Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Cornwall in 1783. Captain Ross Poldark returns from the American War of Independence to discover that his father has died, his estate is in ruins and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth is now engaged to his cousin, Francis. His uncle Charles wants him away and is ready to pay him to make a fresh start elsewhere.

Ross stubbornly refuses, determined to rebuild his family estate. With only the help of his father’s useless servants, Jud and Prudie, he takes on a new kitchen maid, Demelza, after rescuing her from a beating. The first series of Poldark (2015) is now available on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films.

Written by English novelist Winston Graham, the 12 books of the Poldark saga were published between 1945 and 2002. A hugely popular adaptation from BBC Television and London Films Productions, starring Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark and Angharad Rees as Demelza, ran for 29 episodes from 1975 to 1977. The eighth Poldark novel, The Stranger from the Sea was adapted by HTV for ITV in 1996 without the original Ross and Demelza. This latest version, launched in March 2015 on BBC One, was adapted by Debbie Horsfield (All the Small Things) from the first two novels: Ross Poldark (1945) and Demelza (1946). Ed Bazalgette directed episodes 1 to 4 of this first series, William McGregor helmed the remaining four.

The aptly cast Aidan Turner (The Hobbit, Being Human) leads a talented regular cast as Ross Poldark, a rebellious and dashing gentleman with a social conscience. Ross rebuilds Nampara, his estate, then reopens his father's mine in a depressed local economy with his hesitant cousin Francis (Kyle Soller). Francis Poldark is a good man who regrettably has many weaknesses, starting with his jealousy about Ross and Elizabeth (Heida Reed). Ross takes risks on all fronts when he challenges class prejudices by taking sides for the underprivileged against the elite and marrying his maid Demelza Carne. Eleanor Tomlinson (Death comes to Pemberley) plays the smart and adaptive young woman. Demelza helps Verity (Ruby Bentall), the cousin of Ross, to reunite with her lover, Captain Andrew Blamey (Richard Harrington).

Beatie Edney and Phil Davis (Whitechapel) are fabulous as Poldark's couple of servants Prudie and Jud Paynter. The actions of Ross Poldark are under scrutiny of the Warleggans, a wealthy familly who rised from poverty to become powerful bankers and industrialists. Frustrated by Ross' rejection of his friendship, the cynical and scheming George Warleggan (Jack Farthing, excellent) becomes his enemy. Warren Clarke (Dalziel and Pascoe, In the Red, A Clockwork Orange), who portrays Charles Poldark, died in November 2014. The first episode was dedicated to this great actor at the time of its transmission. Pip Torrens (Cary Warleggan), Caroline Blakiston (Aunt Agatha) and Luke Norris (Dr. Dwight Enys) are amongst the other regulars.

The 2015 Poldark is ideal for period drama lovers and those who enjoy quality dramas in general. The production values are top-notch, the scenery is magnificent, the required romance, intrigue and action are there. Everybody in the crew and cast did a superb job to deliver an instant classic. This first series of Poldark is an invitation to read the books, watch the 1975 series, and visit Cornwall of course. Bonus material of the three-disc DVD set from Koba Films is comprised of three featurettes: Poldark, un personnage iconique (Poldark - The Man), Poldark et les femmes (Poldark's Women) and Les coulisses (Poldark - Behind the Scenes). The episodes are in French or English (with optional subtitles).

Poldark (Series 1) is a Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece co-production for the BBC and PBS. Poldark is produced by Eliza Mellor (Death comes to Pemberley). The executive producers are Debbie Horsfield, Karen Thrussell and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Polly Hill for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Anne Dudley composed the beautiful music. ITV Studios distributes Poldark globally. Robin Ellis, the 1975 Ross Poldark, appears as Reverend Halse.

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