Poldark

TV Times - - Cover Story - COS­TUME DRAMA Poldark SUN­DAY / BBC1 / 9.00Pm Judy Ewens

TV Times goes on lo­ca­tion with ai­dan Turner, who tells us Ross is up against it but ready to do bat­tle

s TV Times ar­rives at an at­mo­spheric stately pile in Gloucestershire on a cold but bright day in Fe­bru­ary, the first thing we see is a horse­man gal­lop­ing by.

When the rider dis­mounts, his face breaks into a huge smile – in­stantly trans­form­ing him from brood­ing 18th-cen­tury rebel Ross Poldark into the cheer­ful man who plays him, Ai­dan Turner.

We are on lo­ca­tion for the ea­gerly awaited sec­ond se­ries of Poldark, the sweep­ing saga which re­turns to BBC1 this week.

While most of the drama is filmed against the back­drop of the stun­ning Cor­nish coast­line, we are at Chave­nage House in the Cost­wolds. The El­iz­a­bethan manor dou­bles for Tren­with, home of Ross’s cousin Fran­cis (Kyle Soller) and his wife El­iz­a­beth (Heida Reed), Ross’s first love.

AAi­dan, 33, has bro­ken off from film­ing to tell us that Ross has a lot on his mind, but re­veals it isn’t al­ways easy for him to re­main in char­ac­ter when he’s astride Sea­mus, a mag­nif­i­cent bay stal­lion.

‘I get such a rush out of gal­lop­ing on him that I have to re­mind my­self of the tone of the scene,’ says the Dublin-born star. ‘He as­so­ci­ates me with rid­ing fast so he goes a bit wild when he sees me. Get­ting him to stand still is the trou­ble!’

Sea­mus is not the only one to be ex­cited by Ai­dan’s dash­ing pres­ence since the first eight-part se­ries – based on Win­ston Gra­ham’s books – be­gan air­ing in March 2015.

It was an in­stant hit, at­tract­ing more than eight mil­lion view­ers, win­ning awards and turn­ing its star into a sex sym­bol and a con­tender for the next James Bond.

Look­ing ev­ery inch a romantic hero in his pe­riod cos­tume, it’s very easy to see why Ai­dan, who also starred in And Then There Were None at Christ­mas, has au­di­ences swoon­ing. But the ac­tor in­sists fame has not im­pacted on his life.

‘I am recog­nised a lit­tle bit more,’ he con­cedes, ‘but I don’t take much no­tice of it un­less some­one is right in my face. And most peo­ple are very re­spect­ful.

‘Where it does change is in Corn­wall – we get a lot of fans com­ing out to watch us film­ing. But ev­ery­one is so lovely and sup­port­ive. When the di­rec­tor calls for quiet, you can hear a pin drop; they’re in­cred­i­bly re­spect­ful.’

As the new and longer 10-part se­ries be­gins, things are look­ing very bleak for Ross. At the end of the last one, he and his wife Demelza (Eleanor Tom­lin­son) lost their baby daugh­ter Ju­lia to diph­the­ria and then Ross was ar­rested for ship­wreck­ing, in­cit­ing a riot and mur­der. He’ s about to go on trial and, if found guilty, could be sen­tenced to hang.

‘We find him right where we left off,’ ex­plains Ai­dan. ‘It’s a dark time, but that’s what Ross does best. He can take the weight of the world on his shoul­ders, but he’d rather Demelza didn’t worry.

‘He has a kind of one-man army men­tal­ity. Un­der­neath it all he does worry about leav­ing her be­hind. He won’t show it, though. Ross is very proud.’

Since the third se­ries has just started film­ing, it’s not too much of a plot spoiler to re­veal that Ross prob­a­bly es­capes the noose. So would Ai­dan be pre­pared to carry on playing TV’S big­gest heart-throb if the BBC de­cides to film all 12

Poldark ad­ven­tures?

‘There are quite a lot of them, aren’t there?’ he laughs. ‘But they are great sto­ries. In each se­ries, we cover so much time, so I don’t know how much artis­tic li­cence we would have to change cer­tain things. When would Ross’s black locks start turn­ing grey?’

And with that the ac­tor places the char­ac­ter’s dis­tinc­tive tri­corne hat over those windswept curls and strides up to Sea­mus, who’s wait­ing im­pa­tiently...

He’s mean, moody and mag­nif­i­cent as Ross but Ai­dan prefers to play down his stal­lion im­age

New It’s a dark time, but that’s what Ross does best. He has a kind of one-man army men­tal­ity

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