Hotly-anticipated new period drama The Pursuit Of Love kicked off on BBC One on Sunday night.
However, some viewers were left saying it was a ‘bit weird’ and ‘awkward’ watching actor Dominic West play his co-star Lily James’ father, Matthew Radlett, in the adaption of Nancy Mitford’s novel.
In October, Lily, 32, and married Dominic, 51, were caught enjoying what appeared to be a racy weekend in Rome, leading to his wife Catherine FitzGerald assuring the public they were fine – but banning him from talking to the actress again.
‘Bit weird’: Some The Pursuit Of Love viewers were left saying it was a ‘bit weird’ and ‘awkward’ watching actor Dominic West play his co-star Lily James’ father on Sunday night’s show – after THAT cosy weekend in Rome last October
Taking to Twitter during the hour-long episode, one viewer wrote: ‘Ah I see this is where Lily James and Dominic West’s “friendship” began then. #pursuitoflove’
And another person penned: ‘Well, it’s a bit awkward watching The Pursuit of Love where Dominic West plays Lily James’ dad when you know they got, erm, ‘close’ during filming..! #ThePursuitOfLove
While someone else tweeted: ‘Bit weird the whole Lily James and Dominic West thing when he’s playing her Dad in The Pursuit of Love.’
‘Can’t really get past the whole Lily James and Dominic West thing given that they play father and daughter #ThePursuitOfLove,’ added a fourth.
Character: Lily, 32, plays Linda Radlett in the new show who is Dominic’s character Matthew’s second eldest daughter
Adding the the response, someone else said: ‘Oh is this THAT Dominic West Lily James drama? Life imitating art and all that…’
And another added: ‘Are we all watching pursuit of love to see the sexual tension between Lily James and Dominic West…’
Emily Mortimer’s novel adaption follows the story of Linda Radlett (Lily James) and her hunt to find love and marriage, while Dominic plays her father Matthew, who is called Uncle Matthew by the narrator and Linda’s cousin Fanny (Emily Beecham).
The period drama focuses on the two best friends – Linda and Fanny Logan- in the interwar years navigating their way in very different styles.
Dominic and Lily share several scenes together throughout the show, with him perfectly playing the role of overbearing and short-tempered father.
Eye-catching: The married actor sparked worldwide attention when he was pictured on a cosy weekend in Rome with his co-star after they grew close during filming
Reaction: Several viewers said it was a little ‘awkward’ watching the show following the events of the last year
Early on in the first episode, the co-stars are seen together on a family fox hunt however they first exchange dialogue over a dinner scene.
During this intense scene Uncle Matthew, who dislikes educated women, declares his children never need to leave the estate as they have everything they could possibly need: ‘Church, stables and a tennis court’.
And after quizzing Fanny on George III – with Lily’s character Linda showing off her charm but lack of historical knowledge – Fanny runs out of the room in tears, leaving her aunt Emily to explain Uncle Matthew has ‘trapped his daughters’ at home.
Later scenes between Dominic and Lily show him being angry and her and Fanny for sneaking out of the country house and going on a jaunt to Oxford.
Claims: It comes amid reports Dominic is concerned that Lily might decide to speak out about their trip to Rome, with a source alleging that ‘her version of events could be very different to the one he told his wife’ (Dominic is pictured with his wife Catherine in October 2020)
After their return he summons his second eldest daughter and says: ‘I have received a phone call, telling me someone has left a scarf in Tony Kroesig’s rooms in Oxford.
‘Now we know you’re not to be trusted – so we’ll have to take certain steps. Fanny you will have to go straight home…
‘Fanny is a scarlet women – that’s what we would have called her in the old days – and you miss, are worse than The Bolter [Fanny’s mother].
Uncle Matthew continues: ‘You’re damn lucky to not get a thrashing… now go to your rooms and don’t speak to each other.’
Dominic and Lily are also seen on screen as she announces her surprise engagement to Tony, leaving his character very angry and Linda on the floor.
Story: Emily Mortimer’s novel adaption follows the story of Linda Radlett (Lily) and her hunt to find love and marriage as well as her friendship with cousin Fanny (Emily Beecham)
Overbearing: Dominic (pictured) share their first proper exchange of dialogue over a dinner scene
Desperate to escape: Lily’s character Linda is keen to escape her father’s country estate and experience life and love
The Pursuit Of Love was filmed between July and October last year, with Lily and Dominic’s Italy trip taking place shortly after filming on the period drama wrapped.
