5 Things to Know About Actor Tom Bateman
While he steals your heart as the mysterious, brooding Captain John Beecham in Beecham House, airing Sundays at 10/9c now through July 19, get to know the equally swoon-worthy star behind the character, Tom Bateman. From his rather big, happy real-life family, to his big name co-stars and awards, to his deep love for period dramas, learn all about MASTERPIECE’s newest star!
Plus, you can binge every episode of Beecham House now on PBS Passport, an added member benefit.
He’s Got Some Famous Co-Stars
In just under a decade of acting, the 31 year-old star of Beecham House has starred in a number of hit productions throughout his career. Since his first on-screen appearance in 2011 in Much Ado About Nothing (starring as Claudio), to starring in TV series like Da Vinci’s Demons, The Tunnel, Jekyll & Hyde, and Vanity Fair, to big-screen appearances in Murder on the Orient Express and Snatched, Bateman has built an impressive résumé.
Some of his co-stars include names like Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer, Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Colman (Les Misérables), Star Wars star Daisy Ridley, and Cranford star Judi Dench.
Bateman also admitted that it’s not all the filming and work that he finds tiring—it’s the name dropping. “It’s awful because if you have a blessed life like me, where I’ve been so lucky, you end up saying things like, ‘Oh, my God. I was just playing hide-and-seek with Penélope Cruz…’” he told GQ in a 2019 interview.
He’s One of 14 Children
In Beecham House, Bateman’s character John Beecham may be a family man who works hard to take care of his mother (played by Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol) and his wayward, troublesome brother Daniel (played by Sanditon and Victoria star Leo Suter)—but Bateman’s real life family is just a bit larger (like, 5 times larger!).
He has 13 siblings in all, including a twin brother named Merlin, and at premieres, he told GQ, he has to “herd [them] like cats.” He and his twin brother are the second youngest of the large brood, all of whom are very supportive of his career, he told People. He’s the only one of his siblings in show business (“I’m the stupid one,” he joked), but with such a large family, there’s of course a whole range of different career paths.
“The amazing thing about having so many brothers and sisters, they cover every single base, you know,” he explained. “You’ve got people in hospitality, teachers, masseuses, airline pilots, people selling houses, cars…my brother works for the Red Cross. So, yeah, they’re kind of an amazing gang.”
And how does his twin brother Merlin feel about his twin being a star? “Merlin’s better looking than me, and he will claim that, as well.”
He Loves Period Dramas
Beecham House may be Bateman’s latest period drama, but it certainly isn’t his first (Murder on the Orient Express, Vanity Fair, and Jekyll & Hyde come to mind, just to name a few). He understands why viewers are so drawn to them. “They look beautiful, they’re very rich in composition,” he explained. “You’re instantly in another world. And horses! You don’t get to see horses that often.
“But for me, the reason I love filming period dramas, is that they instantly make you act differently. People don’t talk about their feelings as much. They don’t say, ‘Oh, I really fancy you’. And you don’t touch each other. So, you have to add another way of expressing those feelings which is really fun.”
“There was a scene in Vanity Fair in which Olivia [Cooke] and I can’t say how we feel, because it wasn’t done, but my character is going to [the Battle of ] Waterloo and it was so rich and dramatic. You’re torn between what you want to say and what you’re allowed to say. And it oozes sexiness because you’re watching and going, ‘God, just kiss her!’ It’s like Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. You know they’re going to get together but it takes six hours of anticipation to get there.”
He's a GQ Award-Winner
“I count myself as one of the luckiest men in the whole world because I get to do what I love for a living everyday, and if this [award] is a sign that I get to keep doing that, then sign me up,” he said as he accepted the award in 2018.
Bateman joined the ranks of other MASTERPIECE stars, including former Grantchester star James Norton, who won the same award in 2017, and Poldark star Aidan Turner, who won the GQ Television Actor of the Year award in 2016.
He Hates to Watch Himself on Screen
Despite starring in a handful of hit films and TV series, Bateman admitted in one interview that he hates watching himself on screen.
“I don’t like to work from the outside in,” he said. “You don’t want to be looking at yourself and going, ‘Urgh I’ve got a double chin,’ or, ‘I didn’t raise my eyebrow quite right.’… At the Cold Pursuit premiere last year I went for a walk and then had a drink with my make-up artist in a pub.”