It is a scene that has come to define the hit BBC1 drama Poldark: a sweaty and shirtless Aidan Turner scything hay in a cliff-top field. But it turns out that the producers had doubts about whether the scene was going to work.
Speaking at the Radio Times Festival on Sunday, the team behind the period adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels revealed that they were initially anxious that the actor looked too muscular.
“We hadn’t seen him with his shirt off before that [scene],” said executive producer Damien Timmer. “It wasn’t a thing whether he was going to be shirtless or not. We looked at the rushes and thought ‘blimey, he’s so muscly’.
“Karen [Thrussell, Timmer’s co-executive producer] thought he was too muscly and there were conversations about whether he was too well built for that moment.”
Turner himself, who is currently filming the second series in Cornwall, made an appearance in a clip specially recorded for the Radio Times Festival – and he indicated that viewers may get to see more of that muscly torso in the second series.
Asked whether there was going to be any “warm leather” in the second run of episodes, he flashed an enigmatic smile. “Possibly,” he said. “It depends on how badly we do in the ratings.”
Beatie Edney, who plays Pru in the drama, paid tribute to the rest of the cast and crew but admitted that she was grateful to the actor for the show’s popularity: “I thank God for Aidan Turner.”
However, Turner’s popularity has meant that the second series is currently being filmed under much greater scrutiny.
“We weren’t expecting the paparazzi to be leaping out of bushes to take pictures,” said scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield who adapted the novels.