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Aidan Turner tells Charlotte Runcie about his starring role in the BBC’s swashbuckling new series of Poldark, and the highs and lows of his past life in Middle Earth

The day we meet, Aidan Turner has just got off a flight from America. “When I woke up before we landed,” he says, “guess who had just been sleeping next to me the whole time? Jeremy Irons!”
This isn’t just luvvie name-dropping. Telling the story, he visibly inflates with glee. Wide-eyed, tall, impossibly good-looking and with a mop of dark, curly hair scraped back from his face, the Irish actor fizzes with life. Despite recently starring in the Hobbit films and being poised to play the romantic lead in the BBC’s swashbuckling new rendition of the Seventies TV series Poldark, Turner is easily starstruck.
As well as playing the dwarf Kili in the three-part Hobbit juggernaut, Turner is already known to British TV viewers as Mitchell the vampire in BBC Three series Being Human, and as the libertine poet-painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 2009’s Desperate Romantics. His roles have inspired a cultish following, and though he says he doesn’t do social media himself, he’s aware that there are swathes of the internet where “Aidan Turner Forever” is a sacred mantra for fans.
There is a “Sexy Aidan” creative writing group devoted to him on the microblogging site Tumblr, and stories across the web gushing about how nice he is. He is bemusedly grateful for his community of supporters, whom he calls “a real posse”, though he says one persistent rumour of his altruism, a story about him saving a fan from a mugger in Odessa, is “completely fabricated”. With the BBC’s trailers for Poldark promising multiple scenes starring Turner in varying states of undress, often indulging in a brooding gaze or two, his devoted fan communities aren’t likely to be going anywhere.
Turner, 31, is the son of an electrician and an accountant and grew up near Dublin, born in the same house he subsequently lived in for 21 years. At 19, having never seen a play before, he decided to apply to the nearby Gaiety Acting School and, to his surprise, was given a place. The training was, he says, “electrifying”.
The Hobbit was his Hollywood big break, and working in New Zealand with Jackson’s epic-scale CGI was a culture shock after years of TV. “At first, you’re aware that you’re standing in front of a green screen talking to a tennis ball, but then you relax and it becomes very easy to act as if everything is really there. The problem then comes [in other, more conventional scenes] when the tennis ball is replaced with Sir Ian McKellen and you have to look into his eyes, and you’re like, f—! It’s Sir Ian McKellen!
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Aidan sex symbol awkward Even dressed down in leather jacket and jeans, luxuriant mane in a tight ponytail, Aidan Turner looks every inch the leading man.

He has done ever since his double-breakthrough in 2009 as one of three supernatural housemates in BBC3 comedy-drama Being Human, and as a caddish Dante Gabriel Rossetti in BBC2’s Desperate Romantics. From there, he leapt to another ensemble piece, though on a rather grander scale, playing Kili the dwarf in The Hobbit trilogy. But now, finally, he’s snagged that elusive lead role.

“If it had happened five, six years ago, I might not have been ready,” the 31-year-old concedes. “It’s been a slow build-up, but I feel like it’s my time.” And not just any lead role, but one that has been the subject of fervent speculation: the eponymous hero in Poldark, the BBC’s latest adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels of derring-do in 18th century Cornwall, a modern re-telling of the corporation’s legendary 1970s series.

Rather more sinewy than your average Sunday night escapism, it has at its heart a hero who, unlike the man who plays him, is initially hard to warm to. Ross Poldark is a south coast Heathcliff: aloof and stubbornly principled, prone to violent outbursts and brooding grumpily over real or imagined slights.

He has his reasons: presumed dead in the American War of Independence after being conscripted for brawling, Poldark returns home to find his father deceased, the family estate in penury and the love of his life betrothed to his cousin.

Modern political parallels are to the fore: financiers are closing local copper mines to protect profit margins, while unemployment and despondency grow. The sense of hardscrabble desperation is embodied in the opening episode by Poldark’s fight with a local yokel; involving neither buckle nor swash, it instead begins with a head butt and ends with a knee in the face.
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I added some photos of the ‘poldark’ screening at Truro.

