Arts

Poldark stars Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson on new series

Fans of Poldark, rejoice: Ross and Demelza's marriage is back on track, and no one's happier about it than stars Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. Georgia Humphreys chats to the pair about relationships, responsibility and role models

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza in the new series of the BBC hit
Georgia Humphreys

TO SAY Ross Poldark's chiselled torso has caused a stir is an understatement.

There was an outcry on Twitter when, in the first episode of the last series of the BBC One period drama, there wasn't an ab in sight.

Fans of the heartthrob won't have to wait long for a bare-chested moment in series four, though – within the first few minutes, he's wading out of the Cornish sea after a swim.

The Bond-like sequence is bound to get people tweeting – but Aidan Turner, the Clondalkin-born actor behind the leading man, will be none the wiser.

"Social media is just not my thing. I don't really dig it, it's not my jam," he quips.

"I just don't need that in my life."

Turner (34) adds matter-of-factly: "I don't care to listen to people criticising me who I don't know. There's nothing I get from it."

 Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark

There are plenty of talking points in the new episodes of Poldark, which have once again been adapted from Winston Graham's novels by writer Debbie Horsfield (of Cutting It fame).

It's now 1799, and former military man Ross, who has been trying to turn around the fortunes of his family mine, must defend Cornwall from an empowered George Warleggan (Jack Farthing).

Meanwhile, the end of series three left viewers worried about the fate of Ross' marriage to down-to-earth Demelza (played by Eleanor Tomlinson).

But, good news – it's clear from the start of series four that the pair have decided to stay together.

"So it's them recovering from the pain that they've caused each other and rebuilding their lives together," elaborates 26-year-old Tomlinson, who impressed recently in the BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence.

"That's where we find them, trying to pick up the pieces and remain the unit that we know them as."

"It feels really honest this year, their relationship," suggests Turner, also known for The Hobbit movie trilogy.

"It's grown up and to see that feels really organic, just real and right."

Meanwhile, we will see Ross head into politics, as he takes his fight to abolish the poor houses and child labour to Westminster.

There's no way his character's passionate speeches in the House of Commons have given Turner a taste for politics, though.

"We didn't do that thing where the extras mime and don't speak, we just let them go for it, so I really had to raise my voice and fight to be heard," he recalls.

"You certainly feel the heat of the moment and just how frustrating it can be.

"And even to those tiny degrees as an actor, to feel that, to sit back down and feel disheartened... it's a strange feeling."

Asked whether he has a new-found respect for politicians, he muses: "I find it quite a funny notion, to have that responsibility and power.

"The whole thing freaks me out – you can't please everybody and you make mistakes and there's a lot at risk if you do.

"A lot of the time it's a punt on something. I don't know if I'd like that."

It's clear from the start of series four that Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Ross (Aidan Turner) have decided to stay together

With Ross away in the capital, Demelza is left to look after two kids, a farm, a dog and a mine, while also taking on all the villagers' problems too.

"I think she's always changing, she's always growing and it's kind of what I like about her, in that she's embracing a new circle of people, she's trying to be a better person, she's trying to keep her tricky relationship working and trying to run a business at the same time," notes Tomlinson.

Does she see her character as a role model?

"Absolutely!" she exclaims. "She's certainly changed me, playing her for so long. She's really quite inspiring. I'd like to be half of the woman she is."

Discussing exactly how she's been inspired by playing the miner's daughter, the London-born actress continues: "Just to be more independent, I guess. And to be strong and to stand by my guns and to fight for what I think is right."

Turner, too, has a few thoughts on how Ross is growing as he gets older.

"I suppose you hope that you become more responsible and I think he's learning to listen more, which is something I've done too," the actor confides.

"He's not just looking out for himself, and he's maybe a little bit less selfish, and a better husband, maybe, and a better father."

The most enjoyable scenes for Turner this series involved Demelza joining Ross in London – being away from Cornwall is a new lease of life for both characters.

"It felt like we'd really reunited and we felt the love again, which was nice – it's been a while.

"I think we both forgot, even as actors, how that felt to reconnect, and it felt real!

"It was nice to be happy with her again. It was gorgeous."

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza in the new series of the BBC hit

There are 12 books in the much-loved Poldark series, which Graham first started writing in 1945.

The next one the TV show will cover – the eighth – is called The Stranger From The Sea and starts in 1810, a leap of more than ten years from when series four ends.

And the potential impending end of Poldark after series five (which has already been commissioned, don't panic) is an unavoidable topic.

"I think next year might be the last one [series], certainly for a while," admits Turner.

"We may come back, who knows. There's a huge gap in the books, about 15 years.

"I wouldn't age up, I'd come back in ten years. I'd revisit it the right way, I'm not putting grey in my hair or anything like that!"

But whatever happens, Tomlinson has zero fear that the part of Demelza might be hard to shake off in the future.

"I'd be happy if the character stays with me," she says.

"Obviously it would be nice to do other roles as well and be seen as a different character, but I don't ever want to be rid of Demelza."

A sentiment many viewers are bound to agree with.

:: Poldark returns to BBC One on Sunday June 10

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