Is Poldark‘s central marriage under threat? Anyone who’s been watching the latest series will know that the romance that anchors the BBC drama is on the rocks thanks to a certain Hugh Armitage – a soulful artist and poet who is rather enamoured with Demelza.
But Hugh’s adoration is complicated. He was rescued from a gloomy French prison by Demelza’s husband Ross – although Hugh’s sight is failing thanks to his spell behind bars. Will he get a “taste of heaven” (his words, not ours) from Demelza before going blind? Or will she stay loyal to her other half?
“Demelza loves Ross, but she doesn’t need him to the extent that she once did and I think that this relationship with Hugh comes out of someone paying her attention, someone highlighting her worth, while she’s being ignored by Ross,” Eleanor Tomlinson, who plays Demelza, says in the new edition of Radio Times.
“She wears her heart on her sleeve and she is very true and very honest to Ross and I think it’s lovely. That’s what’s nice about her, she doesn’t conform to a society where women behaved themselves and were very much under their husbands’ thumbs. Demelza speaks her mind.”
Is Demelza entertaining the idea of Hugh out of revenge after Ross spent that controversial night with Elizabeth and, in all likelihood, fathered her child Valentine?
“I don’t think it’s tit for tat at all,” says Tomlinson. “At the end of series two Ross and Demelza decided they still loved each other and marriages aren’t easy, they come with enormous problems, but they decide they have to work through them together and Ross promises to include her in every decision.”
“I don’t think it’s motivated by a desire for revenge,” says the drama’s writer, Debbie Horsfield, “that’s not who Demelza is.”
She adds: “If only Ross had told Demelza what he truly felt about Elizabeth [something only we, the audience got to hear] at the end of the last episode… It’s important that we know what he was thinking – he’s not just a b*****d. It’s not Demelza thinking she’ll get her own back, it’s more, ‘OK, I really fancy this guy, why shouldn’t I?
“Besides, it’s almost like they are two kids together, and Ross is caught up in other things so he takes his eye off the ball and is maybe a little too sure that Demelza is not going to be interested elsewhere.”
Read the full interview in the new edition of Radio Times – available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 1st August.
And for a spoiler-free preview of the Poldark series finale, listen to our podcast below…
Poldark season three airs on Sundays, 9/8c, PBS Masterpiece