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Aidan reveals he's naked for most of his new tvshow Irish actor Aidan Turner has promised fans he’ll be naked a lot in his new TV series.
Aidan stars as Captain Ross Poldark in the remake of 1970?s hit Poldark and has revealed he doesn’t wear much clothing.
“If I could change anything about Ross Poldark I’d get him some clothes for the second episode,” he said.
The Irish hunk stars in the remake which initially attracted 18 million viewers in the 1970s.
With the original series having ended in 1977, it’s understandable that poor Aidan had never heard of it.
“The offer came in and I said, ‘what the hell’s Poldark?’ I had to Google it. Then I called my mum. She said: ‘You’d better not mess this up’,” he explained.
The series, which is set among the tin mines of 18th-century Cornwall will have an eight part run with a post-watershed 9pm slot.
Big things: Screenwriter Debbie thinks Aidan will make Poldark an iconic character | VIPIRELAND.COM
“He has elements of Darcy, Heathcliffe, Rochester, Rhett Butler and Robin Hood – quite a combination,” she revealed.
“I was scared I’d emulate Robin’s performance, and I wanted to see what I could come up with myself,” Aidan said.
– The first episode of Poldark airs March 8

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Press Association uploaded a video about Aidan featuring Poldark’s remake and included a brief words of the artist.

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As Poldark remakes releasing date approaches, the press is writing about it all over the internet. this article compares the old show with the upcoming one. quite interesting really.


Poldark revolves around an 18th-century love triangle involving army officer Ross Poldark, his well-bred former fiancée Elizabeth and servant girl Demelza, whom he eventually marries.

Poldark returns from the American War of Independence to find that his father has died and his home is overrun by drunken servants.

What’s more, because he had been presumed dead, Elizabeth has got engaged to someone else.

As he embarks on a new life as a tin miner in his native Cornwall, he finds himself at war with greedy local landowners the Warleggan clan.


The original Poldark, made up of two series totalling 29 episodes, ran from 1975 to 1977.

It attracted 15 million viewers per episode at its height and became such a phenomenon that some vicars cancelled or rescheduled church services to avoid a clash.

Poldark has proved to be one of the most popular TV series ever made and was sold to more than 40 countries.

The new eight-part series of Poldark will be shown on BBC1 on Sunday nights from March 8.

The original TV series used material from the first seven books, while the new version is based on the first two.

If it catches on, however, the BBC intends to adapt all 12 novels.



Then: Robin Ellis

The man who made a generation of housewives go weak at the knees very nearly missed out on the part that has defined his career.

The actor Leigh Lawson, who went on to marry iconic 60s model Twiggy, was the original first choice to play the eponymous hero but pulled out after being offered a film role.

Ellis stepped in. But while playing Ross Poldark brought him fame it didn’t make him a fortune.

He earned a total of just £14,000 from the 29 episodes (£90,000 in today’s money) and glamour-seeking American journalists who arrived to interview him were disappointed to find that he lived in a pokey flat and drove a beaten-up Volvo.

That didn’t stop one of them marrying him. He met Meredith Wheeler when she interviewed him for ABC News in New York in 1986 and the couple now live in a former rectory in southern France where they write cookery books for diabetics and host cookery courses.

While Ellis, 73, makes way for Aidan Turner to play the title role in the new series, he will have a cameo role in two episodes as the Reverend Halse, a magistrate.

Now: Aidan Turner

Already being hailed as “the new Colin Firth”, a reference to that actor’s role as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, the extremely buff 31-year-old looks to have all the equipment necessary to fill Ellis’s shoes.

Turner, whose main credits to date are a role as a vampire in the supernatural drama series Being Human and another as a dwarf in the The Hobbit trilogy, was not born when the original Poldark series was screened and has refused to watch it in order not to be influenced by Ellis’s towering performance.
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