Aidan Turner was too ”afraid” to watch the original ‘Poldark’ series when filming the remake.
The 31-year-old actor plays lead character Captain Ross Poldark in the eight-episode BBC One drama but confessed the pressure to live up to the critically acclaimed original series, broadcast between 1975 and 1977, was too much, so he decided to avoid it.
He explained: ”I decided not to watch the originals on DVD because I was afraid it would influence me in the wrong way. I had heard Robin Ellis’s performance was so good and I didn’t want to end up mimicking him, so I read the novels instead.”
However, the handsome star was thrilled to secure the role, particularly because it meant he got to play a human, having previously acted as mythical creatures in TV drama ‘Being Human’ as well as ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy.
He confessed: ”I don’t want more fantasy or supernatural stuff right now. In the past few years I’ve played a vampire, a werewolf and a dwarf and that was enough for me.”
And while he has grown tired of the fantasy characters he has so frequently been cast as, Aidan is still pleased he became an actor because it opened his eyes to new literature.
He told Radio Times magazine: ”I wasn’t super-academic so I didn’t apply for university, I didn’t want to learn a trade like my dad, so there were not a lot of options. It was a very working-class family – none of my relations are artists. Drama school opened doors to other worlds: literature, movies, plays. I discovered all these great Irish playwrights that I didn’t know existed and there they were, on my doorstep. It was a revelation.”
Aidan features an article on Woman Magazine. I’ve added the scan to the gallery – if I bump into another with better quality I will upgrade it. I’m also looking for RadioTimes scans so, stay tuned as I will post it as soon as I find them.
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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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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.
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