Poldark is back. And in case you haven’t read Winston Graham’s twelve books about our Cornish hero Ross Poldark – or seen the hit drama from the 1970s – you’ll be needing our guide to who’s who...


Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner)

Who is he…?

Our brooding hero Ross Poldark is a man of many contradictions. Ross has a strong sense of social justice but an innate contempt for authority. He has recently returned to his native Cornwall after fighting for the British in the American War of Independence. When he lands, he finds that his father has died, the family estate is in ruins and his sweetheart Elizabeth is engaged to his cousin Francis. That’s enough drama to be getting on with, isn't it?

What does Aidan Turner say about Ross Poldark?

"Ross knows he needs to pick himself up and try and find who he is and where he lies in this new world. He’s strong – that’s what I love about him – he’s someone who can get on with things; he doesn’t wallow in self-pity or despair. He sees a situation for what it is and drags himself through it. He admires hard working people and treats people with respect if they earn it – no matter what their position in life. He is an original class warrior."

Where do you know Aidan Turner from?

On television, he's appeared in Being Human and Desperate Romantics. On the silver screen, he's best known for playing Kíli in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit.


Demelza Carne (Eleanor Tomlinson)

Who is she…?

The only daughter of an impoverished, brutal and alcoholic miner, Demelza is rescued from a life of violence by Ross who employs her as his kitchen maid. Outspoken and fiercely independent, her lively mind makes her thirst for knowledge. And then she catches Ross' eye...

What does Eleanor Tomlinson say about her character?

"She is extremely resilient and has this streetwise edge to her but she never becomes too hard. She has to be vastly different to Elizabeth [Ross's childhood sweetheart who is now engaged to his cousin] but you still have to love her, so for me that was really interesting to play."

Where do you know Eleanor Tomlinson from?

Her roles on TV include Death Comes to Pemberley, The White Queen, following on from an early appearance in film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.


Elizabeth Chynoweth (Heida Reed)

Who is she…?

Elizabeth once promised herself to Ross, but after three years and rumours of his death fighting in America, she agreed to marry his cousin Francis. When Ross returns, she is tormented by long-buried feelings. Desperate to remain true to Francis, Elizabeth begins to feel she may be marrying the wrong Poldark...

What does Heida Reed say about her character?

"I think she is very much a lady of her time, trapped in her own world. It is important for Elizabeth to know her place in society and be respected by those around her. She could follow her heart more but she feels morally she must do the right thing even if she suffers for it. Elizabeth never voices regret but I think her predicament will strike a chord with people today."

Where do you know Heida Reed from?

She played Ingrid in the film One Day.


Francis Poldark (Kyle Soller)

Who is he…?

Born into wealth, Francis stands to inherit the main Poldark estate from his father Charles. However, he is not as capable as Poldark Sr or his cousin Ross and his struggles become apparent.

What does Kyler Soller say about Francis Poldark?

"Francis has the starkest journey of all the characters in this series which was really attractive to me. He has this huge self-confidence issue and is constantly living in the shadow of his cousin Ross.

"He has this over-bearing father who he can never please and he feels he doesn't have a place in this life. He doesn’t want to go into mining as he’s not up to handling the business side, he can’t be the brave swashbuckling hero. His best quality is his kindness, generosity and his love for Elizabeth."

Where do you know Kyler Soller from?

He played Mr Schwimmer in Jack Whitehall's BBC3 series Bad Education.


George Warleggan (Jack Farthing)

Who is he…?

From humble beginnings as blacksmiths, the Warleggans have strived to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Cornwall. George is an ambitious young banker who will stop at nothing to make a profit, even if it means seeing his closest friends financially ruined.

What does Jack Farthing say about George Warleggan?

"Ross and George haven’t seen eye to eye since they were at school and it hasn’t been explained why, which is really interesting as it could be any number of things. When we find them at the beginning of the series, there have been years of simmering resentment and it's grown into something bigger."

Where do you know Jack Farthing from?

He's appeared in TV series Blandings and Dancing on the Edge, plus last year's flick The Riot Club.


 Charles Poldark (Warren Clarke)

Who is he?

An imposing man whose presence fills any room, Charles is the elder statesman of the Poldark family. He longs for his son Francis to be more like his nephew Ross, but privately concedes that Francis lacks what is required to take over the family business.

Where do you know Warren Clarke from?

TV series Dalziel and Pascoe, Bleak House, Down to Earth and the film A Clockwork Orange.

Warren Clarke died shortly after filming this final role.

Poldark begins on BBC1 on Sunday 8th March at 9pm

Buy the first two books – Ross Poldark & Demelza – in the legendary Poldark series now for just £14 for both (plus p&p)