Even though it is a work of fiction, the novel begins by stating that it is an exploration of human nature.

Image Credit: PBS

One of the central themes of the story is Tom Jones’ redemption arc, which begins when he comes across his love, Sophia. Moreover, the author’s perception is grounded in reality as he’s an experienced magistrate, a journalist, and a social commentator. Therefore, the novel also reflects on complex narratives of class, gender, and morality. For those who are already fans of Henry’s work, the creators of the show have promised to be faithful to his novel. ‘Tom Jones’ is already considered a landmark in the history of literature and is one of the first novels to have a complicated yet fully-realized protagonist.

At the beginning of the book, the narrator begins to speak to the readers directly, and the relationship between the two takes the form of a subplot. The writer introduces characters from all walks of life that were present during that era in Britain. PBS is not the only one to create its adaptation and recognize the excellence of this story. The first eponymous film directed by Tony Richardson was released in 1963. It was also turned into a musical adaptation for theatre which later inspired the 1976 version, ‘The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones.’ Furthermore, it was included in operas, theatres, musicals, and more.

In an interview, Hughes shared her thoughts about the project. She said, “Tom Jones is the mother of all romcoms, and isn’t that just what we all need after the last couple of years of misery? It’s a story where the sun barely stops shining, where love conquers all, and at its warm heart stand a pair of young sweethearts everyone can root for. Henry Fielding’s 18th-century novel is sexy and fun; it’s also a dramatic rollercoaster, addressing so many modern concerns around consent, sexual equality, and the pursuit of happiness.

Hughes added, “Tom and Sophia overcome enormous obstacles before finding their way home and to each other. This is a classic adaptation with a wise soul and a great big smile on its face.” In conclusion, we infer that though ‘Tom Jones’ might not be a true story, it is deeply in the realities, events, politics, and culture of its setting. The engaging characters, dense plot, and talented cast make this a promising adaption that is a must-watch for all classic literature and period drama fans.

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