Ai­dan Turner gal­lops off into the past with flair in Poldark.

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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.”


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…

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