Poldark is a drama for which I’d never previously seen an episode, either in this decade or from the ’70s, but felt I should give it a crack, and the second series opener begins with a recap of series one.
Yes, I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, but I got that Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner – The Hobbit Trilogy) was on trial for starting the riot that the Kaiser Chiefs predicted, or something. The other characters pontificate, in olde worlde-style dialogue (it’s the 18th-century, after all), on when or how Ross was fitted up for a crime he did not commit. Since it’s around 200 years before The A-Team come into existence, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to find them and employ their services.
The authorities are looking for people to testify against him, but rightly, they tell them where to go. Meanwhile, some people are believing the press in the libellous pamphlets going about, claiming Ross Poldark is a bad ‘un, when they should really see through them and realise they have as much legitamcy as a story in The Sun or the Daily Mirror.
In the world of Poldark, men are brusque, bold, angry and determined… while women just seem to cry a lot. Elizabeth (Heida Reed) looks like she’s been sucking on a lemon, while George (Jack Farthing) was like a cardboard cut-out baddie, inferring he’d be able to sway the judge involved in the case, Ross knew he was talking a load of bunkum as did the rest of us, wanting to jump in and slap him.
And Poldark epitomises the same sexist issues onscreen that I’ve seen it do in print, when series one was released: that it’s okay for men to bare their chests, but not women. What is the problem? As Rik said in The Young Ones, “they’re called breasts and everybody has them!”, so while the puritans of the press are busy shutting down Page 3 in The Sun (when what it needed more was Kelvin McKenzie being shut away in a pine box while he’s still breathing), the same people don’t get the correlation when it comes to there being men’s nipples on show instead.
In the same edition of the Metro, a few weeks ago, there was a picture of Alexander Skarsgård bare-chested as Tarzan, yet elsewhere was a female model (whose name I forget) in a topless pose, but for some reason, her nipples were covered with big, comical stars. What’s the problem? Why is there such a discrepancy?
To that end, below is a picture of both Aidan Turner and Samantha Fox in her ’80s pin-up days. Both are topless. Why is one considered okay, in today’s world, and the other is not? Some have tried to tell me it’s because a female topless shot is considered a sexual thing, yet I see women at work talking about Aidan Turner topless and going “Phwoar!” a lot, so surely that’s the same.
There’s no doubting the production values of this drama, but just when I thought it couldn’t get any more slow-moving – moreso than any ‘Slow TV’ on BBC4, it felt like it went into reverse, as we never even got to the trial. I presume that’ll come next week. Or maybe episode 7. Or maybe series 3 (it’s already been commissioned). Who knows?
You can also now buy Series 1 on Blu-ray, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Episode 1 Score: 3/10
Director: Will Sinclair
Producer: Margaret Mitchell
Author: Winston Graham
Writer: Debbie Horsfield
Ross Poldark: Aidan Turner
Demelza Poldark: Eleanor Tomlinson
Verity Blamey: Ruby Bentall
Aunt Agatha: Caroline Blakiston
Prudie: Beatie Edney
George Warleggan: Jack Farthing
Dwight Enys: Luke Norris
Elizabeth Poldark: Heida Reed
Francis Poldark: Kyle Soller
Caroline Penvenen: Gabriella Wilde
Ray Penvenen: John Nettles
Jud Paynter: Phil Davis
Reverend Halse: Robin Ellis
Zacky Martin: Tristan Sturrock
Tankard: Sebastian Armesto
Cary Warleggan: Pip Torrens
Tom Harry: Turlough Convery
Paul Daniel: Ed Browning
Charlie Kempthorne: Ross Green
Harris Pascoe: Richard Hope
Unwin Trevaunanee: Hugh Skinner
Landlord: Steve Jacobs
Jeffrey Clymer: William Mannering
Geoffrey Charles: Nicholas Reed
Tom Carne: Mark Frost
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.