Once mainly the preserve of builders, sailors and the incarcerated, tattoos have long since become ingrained as part of modern life, with one in three British adults sporting some form of ink somewhere about their person. Representing everything from mainstream consumer culture through to shadowy counter cultures, modern tattoo art really is all things to all men (and women), with the design and placement as much a consideration as the reasons for having them in the first place.
On screen, however, tattoos are still very often used as an indication of the type of character you’re about to meet; something that has recently been demonstrated with aplomb in the superb TABOO, shown on BBC One. Tom Hardy’s edgy, twisted foray into period drama saw his character sporting an extreme example of tribal tattoos, an image that became one of the show’s most enduring.
With TABOO out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download from May 29th, what better opportunity to celebrate that image and other striking members of the on screen ink fraternity.
Tom Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney is acknowledged as a force of nature the minute you clap eyes on him. His ink, seen mostly in flashbacks located in an unspecified African jungle, joins up with the plot to underline that this is a character that has been to hell and back. The tattoos themselves are distinctively tribal and at complete odds with the Regency period London setting within which we see them. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Hardy is a man who wears a tattoo well…