Tom, who also won huge acclaim in Stuart: A Life Backwards, plays the brooding, romantic anti-hero in the new version.
Newcomer Charlotte Riley is Cathy in the ITV adaptation of Emily Bronte’s famous 1847 novel.
The production has been described as an “edgy, cool and raw” version of the love story and it’s even thought that a distraught Heathcliff will kill himself on hearing the news of Cathy’s death.
It also stars Sarah Lancashire as housekeeper Nelly and Andrew Lincoln as Edgar, Cathy’s forlorn husband.
Executive producer Damien Timmer said: “Wuthering Heights is one of the greatest love stories in literature. We’ve assembled a first class team to capture all of the novel’s rawness and passion.”
Writer Peter Bowker said: “I was thrilled to be asked to adapt one of the great English novels. In Charlotte Riley I believe we have found the perfect Cathy, and Tom Hardy has the power and charisma to be the definitive Heathcliff.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently likened himself to the intense character when an interviewer suggested that many women viewed him as a Heathcliff-like figure. “Absolutely correct,” he replied, before adding: “Well, maybe an older Heathcliff, a wiser Heathcliff.”