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Poldark Series 2 Aidan Turner Poldark Series 2 Aidan Turner


Aidan Turner on Poldark’s highly anticipated second series.



It’s been a long wait but the second season of Poldark will premiere on BBC One on Sunday 4 September. Aidan Turner has been spilling the beans on exactly what the new episodes have in store.

When audiences last saw Ross Poldark he was facing trial and possible hanging. Aidan Turner reveals there are dark times ahead for our hero but with Ross you never know what to expect…

“We pick up with the opening of the second series exactly where we left off. It’s an incredibly hard time for Ross and Demelza having just lost Julia as well as having trouble with his company and potentially having to face execution. It’s as bad as it’s ever been for them both. Losing Julia will have huge consequences on Ross’s psyche. He is the type of person who wants the weight of the world on his shoulders if it keeps it off of other people but it breaks him to see Demelza suffering because he knows he can’t do anything about it. Ross needs to be in command, to be the leader or the captain of every situation but this is completely out of his control. They are broke and you see Ross and Demelza selling their furniture in the first few episodes which is a humiliating and desperate situation to be in.

However, Ross is always on the front foot, he’s not somebody who gets too down on things. It is a dark time but he has gone through worse in the past and is someone who tends to thrive in the dark period of his life. He tries to stay positive and keeps trying to reinvent his business and opening new mines, taking on new men even though he can’t afford it. Ross doesn’t want anyone to feel pity for him which is noble in many ways but he is emotionally inarticulate and if he learned to free that up it would make life for him and those around him a little bit easier.”

Poldark Aidan Turner Series 2

Although series two does not bring about much initial joy for Ross, Aidan reveals it was an amazing feeling coming back to work after the success of the first series. “It was lovely to come back knowing that the first series went out and it was popular, it’s a real morale booster on set. It’s also very flattering because we all worked really hard on the first series and it seems like it has paid off. It’s great because we enjoy doing what we do and we want the show to continue. There is so much more of this story to tell so it kind of needed to be a hit!”

Whilst Aidan and the rest of the cast are greatly responsible for the success of the first series, Aidan makes sure the credit goes where it is due.
“When you step outside your trailer you realise there are so many people working twenty times harder than you are and it is a very humbling experience. We have a very talented team. It’s a cliché thing to say but we are like a family. We have intimate and close relationships with everyone because they’re in your face all day. We’re very lucky to have the talented team we have.”

Two members of Poldark’s talented team are the show’s leading ladies, Heida Reid as Elizabeth Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Ross’s wife, Demelza. Aidan reveals what this series has in store for this complicated love triangle.
“Ross’s relationship with Demelza suffers at the hand of his relationship with Elizabeth this series. It is hard to know why he can’t just let Elizabeth go but when you idealise someone for so long which he did when he was away at war it is hard to turn off those feelings. It was only through falling in love with Demelza and beginning this new life that he was initially able to deal with the marriage of Elizabeth to his cousin, Francis. Ross also feels under a burden of obligation to Elizabeth to support her financially after Francis is gone and to look after Geoffrey Charles, and as a result of this he gets slightly confused emotionally over where he lies with Elizabeth. His own marriage isn’t going so well and he makes a big mistake that nearly destroys his relationship with Demelza.

Poldark Series 2 Eleanor Tomlinson

Eleanor is incredible. She’s one of those actors who directors don’t even give notes to, she just does it so well herself. I am extremely envious of that. She gives you so much, and her instincts are always brilliant. Demelza is confident and independent, and a fierce female character. She has really grown into herself more and become even stronger so it is great to see her take control at the end. She makes the final decision and it’s the first time you see Ross’s vulnerability. He is out of his depth with the emotional dialogue, which is interesting to play because a lot of it goes over his head and he puts his foot in it with her.”

Ross is a man of principle but the question of Ross’s morality is raised when he ventures back into the business of smuggling.
“Smuggling is a challenge Ross can take on; he knows a lot about it and is good at it. They desperately need the money and having rescued Demelza from abject poverty he feels duty bound to make sure she has everything. The weight of having to provide as well as losing your daughter and having a business that has collapsed, makes it feel like everything is failing in his life. This however is something he can actually control.

