As a lover of all things 18th century, you can imagine my delight a few weeks ago in learning that PBS was going to air BBC’s new adaptation of Winston Graham’s POLDARK series. And better yet, that Aiden Turner (be still my little dwarf-loving heart) would play the eponymous Poldark.
For those still unfamiliar with this immensely popular BBC series (What did you just return from Mars?) This 18th century historical fiction series by Winston Graham was first adapted for television by BBC in the 1970’s. It has now returned in 2015 as a revamped version.
The series opens with Ross Poldark, a British Army officer returning to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War to find his fiancée Elizabeth Chynoweth about to wed his cousin Francis.
Although Ross never completely gets over Elizabeth, after several years of pining for her, he ultimately weds a servant named Demelza, mainly for convenience but eventually comes to love her. His marriage is the source of a clash within the Poldark family. About this time, Elizabeth becomes a widow and marries Ross’s arch-enemy,George Warleggan. The rivalry between the two men is a recurring theme. (Here’s a little clip to make your pulse race)
Upon learning that the family mine they had run for generations (and built their once vast fortune on) had closed. Ross attempts to restore his fortunes by reopening one of the family’s derelict tin mines, but takes a fresh approach and sets about to mine for copper instead.Throughout the eight-part series Ross struggles to restore the family fortune, as well as wrestling with his status as the proverbial black sheep in his priviledged family.
Similar to another popular BBC mini-series North and South, rather than focusing on the life of the aristocracy, the series focuses heavily on the struggles of the lower and middle classes, with a hero who doesn’t hesitate to dirty his noble hands. That is in great part the source of this hero’s appeal (and the fact that he looks incredible doing it)
One more gratuitous clip:
For those who wish to read the series, these novels are currently available in print, e-book and audiobook. 🙂