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.



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