What’s going to happen in Poldark series 3?
We have done some sleuthing to bring you the definitive (and spoiler-free) guide to the next series of the smash-hit Aidan Turner period drama
**SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE FINAL EPISODE OF POLDARK SERIES TWO**
Well, it’s over for another year. Ross rode to the rescue in time-honoured fashion in the series two finale – saving his wife and the villagers from a capital charge of incitement to riot. And he also inadvertently saved George Warleggan and Elizabeth, now ensconsed in Trenwith as a married couple, while patching things up with Demelza. Dwight Enys and Caroline were reunited and Elizabeth is about to have a baby.
Poldark series three cannot come soon enough.
But what is going to happen?
Well, without spoiling things too much we think it's never too early look ahead to what we has been made public about the upcoming series, which will draw on books 5 and 6 from Winston Graham’s 12-series Poldark opus, the Black Moon (set between 1794 and 1795) and The Four Swans (1795-1797).
Aidan Turner will be returning (obviously) as will Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza, along with Heida Reed as Elizabeth, Jack Farthing as dastardly George Warleggan, Ruby Bentall as Verity, Luke Norris as Dr Dwight Enys and Caroline Blakiston as Aunt Agatha.
Series two's new additions – Gabriella Wilde as Caroline Penvenen and John Nettles as Ray Penvenen – have also been named in the cast, as has Beatie Edney who will return as Prudie Painter. But she will be without her husband, the lovable scamp Jud (Phil Davis).
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And there will be a few new faces.
In terms of the other highlights, here’s a round up of what we know, with some informed (non-spoilery) suggestions as to what may ensue.
Elizabeth has a child
Yes, Elizabeth is with child and if the look she gave Aunt Agatha is anything to go by then that child is Ross’s. Ghastly George may have won the heart of Ross’s former love, but the child in her belly sure as hell is a Poldark we reckon. And we don’t think Mr W is going to be too pleased about it, either. Elizabeth's cousin Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) also joins the Trenwith household as governess to the child.
A sex-crazed vicar makes an appearance
There will be a rather colourful new vicar – Osborne Whitworth – who will be causing mayhem in Cornwall.
He is played by Christian Brassington – who was Boris Johnson in the More4 drama-documentary When Boris Met Dave. And as we can see, the character (played by Christopher Biggins in the 1970s Poldark) has some very nasty friends...
He's a nasty buffoon in the mould of hapless MP Unwin Trevaunance (Hugh Skinner) and there will be more fun in the form of the fabulously named Tholly Tregirls, a reckless womaniser who hails from Ross's youth, we are told, and is played by Shameless actor Sean Gilder.
Demelza’s brothers also show up
Free free-spirited rogue Drake (Harry Richardson) and deeply religious Sam (Tom York) arrive on the scene and perk things up a bit. They are in the main picture alongside Ellise Chappell’s Morwenna. In the books, Morwenna quickly develops a strong passion for Drake. And aristocrat Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse) will also be arriving in a move which causes many problems for Ross and Demelza. But I will say no more...
Phil Davis’ glorious factotum Jud Paynter will not be in the cast, even though his character does appear in the books. His wife Prudie (brilliantly played by Beatie Edney) will be in the new series but sources say the feeling is that other new characters (like Osborne Whitworth and Tholly Tregirls) will provide the necessary comic relief. But I will miss Jud. As he would say: ““T'int right, t'int fair, t'int fit, t'int proper!”
(We understand his disappearance may be explained by Jud going on a smuggling expedition. A long one by the sounds of things...)
What of the war? And Caroline? And Doctor Enys?
It seems that Dr Enys will be at war – the conflict did go on quite a bit and beyond the year 1797 that the books for series three go up to. The French Revolutionary Wars began in 1792 and involved Britain for a decade until the 1802 Treaty Of Amiens before picking up again in 1805 and the Battle of Trafalgar and beyond. But Doctor Enys – who sails into conflict on the unfortunately named ship The Travail – will be appearing in series three, as will Caroline. We will also be seeing more of Caroline's uncle Ray (John Nettles). But Ray showed signs of health problems at the end of series two, so we’re not sure how long he will stick around.
And what about Ross's chest?
Filming for series 3 started in September, a little earlier than series two, as the team sought to get some better weather than the rather gloomy and wintry recent run of episodes. So Aidan Turner’s Ross will get at least a bit of late autumn sun on his bare chest in 2018 we think (hope).
When will it air?
RadioTimes.com understands that Poldark series three could (and it's a big could) air in spring 2017 in a move which could see it avoid clashing with Victoria series two, the blockbuster ITV drama which is likely to air in the autumn again. Poldark’s audience figures have been slightly down for series two, and the scheduling clash with the Jenna Coleman series probably didn’t help. By happy coincidence, Victoria just happens to be made by the same independent producers, Mammoth. The BBC say that it has not firmed up the transmission dates yet as it is still “way too early” to say anything definitive. But it’s worth noting that Poldark series one aired in the spring so there is a precedent for getting our next dose of Ross and co sooner than we might have expected….
And the last word to Debbie Horsfield, the scriptwriter...
"We're thrilled to be kicking off series three with a fantastic array of new characters and a story which scales new heights of conflict, feuding, passion and drama," she says.
"Ross is older but not necessary wiser, and his recklessness sometimes costs him, and his loved ones, dear. We're in for a rollercoaster ride where the stakes have never been higher."
We can't wait...
Poldark series three returns to BBC1 in 2017