Ross just wants to graft and to figure out a way to make everything right. He wants to be the sole provider and leader in that regard. When Ross is in debt he borrows more money to get out of it…he’s a gambler and that’s in his blood. If he is not chasing a copper vein down the mine, he’s at a card table handing over the deed to his house or his dad’s watch. Ross lives on the edge, you never quite know what to expect with Ross which is exciting and what I like about him.”

The audience sees Ross very much living on the edge this series, embroiled in several fisticuff battles with arch-rival, George Warleggan.
“Ross’s continuing feud with George hits new heights this series. There is no such thing as loyalty for George. He doesn’t understand what friendship is; he only cares about money and the Warleggan name. George desperately wants Ross dead and if he can’t get him physically put into some sort of prison he wants to destroy his heart.

I really enjoy the fight scenes, they are so much fun. George is working out, he’s boxing and training so he is well able to handle himself these days which makes the fight more interesting. He’s quite vicious in some of these fights. There’s a lot of strangling and throwing ourselves into bookcases, and smashing glass. I put his head into a fire at one stage! Jack (Farthing) is a lovely guy, that’s probably why I enjoy the fight scenes so much because I really like him. He is such a brilliant actor, and I have learnt so much from him.”

From tragedy and fistfights to gambling and love triangles, Ross Poldark is on a particularly eventful journey in the second series. It is no wonder why Aidan loves playing the people’s hero.
“He has everything. Ross is a very complex and layered character and there is so much going on with him all of the time. There is no black and white. He is a man of principles and moral code and I like that but at the same time he is never dull. He feels like a real person to me not just this iconic literary character, and that comes with good writing and character development from both Winston Graham and Debbie Horsfield. I can’t imagine ever getting bored.”

Poldark season two premieres on BBC One on 4 September.



The Miniaturist Interviews: Romola Garai




Romola Garai The Miniaturist

Romola Garai plays Marin Brandt in The Miniaturist, premiering soon on BBC-1, here she talks about what drew her to the drama and being in a costume drama where she pretty much only gets to wear one costume.

What attracted you to the role of Marin?
I’d read the book shortly after it came out and I thought it was a really surprising novel, really interesting and with very strong feminist themes in it, so I was very excited about it. Time passed and then an email popped into my inbox with the subject, The Miniaturist. I thought it was fantastic they were making it and I was really excited to read the script.

It’s a very genre-bending novel; it appears to be like a costume drama we have seen before, but very quickly we realise that it’s not that. It’s about a woman coming into her own in a society that’s very patriarchal, it’s about a love affair, it’s about discrimination, and it’s about people trying to survive in an incredibly controlled state. It’s a thriller and it’s also a story about political and emotional awakening.

Marin is a particularly interesting character, I think she has one of the best arcs. When I first read the book, she was the character that stayed with me, and when I read the scripts I immediately remembered everything about her. She’s told in beautiful detail in the novel, which John has retained in the script. Marin is just a great character to play, it was a real treat.

Tell us about Marin.
When you first meet her, because the story is told through Nella’s perspective, you meet a woman who seems very cold and intimidating. Then gradually you get this drip-feed of information about her; you see she’s been helping Johannes run the business and you learn that they were orphaned at a young age. She’s very intellectual, she’s very well read, and she’s not married, which is very unusual at the time.

One of the reasons I found her such a fascinating character is that she’s full of secrets and she’s layered; very conflicted and has great faith, but also passions. The house they live in is essentially a tinder box of secrets that Marin has been sitting on to try and stop the secrets exploding out. However although it seems she is trying to keep a lid on it I think she believes that they could subtly break all the rules and be free within the house at least, if only her brother stopped acting so recklessly.

Hopefully audiences will question what is driving her hostility towards Nella. Marin needs Nella a lot to maintain the appearance of being a normal household but it’s also very important that Nella is afraid of her so that she doesn’t try digging and discovering the secrets that they are all trying to keep – because if anyone finds out then their futures are ruined.

