‘Ted Lasso’ Star Hannah Waddingham Joins ‘Tom Jones’ For Masterpiece

News, Scripted

If you adore Ted Lasso and the amazing performance given by “Boss B*tch” Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton, the stunning and fit owner of AFC Richmond (soccer/football team) whose great plan initially in season one was exacting revenge on her philandering ex-husband Rupert, we have great news.

PBS Masterpiece Theater, which gives us meaty period dramas like Downton Abbey and Poldark, is bringing the story of Tom Jones (literature, not Welsh singer) to light.  Waddingham is now part of the cast.

Today PBS announced that the Emmy award-winner would portray the seductive and vengeful Lady Bellaston in Tom Jones is a Masterpiece, ITV, and Mammoth Screen (Victoria, Poldark) miniseries currently filming in Northern Ireland.

Hannah Waddingham seizes the moment.

Co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis took what could have been a typical bitter boss lady with a cruel streak and melted all that away from Waddingham’s leggy and whipsmart Rebecca. In the course of the series, she learns to let people into her inner circle. She also falls in love with her Richmond team and cheers them on to victory.

Waddingham took her character beyond being a spiteful scorned ex-wife and she has created a fantastic female lead that has made amends with American coach Ted Lasso.  She came clean to the Kansas city coach, and she holds her head up and deals with rabid tabloid baiting surrounding her former husband Rupert, who married a younger Rebecca, and now has a baby.

Waddingham plays her role in relatable ways and gets great advice from her mother. For example, she schools Rebecca not to let Rupert know how much he has wounded her and always be cheerful around him so that he never knows that he got the best of her.

Of note is the relationship that Waddingham’s Rebecca and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), a public relations expert now for the team with a semi-famous background have created. Keeley has become Rebecca’s support and confidante.

Together with coach Ted Lasso, we see Rebecca melt the ice of her defensive outer shell as she finds her way back after having her guts ripped out by a vicious Rupert, who gleefully parades his new young Rebecca and tells her he is having a baby.

But, of course, having a child was something in their twelve-year marriage that Rupert adamantly refused to consider. So now Rebecca feels that the opportunity to have a child was squandered entirely on a man who never truly loved her.

Rebecca’s evolution throughout season one and now season two unquestionably shows off this actor’s incredible range.

The new PBS series is lucky to have Hannah Waddingham as part of the cast for Tom Jones and joins Solly McLeod and Sophie Wilde.

About Tom Jones for PBS Masterpiece

A vibrant story of the title character’s journey to find real love, Tom Jones has captivated (and scandalized) readers since its debut in 1749.

For the PBS production, Solly McLeod is playing the hero Tom, alongside Sophie Wilde as the heroine Sophia Western and Pearl Mackie is cast as Sophia’s trusted maid, Honour, in this reimagining of The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling based on Henry Fielding’s classic novel.

“Tom Jones is brimming with richly colorful characters,” says Masterpiece executive producer Susanne Simpson. “This is the perfect cast to bring them all to life.”

The drama was written by Gwyneth Hughes, and Tom Jones is directed by Georgia Parris and produced by Benjamin Greenacre.

Also starring are James Fleet (Bridgerton) as Squire Allworthy, Tom’s kind adoptive father; Alun Armstrong as Squire Western, Sophia’s hard-drinking but doting grandfather, and Olivier-winner Shirley Henderson as Sophia’s Aunt Western. Tamzin Merchant is Sophia’s Aunt Harriet, with Julian Rhind-Tut as her belligerent husband, Fitzpatrick. Susannah Fielding is Mrs. Waters.

Also, cast are BAFTA-winner Daniel Rigby is the disgraced schoolteacher Partridge, who Tom befriends on his journey; James Wilbraham is Tom’s bitter cousin Blifil; Felicity Montagu plays Blifil’s mother Bridget Allworthy, a loving aunt to Tom, and Janine Duvitski is Mrs. Wilkins, Allworthy’s snippy housekeeper. Dean Lennox. Kelly is poacher-turned-gamekeeper Black George and NTA-winner Lucy Fallon is his charming daughter Molly, who catches Tom’s eye.

Masterpiece for PBS

In receipt of 83 Primetime Emmys and 18 Peabody Awards, Masterpiece for PBS is where America goes for rich and robust stories brought to life. It has been essential Sunday night viewing for millions of fans since 1971. Susanne Simpson is the executive producer, and Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer-at-large for the series.

The air date is yet to be announced.

April Neale

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