Tom Hardy reads Bedtime Stories on Cbeebies (4 stars)

Tom Hardy reads Bedtime Stories on Cbeebies

Taboo star reads Tom McLaughlin's delightful kids book The Cloudspotter

Tom Hardy isn't the first person you think of when it comes to kids TV. Famed for his tough image, chunky physique and growling delivery, he's busted heads and kicked ass as super villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, played both of the Kray Twins in Legend and fought for his life in a post-apocalyptic wasteland as Mad Max in Fury Road.

However, having secured Hardy in grisly drama Taboo, the BBC have given him an unexpectedly superb sideline on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories. After reading Simon Philip's You Must Bring a Hat at New Year, Hardy is back with Tom McLaughlin's The Cloudspotter on Valentine's Day – a deceptively simple but really rather wonderful little tale of imagination and friendship.

Of course Hardy's background will be lost on the younger audience – he doesn't do family films, and if you let your five year old watch The Revenant then shame on you – but it's a real treat for parents. Once again accompanied by his cute canine companion Woody, Bedtime Stories showcases the Hollywood hardman's softer side. In the real world, Hardy has kids but as a film fan it can be hard to separate fact from his fictional persona. He's so laid back and natural, a gifted actor genuinely selling the emotion and pathos of McLaughlin's short story. Plus, there's a gruff edge that just makes it even more endearing in a bizarre way.

At just over three minutes there's no time to get bored, so even if you don't have children of your own and are just curious about this unusual collaboration it's well worth tuning in. A cute, charming oddity for all ages.

Bedtime Stories, Cbeebies, Tue 14 Feb, 6.50pm.


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