The premier of the first episode of the BBC’s new adaptation of Poldark had its press preview in Truro last night, and by all accounts…
IT’S A BODICE RIPPER!!
Now, as possibly one of the biggest Poldark fans of all time, I have been more than a little concerned that the newcomers might not do the great Winston Graham novels justice. But after watching the interviews with the main cast members, I’m beginning to breath more easily.
The endearing thing about the new young cast is their obvious respect for the excellence of the original BBC production.
The actors are well aware that the first series is still much revered by fans. It’s almost 40 years since those 29 episodes were shown on British TV. It was such popular Sunday night viewing back then that vicars had to cancel their evening services because the pews were empty.
The new Ross Poldark, Irish actor, Aidan Turner, had never read the novels before he got the part. He said, “I was given the books and the scripts in the same day, so I googled Poldark.
“Cornwall is such an epically, stunning place. To finally come down here after six weeks studio work in Bristol brought the whole thing together for us.”
He said playing scenes with Robin Ellis, who played Ross in the 70’s series, was brilliant. “Robin Ellis was amazing. How do you follow that? You just have to make it your own and not give in to the pressure.
Jack Farthing, who plays George Warleggan, said he knew how big Poldark was in the 70s. “I hope in this series we can take the fans somewhere new, and breath new heart and soul into it.”
Writer, Debbie Horsfield, who adapted the novels for the new TV drama, said, “The really daunting thing was to do justice to the books, which were a masterpiece of story telling and character.”
Originally only six episodes were planned, she explained, but there were so many great story strands and wonderful characters to develop that she couldn’t do them all justice in six hours, so she persuaded the BBC to extend the show to 8 hours viewing.
A key part of the show, she says, promises to be when Ross emerges from the sea in a Mr Darcy moment while Demelza has a sneaky peak at him from the top of the cliffs.
The iconic scene was filmed on a private beach at St Just. Aidan joked,
“It was nothing like Mr Darcy. For a start, I had to take my top off.”
“And you had to spend all that time doing press ups and push ups on the beach before you did your great top off reveal,” Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays Demelza, reminded him mischievously.
But everyone agreed that the biggest star of the show was Cornwall itself.
Debbie said, “We were filming during one of the hottest summers in years, which was amazing, but sometimes it was too nice. There were some days when we would have preferred a bit of overcast and misty, murky weather, but we didn’t really get that. We got more sun, which made Cornwall look just amazing.”
Debbie predicts that once Poldark is screened next month, people will come from all over the world to see Cornwall.
“The locations are exquisite,” she said. “There will be coach tours to visit them for sure.”
It seems the general opinion of the specially invited audience for last night’s showing was ‘just brilliant’. On the evidence of that first episode, it looks like all the hype of the show’s pre publicity has been justified. I can’t wait!
Poldark starts on BBC 1, Sunday March 8, at 9pm.
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