Think you know everything there is to know about Poldark?
Here are some surprising facts about BBC One’s hit period drama:
1. Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) and Phil Davis (Jud Paynter) both appeared as series regulars in BBC Three’s supernatural drama Being Human, but never shared the screen. Turner played vampire Mitchell in the first three seasons, and Davis played villain Captain Hatch in the final season.
2. Poldark make-up artist Jacqueline Fowler has to hide Aidan Turner’s tattoos before filming. She revealed: “I only had to cover up his tattoos—he’s got two on his upper arm, one of them is Chinese writing, the other I can’t remember—if he was shirtless or in bed.”
3. The character of Caroline Penvenen is often seen carrying Horace the pug in Season 2 to disguise the fact that actress Gabriella Wilde was pregnant during filming.
4.Charles Poldark was the final role of Warren Clarke before he died. The Lancashire-born actor was best known for his lead roles in Dalziel & Pascoe and Down to Earth.
5. Aidan Turner likes to stay out of the headlines so that fans can believe in him as Ross Poldark. He says: “It’s important to me that people don’t know too much about me because I’m trying to play characters. Sometimes you see actors who are really good, but you have trouble separating that actor from the celebrity profile. I don’t want to be one of those guys.”
6. Kyle Soller, who plays Francis Poldark, is actually an American – born and raised in Connecticut! He perfected his British accent during his time studying drama in London at RADA.
7. Heida Reed, who plays Elizabeth, is from Iceland. She moved to the UK when she was 20 to study drama in London.
8. John Nettles, who plays Ray Penvenen, is one of the few Poldark cast members who is genuinely from Cornwall. The former Midsomer Murders star was born in St Austell, one of the largest towns in Cornwall, situated on the coast just south of Bodmin.
9. Aidan Turner is trained in Latin American and Ballroom dancing.
10. Poldark creator Winston Graham based the character of Demelza on his own wife Jean. The “physical characteristics” of Ross Poldark were based on an injured flying officer who he once met on a train during World War 2.
11. The author hated how Demelza was portrayed in the BBC’s original 1970s TV series. His daughter said: “He was so angry about the way they had changed Demelza into a floozy that he wanted to get the production halted. He was absolutely livid. In the novel she was a spirited tomboy, but the producers had some salacious need to make her sexually loose.”
12. Graham’s daughter reckons her father would be a fan of the current Poldark series. She commented: “I think my dad would be very proud of what the BBC have done. Eleanor’s Demelza is wonderful and her Cornish accent is good. It isn’t too strong but enough to know where she is supposed to be from.”
13. Robin Ellis, who plays Reverend Halse, starred as Ross Poldark in the BBC’s previous TV adaptation of Poldark in the 1970s. (Buy the complete original series box set on Amazon here.)
14. Aidan Turner always worries that his fight scenes will look rubbish. He explained: “There’s something weird about my experiences of fight scenes, they always feel like they’re not good. The nature of them is missing and over-responding, repetition. You always think, ‘Oh god that’s not going to work’, and then you see it and it’s like magic.”
15. Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays Demelza, is naturally a blonde. She had the idea of making her character a redhead. Her entire wardrobe is based around this stylistic choice, with the costume designers creating her wardrobe using the colours of copper at its various stages of ageing, from bright orange to turquoise green – reflecting the show’s mining theme.
16. Poldark producer Damien Timmer wasn’t always sure that fans would find their choice of Ross Poldark handsome enough. Apparently he questioned early on during shooting of the first season; “Do you think women will find Aidan attractive?”
17. Caroline Blakiston, who plays Aunt Agatha, is better known to Star Wars fans as Mon Mothma in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
18. Aidan Turner’s hair isn’t a wig. The actor revealed: “We had hair extensions for a little while until it grew, and then we took them out. Yeah, it really is my hair, as wild as it is!”
19. Beatie Edney, who plays Prudie, played Christopher Lambert’s love interest Heather MacLeod in the 1986 movie Highlander.
20. Aidan Turner doesn’t have any social media profiles – so if you thought you were following him, beware, it’s fake! He confirmed: “I don’t do social media – maybe people should know that, because there’s probably a bunch of fake Twitter things out there, Instagrams and all that, and Facebooks. I don’t do any of it.”
The complete first and second seasons of Poldark are available on DVD now.
Poldark will return for a final season on BBC One next summer.