THERE’S a peril in popularity. Thanks to that topless scything shot, Poldark is often dismissed as a broodily bawdy bodice-ripper, a soapy melodrama that’s diverting enough for a Sunday night, but part of the much-touted golden age of television? Not a chance.
Which is rather unfair. For while Poldark certainly has its share of soap-worthy plot lines, Debbie Horsfield’s adaptation of Winston Graham’s epic saga is cut from sophisticated cloth.
The intrigues played out along the Cornish clifftops are every bit as nuanced as modern adaptations of an Austen or a Dickens with the added bonus of smouldering passions.
In season three, the central love triangle of Ross, Demelza and Elizabeth still forms the rock on which the Poldark universe rests, but new characters, including Demelza’s hunky brothers, look set to provide fresh diversions.
They provide a burst of energy for a show that, far from resting on its laurels, is pulsing with renewed vigour. Secret weddings, birthing emergencies and fledgling romances are all played out under a spooky black moon in a finely-judged opening hour. Yet the beating heart of Poldark remains the thorny question of whether Ross can love two women. You’ll be signing up for Team Ross or Team Demelza before this race is run.