12 Fascinating Poldark Facts

We won’t deny it – we’re hooked on the BBC’s lavish adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark books.  Furthermore, we’re in the right part of the country to enjoy spotting the local shooting locations and regional details.  For fellow fans, we’ve collected 12 great pieces of Poldark trivia that you may not have known.  Do you have any other fascinating facts?  Drop them into the comments below!


1) Baby bump bother

In Series 2, Horace the pug is often carried by the character Caroline Penvenen to disguise the fact the actress (Gabriella Wilde) was pregnant during filming.  She had announced her pregnancy a matter of days after getting the part so they opted for a doggy disguise rather than recasting.

2) International cast

Kyle Soller (who plays Francis) is an American actor who perfected his British accent while studying drama at RADA in London.  While comfortable (and convincing) with his British voice, he said that he could never begin to try the Cornish accent.  Meanwhile, Heida Reed (who plays Elizabeth) is Icelandic, Eleanor Tomlinson is from Yorkshire, and as we all know Aidan Turner is Irish.  One of the few local cast members is John Nettles (who plays Ray Penvenen), who lives near us, a few miles outside Holsworthy.  Despite criticisms of his accent, he grew up in St. Austell, a few miles from Charlestown where many scenes are filmed.  Another genuine Cornishman is Tristan Sturrock, who plays Poldark’s bearded miner friend Zacky Martin.

Copyright Working Title Films

3) Period pudding

The period food on display during party scenes was painstakingly researched and recreated by food stylist Genevieve Taylor.  Incredibly, not all of it was fake.  Items that would deteriorate quickly were generally made artificially (for example by icing polystyrene, or wrapping pastry around quality street tins), but otherwise many dishes were the real McCoy – including a whole suckling pig bought pre-cooked from the butchers (sorry vegetarians), and a three-tiered sponge cake.

4)  Digital deception

The series benefits from some very subtle and effective Computer Generated Imagery by LexHag Visual Effects.  All the mines featured are now derelict ruins, so every piece of machinery (and indeed roof) was added digitally, and the landscape is also often altered both to remove modern-day additions and to create consistent locations (such as giving Poldark a view of the coast from his inland house on Bodmin moor). 

Copyright LexHagVFX

5) Jumbled geography

As locals will already know, the locations used for filming are geographically inconsistent.  We have had visitors expecting Nampara to be by the coast, for example.  In actual fact, the locations are spread around Cornwall, often many miles from each other, and while it may seem like Poldark has to use a clifftop path to get to anywhere from his cottage, the latter is filmed near St. Breward on Bodmin moor and the mines are filmed near Penzance.  Not that it matters – these are still real and beautiful places!

6)  Rival styles

Trenwith (Poldark family home) is deliberately older in style to Warleggan House.  In Trenwith you will see wooden Tudor panelling, bay windows and bulky wooden furniture.  This is to suggest that the Poldarks are a long-established family.  Shots of Trenwith were filmed at Chavenage house in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.  Meanwhile, Warleggan house is Georgian in style with bright colours, tall panelled windows and elaborate chandeliers.  This is to suggest the Warleggans are wealthy, trendy, and concerned with appearances.  Warleggan house was filmed in various locations near Bristol, depending on the period feature that was required.

7)  Clever cameo

The Reverend Halse, who acts as the magistrate in the court scenes of series 1 (and will return in series 2), is played by Robin Ellis – the actor who played Poldark in the original series.

Copyright Robin Ellis Net

8)  Copper-tops!

Eleanor Tomlinson is a natural blonde, and it was her own idea to make Demelza a redhead.  This stylistic choice, along with the running theme of mining, led the costume designers to create her wardrobe based on the colours of copper at its various stages of ageing, from bright orange to turquoise green.

9)  Familiar faces

Ruby Bentall (who plays Verity) is from an acting family – her mother is Janine Duvitski, a familiar face from playing Pippa in One Foot in the Grave, Jacqueline from Benidorm and many other roles.  Luke Norris  (Dr. Enys) had an early role in The Inbetweeners as a friend of Jay, Beatie Edny (Prudie) played the wife of the titular character in the original Highlander film, and Caroline Blakiston (Aunt Agatha) played Mon Mothma in Star Wars Return of the Jedi!

Verity’s mother?

10) Horsing around

The horses being ridden by the characters reflect their status.  Elizabeth rides an elegant pedigree grey, while Demelza rides a sturdy hill pony.  Meanwhile Seamus, Poldark’s horse, had numerous stand-ins – although he looked the part, he couldn’t gallop fast enough for some of the long distance shots, so they used a younger horse.  As his stand-ins had black coloured socks (ankles) as opposed to his white, Seamus had to have make-up to match them!  Seamus was also famed on set for getting on very well with Aidan, and also with Demelza’s dog Garrick.

11)An untimely death

In a Radio 1 interview, actor Aidan Turner accidentally ‘let slip’ that his character would die during the second series.  Fans went into hysterics, until he admitted that it had been an ill-advised joke – he is, in his own words, going to be “doing this for a few more years.”

12) More to come

Winston Graham wrote 12 original books about Poldark and his world.  The first two series have adapted two books each, with certain changes being made.  Some characters from the books don’t make it onto our screens at all, whereas others (like Jud and Prudie) enjoy much more limelight than was originally intended due to popularity among fans.  Series three is rumoured to be based on one and a half books (The Black Moon and the first half of The Four Swans), so that leaves plenty of original material for at least another series or two!

Read our guide to the 2016 Poldark filming locations
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