Where is Jud Paynter in Poldark?

Where has Ross’s snaggle-toothed factotum gone?

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Poldark series three kicked off in style with one favourite face sadly missing.

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Phil Davis’ lovable scamp Jud Paynter is not in this series – even if his character does appear in the books upon which the current run is based.

No explanation is given in episode one, though his on-screen wife Prudie does reveal that she is glad he is gone. She misses him, she tells Demelza, “like a ruptured spleen”.

We asked scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield about the absence of the character who made a stunning resurrection from apparent death in the last series, and she didn’t seem keen to discuss the matter at the press screening for episode one.

“He’s gone away,” she told RadioTimes.com. Asked if he would be returning she added: “We don’t know”.

According to sources, it will be explained in later episodes that Jud is “off smuggling or something like that” so there is at least some hope that he could be back.

He is a popular figure who, let us not forget, was there during Aidan Turner’s famous topless scything scene…

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As for the actor himself, he can be seen in Sky Atlantic’s upcoming glossy international crime drama Riviera as a tough Interpol cop investigating financial fraud among the jet set in southern France.

He wears a beautiful suit and moves among the fabulously wealthy – unlike Jud of course. But there’s no word from team Poldark on whether it was the clothes that saw Davis change roles.

Here’s hoping that he will make his way back sometime.

Because a Poldark without Jud? As the man himself would say “’tint right, ‘tint fair, ‘tint proper”…

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Poldark season three airs on Sundays, 9/8c, PBS Masterpiece