Mothers went into meltdown after Tom Hardy appeared on CBeebies to read a bedtime story on New Year's Eve.

The British actor was accompanied by his dog Woody as he read the daily bedtime story on the children's TV channel.

Better known for playing villainous characters such as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, both Kray twins in Legend, and John Fitzgerald in The Revenant, the father-of-two revealed his softer side as he settled down for a story.

Reading You Must Bring a Hat, by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley the Bane actor, who was surrounded by cuddly toys, had viewers in raptures, with delighted mothers calling for the actor to be a regular fixture on the children's channel.

Fans flocked to Twitter, posting a flurry of excited comments, with many joking that he could read them a bedtime story any day while others admitted that they were so distracted by the handsome star, they had trouble following the plot of the children's tale.

And it was not just children tuning in. "Not gonna lie," one Tweeter wrote, "I'm nearly 30 and yet have just sat (with my parents) through and thoroughly enjoyed the CBeebies bedtime story with Tom Hardy."

Other famous storytellers have included Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Robert Webb, and Maureen Lipman.