Poldark

Did you watch the new Poldark Series on the ABC? The series is set and filmed in Cornwall and it’s worth watching for the breathtaking  scenery of the Cornish Coast alone. It is beautifully filmed, and has some truly spectacular cinematographic moments. I’m told that when in Cornwall you can actually do a Poldark tour, and after watching the series I am sorely tempted to go there and do just that!

The casting is also superb and it’s very easy to love, hate or sympathize with the appropriate characters. Ross is dashing, handsome and (mostly) admirable, Demelza is loyal and beautiful, Elizabeth is outstandingly beautiful if a little insipid, and George is just plain despicable.

I’ve been loving it, obviously, but always seem to miss an episode here and there. Luckily the library has the DVD’s, so I’m just about to catch up with Series 2 ahead of Series 3 being released, hopefully later in the year.

One of my colleagues is also a big fan, and we always discuss the latest episodes after they’re aired. She mentioned that she was working as a librarian in the 70’s when the later novels in the series were released and that there was always eager anticipation from customers to read each installment as they were published.

So … I decided to start reading the novels as well.  Being a time poor working librarian I elected to listen to them on audio-book instead of reading them, and I’ve been really enjoying them. I’m up to book 4, Black Moon, and the narrative has just progressed past where Series 2 left off. Listening to it after watching the series has its advantages as you can picture that beautiful countryside and the characters really come alive.

The 12 novels in the series were written by Graham Winston from 1945 to 1953 and then continued from 1973 to 2002, so there’s plenty to keep you busy!

The series doesn’t deviate too much from the books – although oddly all the main women have a different hair colour! The insipid but extremely beautiful Elizabeth is a blonde in the books and a brunette in the series (but still insipid). The spirited and amusing Demelza, who we all love,  with the  stunning red hair that contrasts so dramatically with the Cornish scenery in the series has black locks in the books. While Caroline Penvennen is still a sassy yet benevolent aristocrat with some very clever dialogue she is a redhead in the books yet  a blonde in the series?

Dwight Enys is still the conscientious and philanthropic village doctor but the background story was altered for the series to make Dwight and Ross old friends who had served on the battlefield together, where Dwight had repaired Ross’s facial wounds, resulting in his famous scar.

While Ross is as dashing in print as on-screen George Warleggen is as always the dastardly villain – for him there is no hope, either in print or on the screen – he’s just downright nasty!.

Some of the characters have great lines in the books, like Jud Paynter and Aunt Agnes both of whom made me laugh out loud several times, and even Demelza’s scruffy old dog Garrick has a life of his own and more personality than  some of the human characters! There’s a great rags-to-riches story about the dog who plays Garrick that you might enjoy reading here https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/tv/1123229/the-dog-thats-having-its-day-rescue-animal-becomes-tvs-most-in-demand-mutt-after-starring-in-poldark/.

Winston doesn’t pull any punches with his plots in Poldark. He is not shy of killing off major characters, or attributing despicable behaviour to many of them – even our favourites, but then he allows them to redeem themselves and we too must then forgive them.

The library has the series in a variety of formats, in print, online, audio, and on DVD – including the earlier 1975 series.

I’m appending a list of the novels in order, but just remember once you get to the Black Moon and beyond there will be serious spoilers for season three of the series.

 

Sequence Title Years Included First Published
1 Ross Poldark 1783–87 1945
2 Demelza 1788–90 1946[2]
3 Jeremy Poldark 1790–91 1950[2]
4 Warleggan 1792–93 1953
5 The Black Moon 1794–95 1973
6 The Four Swans 1795–97 1976
7 The Angry Tide 1798–99 1977
8 The Stranger from the Sea 1810–11 1981
9 The Miller’s Dance 1812–13 1982
10 The Loving Cup 1813–15 1984
11 The Twisted Sword 1815 1990
12 Bella Poldark 1818–20 2002