It’s Cornwall 1783, and Captain Ross Poldark returns from war in America to find the world he knew is in turmoil. Mines are closing, poverty is rife, and the people are starving.
To make matters worse, his father has died, his lands and mines lie derelict – and the love of his life, Elizabeth Chynoweth, is to marry his cousin, Francis.
Ross’s Uncle Charles, (the late Warren Clarke) urges him to cut his loses, sell his mines, and move away.
But Ross has other ideas, and when he rescues urchin, Demelza Carne, from her violent father, and employs her as his kitchen maid, his life changes forever…
Being a massive fan of the first Poldark series I have to admit to having been a touch nervous as the titles rolled for the first episode of the new drama.
After all, the pre-screening hype of all things Poldark had gone into overdrive. The new cast had plenty of publicity to live up to. They also faced the phenomenal success of the previous 70s series, with handsome and dashing Robin Ellis in the lead role. Although he will appear in two future episodes.
Someone had also let slip that the actors were all minding their P’s and Q’s, determined to avoid the mumbling disaster that was the earlier telly production of Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn.
We had even been promised a ‘Mr Darcy’ moment, with the charismatic Aidan Turner, who plays Ross, discarding his shirt as he emerges from the sea.
So yes, I was nervous. But I needn’t have worried, for against a backdrop of towering cliffs and crashing waves, tin mines, and a rattling good story – Poldark was amazing!
The new Ross was as challenging, enigmatic, and masterful, as I had hoped he would be, and Eleanor Tomlinson gave Demelza just the right amount of edge and feisty impishness.
The eight-part series is based on only the first two of Winston Graham’s twelve great novels. So if this series is the global success everyone is expecting, we could be in line for plenty more of the Poldarks in years to come.
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.”
For my money, Debbie, that’s exactly what you did.
Cornwall Council’s recent decision to withdraw its £850,000 a year funding to Visit Cornwall was at the time hailed as ‘tragic’ for local tourism. But you know what? I have an inkling that all will be well. More than well.
I have an inkling that Cornwall needs to prepare itself for going viral.
So watch out, Cornwall.
The Poldark fans are coming!
* If you enjoyed Poldark, and fancy taking another step back into 18th century Cornwall, then you might be interested in downloading my novel, Danger at Mellin Cove. It’s FREE here.