Poldark, which begins soon on BBC-1 is sure to be a major hit, a massive fan base of both the novels and the BBC’s much loved 1970’s version is already champing at the bit to see this new version and it should also capture quite a bit of the Outlander/Romantic Period saga audience too. Check out our guide to who’s who on the new series.
ROSS POLDARK (Aidan Turner)
A man of contradictions, Ross has a strong sense of social justice but a contempt for authority. Reckless yet full of integrity. Charismatic but down-to-earth. Volatile yet fiercely loyal. Torn between two women and two social classes. A hero to most, a scourge to many.
DEMELZA CARNE (Eleanor Tomlinson)
The only daughter of an impoverished, brutal and alcoholic miner, Demelza is rescued from a life of violence by Ross who employs her as his kitchen maid. Outspoken and fiercely independent, her lively mind makes her thirst for knowledge. Her blossoming beauty goes unnoticed by Ross – at first!
GEORGE WARLEGGAN (Jack Farthing)
From humble beginnings as blacksmiths, the Warleggans have strived to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Cornwall. George is an ambitious young banker who will stop at nothing to make a profit, even if it means seeing his closest friends financially ruined.
ELIZABETH POLDARK née CHYNOWETH (Heida Reed)
Elizabeth once promised herself to Ross, but after three years and rumours of his death, she agreed to marry Francis. When Ross returns, she is deeply tormented by long buried feelings. Desperate to remain true to Francis, Elizabeth can’t help but feel she may be marrying the wrong Poldark…
FRANCIS POLDARK (Kyle Soller)
Born into wealth, Francis stands to inherit the greater Poldark estate. However, he is not as capable as his father or his cousin and struggles to take over the running of Grambler mine. Keenly aware of his inferiority to Ross – his wife’s true love – he turns to gambling and drink.
VERITY POLDARK (Ruby Bentall)
Verity has been a dutiful daughter, but Ross’ return finally allows her an opportunity to venture into society. At a dance she falls in love with Captain Andrew Blamey, whose dark past does not meet her family’s approval. Verity seems destined to live life as a lonely spinster.
CHARLES POLDARK (Warren Clarke)
An imposing man whose presence fills any room, Charles is the elder statesman of the Poldark family. He longs for his son Francis to be more like his nephew Ross, but privately concedes that Francis lacks the gumption and aptitude to take over the family business.
DWIGHT ENYS (Luke Norris)
Dwight is a young, dedicated and handsome doctor who remains naive with women. He is passionate about the neglect many of his patients suffer and he is filled with new scientific ideas that challenge the quackery of established medical men.
CAPTAIN ANDREW BLAMEY (Richard Harrington)
A successful sea captain known for his volatile temper, which tragically resulted in the accidental death of his wife and unborn child. Now a reformed alcoholic, he worships Verity, but faces stern opposition from Charles and Francis who consider him likely to drag the Poldark name through the mud.
AUNT AGATHA (Caroline Blakiston)
The matriarch of the Poldark family, Aunt Agatha may be in her nineties with little of her hearing and none of her teeth left, but she is as shrewd and outspoken as she ever was.
JUD (Phil Davis) and PRUDIE PAYNTER (Beatie Edney)
Jud and Prudie were Ross’ father’s servants and friends, but they are drunken, lazy and not averse to stealing from their master’s drinks cabinet. Ross keeps them on in recognition of their relationship with his late father, but it is a struggle to get them to pull their weight.
ZACKY MARTIN (Tristan Sturrock)
Zacky is one of few in the mining community who can read and is well respected amongst his peers. He is older than Ross, but they are old friends and he is proud to be able to work at Wheal Leisure where he gains a trusted position.
JIM CARTER, MARK DANIEL, PAUL DANIEL (Alexander Arnold, Matthew Wilson and Ed Browning)
Ross’ friends from before the war, they would often get into scrapes together, mostly a bit of smuggling. Ross believes that they will always see him as gentry – a landlord to doff their caps to – but they are actually loyal and devoted friends.
CAPTAIN HENSHAWE (John Hollingworth)
Henshawe is a well-respected mine captain who has worked his way up through the ranks. A calm and pragmatic man, he worked for Ross’ father at Wheal Leisure and confidently backs Ross in his gambit to re-open her.
HARRIS PASCOE (Richard Hope)
Pascoe is a kindly banker who has a long history with Ross and his father. His bank is much smaller than Warleggans, but he works hard in his clients’ best interests and would be loathe to let any of them fall into bankruptcy, especially Ross, who he considers a good friend.
Dr CHOAKE (Robert Daws)
The snobbish local doctor who considers himself above the lower classes that cannot pay him enough for his services. He focuses on working for the wealthy and is a firm advocate of leeches and bleeding and does not approve of Dwight Enys’ modern methods. He is also a stakeholder in Wheal Leisure.
CARY WARLEGGAN (Pip Torrens)
George’s uncle and the devil on his shoulder, he presses George to make increasingly callous business decisions. Cary maintains a coarse edge that betrays his working class upbringing and can be an acute embarrassment to George.
Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess
What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.
Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.
Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.
Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.
Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?
Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.
Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife
Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.
Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.
Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.
Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.
What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.
Famous guest stars?
The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.
Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.
Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.
Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.
The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.
Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.
Classic TV Revisited: The Royal
The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.
The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.
Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.
Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.
Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”
A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.
First broadcast: 2003
Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden
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