TV Review: Poldark (Series 1)

Whilst I can see the appeal in Poldark of the scenery – both in terms of the Cornish coast and Aidan Turner’s abs – there’s only so much chat about copper and pilchards I can take…

“This is Cornwall…nothing is certain”

The joys of Poldark never really appealed to me at the time of airing but with Aidan Turner hitting the West End with a co-leading turn with Jenna Coleman in Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, I thought I’d venture down to Cornwall to see what all the fuss was about. Written and adapted by Debbie Horsfield from Winston Graham’s novels, it really is the archetypal Sunday night drama. Sweeping location shots of the gorgeous Cornish coast and a leading man whose shirt is regularly whipped off at strategic intervals, you can see the appeal.

As a newcomer to the show though (and perhaps a consequence of binging this first series), I have to say I found it quite baffling, particularly in its relationship to time. There were moments where it felt like you could go and make a cup of tea and somebody would have announced they were pregnant, had some kind of crisis and then had the baby  by the time you were back with a chocolate bourbon in hand. I get the need to speed things along but Poldark’s journey from penury on return from the war to relative comfort seemed to happen very easily.

Similarly too, the evolution of Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza from scrappy urchin to pseudo-lady of the manor. Having no clue that was where she was headed, I was most taken aback that this development but you can see how the over-arching love triangle that it sets up with the fragrant Elizabeth (Heida Reed) is ripe for the kind of plot arc that lasts for multiple seasons (though at this point, I’m firmly team Demelza). By and large though, I found the constant worrying about copper and pilchards to be rather dull in terms of the series as a whole.

That said, the huge drama of the final episode completely sucked me in and I was hooked. I love a show that takes a big dramatic swing with a death and I was proper surprised at where they went, meaning I’m sure to return to the show for at least one more series. The quality supporting cast helps as well – Kyle Soller, Luke Norris, John Hollingworth, Richard Hope all shining as Poldark allies of some sort and Jack Farthing brings some dignity to the rather cartoonish villainry of George Warleggan who is also lukring around the corner. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *