Poldark is back, and with the Byronic Aidan Turner and the tempestuous Eleanor Tomlinson swaggering, fighting and loving in their natural home as they rebuild their marriage, everything is just as it should be.
Or is it? The third season, based on books five and six of Winston Graham’s epic saga, kicks off in 1794 with Elizabeth about to give birth to Ross’s child (probably), Demelza’s brothers turning up, the French Revolution in full swing and a veritable Paris Mob of new characters traipsing into Truro. Inevitably most of them mean trouble.
Meet the entire cast of the BBC1 drama below…
THE NEW CAST
Morwenna Chynoweth – Elise Chappell
Elizabeth’s innocent cousin is hired to be governess for Elizabeth’s son Geoffrey, and there’s soon a tug-of-love tension between the three. Then there’s sexual tension with newcomer Drake Carne and outright tension with the sex-crazed Reverend Osborne Whitworth.
Ellise Chappell is barely out of university, with just two TV credits to her name: The Last Dragonslayer and New Blood. “I was actually on my way to ask for my barista job back when I got the call to say I’d got the job,” she says. “I turned around and walked home again!”
Sam Carne – Tom York
Sam is a charismatic Methodist preacher who turns up to save his sister Demelza’s soul. The older brother of Drake, Sam soon captures a significant congregation and falls out with the local church and with George Warleggan. Ross, understandably, is convicted.
York, whose CV includes Olympus and Death in Paradise, also has a smoulder to rival Aidan Turner. “It’s daunting coming into such an iconic, established drama,” he admits. “But Sam is a gift — it’s rare as a young actor to get to play a character with such principle and conviction.”
Drake Carne – Harry Richardson
Drake is the brother of Demelza and Sam. He leans closer to his free-spirited sister than his man-of-God brother but he’s a stabilising force in everyone’s lives. He’s a born romantic, and tumbles into a turbulent romance with Morwenna.
Aussie Richardson, who was in Doctor Thorne last year, says, “I was terrified at my audition, as I’d never even met someone from Cornwall. I spent a lot of time focusing on getting the accent right.”
Lieutenant Hugh Armitage – Josh Whitehouse
Lord Falmouth’s artistic, aristocratic nephew arrives back in Cornwall and promptly falls in love with Demelza, whom he woos assiduously — setting him up as a boo-hiss villain for Ross’s devoted fans.
Whitehouse appeared in the films Northern Soul and Alleycats, in the latter as the brother of Eleanor Tomlinson’s character. “It was Eleanor who suggested I audition,” he says.
Rev Osborne Whitworth – Christian Brassington
The lascivious reverend is a part made famous by Christopher Biggins, whose foot-fetish sex scene with his wife’s sister was cut from the 1970s Poldark for lewdness. “The character was voted the most hated man on TV last time round,” says Brassington. “It’s a lot to live up to, which is what Winston Graham’s family told me when they visited the set. They were really good friends with Biggins, so no pressure there!”
Brassington, who played the PM in Tony Blair: Rock Star and Boris Johnson in When Boris Met Dave, had to bulk up for his role: “I ate mostly ice cream and drank beer.”
Tholly Tregirls – Sean Gilder
Tholly is a friend of Ross’s father. He’s a reckless womaniser but loyal to Ross — and helps him on a high-drama French escapade.
Gilder, who played Paddy Maguire in Shameless and Styles in Hornblower, says, “From the books and Debbie’s scripts it’s clear Tholly is the comedy element.”