sat 11/07/2020

Poldark, Series 2, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Poldark, Series 2, BBC One

Poldark, Series 2, BBC One

Return of Cornish yarn low on pecs appeal as the drama heads for court

Aidan Turner: more than a speaking Chippendale

Those who frequent Cornwall know that most of its place names begin with one of three prefixes. Indeed, check your copy of Richard Carew’s Survey of Cornwall (1602) for the source of the rhyme: “By Tre, Pol and Pen / Shall ye know all Cornishmen”. (With thanks to Wiki). As to the suffixes, well there it’s open season. The name Poldark was Winston Graham’s invention – and, if we're being pedantic, the stress really should be on the second syllable. As he embarked on his novel sequence about the adventures of a stubborn, raffish hero, he might as easily have gone for something even grabbier. Penripped, say, or Tresixpack.

Poldark is upon us once more and a section of the viewing populace (you know who you are) will be enjoying another fit of the screaming absdabs. Who cares if Aidan Turner is so weary of national focus on his buff middle portions that he’s slapped an Absbo on all questions about crunch curls and squat thrusts? His career goal is to be known as more than a speaking Chippendale. To that end, for his first day back at the office he kept very nearly all his kit on.

Perhaps he’s had a word with scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield as, drat it, the plot of Poldark 2.0 is currently offering few outlets for semi-naked threshing. Rossophiles had to be content with one brief flare-up of marital tonsil hockey between Poldark and his comely but grieving missus Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson). As an added bonus he then awoke for a morning bout of super-butch log-chopping. You may feel that Aidan Turner can come up and chop your logs any time, and indeed perhaps live-tweeted as much mid-broadcast. Alas there’ll be none of that for a while because Poldark was soon off to Bodmin Assizes to stand trial for all sorts of ne’er-do-wellness that caused the first series to end on a cliffhanger.

The charges, if you recall, include theft, inciting a riot and attacking a customs officer in relation to the looting of a shipwreck. Thus Ross, following a slo-mo stroll through Bodmin’s teeming street, is now the lone occupant of a surprisingly spacious torchlit dungeon, and is all set to be hanged if found guilty. While we can be fairly certain he won’t swing, he is proving frustratingly honourable when it comes to the business of perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile George Warleggan (Jack Farthing, pictured above right), the smooth-skinned coxcomb who seems to have swallowed a fresh prescription of villainy pills, is keen for a noose-themed outcome. Watching that triumphant smirk play on the dastardly Warleggan’s punchable mug is one of Poldark’s masochistic pleasures. He is the very essence of anti-Ross, or he would be if Ross’s wet cousin Francis weren’t also vying for the position.

In this episode it all got a bit much for Francis (Kyle Soller). His wife Elizabeth (Heida Reed) who, like all women on both the screen and the sofa, only has eyes for Ross, turned him away at bedtime after a timid knock on the door. She didn’t even claim to have a headache. Ouch. “Which of us does not secretly adore him?” he whimpered, the poor tormented milksop. A quick head count reveals the answer to hover around zero. But hold on, Poldark newbie Caroline Penvenen (Gabriella Wilde, pictured above left), snotty totty down in Bodmin for the elections in the company of her poorly pug, hasn’t yet had the pleasure of clapping eyes on Ross’s saw-blade cheekbones. Can we hope for sparks?

As well as cliffhangers the new series delivered the regulation tariff of actual cliffs, atop which Poldark continues to gallop scenically, the wind whipping his touselled man-curls. Everyone else must walk (pictured above, Heida Reed). That said, while an article on the BBC website currently lists all the ways in which Poldark's historical accuracy is paramount, not every Cornish detail is bang on the money. The throbbing metropolis that is Bodmin was indicated by a screen grab of a pair of sky-piercing spires. Good luck finding many such in Pevsner’s guide to the county, where churches (including a fine example in Bodmin) are all about Gothic perp towers in rugged granite. Locally they’d dub this establishing shot a Treballsup.

It’s all ever so slightly rubbish, isn’t it? But it’s escapist, wind-lashed, sun-kissed rubbish with good wood panelling into which the characters fetchingly blend.

You may feel that Aidan Turner can come and chop your logs any time, and perhaps live-tweeted as much mid-broadcast

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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