Jamie Dornan teases his massive new drama 'The Tourist'

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist
The Man (Jamie Dornan) is on a dangerous mission to recover his identity in The Tourist. (Image credit: Two Brothers Pictures)

The Tourist finds Jamie Dornan under threat in the Australian Outback. The twisty six-part thriller, airing on BBC1 from New Year's Day and later on HBO Max, sees the Fifty Shades and The Fall star play a mysterious Brit known only as "The Man" who is driving through the Outback when he is suddenly chased by a truck. After his car crashes, he wakes up in hospital with no memory of who he is or how he got there…

As he tries to piece together his life, eager local cop Helen Chambers (Dumplin’ and Unbelievable’s Danielle Macdonald) tries to help him, while he also encounters spirited diner worker Luci (Line of Duty’s Shalom Brune-Franklin). But can The Man uncover his true identity before danger strikes again?

We caught up with Jamie Dornan to find out more…

'The Tourist' is so twisty! How do you see The Man?

“He's probably made a few wrong turns to find himself in the position where he's in the Outback and people are trying to kill him! I wanted him to come across as likeable because then the things you hear about him are more shocking as the shadiness of his past catches up with him…”

What was the most challenging thing about playing him?

“Not having all the information on which to build the character. Usually in the opening pages of a script, you get a sense of who this person is, the life they have, their family, their job, what their intentions are. But with this, there’s none of that. It's exciting to have all of that revealed to me, as it will be revealed to the audience. That was a big draw.”

Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald in The Tourist

Helen (Danielle Macdonald) tries to help The Man (Jamie Dornan) remember his past in 'The Tourist'. (Image credit: Two Brothers Pictures)

How do Helen and Luci impact on his quest?

“He knows nothing about himself so he's desperate and thinks, ‘What am I? Where am I?’ The Man needs answers and sees something in those two characters that he thinks can help him. He has an instant affinity with them and they spark something in him.” 

Jamie Dornan and Shalom Brune-Franklin in The Tourist.

The Man (Jamie Dornan) crosses paths with diner worker Luci (Shalom Brune-Franklin) in The Tourist. (Image credit: Two Brothers Pictures)

Did the show’s black humour appeal to you too?

“Yes, I’ve never read anything like these scripts. The Tourist merges different worlds, not just drama and comedy. It's heightened and unreal at times and the comedy’s often found in the darkest of places, when the most sinister things are happening within this crazy story that reveals The Man's life.” 

The opening sequence where The Man is chased by a truck is incredibly tense. What was that like to shoot?

“In a world of big, expensive television, you want something that gets people's attention and the opening of this hopefully does — it’s fun and exciting. It's paying homage to Steven Spielberg’s [1971 film] Duel, it puts you bang in the middle of this madness and this beautiful landscape. The stunt stuff took days. I did as much as I could and got thrown around a lot but I’m up for that! We just wanted to make it as dynamic as possible.”

When can I watch 'The Tourist'?

The series begins on Saturday 1 January at 9pm on BBC1 and continues on Sunday 2 January at the same time. All episodes will be available on BBCiPlayer. In the US, it will air on HBO Max at a later date.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.