Taboo, an eight-part series set in 1814, follows Tom's character James Delaney as he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire.

The Revenant actor has now revealed that he was keen to fully strip down for a lake scene in the new show, but TV bosses decided against the idea and forced him to cover up.

"You're lucky there was a loin cloth because I didn't want one," he explained to the BBC. "It's not a period drama until someone gets naked and covers themselves in blood. At least you're showing willing.

"I was in Tilbury, in the moat, in the docks, with nothing on. We were trying to eke out drama from any opportunity and none of that makes the cut."

The 39-year-old star worked with his father, comedy script writer Edward "Chips" Hardy, on the passion project after envisioning a role for himself which encompassed the traits of Bill Sikes, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter and Heathcliff all in one character.

Tom is clearly proud of the finished project which is now set to broadcast on the BBC on 8 January (17), and expects it to "deliver on a lot of levels."

"It's got heart, a lot of attention to detail. It opens like a jewellery box and it's got that Gothic horror feel to it."