Cornwall was too sunny for Poldark says BBC producer

Karen Thrussell explains how the West Country was almost too pleasant for filming the darker scenes of the new Aidan Turner drama

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In the throngs of the miserable British winter, it seems unfathomable that the Poldark team would be unhappy with a glorious few months of filming in the sunshine, but producer Karen Thrussell found herself longing for tumultuous skies and rough seas to fit the moody scene in the new BBC series.

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“Sometimes I prayed for a bit of cloud, and a stormy moody sky,” explains Thrussell who spent weeks filming in the West Country, during one of the hottest summers on record.  “Poldark is quite a stormy moody piece and Ross Poldark is a stormy, moody person,” says Thrussell.

Based on the novels written by former Cornish resident Winston Graham, the BBC’s new Poldark series follows a soldier who returns from the American War of Independence to his native land, where he runs a local mine. 

Although the hot sunny conditions were enjoyable to film in, it became particularly tricky for the storyline, remembers Thrussell. “There’s one scene, in episode three, where Ross goes into the sea. When we were writing it, it was supposed to be big grey Atlantic waves crashing on him. When we actually got there to film it, the sea was so still. It was beautifully turquoise, it looked like we’re on a Greek Island. It looked incredible in a different way.”

The Poldark editing team had to add clouds to scenes in some instances, but Thrussel believes the viewers will be happy with the final effect and incredible backdrops.

“I felt there was no way we could film it anywhere other than Cornwall,” says Thrussell, who maintains that the location is a huge part of Graham’s novels. “[Cornwall] is like its own character, in a way,” she explains, “I think Ross’s character is based on the Cornish landscape.”

But cast and crew have the seal of approval from Winston Graham’s son, “Andrew Graham, has been working quite closely with us, he’s really happy with adaptation,” says Thrussell.

Poldark continues on BBC1 on Sunday nights


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