Poldark preview with Aidan Turner

BFI preview

BFI preview

Wish all Mondays would end as nicely 🙂

I’ve always been reluctant to go out Monday night but I may change my mind after this if Monday evenings involve a trip to Cornwall. To clarify, this was not an actual trip to Cornwall, only on screen 😉 But I guarantee the views on screen will make you want to visit the actual place!

We were lucky enough to grab 2 tickets for the BFI (British Film Institute) preview of the first episode of Poldark, the new series made by Mammoth for the BBC. This will start airing in early March on BBC One in the Uk and if I understand correctly from June also in the US and more countries to follow. Some of you may be aware of the 40 years older BBC version, but this is not a remake of that series, it is a completely new adaptation over 8 episodes of the books (in this case the first 2 Winston Graham ‘Poldark’ books).

The evening entertainment contained not only the screening, but also a Q&A with main cast – Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark), Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza Carne), writer Debbie Horsfield and director Ed Bazalgette (the panel was chaired by Emma Kennedy).

First things first, the episode. To give you a tiny idea of what it is like, here’s the trailer:

If you think this is exciting, it was much more so in full! The scenes in the trailer cover episode 2 as well I think. But it’s all there, the detail in interior scenes with really detailed costumes (though not overdone), the right lighting and truly breath-taking views of fields, beaches and costal lines in Cornwall. It will actually be hard to see this on the small screen going forward as it was an absolute pleasure to watch it on a screen that does justice both to the detail and the landscapes. And the sound is excellent, from subtle music to wonderful sounds of hooves thudding on fields and crunching on gravel. Add to this really clear diction and individual voices, each really suited to the personalities they represent.

The hour past in a flash and we were really startled when it came to an end. I’d forgotten this was just a 60 min episode, it felt cinema-film epic… I just wanted it to continue. As far as I can tell the script is good, it’s not too aged historically to make it hard to understand and I think it will be easy on the ears of all English speaking audiences, without feeling too contemporary. Natural, unfussed is the one word that comes to mind. There are enough silences and pauses in dialogue for one to make their own mind about the character and even more, to admire the expression on their faces. And let’s face it the close up to the characters are almost as beautiful as the landscapes 😉 But I think in all cases are talking about good acting here, not standing around looking good.

Ah, and we all really appreciated the subtle and no so subtle humour in the script. Ross Poldark is surprisingly outspoken at times and because it is not overdone or slapstick and delivered naturally, but not too dead-pan it is really effective. You get a sense of a character which is spirited and bright, but not too cocky 😉 And he’s not the only one providing the light elements, there’s a variety of villagers, servants, uncles and cousins, animals 😉 who contribute.

I was relieved to see that it lived up to its marketing hype and I was drawn in immediately and can’t wait to see more. It is good and promises even better things to come.

(click on thumbnails below for bigger versions, sorry they are a bit blurry and dark, my zoom is not the best and the camera ran out of battery as well..)

The Q&A fully confirmed the great chemistry between main characters as well as the good atmosphere within the cast. There are a lot of firsts, a first true leading role for Aidan, a unique developing female role for Eleanor, a first adaptation of books for  Debbie Horsfield. But there is an obvious team spirit there, built through a lot of research and a 6 months location driven shoot. The enjoyment on working on the project is obvious from the affection with which they talk about it and from the friendly banter.

From what I have seen so far, Bazalgette has really done justice to Cornwall, the skies were really dizzyingly deep and you just wanted to tumble in the grass in the fields. The cinematography is beautiful and it adds a wonderful depth to the atmosphere. But the landscape is not a set, it’s a character on its own, the mines are part of it, the houses, the crossroads to home and far away, etc.

There were loads of laughs during the Q&A: about Eleanor really pestering the casting director to be seen as initially they only wanted to see her for the role of Elizabeth; then about her showing up in her brother’s oversized Xmas jumper to the audition; about the health and safety challenges of riding along the coast; about Aidan’s decidedly physical approach to the manual labours of the work (including heaving massive stones on the wall around Ross’ house to the director’s concern about a potential hernia that would kill filming 😉 – they initially gave him polystyrene ones which he refused); about the romantic impact of riding a horse together but the massive discomfort that it creates for the rider in the back ‘ggg’; about the Cornwall sun induced tan (not always …. :-p) ; the casting director having the impossible task of choosing strong and handsome actors for the iconic leading parts and having to settle for ‘just’ good actors ;-); about how a scene really called for shallow waters (you’ll have to wait to see what is meant, suffice to say it caused endless hilarity and Aidan to blush) . Oh and most of the time was spent actually answering questions from the public.

And as you can see from the pic above the public was quite mixed, it was by no means mainly fans.

