Poldark series 1, episode 4 review: Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark strikes copper and warms to Demelza
Ben Dowell is rooting for Eleanor Tomlinson's Demelza in tonight’s episode where our hero shows he isn’t always the nicest man in the world (even if he may be the best looking)
Will there be copper, everyone was wondering at the beginning of this episode? And there was. More than you could hope for...
After much anxious waiting, the elusive metal was found in Ross Poldark’s mine but, far, far more importantly, Aidan Turner’s hero had his heart won over by his beautiful, sweet, copper-headed scullery maid Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson).
Yes, our Ross showed his harsh side at the beginning of tonight’s instalment with some rather ungallant asides concerning his new wife.
“Is she beautiful?” his former tavern whore inquired when he popped by (not to avail himself of her services, I might add. I think he was just after a much-needed drink).
But rather than give the answer we all expected, his response was a terse: “In a way”.
The cheek of the man.
Later on Ross was asked if he loved Demelza and (a little reminiscent of Prince Charles when he was asked whether he loved Princess Diana back in 1981 and replied "whatever loves means"), he was similarly evasive and snooty. “We get on,” was all he good muster.
How unlike our great man, how unheroic.
By the end of the episode, of course, he had clearly fallen in love with his fabulous new wife who is now pregnant and very happy. And I also think Eleanor Tomlinson who plays Demelza is going to be a big star – she has really shone in this role.
But it was a long road for the poor woman. Lazy servant Jud (Phil Davis) and his equally unpleasant wife Prudie (Beatie Edney) had been berating her for giving them a “squinny eye” with what they perceived to be her airs and graces since becoming Mrs P.
And then she had a visit from cousin Verity (Ruby Bentall) where Demelza felt she had to act like a lady but couldn’t help informing Ross’s well-to-do relative certain details about their sex life. I enjoyed that bit.
And the sweet young thing got told off by Ross after pouncing on Jud and biffing him about for stealing one of her pies. “Wrestling a man servant is unbecoming,” her new husband primly informed her.
And that wasn’t it. Oh, not by a long chalk. Poor Demelza was then forced to go to the posh house for a tense Christmas and put up with all sorts of snidey comments from the toffs; she also got an ungentlemanly jibe about her hearty appetite from Ross (yes, him again) and was forced to sing. But Demelza being Demelza, she pulled it off and her voice was beautiful.
She even won jealous Elizabeth (Heida Reed) over. Ross’ former love gave Demelza a definite "squinny eye" at one point, but by the end of the Yuletide festivities the two were firm friends.
Other tensions this episode concerned the arrival of the pilchards, clearly a staple food for the lower orders. At first they were nowhere to be seen, however much the good Cornish folk scanned the sea. Well, thankfully the fishies came. But this triumph was overshadowed by the fact that Ross’ new mine actually struck, well, not gold exactly, but the copper he had been after for many months while his creditors ground their teeth.
The hapless Francis (Kyle Soller) continued to be a doofus (who wouldn’t regret a decision to marry him over hunky Ross?) but there is clearly trouble ahead in the form of the villainous Warleggan (Jack Farthing). The banker has sneaked a share in Ross’ mine and will clearly be up to no good.
Sadly we also bade farewell to the late Warren Clarke’s jowly Poldark patriarch Charles whose main concern on his deathbed was getting Ross to make sure that stupid Francis doesn’t screw things up any more (or words to that effect).
I’m guessing that Ross will have his hands rather full in the coming months, however. Lucky chap.