Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Poldark 2015 is a must see!

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark
The new BBC miniseries Poldark finished in the UK this spring and begins in North America on PBS this Sunday June 21 2015. So...lucky me, PBS let me see this early in order to tell you what a fabulous series it is! I plowed my way through all 7 episodes and am very relieved to hear that it has been renewed for a second season!

Poldark and fiance Elizabeth in flashback
For those who don't yet know, the series opens with Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner from The Hobbit) as a redcoat at the end of the American Revolution who returns to Cornwall to find that his beloved fiance Elizabeth (the luminous Heida Reed) thinks he is dead and is about to marry his cousin Francis Poldark. Ross's father has died while Ross was in America fighting, but his inheritance consists only of a copper mine and a house which have both gone to ruin.


I have to add here that the coast of Cornwall is as large and as gorgeous a character as the hunky Ross Poldark. Full marks for cinematography here, especially when Ross is galloping along the cliff with Demelza perched on the saddle. Apparently tourism is up significantly in Cornwall already, but if you think fine weather is usual in this part of England you may be surprised. I once heard a West Country resident describe their weather as "roobish"!


Oh yes, Demelza (I love that name), the scrappy miner's daughter Ross brings back from Redruth Fair. She looks like a boy at first, but then when she returns with Ross (accompanied by her dog Garrick) to be a kitchen maid, she is gradually tamed into a fetching but still rather earthy love interest for our hottie Ross Poldark. Demelza is played by Eleanor Tomlinson (Georgiana Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley) and is quite adorable, especially when learning how to dance!


And then we have Francis Poldark (played by American actor Kyle Soller), who does marry the lovely Elizabeth but alas, he is a poor substitute for his cousin Ross. He is constantly bossed around by his dismissive father and ends up being very unprepared to take over as head of the family. Oh, dear!


Verity Poldark is the sweet dutiful sister of Francis, who takes care of an awful lot in the big house, just as the spinster sister was expected to do in the 18th century. But will she find love later in the series? Let's hope so. I think Ruby Bentall (The Paradise, Lark Rise to Candleford) is just perfect as the long suffering Verity.


Speaking of great casting, Jack Farthing is a perfect baddie as George Warleggen, the new moneyed banker/industrialist and constant rival to Ross. So of course he slithers after the lovely Elizabeth. Ewwwwww! Comic relief is provided by the lazy tippling servants Jud and Prudie and the elderly Aunt Agatha who often fails to hold her tongue.


I think the best compliment that I can give to this miniseries is that I am now compelled to read the books, as I am invested in all of the characters, and I can't wait until next year to find out what happens. Thankfully there are 12 novels, written by Winston Graham starting in 1945 (Ross Poldark) and ending in 2002 (Bella Poldark), which he published just before his death. Apparently he based the character of Ross on a fighter pilot he met on a train during the war and Demelza has similarities to Graham's Cornish wife Jean Williamson.

So enjoy this wonderful BBC miniseries. I couldn't quite get into Outlander (I tried, really I did!) but this one captured my heart.

21 comments:

  1. This has just finished here in NZ, the final episode screened last week. I liked it a lot but I am old enough to have very fond memories of the 1975 version, with Robin Ellis (sigh!) as Ross. I loved both versions, but my heart belongs to Robin. If you can get hold of a copy of the older version, do. It is gorgeous, and holds up well. Interestingly, Robin Ellis has a small part in the new version. It was a huge hit and there were quite a few girl babies in the late 70s who were named Demelza!

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    1. Australian Demelzas! I love it! I bet there were a few in the UK as well. Will have to find the 1970s version. Sounds great!

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    2. A bit of trivia from the authour of Poldark in wikipedia:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poldark

      "Graham states in Poldark's Cornwall that the first real-life child named Demelza (after his character) was the daughter of British writer Denys Val Baker."

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  2. PS: Outlander didn't do it for me, either.

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  3. I'm in the US but had the tremendous pleasure of seeing the whole 8 episodes on line. When I found out Aidan Turner was starring I found the book series and read them (all 12).I was so happy when viewing this new adaptation the the writer kept very close to the novels. Aidan is the embodiment of Ross Poldark! He is astonishing! Eleanor Tomlinson is a wonder as Demelza. In fact I think the whole cast is pitch perfect. Don't miss this. I can't give it high enough praise.

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    1. Thanks Annie! I think I know what I will be reading on holiday this summer!

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  5. I plan to see this as there has been so much hype...already started a Pinterest board: Poldark a new hero for me. Did you try to read Outlander or just watch the series? The book was spellbinding for me...had me hooked! And I had never really liked time travel before that.

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    1. Thanks Sheila, I will have to try one of the books at least. I did love the time travel in Richard Curtis's About Time! :)

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    2. Loved About Time! Also really liked The Time Traveler's wife, oddly enough, starring Rachel McAdams in both.

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  6. I am enjoying Poldark immensely!!! Thanks for the suggestion. I too will be reading the books.

    And I agree about Outlander. I read the first book for my book club. At first I was captivated by the premise, but I found it mean spirited, and drawn out.

    I liked the series a little better, since they cut out a lot of unnecessary plot, and the cast is perfect. But, I could do with a little less torture and explicit sex scenes. Kind of reminds me of Jane Austen meats George R R Martin!

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  7. LOL! I watched quite a few Outlanders but then just sort of stopped looking for it. Maybe I will try again if it comes on Netflix. Did you watch any of The Crimson Fields after Poldark on PBS? I am half enjoying it and half finding the subject matter difficult. 2 great-uncles killed in the trenches makes it hard but the acting is fab! And playing spot the actors is fun. Lots of familiar faces.

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  8. No. Haven't seen that one, but sounds right up my husband's alley. Will check it out. Watching the last Poldark tonight!

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  9. I am absolutely in love with these series and I can´t wait for the new season to come! Thank you so much for recommending it, already watched all the episodes of season 1! :-)

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    1. Glad you loved Poldark. Too bad we have to wait so long for season 2!

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  10. Based on the first two episodes, I think they're doing a good adaptation. I just finished the first book and am a Ross Poldark fan. Demelza is wonderful too, and Verity is my favorite female character (I knew I recognized the actress, but didn't remember she was in Larkrise to Candleford).

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    1. Hi Jane! Hope you liked the ending of Poldark as much as the first 2 episodes. I thought it was pretty consistently good! And now we wait for Season 2 (and read!)

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    1. Glad you loved Poldark! I hear we get another season of Grantchester too. I know you love that one :)

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    2. I can't wait to see the second series of Grantchester. More of the lovely James Norton ;) James is on Twitter and has sent me 3 tweets this year so far. Yay!

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