What was it like doing the scenes between Marin and Nella?
I loved working with Anya, she’s an incredibly accomplished actress. She’s got a difficult job in this, because Nella has to be very innocent at the beginning of the story, which is always difficult for an actor to play, and also more innocent that a woman of that age would be now. She’s constantly making discoveries, she doesn’t have the information that the rest of us do so she’s always learning new things, and she’s done that with real beauty and subtlety. I really enjoyed doing all our scenes together.

Anya Taylor Joy The Miniaturist

Anya Taylor Joy plays Nella.

Tell us about Marin’s costume.
Marin only had one costume until a very late stage of the story. Her costume is typical of the puritan values of the period which rejected anything that smacked of luxury or louche values. They also didn’t wear make-up in this period at all, certainly not women of this class and station, and the hair was very simple and scraped back. Her head would have been covered at all times, so I had a black cap that I wore, but to be honest when I wore it I couldn’t really hear what anyone was saying and also talked incredibly loudly because I couldn’t hear myself, so essentially I was shouting at the other actors!

What makes The Miniaturist stand out from other period dramas?
I’ve done lots of historical pieces but there’s something very unusual about this. When you do contemporary novels set in the past the writers are able to do a lot more, and tackle complex themes which writers writing at the time weren’t able to do. More than that, it’s interesting in that it explores a number of different genres. It has elements of a thriller and then it becomes a family drama and then it becomes a polemic about what happens in societies that are so controlling.

I hope people will sit down to watch the show because it’s a pretty costume drama and will be surprised that it is actually rebellious and constantly bringing up important issues – and that they’ll be so engaged they won’t be able to look away.

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Trust Me Interviews: Sharon Small




Trust Me Sharon Small

Interview with Sharon Small, who plays Dr. Brigitte McAdams in new three part psychological thriller Trust Me which airs this August on BBC One.

What attracted you to this project?
I liked the character and the premise of the piece – I don’t think we’ve seen this before. And everyone is like an armchair detective, everyone is an armchair actor or doctor, so I thought that people would get off on that and think, gosh what would I do in that circumstance? The audience are the people who are privy to the truth and not us. With my character, Brigitte, I like her neediness, her sassiness – she’s fun and quick-fire talking – and quite honestly I rather fancied myself as a doctor [laughs].

How would you describe your character?
Brigitte is a good person; she’s sassy and is a really good doctor. She has got some issues, but she is trying her best to run this ward and with great intentions, which I think a lot of NHS doctors are.

How did you prepare for the role?
I grew my hair so that I could tie it up – normally I have short hair. We had a fantastic medical training day with Dan and got to do airways and cannulas and stitching and things like that, I loved that. The most important thing for me was to go around the actual A&E department (or ED department as I now know it’s called) in Edinburgh. We met this fantastic doctor – just watching him and really getting to observe what goes on in a ward, the dynamic, what people do and noticing that people are always looking at folders, everyone’s always collaborating and talking to each other. Everyone is always moving around, a lot more than you think and not that quickly. It’s less dramatic than you think.

Is your character challenging to play?
She was. Similarly in something that Jodie mentioned, I had quite a lot of medical jargon to say quite quickly, but I had less of the procedural stuff to do in terms of operational things. As the character is more and more revealed I had to make sure that I took care of how that happened, and that it was subtly done.

What makes a hospital a good arena for a drama?
It’s an ever-changing landscape, a hospital. Every new sort of event that you’re presented with means that you’re having to make life-saving decisions. People’s lives really are at stake, and honestly, my little taste of pretending that I was an ED doctor made me feel quite powerful. If I could fix people so that they survived, that would be an amazing ability.

What are the biggest challenges that you have faced so far during filming?
Saying the medical words Metronidazole – Met-ron-ida-zole, Metron-i-dazole – and trying to make scrubs look even remotely interesting, I don’t rock scrubs like Jodie does, I’m way too curvy for that!

What do you hope audiences will take away from this drama?
I hope that they’ll find themselves in that dilemma of wanting Cath/Ally to succeed, because she’s a good person and she ironically is brilliant at the job. I’m hoping that they’ll see the dilemma that she has, and as you want her to keep succeeding, it means she’s going to keep compromising people as she goes, as well as herself.

