Hardy Adventurers in SoHo’s Taboo

SoHo’s sensational new drama, Taboo, has some in the British press speculating it may reinvent the BBC as a UK HBO.

The eight-part period drama, about a rogue who tries to build a shipping empire in the early 1800s to compete with the East India Company, will screen 8.30 Tuesdays from January 10 on SoHo.

Produced by Ridley Scott for the BBC and FX in the US, BBC One is using it to “re-invent BBC drama” while overhauling the channel’s traditionally light ent-oriented Saturday nights.

Despite the rise of Netflix and Amazon subscription services, BBC director of content Charlotte MooreMoore insists “appointment to view” TV, where people sit down at the same time every week to watch their favourite shows, is still holding its own, The Telegraph reports.

“As more people choose to stay in on a Saturday night, Moore said she hoped to inspire families to watch television together with moments that ‘unite the nation.'”

If only TVNZ 1 programmers would follow her lead and schedule more adventurous fare on Saturdays than lifestyle and Coronation Street.

The line-up’s about to become even more lacklustre over the new year, with repeats of Posh Pawn, Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty and Coast NZ preceding Coro St and drama and movie re-runs following it.

As for Taboo, Hardy co-created it with his father, Chips, and Peaky Blinders screenwriter Stephen Knight.

According to The Week, “it is a macabre tale of vengeance and conspiracy set in 1813″ that co-stars Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones), David Hayman (Trial & Retribution), Michael Kelly (House of Cards) and Jonathan Pryce (Wolf Hall).

“Knight has raised the eyebrows of a few historians in the run-up to the show’s launch with his comments on the East India Company, which, he said, ‘throughout the 19th century, was the equivalent of the CIA, the NSA and the biggest, baddest multinational corporation on earth, all rolled into one self-righteous, religiously-motivated monolith’.

“Historians have expressed concern that Taboo will portray the firm in an overwhelmingly negative light, says the Daily Telegraph, and believe this is unfair revisionism.

“Economic historian Tirthankar Roy said the East India Company ‘made a very positive contribution overall’ and that its ‘major beneficiaries were the huge number of Indian, Chinese, south east Asian traders.'”

Also new to SoHo next month will be seasons six of Homeland (8.30 Mondays from January 16) and two of Baskets (9.30 Thursdays from January 26).

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