While in the Italian city the duo were spotted putting on a very cosy display as they explored Rome and enjoyed lunch with their mutual agent Angharad Wood.
Following the snaps emerging, Dominic put on a public display of unity with his wife Catherine, with the couple releasing a statement about their marriage.
It read: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together.’
Catherine is also said to have banned Dominic from speaking with the actress as part of a peace deal struck between the couple, according to The Mail On Sunday.
Angry: Dominic and Lily are also seen on screen as she announces her surprise engagement to Tony, leaving his character very angry and Linda on the floor
Confidants: Linda and Fanny have very different views on life and what they want from it
Bets pals: The two teens sneak out of Uncle Matthew’s estate and make their way to Oxford for the day where they find men stripping off and jumping into the water
‘He has promised never to see, speak or work with Lily again,’ said a friend. There are also to be no joint promo interviews for the TV adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel.
Since the public scandal, Lily has found love with Queens of the Stone Age rocker Michael Shuman, 35, and has been pictured meeting his parents in the states.
She recently declined to discuss the media storm about Rome in an interview with The Guardian – but admitted there is in fact much to discuss, saying: ‘Ach, I’m not really willing to talk about that. There is a lot to say, but not now, I’m afraid.’
And ahead of The Pursuit Of Love airing, it was reported that Dominic is reportedly that Lily might decide to speak out about their trip to Rome.
A source told The Sun that actor is worried that his co-star’s side of the story ‘could be very different from what he told his wife’.
Amazing: The role of Lord Merlin is played by Fleabag’s ‘Hot Priest’, Andrew Scott, who impressed viewers with his portrayal of the dandy during the show
Giving her an education: Lord Merlin teaches Linda about culture after they’re introduced at her older sisters’ party
Bad news: Linda falls for Tony, despite her friends warning her against the marriage
Wedding: The couple marry at the end of the first epsiode
The source claimed: ‘There is concern about what she is going to say about her side of the story. She’s remained tight-lipped but her version of events could be very different to the one he told his wife.
‘Lily is clearly hurt about being hung out to dry publicly, so it’s likely she will set the record straight at some point.’
MailOnline contacted Dominic West and Lily James’ representatives for further comment at the time.
Elsewhere in Sunday’s episode, Lily was seen stripping off as she jumped into the bath with her cousin Fanny while playing the confident young Linda.
Jumping in: Lily hopped into her cousin Fanny’s bath for another scene between the women
Racy: Lily’s character Linda could not stop speaking about her desire to escape her father’s home and find a man
Opening scenes: Right at the start of the hour-long episode, Lily was seen without any clothes as she relaxed on a roof top and read a newspaper while pregnant
Expecting: Her blossoming bump could be clearly seen before Lily climbed down a ladder
The actress was also show without any clothes as she relaxed on a roof top and read a newspaper while pregnant in the opening scene.
Lily recently gushed over The Pursuit Of Love, in another promotional interview without co-star Dominic.
The Downton Abbey alum spoke on a Q&A panel for the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival alongside director Emily Mortimer and co-stars Andrew Scott and Emily Beecham about the upcoming drama.
Speaking about bringing the story to life, Lily said the idea for the series came about eight years ago: ‘It’s been years, this idea that came about from my agents…
‘We’d talk about it at dinners and there was this impulse to create this story now on screen with just how intoxicating and precious and wonderful the story and the characters are.’
Adventurous: Lily plays Linda Radlett, a woman desperate to find love and happiness through marriage in the miniseries which starts on Sunday
Debut: Emily Mortimer directed the new three-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love
Emily said of her directorial debut: ‘I want to feel the excitement, the danger, the longing and irreverence that I feel when I read this book when I watch this show and I was trying to think of all the ways of communicating that visually.’
Fleabag’s ‘Hot Priest’ Andrew Scott, who plays Lord Merlin, said: ‘The thing I loved about the character is that he’s fluid, audacious and brave…
‘I love the fact that within the relationship [between Merlin and Linda], you don’t necessarily know what it is all the time…
‘Sometimes we are in love with our friends and we’re not in love with the people we’re supposed to be with and it’s a little bit messy – love is messy!’
Emily Beecham said of the contrast between Fanny and Linda: ‘They’re like magnets, they pull together and the next minute they’re strangers…
‘Which can possibly be natural for friends who have grown up together and have been polar opposites and take different directions in life.’
Friendship: The drama focuses on two best friends – Linda (Lily James) and Emily’s (Emily Beecham) character Fanny – in the interwar years navigating their way in very different styles