But it wasn’t all banter, there was a lot of discussion about the potential stress of being pitched against the memories of the very successful previous adaptation (on an aside, Robin Ellis who embodied the previous Poldark was very supporting of the project and will be back for 2 episodes in a role – another aside Robin Ellis is Jack Ellis’ brother – Danforth in the Crucible). About the pressure and the pleasure of playing such a role can bring.. it’s been said often it is a mixture of Darcy, Rochester, Heathcliff, etc and it really is 🙂 Also about what a rewarding character Demelza is, as few female characters in period drama have such scope of growth and development. About the challenges of moving from being almost a boy as Demelza to a married women with children across the story arch. There was also an interesting debate about film vs television and appreciation of great work that is currently being done for TV with a number of really good series on the small screen. Both actors remarked that they felt TV scripts they had seen recently were much better than what they had seen for films for example.

Both actors shared with us some insight about their favourite scenes and what they love most about their characters: Aidan admires Ross’ determination and grit, the fact that he just gets on with it and doesn’t wallow and Eleanor love the growth and fearlessness of her character.

All I can say is they were really warm and funny in person and very compelling on screen. Can’t wait to see more 🙂

As we were making our way to the exit more than 2h 30 min later we bumped into a spontaneous gathering, Aidan had been caught between fans coming back from the gents 😉 He very graciously stopped to sign and take pictures in spite of the late hour 🙂 He’s really sweet I have to say!

We didn’t get out books signed because too many people were gathering, we just looked on a few minutes and left looking back with smile 🙂 Ah the books, we received these for free as part of the presentation pack!

So, look out for this in your TV schedule and make sure you don’t miss it!

To take away - book 1, new issue ;-)

To take away – book 1, new issue 😉

For extra info, pretty spoiler -free there is the BBC media pack. Includes some nice interviews with the cast, writer and director.

And the Radio Times article hidden behind the photo below has more production stills newly released 😉

PS if you are the lady with the red hair in the last pics with Aidan and want me to take down the pics, please say so and i#ll do asap.

PPS  Sorry for no titles, descriptions to photos, the editing and the info it wants does my head in!

PPPS there was a lot of banter about the hair 😉 Aidan said seeing it on screen he was almost sorry he’d chopped it off! LOL

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25 thoughts on “Poldark preview with Aidan Turner

    • Me too as when we clocked it was happening it had sold out, we got lucky with 2 returns. I have to say having seen the episode my respect for him has grown immensely. He really is ready to shoulder a leading hero role and is doing great work. We had a real laugh when Emma K asked him if he’d practised the pout and the eye brow action in the mirror and the hall exploded with laughter at this shocked face! He shyly admitted he’d not realised until he saw himself on the big screen he had been pouting 😀 and he said he didn’t control the eyebrows, just let them happen 😉 He’s got a lot of subtlety in his facial expression and a lot of intensity 🙂 It will be good for him this role.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Gott was ist der schnuckelig! Aber es muss ja auch was für die jüngeren Damen zum schmachten geben! Sie spannend und gut aus, den Film meine ich jetzt, schade, dass es noch so lange dauert bis wir ihn dann im TV sehen können 😦

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    • Na vielleicht gibt es eine Moglichkeit es fruher zu sehen 😉 und ja ich sehe auch Scharen von Fans ihm nachlaufen und aus gutem Grund. Und eh, also ich bin nicht zu alt um da zu schmachten :-)))

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  2. Himmel, das wird ja ein Fest für die Augen: Landschaften allerorten (Gegend UND Körper)!
    😀 Bin sehr gespannt und hoffentlich halten die uns hier in D nicht zu lange hin. Aber die OV gibt es sicher früher.

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    • ja wollen wir hoffen dass es auch andere Moglichkeiten gibt es zu sehen 😉 Ich finde den Charakter viel anziehender als Darcy oder Heathcliff, genauso romantisch wurde ich sagen aber mir einer guten Dosis Realismus, nicht so posh halt und sicher fur Publikum heutzutage interessanter, der hier weicht nicht vor einer Schlagerei oder Kartenspiel weg 😉

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  3. Sounds fantastic. I can’t wait. It’s been a long time since a new period drama really sparked my interest. So glad you got a chance to attend. That’s really cute, the question about practicing pouting and eyebrows in the mirror, and his startled reaction! Aiden seems like an incredibly nice guy. Wasn’t it Aiden who pursued and tackled a purse snatcher, then returned the lady’s purse to her? I think it happened at some fan event but can’t remember the entire story. =)

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    • I think it was him 🙂 He came across very modest (too modest in my opinion ;-)) and very gentle and nice. Certainly very patient with all the fans and photo and signature request after what must have been a very long day. I think he was absolutely the right choice for the role and i am really looking forward to the series. I like period drama, but not all of them, this has the type of characters that you just want to root for 🙂

