If Aidan Turner hadn’t landed the role of Captain Ross Poldark, he’d have made a brilliant frontman for a 1980s cover band. He is one of few men (among them, Michael Hutchence and Adam Ant) who manage to look virile while wearing eyeliner and a wet-look perm. But instead, starring in the BBC’s new adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels, his Harry Styles curls and downy pecs come into their own. As his co-star Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza) sighed breathlessly, Turner, as Poldark, is “a god among men”.
The Beeb, in need of a new period-drama heart-throb since Benedict Cumberbatch got hitched, must be thrilled. Certainly, they capitalised on their leading man’s looks with a trailer promoting Poldark, with Turner swimming naked, flicking his hair in the crystal-blue swash in what Turner calls his “Timotei moment”. It worked.
Poldark drew nearly 7m viewers the first weekend it aired. Opening with Ross Poldark heading home from the American War of Independence, only to find his dad dead, his family estate rotting and that his fiancée, Elizabeth (Heida Reed), had ditched him for his trustafarian cousin Francis (Kyle Soller), what has followed has been a relentless bodice-ripping, swashbuckling thrillathon.In just three episodes, Poldark has stopped a dog fight, saved a village, beaten up three other blokes, broken several hearts, set up a copper mine and hand-built a stone wall — all in his spare time between galloping along the Cornish coastline with no regard for health-and-safety concerns. No wonder the Cornish tourist board is cheering the Poldark effect, and female viewers are desperate to run their hands over more than Cornwall’s rugged cliffs.
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