Cape Town - This is the show you haven’t heard of that you should be watching. Produced by Ridley Scott (who made the Alien movies and Gladiator), Taboo stars a scarred, often naked and completely deranged Tom Hardy.
Taboo will throw you into the deep end from the very first episode, when Hardy crashes his own father’s funeral as if back from the dead himself.
And with the premiere of Season 7 of Game of Thrones upon us on 16 July, we couldn’t help but notice some Seven Kingdom heavyweights, including the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and Talisa Stark (Oona Chaplin), playing prominent roles in this twisted and gritty period drama that shows the filthy, murderous and incestuous side of London in the early 19th Century.
Watch the trailer here:
What’s Taboo about?
The action kicks off when James Delaney (Tom Hardy) resurfaces in London, when everyone thought he'd been killed in Africa. Upon his return, he stands over the body of his father and says: “Forgive me father, for I have indeed sinned.” So you know you’re in for a pretty grizzly ride in this show from the get-go.
In his will, Delaney's father left him a very valuable piece of land in North America, which both the British and the Americans, currently at war, want to get their hands on. It’s called Nootka Sound, located on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island.
And there’s a third party who is also very interested in Nootka, as it serves as the trade gateway to China: the evilest Big Business corporation to ever exist - the East India Company.
So we have the Americans vs the Crown vs "The Company", with the haunted James Delaney at the centre of it all. And with his ghosts and his Juju abilities, both courtesy of his harrowing time in Africa, he’s a dangerous soul to reckon with.
Characters who died in Game of Thrones and are resurrected in Taboo
Jonathan Pryce, who played the High Sparrow in Seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones plays a similarly ruthless, manipulative character in Taboo. As Sir Stuart Strange, he is the Chairman of the East India Company, and he orders that Delaney be killed when it becomes clear that he will not relinquish Nootka.
Oona Chaplin appeared in Seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones as Talisa Maegyr, the woman who falls in love with King of the North Robb Stark on the battlefield and goes on to marry him. Though she was raised as a noble, she has medical training and a strong code of ethics. In Taboo, Chaplin plays Zilpha, Delaney's half-sister ... and also the object of his warped affections. The two share a dark, secret past, and Zilpha wishes he'd disappear again before he outs them.
After playing Salladhor Saan the pirate lord in Seasons 2, 3 and 4 in Game of Thrones, theatre great Lucian Msamati takes up an entirely different role in Taboo - as civil rights campaigner George Chichester. Chichester is investigating the sinking of a slave ship, the same one Delaney was reportedly aboard when it sank. The East India Company swears it has never transported slaves, but Delaney disagrees, and he's got information that Chichester will find quite valuable.
You'll recognise Jefferson Hall not only as Ser Hugh of the Vale, who died a particularly gruesome death in GoT Season 1, but also as Torstein in Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Vikings, one of Ragnar's most trusted friends and warriors. He plays Zilpha's cold, greedy husband Thorne Geary in Taboo. Geary despises Delaney - and it's not just because of his inheritance ... there's also the, shall we say, intense bond that Delaney has with Thorne's wife.