A skirmish in Poldark series one, Ross being taken to gaol in series two and Elizabeth's horse bolting in series three. From the outset we're thrown straight into the drama with Poldark, so I can sense the audience anticipation mounting as the opening titles draw to a close, at the BFI preview screening of episode one, series four. Waiting with baited breath, the first scene fills the screen - and then the whole theatre erupts with laughter. That brilliant writer Debbie Horsfield has brought us straight back into Poldarkland and aren't we enjoying it? I'm not saying another word about the opening scene except to tease that Aidan Turner summed it up as 'pretty cold' and 'not pleasant, no, for a lot of reasons it wasn't pleasant.'
Of course, what we're all desperate to know is how are Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) fairing after the shocking events of series two and three? There are some thoughtful scenes between them in this first episode or, as Aidan puts it, "They're finally talking! It's good." And their marriage? "It's tricky for them both. Relationships are complex. It's interesting to have them talking as real people who love each other, who trust each other and can make it work." So how do their lives move on? "Ross starts to think of the possibilities of going to Westminster. It's an interesting time. Pitt has dissolved the government and there's a referendum. But in the end it's Demelza who really pushes him in that direction. She stays behind and is looking after the mine and the family while Ross goes off."
There are plenty of returning characters this series and some new ones too. Rebecca Front plays Lady Whitworth, the despicable Reverend Osborne Whitworth's (Christian Brassington) mother and Max Bennett is Monk Adderley, a new adversary for Ross. Debbie Horsfield says, "Monk Adderley is a real rogue and goes head to head with Ross. He's mates with George as well. He's the character lots of people will - I don't think 'enjoy' is the right word. He's a wonderful character." "He's a creep," chips in Aidan to much laughter.
But the new characters are for the episodes to come. For now, Poldark concentrates on the familiar faces, reminding us of their stories. That's not to say there isn't plenty happening with Drake (Harry Richardson) and Sam (Tom York) at the centre of things and Ross called upon, once more, to speak up for the everyday man and woman.
|Heida Reed and Jack Farthing as George and
Elizabeth Warleggan. Photo: BBC
George Warleggan (Jack Farthing), of course, is never far behind the troubles that befall Ross. Does Aidan still enjoy these scenes with Jack? "Yeah, it's still fun. Myself and Jack get on very well so we work it through. I like it when it get's quite physical, actually. It's nice to roll around the room. His head in the fire was good!"
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) is there supporting George while Hugh (Josh Whitehouse) is standing for Parliament. Dwight (Luke Norris) and Caroline (Gabriella Wilde) have some happy news amid Morwenna's (Ellise Chappell) continuing desperate situation with Ossie. And then there's Prudie (Beatie Edney), who seems to be coming into her own with her interactions with Ross.
Debbie says she loves the new series. 'Series four, for me, has been very satisfying to write and to see it in it's execution. I'm really happy with it. There are some amazing story lines that take things to a new level.' Sounds like we're in for a real treat!
Poldark returns to our screens in the UK at 9pm on Sunday 10 June, BBC One.
Get ready to be Poldarked!