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Actor Tom Bateman is aware his new Sunday night drama Beecham House will be compared to Aidan Turner’s heartthrob work in Poldark - and he’s okay with that.
Turner has become a sex symbol since the historical drama first aired on the BBC in 2015, with the 35-year-old’s frequent topless scenes even drawing presenter Lorraine Kelly into a sexism row when she ogled him on TV.
Bateman looks set to take on that mantle when India-set drama Beecham House debuts on ITV later this month.
Read more: Aidan Turner unrecognisable with huge beard
He portrays a former soldier working with the East India Company in Delhi, before the days of the Raj, attempting to set up a home with his family.
Several early promo shots and clips show the 30-year-old actor in varying states of undress, suggesting there might be a new contender for the crown of Sunday night eye candy.
“I knew there were certain boxes to be ticked,” said Bateman to the Daily Mirror, acknowledging that side of the show’s appeal.
“It made sense, he was doing it for a practical reason, spies can’t hide in bushes.
“Standing still in India, you sweat. There is no way you’d be clothed.”
Read more: Poldark actress upset by gender pay gap
Bateman said it would be “wonderful” if he became a heartthrob because “if that happens it means people loved it”.
The new six-part show is directed by British filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, who is still best known for Bend It Like Beckham.
Her work returns to cinema screens later this year with Blinded By The Light, which follows a British boy of Pakistani origin as he comes of age via the music of Bruce Springsteen.
Read more: Chadha unveils Blinded By The Light trailer
The director said she was not immune to Bateman’s charm either, revealing she “fell in love with Tom as soon as I met him, as lots of women will do”.
It seems as if the battle of the Sunday night hunks starts here.
Beecham House starts airing from 23 June on ITV at 9pm.