The flood of big-name Hollywood stars making the switch to TV continues unabated.
Now, An Officer And A Gentleman legend Richard Gere has become the latest to swap the big for the small screen.
He has a starring role in MotherFatherSon, a new eight-part drama for BBC2 that also features Peaky Blinders’ Helen McCrory, Billy Howle and the ever-wonderful Sarah Lancashire.
Gere plays Max, owner of one of the world’s most influential media empires.
Information is his trade and he holds dark secrets on everyone, using his power ruthlessly.
His son Caden (Howle) is the youngest-ever editor of Max’s prized newspaper, The National Reporter, but he’s crumbling under the pressure of his father’s expectations, numbing his pain with drugs and excess.
When Caden suffers a massive stroke, he’s left like a helpless child, battling to rebuild his life.
For Kathryn (McCrory) – Max’s estranged wife – this is a second chance to be a mother to her son. A respected former journalist from a wealthy British family, she’s determined to reconnect with the sensitive boy Max ripped from her.
As Max and Kathryn fight for the soul of their son, another tussle is about to begin.
Caden knows secrets that could bring Max’s empire crashing down – and his silence can’t be bought.
“I’ve never done anything like this – playing a lead character in a TV series, or even playing a character for this amount of time,” admits Gere, who just became a father for the second time at the age of 69.
“The only thing I remember doing on TV was at the height of the US Aids crisis, when the producers of a piece called And The Band Played On – about HIV Aids and how the pandemic started – needed someone with some visibility to play one of the parts in order for the series to get greenlit.
“But I’ve not done anything for television before or since then, so this is my first time making a whole series with the kind of novelistic approach that you just can’t do in film.
“I see MotherFatherSon as an eight-hour movie.”
Asked about Max, Gere explains: “At the surface you think you know this guy, because we know figures like him from real life – men like Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson.
“Guys who have achieved so much in life you have a sense that they have a golden touch, and are involved with all kinds of businesses linked with power, politics and media.”
But is he a good guy or a villain?
“Like all of us, he is a mix. I was still trying to figure out as I was playing him just how dark he could go.
“Max does questionable things – mischievous things – but I certainly don’t see him as an evil villain character.
“I think his behaviour and actions are understandable and that’s my job – to make him understandable from a human point of view.
“He is one of us, albeit he has more power and money, and he has more problems than most of us.
“From the beginning I felt that there was a Shakespearean scale to this story. I can only speak for myself but it’s rare to see this kind of depth and presentation of, not just characters, but human dilemmas, emotions and thoughts, and confusion, and people trying to do the right thing; trying to do well and tripping over themselves and everyone they care about.
“This is the world we live in, because most families are dysfunctional to some degree, and this one is.
“It is about a mother, a father and a son, and how those relationships destroy each other; how they feed each other; how they need each other; how they need independence but it’s impossible.
“People relate to human stories. If the human story isn’t there, then the rest of the story doesn’t matter.
“These are things that resonate and, ultimately, if we – me, Helen and Billy – get it right, then it’s this relationship between mother, father and son, that’s going to interest anyone.
“The series is fuelled by human relationships. That’s what we’ve been focusing on.
“Yes it’s set in a glamorous, powerful world but really it doesn’t matter who the clothes designer is or what house you’re living in.
“Ultimately those things fade away, and it’s the relationships that matter.”
MotherFatherSon starts on BBC2, Wednesday March 6 (tonight) at 9pm.