There was a bit of Poldark bashing on Facebook last week, mainly criticising the lack of romantic build up between Ross and Demelza before their wedding, but in the books there was no great romance at that stage in the story. Ross had his wicked way with his kitchen maid, and he married her because he felt it was the right thing to do. When asked if he loves her, he says ‘we get on’.
The earlier series indulged in a bit more dramatic license, with Ross sending Demelza away, explaining it wouldn’t be right for her to continue living at Nampara after their night together. He later discovers she is pregnant and rides off to bring her home as his bride.
But back to current happenings, where the couple’s marriage is finding little favour with the other Poldarks, and local gentry who warn that Ross’s marriage to a serving wench will cut him off from society. The only support comes from his cousin, Verity, who gets drafted in to teach Demelza to be ‘a lady’.
The joy for me in this adaptation is that the characters are developing slowly and wonderfully, just as they’re meant to. The new Mistress Poldark’s feisty endearing spirit is emerging and we see the early glimpses of the touching love that is beginning to grow between the couple.
Elsewhere things are not going so well. The copper strike everyone was hoping for at Wheal Leisure doesn’t seem to be materialising. And where were those pesky pilchards everyone was so desperately scanning the sea for? But we needn’t have worried, for all eventually ends well when shoals of silver darlings are spotted off shore leading to the ‘feel good’ scene when the whole community gets involved in their harvesting.
OK, so deep down we all know there is no real Ross Poldark, or Demelza, but we are all happy to suspend belief for one glorious hour on Sunday nights as we immerse ourselves in 18th century Cornish magic.
I didn’t even mind Aidan Turner admitting in his Sunday Times interview that he worked out, and presumably scrimped on the pasties, to get into shape for his Poldark role. Week on week this lovely actor makes that role his own – and both just get better.
I’m not bothered that the quaint old street in Truro, where Ross and George Warleggan sup their ale in the Red Lion, is actually a modern High Street in a Wiltshire town.
So hats off to writer, Debbie Horsfield, who adapted the first two Winston Graham novels for the screen. As a Poldark devotee, and a great fan of that first iconic BBC series of the 70s, I had so many misgivings that it couldn’t be done again – and shouldn’t even be tried. But Debbie read the books and recognised they were a masterpiece of story telling and character. And she loved them. Most importantly – she got them! And this brilliant new series is the result.
If you really want to indulge yourself you can still buy the original Poldark series with Robin Ellis as Ross, and Angharhad Rees as Demelza. It’s available from Amazon.