The Magic of Poldark
What is the Magic of Poldark that outlives generations of fans? As a teenager I read the first four books, totally enthralled and captivated by the passions and Celtic overtones. Then as a young woman I watched with unerring devotion as the the BBC drama unfolded. Even with it’s shaky sets and limited production it was spellbinding and who in the known world wasn’t in love with Demelza, who’s glorious tresses and heaving bosom totally stole the show.
It was the first glamorous production I can remember. But oh this latest production, what can I say? All the diehard Poldark fans tuned in, and new fans were perhaps a little too sidetracked by the rippling pecs of Aiden Turner in the leading role. I mean, who can blame them, I believe Twitter fluttered and almost expired along with most of the female viewers when his toned, naked and somewhat sweaty torso was seen scything the meadow. (He only did about 3 lunges with the scythe, but enough to set the scene and the hearts beating overtime.)
But actually I was unmoved by that scene (well, almost), it seemed unnecessary when the star had already launched himself into the galaxy of screen demi gods. No, for me it was the frilly white shirts with the tousled hair and melting eyes that appealed more and the purposeful striding into the distance with that coat, that marvellous coat…….
But more than anything I just loved the lushness of the production, the great attention to detail with the sets and costumes, the brilliant casting with, perhaps, the exception of Philip Davis as the errant Judd. Although Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza does not fit the colouring of the author and I wasn’t sure about her in the first 2 episodes as images of Angharad Reece overwhelmed me, she does grow remarkably well into the character that Winston Graham portrayed in the books and one can’t help but love her. She is all natural beauty, quite unspoilt. Oh to be like Demelza in real life, warm hearted, sexy, loving, brilliant cook, always seeing the best in others and with that gorgeous man to share her life with! Perhaps sometimes she is a little too fawning, but always with the best of intentions and who can really blame her given her startling rise from humble beginnings. And despite the humble beginnings, this tale is a lot more than a Cinderella one, their combined trials, tribulations and happiness make for a very believable and honest love story.
So, once the series was over, we bought all 12 books and started from the beginning. As the series only really encompassed 2 books and I had forgotten the volumes 3 and 4 I had read so long ago, it was a wonderful and adventurous voyage of discovery entering the lives of the Poldarks and spanning almost 50 years. Amazingly Demelza’s waistline barely increases, Ross keeps his leanness, tenacity and heart of gold and the family evolve in such startling ways that we actually couldn’t put them down. What nicer way to spend an evening being cuddled up with gorgeous man and disappearing in to the dark and mystic secrets of Cornwall and the Poldarks. I was always one book behind, which was frustrating for my “other” as he had to wait until I had finished it before his outpourings of astonishment, grief, happiness and amazement at the tome just released to me.
What can I say, we read them all, cried a lot (both of us) then the natural progression was to watch all the episodes again, just finished last night. And you know what, they were even better the second time around, except perhaps the last one whose sadness was all too real and a bit too much to bear. I want to live at Nampara (obviously with Ross but that could be tricky). Of course Trenwith is beautiful, it always brings a gasp of wonder, and in the next watching I will have to take some serious notes of the curtain treatments and colour schemes. But it would take an army of “servants” to run it, there would be no privacy and against it the joy of settling at Nampara with just your man and children to enjoy the vast skies and crashing waves as it hugs the cliff top of Hendrawna beach hold no comparison at all.
For those of you that haven’t already been dragged into the Poldark net, the stories begin in late 18th century Cornwall and the plot follows Ross Poldark’s attempts to make his derelict tin mines a success. Life is tough, smuggling is rife and Ross Poldark takes the side of the working class against the ruthless behaviour of his enemies, the greedy Warleggans. Although the stories are of ultimate success, they are not an easy ride, the success does not often relate to making money, rather it comes through good deeds and respect learned the hard way. Through it all Ross stands for decency and the rights of man, perhaps why he is so loved as a character and friend.
I may have to start on Episode 1 again tonight!
PS I think his eyes are looking out for me on the clifftop.
Photos all courtesy of the BBC and Production Company