Aidan Turner gallops off into the past with flair in Poldark.
Season 1 Thursdays ITV Choice 21:00
At the start of Poldark (2015- current) on Thursday 7 May, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returned from soldiering in the United States to find his British family estate in tatters – holes in the roof, chickens in the kitchen and muck all over the place. Something that Aidan wouldn’t deal with. “I would have took Charles Poldark’s (the late Warren Clarke, who died shortly after his character’s episode 4 death scene was filmed in 2014) money, got Seamus the horse and I would’ve rode to London and started a new life for myself,” Aidan laughs over the phone
prop is Aidan’s favourite
“It’s an Ross’s riding crop.
crop, 18th-century riding
to break so I was told not
it. It’s very expensive!”
from the UK. “I like luxury. I’ve always been this way. Even when I was broke, I couldn’t stand it. I’ve never been good with kipping [sleep-ing] on somebody’s floor and that kind of stuff.” But Ross does stay and the series follows his efforts to drag his home and his people out of ruin. “He’s sticking around for other people. Ross has to resurrect the mining industry because he’s the only one who can do it and ease the suffering. He has a
good heart,” Aidan explains.
But it promises to be a long, long, long… long process. Poldark the series is based on the 12-volume set of historical novels, published between 1945 and 2002, by Winston Graham. Aidan, who was about to start filming on season 2 when we spoke, reveals that “I’m on book number six now. We do two books per season and I’m a season ahead. I’m re-reading them and re-reading them again to see what I can get from them. It’s useful to read ahead a bit. But with 12 books, I didn’t want to get too far ahead because you lose track and obviously Ross doesn’t know what’s going to happen”.
On any long journey, it’s useful to have a faithful friend along for the ride – Aidan’s is Seamus, the Irish draught horse (named Darkie in the series). Aidan has literally spent whole days in the saddle while shooting some episodes. “I had my lunch in the saddle one day,” he laughs. “As long as I was allowed to be on, I’d just stay up all day. Getting up can be a little difficult. I’m supposed to vault on and I have to make it look cool and smooth. You’ve got to be fearless with that and sometimes it goes a bit wrong. With guys, you can get a pain in a certain place that’s not too pleasurable, if you know what I mean. You turn your back to the camera and you wince.”
HISTORY IS HOT
With the riding and the role being so physically demanding – and let’s not lie, all those shirtless and sometimes pantsless scenes like episode 2’s skinny dip in the sea – Aidan had to put in a lot of gym time. “It was about six weeks preparation. Then it was a five-and-ahalf month shoot. The days get long, it gets tiring. At the end of a 14-hour day, the last thing you want is to jump on a treadmill or spend an hour-and-ahalf lifting weights. I’m not a massive fan of the gym – it’s a bit of a struggle sometimes but it’s part of the job. You have to get on with it. I’d bring an iPad in and catch up shows and trying to zone out listening to music, but it’s difficult,” Aidan admits. Well, we’ll certainly continue to appreciate his efforts to make history hot as the season continues…