BBC One and FX are reteaming with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free London and Tom Hardy’s Hardy Son & Baker for a second season of Taboo. The high-profile period series that stars Hardy and is created by Peaky Blinders‘ Steven Knight with Hardy and his dad, Chips Hardy, had been expected to return. Knight recently told Deadline he has plans for three seasons.
The series began airing in January in both the UK and U.S., drawing a keen fan base. For the BBC, it’s one of the most successful dramas ever on catch-up service iPlayer and has been popular with younger audiences. The FX premiere was the net’s most time-shifted series ever in the adults 18-49 demographic and the most time-shifted FX drama series bow in total viewers.
Set in 1814, the first season follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father’s shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father’s legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.
The impressive cast includes Jonathan Pryce, Oona Chaplin, Stephen Graham, Michael Kelly, Jessie Buckley, David Hayman, Tom Hollander, Jason Watkins, Franka Potente, Jefferson Hall, Ed Hogg, Leo Bill, Christopher Fairbank, Richard Dixon, Mark Gatiss, Nicholas Woodeson and Lucian Msamati, along with newcomer Robert Parker.
Taboo is a reteam for Hardy with his Locke director and screenwriter Knight, and his Child 44 producer Ridley Scott. Hardy has also appeared on two seasons of Knight’s hit BBC Two gangster series Peaky Blinders, turning up from time to time as Alfie Solomons. He’ll also appear in the next season of that show which starts filming this month.
Hardy said today: “We are grateful and excited to continue our relationship with the BBC and FX in contributing towards British drama. Fantastic news.”
Knight added, “I’m thrilled that a work which pushes boundaries has been so well received and found such a large and enthusiastic audience in the U.S. and Britain. We have tried to take an impressionistic, rather than figurative, approach to a narrative which we hope more accurately portrays the spirit of an extraordinary time in history. James Delaney will continue to explore many realities as he takes his band of misfits to a new world, thanks to FX and the BBC, partners who could not be more suited to collaborating in ground breaking work.”
Exec producer Scott also chimed in, “We’re thrilled people want to know what happens next and that the BBC and FX are up for more adventures with the devil Delaney and the league of the damned. 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.”
The new eight-part season was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. It will be produced by Scott Free London and Hardy Son & Baker for BBC One and FX with Sonar Entertainment distributing worldwide outside the UK. Executive producers are Scott and Kate Crowe for Scott Free, Tom Hardy and Dean Baker for Hardy Son & Baker, and Knight.
Moore noted that launching in a new Saturday night slot on BBC One “provided us with an opportunity to take risks and showcase distinctive drama; and the growing talkability of Taboo has engaged younger audiences seeing record numbers coming to iPlayer, with the availability of the box set maximizing audiences even further. A second series can’t come soon enough.”