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Poldark: meet Morwenna Chynoweth – Elizabeth's cousin who catches the eye of Drake Carne

Actress Ellise Chappell was going to ask for her job back in a café when she got the call saying she'd won the part in Poldark

Published: Friday, 24th November 2017 at 2:57 pm

BBC1 drama Poldark is back for a third series with a brace of new faces and among them is new character Morwenna Chynoweth – played by actress Ellise Chappell.


Young Morwenna arrives on the scene as the governess for Geoffrey Charles as her cousin Elizabeth prepares to give birth to her new child, and it doesn't take look before she catches the eye of Drake Carne – Demelza's handsome twinkly-eyed brother.

We spoke to Ellise about joining one of Britain's biggest TV shows...

Can you tell us a bit about Morwenna?

She’s 19 years old so she’s very young, very innocent and it kind of becomes clear that she isn’t very materialistic. She very much appreciates nature and being outside and adventure and just the simple things in life like flowers and the sea, so it’s beautiful to be out in Cornwall where she could appreciate the surroundings."

And what's her background with her cousin Elizabeth Warleggan (Heida Reed)?

"Having looked into it and thought about it I don’t think they’ve really had too much interaction before Morwenna comes to the house to be Geoffrey Charles’ governess. I think it’s very amiable but there’s that underlying situation where obviously Morwenna has come in, and she’s taking Elizabeth’s time away from Geoffrey Charles. So there’s that undercurrent of jealousy that Morwenna is getting to spend more time with her son.

Will there be a lot of jealousy between herself and Elizabeth?

I’m not sure. I think in terms of Morwenna’s point of view she’s just coming to fulfil a duty and that’s what she does, she forms a very strong friendship with Geoffrey Charles and they become like a little family unit. She is quite unaware of the shifts between George and Elizabeth’s relationship.

And will there be romance for Morwenna?

She meets a gentleman called Drake Carne [Demelza's brother played by Harry Richardson] and I think they’re just the same. They obviously come from very different backgrounds but they’re like kindred spirits. They just sort of connect and understand each other and he opens her eyes to so many things and that’s where the struggle for Morwenna comes. She has to struggle between what her heart’s telling her and her duties as a woman in that era.

How did you find out that you'd won the part?

I was actually on my way back to the café I used to work in when I got the call. I was going there to ask for my job back after the last acting job I did [The Last Dragonslayer] and that’s when I heard, so I actually just turned around and skipped home. My mum just hysterically laughed for about five minutes when I told her, she just couldn’t believe it. That’s all she really said. She’s just so over the moon, as was my dad.

What was it like joining the cast?

I was quite nervous at first but everyone is so wonderful and it’s such a cliché thing to say ‘it’s been so easy to be welcomed into such an amazing family’ but I really did feel so welcome straight away and everyone’s just brilliant. I felt very relaxed.

How have the costumes and corsets been for you?

Obviously getting used to the corset was one thing but it does really help putting you into the frame of mind of being in that society and the way you have to hold yourself. It was kind of a childhood dream to do something as a period drama so I feel like a little girl again in these costumes just having lots of fun.


Poldark season three airs on Sundays, 9/8c, PBS Masterpiece


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