It is a Sunday night TV drama series with a hunky male lead. So of course we don’t have to wait long until his tanned and toned torso is paraded at the slightest excuse.
Clearly inspired by Aidan Turner’s muscular physique in the BBC’s Poldark, Tom Bateman strips off in the first ten minutes of ITV’s Beecham House. Bateman, 30, plays rugged former soldier John Beecham in the six-part period drama, set in India at the end of the 18th century.
But the actor who is engaged to Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, 27, insists he does not want to be seen as a Poldark-style pin-up and says there was a ‘practical reason’ for the bare-chested scenes.
Torso time: Tom Bateman in the first episode of Beecham House on ITV
Clearly inspired by Aidan Turner’s (pictured) muscular physique in the BBC’s Poldark, Tom Bateman strips off in the first ten minutes of ITV’s Beecham House
Viewers first see him shirtless as his character dreams in bed, then he is shown sweaty and topless hacking away at shrubs in a striking similarity to the scything scene that launched Turner’s reputation as a TV heartthrob in the first series of Poldark. Bateman said: ‘I knew what it was. I am not stupid, I knew some boxes are there to be ticked and stuff but it made sense.
‘All the action was there and he was doing it for a practical reason, that he needed to cut all this stuff down so the spies can’t hide in the bushes and standing still in India you’re sweating so there’s no way you would be clothed.
‘And I think there was talk of me being topless for the whole scene, even when Baadal [a servant] came in, but I said, “No, a person’s coming, you put the top straight back on”.’
The drama, created by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, also stars Dakota Blue Richards and begins on June 23, with the second instalment the following night. The other episodes will be shown on successive Sundays.
But the actor who is engaged to Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, 27, insists he does not want to be seen as a Poldark-style pin-up and says there was a ‘practical reason’ for the bare-chested scenes (pictrued: Bateman offscreen with fiancee Daisy Ridley)
Tom Bateman as John Beecham and Dakota Blue Richards as Margaret Osborne
It follows the lives of the Beecham family in their newly bought mansion in Delhi. Bateman’s character is a trader disillusioned after working for the powerful and controlling East India Company. The actor, who appeared in ITV’s Vanity Fair last year, denied feeling objectified when doing topless scenes.
‘There’s a funny line between feeling objectified and feeling supported and it’s a very odd one,’ he said. ‘Because we were on set when we had to do the scythe scene and Gurinder is wonderful at not making you feel like an idiot. She’ll say, “You look fantastic, that’s a great scene”.’
Miss Chadha said: ‘I fell in love with Tom Bateman as soon as I met him, as I think lots of women will do when they watch this!
‘As soon as I met him I thought, “That’s it, I’ve got my show”.’