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Trust Me Interviews: Jodie Whittaker




Trust Me

Jodie Whittaker plays Cath in three part psychological thriller Trust Me which airs on BBC One this August.

What appealed to you about this project?
I was sent the script for the first episode and it fascinated me because it went in a completely different direction to how I thought it was going to. Particularly at the beginning when she’s suspended for whistleblowing and loses her job. It could have gone so many ways, and the fact that she takes on this new identity isn’t the way that I thought it would go. I love the fact that her choices are quite morally dubious – they certainly aren’t black and white. She makes decisions that are quite challenging to justify, even though we know her reasons. I’ve never acted in anything medical before, so it felt completely new.

How does Cath’s lie come about?
Cath starts off by having a conversation with her best friend, Ally, who is a middle grade doctor in A&E and is giving it all up to emigrate to New Zealand. Ally is packing up the life that Cath would have loved to have had, leaving it all behind to go and do something completely different. Suddenly there is an opportunity for her to take on the identity of her friend and in that panic, not necessarily the clearest thinking moment in her life, she does it. Once you set off on a path of lies it’s very difficult to undo it without bringing everything crashing down.

Did you receive any training on medical procedures?
Yes! The writer, Dan, who is also medical consultant and a doctor outside of TV production, showed us a load of stuff that he used when he was training people. He brought in the CPR dummy and showed us how to do a cannula and he, very bravely, let me put a cannula in his vein. I did it right, thank God! Also, YouTube is amazing. The genius of the internet is that you can basically sit at home and Google medical procedures, and TV shows such as 24 hours in A&E, which I watched hours of.

How else did you prepare for the role?
With regards to the technical stuff, we had an on-set consultant so that there was always someone to help when we had to do the procedures. The best thing for me was that my character was also out of her depth and didn’t always know what she was doing, so it kind of covered my own personal fumbles. I’m not someone who likes to over prepare for dialogue scenes, because I think that makes me not listen to what the other person is saying as I’ve already decided how I’m going to do it. It immediately makes it interesting and new and you can’t plan for that, which is great. You can’t ‘wing’ the medical stuff so I had to do my research for that. One of my friends is a Sister in A&E and I sent her a lot of messages asking ‘how do you pronounce this?’ and ‘what does that mean?’, so basically she was my personal medical coach even though she works full time!

Is it challenging playing someone who leads a double life?
Yes, but no more challenging that playing someone who has had something happen to them that I haven’t personally experienced. What’s hard is trying to gauge how good a liar she is, or how in a panic she is. You’ve got to be careful, because you can’t make the other actors seem stupid. These are intelligent, fully formed characters that you’re working with, so it was a fine line of being able to deceive and it not being something that comes easily to her. However, it can’t be that it makes everyone around her feel a bit like an idiot for not working it out. That was tricky, but the director is there to help guide you through it.

Did the uniform help to get you into character?
Yes. It feels odd when you put it on. I did five weeks of studio filming, back to back – all the medical stuff was contained so everything started to become a bit like second nature. The first few times I had to put on an apron, the ‘take’ ended up being about 15 minutes long. Then I worked out that you shouldn’t put the gloves on before the apron! There was lots of daft stuff like that, but you then get into a rhythm. It’s good because it makes you immediately feel like you look the part and then all I had to do was make sure that I knew the lines!

What were some of the challenges that you faced during filming?
I’m not very good with learning dialogue when there are lots of medical terms! I enjoy the adrenaline of being on set because I’m quite good at choreography, I respond well to being taught something physically. That’s why I was terrible at school, because they talk you through things rather than physically show you. I enjoyed doing the different types of surgery as it was fascinating, it’s nerve-wracking but you realise that you can do it. Also, the team who created the props put in so much hard work to make sure we didn’t mess up our bits. I struggled with having massive speeches that involved these medical words. I don’t have a brain for that!

Did you enjoy working in Scotland?
I absolutely loved Glasgow! The crew were phenomenal and the city is wonderful. I could move my family up there and we had a great time as there were loads of brilliant restaurants and everyone was lovely. It was brilliant and I would snap up another job there very quickly, although it does get very dark and cold over winter!

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