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  4. Fabulous to read you got to attend this event! Haha Aidan attributes so much of his acting capacity to his eyebrows 🙂 he has mentioned them before in interviews back in Being Human days. Gotta love his sense of humor. I’ve been following the filming of Poldark since I’ve heard Aidan got cast. I would have followed it anyway but with him in the lead I was twice as pleased. Last summer we got treated to so much gorgeous photography from set. I listened to an audio recording from the Q&A earlier to discover that two books are covered in S1 which makes much more sense as so much happens in Demelza vs in Poldark. Of course as usual the BBC made us wait so LONG for the trailer (sure we got a clip in the drama trailer and there was the leaked unofficial trailer that got pulled off the web as fast as you could blink!) but it sure was worth it. I’m most looking forward to hear the local Cornish accent … anyway counting down to March 5th – no way am I waiting until June for it to air on PBS 🙂

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    • Hi Fanny and welcome 🙂 And yes those eyebrows certainly come in handy as Ross Poldark, he’s got loads to frown at 😉
      I was really glad when i found out they were filming on location, you can’t replace Cornwall really. There is not much in the line of accents going on, some but it is very light. I think that is on purpose as said, it has to appeal to international ears as well. In some characters more than others, depending on their position 😉
      Trailers really can’t be released until the actual episodes are done editing 😉 As otherwise you end up showing things that will not be aired or not showing things that might actually attract interest. It also has to be tailored to the actual hour slot the thing will air on, which influences what you show, no shallow waters for a 8pm slot :-p

      I thought it was a very attractive trailer, all those windswept.. hairs and smoulders 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awww, thank you so much for sharing this with us!!!
    I can’t wait to watch the series, the trailer and stills look sooo promising and I am glad you liked it!
    Aidan is such a sweetheart…and this smile.. *sigh*

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    • I can’t wait to see again and more! he is a total sweetie though Ross isn’t quite a sweetie 😉 I’m smiling as i look forward to the masses swooning at Ross Poldark, i have not the slightest doubt that that is exactly what will happen 🙂

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        • poor man 😉 he’ll never live that scene down.. but then again Colin Firth never complained about the impact of the ‘Darcy wet out of the lake scene’ 😉 Having seen ep 1 i’d like to point out that in any case that will be a very minimal part of Ross Poldark and that there is much much more to like about the character than a swimming scene 🙂 I actually loved the brawl he gets in much more! (Swimming scene isn’t in ep 1 tho)

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        • I don’t need him wet but it is a nice addition 😉
          I love it when he sits on a horseback and his hair is blowing in the wind. Or the look on his face in the scene I watched some minutes ago on YT (Poldark lerns that Elizabeth will marry someone else)

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        • oh yes that was ouchie! but you really fall for him when he pulls himself together and takes it like a man 🙂 Aidan was totally spot one when he said Ross’ best character trait is his strength and determination, the fact that he doesn’t wallow and cry in a corner, but gets on with things. It is why i like the character more than Darcy or Rochester 🙂 You root for him, you don’t pity him.

          And in the press interview Aida said something along the lines that one is never a bad actor on a horse, it is always good 🙂 (if you can ride as well as he apparently does i would add 😉 )

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  6. You lucky thing, for getting tickets for this!
    I’m one of those old enough to’ve seen the original series when it first aired, and it’s a much-loved part of my teenage years, spent watching costume dramas on Sunday nights.

    Fast forward to eighteen months or so ago, and RA was the Poldark fans’ popular casting choice for Ross. What a surprise it was when the announcement came and it was a different Durin lad who’d scored the coveted role!

    So pleased to hear it’s a quality production, with no sound issues, unlike another recent series with lots of location shooting. Can’t wait for this to be aired here in Australia.

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    • Ross would have to be at least 10 years younger if not more 😉 Rich had his smouldering hero in John Thornton 🙂 and he had Guy. He would have been too mature for it really.
      But i think you’ll find Aidan fits the role like a glove, or viceversa 😉 I think they made a brilliant choice, he’s in some respects still boyish but has enough gravitas to depict the very young man who has to tackle all the tough choices he is faced with.
      And generally i am pleased the BBC continues to give young actors the boost to lead characters and help shape their careers with really good roles. And that they tend to go for lesser known names in many cases, although i wouldn’t qualify Aidan Turner like that, he’s already well known and not just for the Hobbit (at least to UK audiences). But several well known actors have had good roles in BBC productions before before they became much wider known (McAvoy, Tennant, Colin Firth, Cumberbatch, Richard as well, etc to name just a few).

      I hope this won’t offend anyone but honestly i think Ross Poldark will prove to be much more important for AT’s career as an actor than Kili 😉 It’s a role he can really flex his acting muscles with 🙂 To our viewing pleasure i am sure.
      I’ll be really curious to hear what you think of the series once it makes out there 🙂

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  7. Wow…Thank you for this…I cannot wait to see Poldark..Although as I understand it, we in the States must wait until the summer …….From the trailers I have seen, and interviews I have read, it should be very good ! Bravo Mr. Turner

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