Poldark is a story of love, betrayal, loss, and new romance in the 18th Century. Based on the books by Winston Graham, the series revolves around Ross Poldark, who returns from serving in the British Army during the American Revolution to find that his fiancée thought him dead and plans to marry his cousin. The books have been successfully adapted twice: the first time in 1975 and the second in 2015, introducing the characters and story to two separate generations. Throughout the novels and shows, there have been plenty of interesting facts to share.
Graham stated that he based the story of Ross Poldark on a pilot he met during World War II. Ross’s newfound love Demelza was based partly upon his own wife Jean, and the name for the character came from the Bodmin Moor hamlet of Demelza.
###Link to the Past
While Aidan Turner plays Ross Poldark in the more recent adaptation, the original TV Poldark was actor Robin Ellis. Forty years from his original portrayal, Ellis returned to the new series to play Reverend Halse, who also acts as the local magistrate. To date, Ellis has appeared in all four seasons.
###The Failed Reboot
Ellis and 1975 Poldark costar Angharad Rees (Demelza) were actually going to reprise their roles for a 1996 reboot produced by HTV, but the producers reneged on the arrangement and cast brand new actors instead. This greatly upset fans of the original series and fifty members of the Poldark Appreciation Society picketed the studios in period costume. The pilot episode proved unsuccessful, and the series was not continued again until 2015.
###Light on His Feet
2015 Poldark star Aidan Turner did have to do much studying to learn all he needed for the ballroom dancing scenes. Before he became an actor, Turner was an amateur ballroom dancing competitor in his home country of Ireland.
###No More Stories for You
As is so often the case with adapted works, original Poldark TV series scriptwriter Martin Worth eventually ran out of story ideas and turned to Winston Graham to come up with new story ideas. Graham refused to assist because he hated the way his characters were portrayed, so the series came to an end after two seasons. Graham then turned around and produced a new novel series featuring the descendants of the original characters.
###Answer the Call
Almost quite literally for Aidan Turner. He was the new show’s first choice for Ross Poldark and to convince him to take it; a FedEx driver delivered the first two Poldark books and all eight scripts for the first season. It was only after this that Turner’s agent called to let him know what was going on.
###What Could Have Been
Speaking of casting, while Turner was the only actor considered for Ross Poldark in the newer series, several actors were considered besides Robin Ellis in the original show, including Ian McShane, Leigh Lawson, and Timothy Dalton. Michael Gambon was also apparently considered for a role.
Despite taking place in Cornwall, several of the actors aren’t even English. Besides the obvious with Aidan Turner being Irish, Francis Poldark’s actor, Kyle Soller, American. Elizabeth, played by Heida Reed, is actually Icelandic. Of the major cast members, only John Nettles (Ray Penvenen) and Tristan Sturrock (Zacky Martin) are actually Cornish.
For Warren Clarke, who played Ross’ uncle Charles for four episodes before he passed away.
Despite being the first and only actor considered for the role, producer Damien Timmer actually questioned whether women would find Aidan Turner “attractive”.