Poldark series 1, episode 2 review: It’s backsides and barneys as Aidan Turner drama hots up

Ben Dowell finds much to enjoy in an action-packed episode of Poldark which sees Aidan Turner earn his Mr Darcy moment

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Tonight could be described as the “bum” episode of Poldark.

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Not because it was bad – oh no, deary me no. It positively roared along. But this was the episode where we got to see Aidan Turner’s backside.

We had been promised that Ross Poldark would have his Mr Darcy moment, and his answer to Colin Firth came mid-way through this second episode when he stripped off and dived into the Atlantic for a dip, watched intently by Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), the woman he rescued in episode one. And here he is:

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Apparently the producers wanted a stormy, grey sea for this scene but the pesky British weather let them down. The drink (as we seafarers call it) looked like it was off the coast of a Greek island not windy, rainswept Cornwall. But I suspect Aidan T’s vast army of fans won’t be complaining.

And Poldark viewers had earned the moment. Up to this point there had been a lot of dry chat about mines as our Ross went on at great length about seeking to realise his dream of re-opening his late father’s business.

But for the rest of the episode the passions burned steadily as Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza got acquainted with her new home with Ross P.

She also accidentally met Elizabeth – the sweetheart Ross lost in last week’s series opener, elegantly played by Heida Reed. It was a chance encounter in the street, an exchange of eye contact with the look of two characters who clearly don’t know quite what the hell is going on and what is coming. But we have a fair idea. They both have their own place in Ross’s heart and things are unlikely to run smooth between the two women.

If it came down to a fight, of course, my money would be on Demelza, who we learned is “still somewhat feral” following her rescue from a street brawl by Ross. And when that’s the judgment of her protector (and, who knows?, soon-to-be-lover) you know that’s probably an understatement. This dame can clearly pack a punch.

This second episode also saw more of George Warleggan, the villainous self-made banker who clearly has it in for our hero.

Actor Jack Farthing positively leered and sneered and left us in no doubt that he was a wrong ’un out to scupper whatever dreams Ross has. He has his eyes on doing down Ross’s mine and if I were a betting man I’d say he’ll come between Ross and Demelza, you watch.

Another large part of the action centred on poor Verity (Ruby Bentall) and her unfortunate choice of amour.

Ross heroically accompanied her to the ball where she met someone who took her fancy. Her intended, Captain Andrew Blamey (Richard Harrington), we learned, had apparently beaten his wife to death. Not a great opener, I think we’d all agree. But he, unlike Warleggan, isn’t a wrong ‘un we were assured, because it was an accident.

Verity’s family didn’t see it that way, however, and their efforts to end the match led to a duel between Blaney and Francis Poldark (Kyle Soller) which resulted in poor stupid Francis getting shot. Once again, it was Ross to the rescue, patching up the wounds, sorting things out, being a good egg. Not that Uncle Charles (Warren Clarke) was grateful. His jowl quivered with rage as a further black mark was chalked up against Ross P.

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Maybe he can wash it off with another dip in the sea…