Irish actor Aidan Turner: I can't always do 'posh' in Poldark

Dublin actor Aidan Turner is back in his breeches for a third series of Poldark, but while fans lap up the Cornish drama, he tells Susan Griffin why it can leave him cringing at times

Aidan Turner in the title role of Poldark, which returns for a third series this month

POLDARK fans might be waiting with bated breath for the return of the brooding Ross Poldark, but the man responsible for breathing life into the character has difficulty watching at times. It's the accent, explains Dubliner Aidan Turner, who adopts "a Posh British accent" for the Cornish drama.

"It's not always on point really," laughs the 33-year-old. "That's why it's quite difficult to watch sometimes. You hear it slipping quite a bit."

The popular drama returns to our screens for season three this month and this time we're looking at a more mature Poldark.

"He's obviously getting older. I think drawing a line between the two families is what needs to happen," says the actor, referring to Poldark's frosty relationship with the ruthlessly ambitious George Warleggan (Jack Farthing).

"I think the last time they were fighting, it was George's head in the fire or something, and there are only so many places you can go from there. They're both fathers now and have a family to consider, so it's part of growing up. Ross is becoming more mature and his decisions are more measured... sometimes."

Turner points out that Poldark was given a reality check when his long-suffering wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) threatened to walk out on him after learning he'd been unfaithful with his first love, Elizabeth (Heida Reed).

"She was leaving, she had her bags packed," he confirms. "It's only because he managed to pull it together at the last second [that she stayed] but I don't think he ever imagined she was going to leave. When she did, I think that's when it hit home, the severity of what he did. I don't think he really thought about it much before."

But then, Poldark's a man to put his head into thatching, scything, mining, or anything else that can distract him from the stark reality of a situation.

"If Ross isn't thinking about it or talking about it, it's not really happening. It doesn't exist," explains Turner.

"There's a lot of denial, so he just keeps himself busy, taking his mind off that pressing concern until there's real reason to think about it. It's interesting playing someone like that. If he just involves himself with something else, he can detach himself from reality. It's quite a talent."

Debbie Horsfield, who is responsible for adapting Winston Graham's books, has revealed the action for series three is taken from The Black Moon and part of The Four Swans novels.

New faces will be popping up, including Demelza's brothers, the free-spirited Drake (Harry Richardson) and intensely religious Sam (Tom York).

"One of them is a staunch Methodist and I don't think Ross has a lot of time for that, but he puts up with them. But they're hard workers, they're good lads – slightly misguided, Ross would imagine," says Turner.

The first episode opens with a heavily pregnant Elizabeth trying to gain control of her galloping horse, with Poldark in hot pursuit on the Cornish clifftops.

The big question, of course, is whether the baby belongs to Poldark or Elizabeth's husband, Warleggan. Given this is set in the 18th century, long before paternity tests, we'll never find out, but no doubt it's cause for even more tension.

Turner believes Poldark's flaws appeal to people.

"He's not a perfect human and he doesn't try to be. He's quite courageous, he's ballsy. He's always going to go on the front foot. He's making decisions and helping people, too. He's not a selfish person and he's not a lazy person, and I think that's what I like most about him."

A fourth series has been confirmed, and asked why he thinks the show is so popular, Turner suggests that "there are a lot of hard-hitting crime dramas and this seems like an antidote to those types of shows".

But perhaps the actor, much like his alter-ego, is in denial, and the great appeal is Turner's topless scenes. Is Poldark's chest making a cameo in series three?

"Am I keeping my clothes on?" he laughs. "I think the clothes stay on this year. Maybe there's some topless sleeping..."

:: Poldark returns to BBC One later this month.

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