WHEN Aidan Turner first bared his bronzed and gleaming chest in Poldark, the BBC’s new adaptation of the popular Cornish period drama, several million female viewers sighed. Today he reveals his secret: his rippling muscles were enhanced by baby oil.
The 31-year-old Irish actor tells The Sunday Times Magazine that he did work out at the gym to tone his physique for his role as Captain Ross Poldark, the smouldering Cornish rebel who entrances up to 7m viewers each Sunday. “I just didn’t see Poldark having a beer belly or being out of shape, given his lifestyle,” he says.
However, he admits using “some kind of baby oil” but dismisses the unmanly suggestion that he might also have resorted to mascara. “Definitely not mascara,” he says, although there might have been eyeliner “for some of the scenes”. For his next role, he adds, “I want to grow a beard and put on lots of weight”.
Turner has won rave reviews for his role in a series that first dazzled British viewers when Robin Ellis played Poldark in 1975 — eight years before Turner was born. When his agent told him he was up for the lead in the BBC’s remake he had to Google the name. “Then I was like, ‘Bloody hell, this is quite a big deal.’ ”
He decided not to watch the original series because he did not want to be influenced by Ellis’s much-praised performance. He admits that he is not a fan of period drama, has never watched ITV1’s Downton Abbey and even managed to miss his own debut in Poldark because he was flying back from a stag party in Edinburgh.
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