Pis­tols at the ready:

The ri­valry be­tween Ross and Monk cul­mi­nates in the ul­ti­mate show­down in this week’s episode of Poldark. Jim Maloney re­ports

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Poldark ri­valry turns deadly.

The sim­mer­ing hos­til­ity be­tween Ross and the provoca­tive Monk Ad­der­ley cul­mi­nates in a dra­matic life-and-death sit­u­a­tion in this week’s episode of Poldark.

Ge­orge, thrilled that El­iz­a­beth is preg­nant, hosts a char­ity ball at his Lon­don res­i­dence. Here, he is fur­ther de­lighted when Monk, hav­ing taken a fancy to Demelza, bets Ge­orge that he will sleep with her within a month.

Demelza gamely tries to keep Monk at bay but this only en­cour­ages him and Ross is fu­ri­ous. His tem­per boils over at West­min­ster where a scuf­fle takes place. Seem­ingly out­raged at be­ing man­han­dled, Monk chal­lenges Ross to a duel. Ross is star­tled ... but ac­cepts, de­spite Dwight’s at­tempts to call it off.

But has Ross bit­ten off more than he can chew this time? Af­ter all, ex-mil­i­tary man Monk is a renowned du­el­list and this might just be the mo­ment he has been wait­ing for.

Max Ben­nett, who plays the wom­an­is­ing Monk, has en­joyed play­ing such a colour­ful char­ac­ter, and the duel was a se­ries high­light.

“Monk is great fun to play. He is a provo­ca­teur who likes find­ing out what peo­ple’s but­tons are and push­ing as many as he can,” he says.

“With the duel scene we were like kids run­ning around with toy guns. Both op­po­nents could get shot in du­els and so I think there were oc­ca­sions where hon­our was sat­is­fied by both pis­tols be­ing fired into the air.

“But that’s not go­ing to hap­pen with Monk and Ross. They are both de­scribed in the novel as ‘wild men’. They are kin­dred spir­its in that sense. He’s from a sim­i­lar back­ground to Ross. He’s from a mer­can­tile fam­ily, so he’s not from money. He’s worked his way up to where he is.

“There’s a sense in which I think you could see him and Ross as two sides of the same coin.

“He may be the dark re­flec­tion of Ross Poldark and I think they both recog­nise that in each other, and that has cre­ated a sort of in­nate an­i­mos­ity be­tween them.”

In the book, The An­gry Tide, one of the Poldark se­ries of nov­els by Win­ston Gra­ham which fea­tures Monk Ad­der­ley, and in the orig­i­nal 1970s TV drama­ti­sa­tion of the se­ries, Monk has a far more star­tling ap­pear­ance.

“In our ver­sion, one of the ref­er­ences for the cos­tume and hair and make-up depart­ment in terms of ap­pear­ance and style was the dandy-ish fig­ure of Beau Brum­mell,” says 33-year-old Ben­nett.

“Monk is seen as a fore­run­ner of mod­ern men’s style. But in the book and the orig­i­nal se­ries he has a whitened face with a mole painted on it and wears very out­landish clothes.

“I would say that our ver­sion of him is more stylish, but what has not changed is that he is a dan­ger­ous, dark char­ac­ter who likes rub­bing peo­ple up the wrong way – par­tic­u­larly Ross. And that ex­tends to mak­ing moves on Demelza.

“He’s a wom­an­iser and very sen­sual in gen­eral and she is in­trigu­ing to him. She is a fish out of wa­ter in Lon­don so­ci­ety and so that is a lot of fun for him. Also, she is beau­ti­ful; he’s at­tracted to her. His flir­ta­tion with her is a way of get­ting at Ross. Monk is a thrillseeker so any­thing that gets his vibes go­ing he will do.”

Does Ben­nett share Monk’s pas­sion for thrillseek­ing?

“Sort of,” he replies. “I’m a mo­tor­cy­clist and that is a thrilling ex­pe­ri­ence. It re­quires a lot of con­cen­tra­tion. It’s rel­a­tively new to me. I ac­tu­ally heard I had got the job on Poldark when my girl­friend and I were on a mo­tor­cy­cle tour of Scot­land, af­ter I had made my au­di­tion. We were in Ed­in­burgh at the time.

“I am on my sec­ond bike now. I started off with a Royal En­field, which is a mod­ern clas­sic bike. Both of my un­cles – my mum’s brother and my dad’s brother – are bik­ers and my first ever ride was on my Un­cle Dave’s 1937 Royal En­field. So there is a sort of ro­man­ti­cism for me and I wanted to get the same bike. I’m on to a big­ger, tour­ing ma­chine now which I am able to strap a lot of lug­gage on.

“It’s not so much the speed that is a thrill. I imag­ine it’s like rid­ing a horse. It’s the same kind of mas­tery over an­i­mal or ma­chine. It’s just a very

nice feel­ing.”

“Monk is great fun to play. He is a provo­ca­teur who likes find­ing out what peo­ple’s but­tons are and push­ing as many as he can.” – Max Ben­nett

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