Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Poldark and handsome

Connoisseurs of BBC costume dramas are well served with the new series POLDARK, a re-boot of a 1970s series which I never saw. After a so-so new MOONFLEET (TV label) and a dreadful version of JAMAICA INN (too dark and murky and one could barely hear the mumbled dialogue) it is good to see a sunny Cornwall in this new series, from the popular novels by Winston Graham. 

Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution. His family and friends thought he was dead. The woman he hoped to marry is now engaged to his cousin. His father is dead, and the property (a ti mine) he has inherited has been allowed to deteriorate. It is the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. This is a family drama, but is also about the challenges and conflicts between the rich and the poor. It is a time when fishermen are not catching much fish, tin and copper mines are closing down because prices are too low, but the price of food and rents are high. Ross faces the challenge of making his land productive, caring for the tenants who rely on him, and trying to win back the woman he loved - or finding a reason to live without her.

Cue lots of horse-riding on clifftops, nice period costumes, and a slow burn relationship between Poldark and the girl he rescues Demelza - particuarly after Demelza sees his skinny-dipping in the sea from the cliff tops .... This has turned out to be enormously popular here, with females (and not a few blokes) all agog over Irish actor Aidan Turner, the ideal brooding (complete with that scar) and he wears the period clothes well. Poldark. Last night's episode featured Robin Ellis, the original Poldark, as the judge with a harsh sentence for a poacher, despite our hero's pleading for him. Warren Clarke, in his last role, has some juicy moments too as Podark's uncle whose son has married Elizabeth, Ross's beloved.  

Its all perfect for late evening Sundays with a gin and tonic to hand - ditto MR SELFRIDGE and INDIAN SUMMERS (set in a very colourful Simla in India in the 1930s). We are being spoiled at the moment. If the BBC want more Cornish swashbuckling I recommend a new version of Daphne Du Maurier's FRENCHMAN'S CREEK (I saw the 1944 film recently and this lady and the pirate saga could do with a re-boot too). 

Another new series BANISHED has got a lot of attention too, I have not seen any of it yet, but may tune in this week to see the beefed up, butched up Rossell Tovey in the lead - Russ is also in the gay LOOKING on as well now, where he usually has trouble keeping his clothes on each week ....


  1. I tell you who is surprising in Banished, Julian Rhind-Tutt. He's even more beefed up and mockneyfied! It's the usual Jimmy McGovern, placing strong characters in engrossing moral mazes.

    I LOVE Poldark, love the books, love the original 70s series and am loving this new adaptation from Debbie 'Making Out' Horsfield. The only quibble I have is that Jack Farthing, thus far, is a somewhat bland substitute for Ralph Bates who originally played Warleggen. Here's hoping he comes to the fore more shortly.

  2. Well if BANISHED is as good and gritty as McGovern's THE STREET ... !

    Ralph Bates was marvellous in so many things, very under-rated now.

    1. I'm enjoying it. I wouldn't say it was as good as The Street, but then it's a very different beast. I can understand some of the criticisms it has gained, and there's the usual historical accuracy nuts moaning, but McGovern claims it's one of his best works, so who am I to disagree.

      I loved Ralph Bates in Dear John. One of my favourite sitcoms. And of course those old Hammer Horrors too. He managed to make Warleggen silky suave and malevolent, something which Farthing hasn't (yet) shown