“Taboo” is a British historical drama whose action is set in 1814 and which was originally broadcast on January 2017. Starring Tom Hardy and his real-life father, Chips Hardy, the drama series follows the challenging journey of a man named James Delaney whose sudden comeback to his natal roots in London,after being presumed dead in Africa for 12 years, implies trying to rebuild the empire that his father left when he died and protecting his legacy from the enemies that constantly lurk in the most unexpected places and who are ready to attack. Filled with mysteries, shocking twists, secrets, revenge and family’s betrayal, “Taboo” is suitable for the BBC 2 channel because it provides a unique insight into the life of a troubled man that enters a new world in a time where war was going on in full force and where the road to survival is highly unpredictable ”Drama on BBC Two has a clear tone. It’s the mainstream channel with an edgy, angled perspective on the world.” (BBC 2 Commissioning,2017) Moreover, the drama’s mysterious nature managed to engage with a wide and young audience from its first series due to its intriguing and captivating subject matter that keeps the suspense of the viewers. As a fact, “Taboo” is the sort of drama which you can either love for the thrill or hate for the twists – there is no in between. ”As a viewer you can either submit to the madness swirling all round or sigh and give up in disgust.” (The Guardian,2017) ”With delicious performances from Jonathan Pryce, Jessie Buckley, David Hayman, Tom Hollander, Mark Gatiss and more, Taboo was a gripping and timely assault on the precious myths of capitalism, colonialism and nationhood.” ( BFI.org,2017)
In terms of the viewing figures, “Taboo” scored huge achievements from its early days, especially because it was released on more than just one platform, such as BBC iPlayer, where the audience is able to watch online the series. Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, could not help but be proud that BBC iPlayer meant a risk that fortunately, turned into an asset for the audience growing figures ”the growing talkability of Taboo has engaged younger audiences, seeing record numbers coming to BBC iPlayer, with the availability of the box set maximising audiences even further.” (BBC Media Centre,2017) Furthermore, ”Across all platforms, Taboo has been one of our most successful dramas on iPlayer to date, with episode one achieving the third highest audience ever (after Sherlock and docudrama Murdered By My Boyfriend). Although not directly comparable to the BARB data, that episode has had 3.8 million requests so far.” (BBC Media Centre,2017)
Another crucial part of the series’ unbreakable success is the collaboration between BBC and FX that stands for “For Extended”, an American satellite television channel which helped spread the British drama and to become a global phenomen. Ridley Scott, one of the executive producers, expressed his gratitude for the support their show had received ”Along with our international distributors Sonar Entertainment, the BBC and FX have been great partners, supporting Taboo at every stage so it could be the dark, dirty brute of a drama that it is.” (BBC Media Centre,2017)
However, there has been controversial reactions of viewers that were not always satisfied with how the story unfolded or what touching subject matters the show approached. For instance, throughout one episode, viewers accused the creators for their lack of quality content while using an attempted scene of rape and violence towards a female character of the show, Lorna Bow. Online comments surfaced on the internet from Twitter users that showed their disapproval towards this scene ”Someone else said: ”I get so tired of every single damn drama having a woman threatened with rape and sexual assault as a plot device. #taboo. While a fourth asked: “Why does he have to be aggressively undressing Jessie Buckley as he explains all this? #taboo.” (Sunday Express,2017)
- Bbc.co.uk. (2017). BBC – Drama on BBC Two – Commissioning. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/articles/drama-bbc-two [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
- Hughes, S. (2017). Naysayers be damned! Tom Hardy’s Taboo is a work of Wicker Man genius. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/feb/23/naysayers-be-damned-tom-hardys-taboo-is-a-work-of-wicker-man-genius [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
- British Film Institute. (2017). The best British TV of 2017 so far. [online] Available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/best-british-tv-2017-so-far?utm_content=buffer9fff3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebookbfi&utm_campaign=buffer [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
- Bbc.co.uk. (2017). BBC – BBC One and FX announce second series of Taboo – Media Centre. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2017/bbc-fx-announce-second-series-of-taboo [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
- Corkery, C. (2017). Taboo: Viewers slam Tom Hardy drama over violent attempted-rape scene. [online] Express.co.uk. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/760182/Taboo-Tom-Hardy-Twitter-Lorna-Bow-rape-scene-Jessie-Buckley-BBC [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].