Poldark episode 5 review: Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark becomes the perfect dad

Our hero has found yet another new string to his bow following the arrival of his gorgeous little daughter, writes Ben Dowell

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If you thought Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark had run out of ways to be heroic then think again.

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This week he became the perfect dad to the rather delightful-looking Julia Grace Poldark. Not only that, he showed he had political skills too, rousing the mine owners of Cornwall into an organised opposition to the beastly smelters who’d been keeping the prices down and thus effectively starving the workers. And Ross loves the workers. And they love him.

Yes, it seems that among his many other talents, Ross Poldark single-handedly founded the left-wing union movement a full 130 years before Keir Hardie had his lightbulb moment about organised labour.

But really, it was little Julia who stole tonight’s show, a gorgeous little thing who brought an even more beatific smile to the face of Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza and got Ross off his blimming horse for once.

Instead of galloping along the cliffs (not the safest thing for a new Dad to do let’s face it) he instead resorted to holding his offspring in a manly yet tender manner and looking out to sea. If only there had been a branch of Athena in Cornwall circa the 1780s.

Still, our Ross nearly lost his new man laurels when Demelza felt her first labour twinges while they were both watching a strange-looking theatre troupe perform outdoors. She went home. Ross stayed at the play and only got back in time to hear his firstborn cry. But it was a lovely moment nonetheless.

The newborn also brought out the worst in The Doofus – AKA Kyle Soller’s Francis – who at one point hopefully enquired whether his love rival was being kept awake all night. And he wasn’t. Yes, Ross Poldark is so bloody wonderful he is even immune from the nocturnal travails of a new Dad.

In fact each scene in this episode counterpointed Ross and Doofus Francis in a manner that eventually began to feel cruel. While the Doofus whored, Ross held his child and lovely new wife at home. While Ross worked hard in his mine, Doofus lost his business at cards at a party cunningly organised by the evil Warleggan. (Yes, Heida Reed’s Elizabeth wasn’t too happy about that one, was she? Now Demelza will be the lady and she the… what? Penniless kitchen maid? Now that would be quite funny).

Julia’s Christening party also gave us another chance to meet Demelza’s Dad – with the alcoholic drunk of earlier episodes now turned into a blood-and-thunder Evangelical Christian. “This place is an abomination,” was his spoken assessment of the gathering – which is never an opening line to get the party started, let’s face it. He then turned on one of the posher guests and berated her for showing her cleavage.

Also – Blamey’s back! Yes, Verity’s love who was seen off by Francis because of his unfortunate accident (supposedly killing his first wife, the silly billy) has resurfaced, thanks to some sly work by Demelza who arranged a trip to town to make sure the two of them bumped into each other.

Although it nearly went awry when some marauding miners decided to start a riot.

A cry of “Miners!” Went up and all hell broke loose. It reminded me of that sketch in the BBC comedy Big Train set in the African wilderness when Simon Pegg mouthed the word “Jockeys!” to Julia Davis and a stampede of brightly coloured riders thundered past their Jeep.

This time it was a horde of hungry and seriously narked-off workers that threatened to scupper Verity’s chance at love. 

But she got through unscathed, helped by Blamey who still loves her as much as the poor woman still loves him.

Let’s hope thunder doesn’t strike twice in the wife-killing department.

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