BBC’s ‘Poldark’. “Not much sun, some sea and no scything!” Review by Dudley Petard, Media Consultant.

Cornish Pasty
I wouldn’t recommend eating this if Prudie has made it !

Mild jeopardy, unintentional comedy and nowhere near enough bonking!

Sunday nights aren’t going to be the same – for a while – after ‘Poldark’ series 3 finished on Sunday 6th August.

However, for many British men, Sunday nights haven’t ended as hoped because this series of ‘Poldark’ seriously toned down the sexiness. There has been no topless scything from Aidan Turner and precious few bedroom antics. Wives and girlfriends have retired to bed suppressing a giggle at the absurd characters and mild jeopardy rather than any Cornish antics sparking a twinkle in their eyes.

The BBC has seriously let British men down and there will be no Poldark-inspired spike in births in 9 months time. BBC 2’s latest series of ‘Versailles’ was much more satisfying in this respect and far more sexily stylish. Ironically, several episodes of ‘Poldark’ have concentrated on slagging off the French – they evidently know who their competition are.

Frustrated British men are desperately looking forward to the next series of ‘Outlander’ – which usually doesn’t disappoint in firing up female libido.

In series 3, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) has turned into a rather infuriating do-gooder. Does he really need to wear that ridiculous 3-pointed hat all the time? Is Cornwall that cold?  He has mainly concentrated on turning down offers of responsible jobs, just to spend his time farting around in a small, over-staffed, tin mine that appears to be managed by Baldrick from Blackadder.

In this series, Ross could have been a magistrate, he could have been the local MP – but he turned both jobs down, leaving his poor wife, Demelza, scrabbling around in the potato field with unsavoury and unhelpful maid, Prudie. Ross basically does whatever and whoever he fancies – and he didn’t fancy any topless scything! Bastard – like his wee crooked illegitimate son, Valentine, who popped out 8 months after his druggy cousin, Elizabeth, married Ross’s nemesis, George Warleggan.

George Warleggan – played by the hilariously named Jack Farthing – is meant to add evil menace to the show. He is the only person who wears a sinister top hat and spurns the crusty tri-corns worn by lower orders. However, George is actually as evil as Dick Dastardly in ‘Wacky Races’ – and much more responsible than Ross Poldark. For some reason he has acquired a manor house inhabited by Ross Poldark’s blood relatives. There was the flatulent Aunt Agatha – who died before her ‘100th’ birthday but not before she had informed George that, as far as his wife’s nether regions were concerned, someone had got there before him. George probably had long held this suspicion because ‘his’ son, Valentine, has a mop of curly black Poldark hair and shrieks whenever George goes near him. The BBC might as well have drawn Ross’s trademark stubble on the baby and made him wear a 3-pointed hat.

Ross Poldark is basically a cuckoo, slipping his brood into ladies’ nests and letting their husbands pay for a public school education.

Poor George also has to pay to send his intensely irritating son-in-law, Geoffrey Charles, to Harrow. Geoffrey Charles is like Little Lord Fauntleroy and another Poldark infesting poor George’s nice manor house. Geoffrey Charles is also an idiot as he ‘gave’ his very expensive bible to the equally annoying toad-wrangling Drake Carne, which nearly resulted in Drake being hanged for thieving. So near and yet so far.

The two Carne brothers are Demelza’s siblings and specialise in being irritating Bible-bashers, even if Sam Carne did want to marry a busty blonde slapper from the local tavern who proudly informed him she had ‘rolled in the hay fields with many a man’.

Drake Carne is very poor and so could only afford to occasionally hold hands with Morwenna, Geoffrey Charles’s governess. Morwenna pines for Drake Carne and often looks as if she is going to throw up – truly lovesick. She was sold off to a fat sex-crazed widowed vicar by George Warleggan, for political purposes, which is probably George’s evil highlight of the series.

The lusty vicar, Osborne Whitworth, is the new comedy character this season. He plays the vicar as a lusty buffoon – which I am sure has absolutely nothing to do with the actor’s previous role as Boris Johnson in a More4 drama.

Osborne Whitworth represents everything that the BBC hates in that he is straight, male, middle-aged and theoretically Christian and so the scriptwriters are able to lampoon him relentlessly. He marries the lovesick Morwenna and in less than an episode, she is suddenly giving birth to his child. She hates her husband and his lusty ways as she still pines for Drake Carne. Osborne is pretty fed up with her, doesn’t mind if she dies in childbirth and fancies Morwenna’s sister, who seems more up for a bit of slap and tickle – and has very nice ankles. He has a thing about ankles. My wife remembers Christopher Biggins playing this creepy sex-crazed peeping-tom vicar back in the 70’s ‘Poldark’ series , an experience which has scared her for life.

‘Versailles’ had a similar plot in that a dodgy, lusty middle-aged man had an arranged marriage with a young lady who hated him and his over-vigorous ways. The scriptwriters allowed her to gradually poison him and get away with it. As a dodgy, lusty middle-aged man I must protest at the treatment the BBC affords to my fellow perverts!

Demelza continues to scrabble about in potato fields and brush her horses – while her lousy maid, Prudie, watches. Demelza still has a unique orange hair colour – think Sumatran Orangutan – and gets rid of her frustration with Ross’s feckless ways by violently kneading their daily bread and singing teasing songs to an ungrateful young sailor – who Ross rescued from the dastardly French. Even though she is out in all weathers, working like a peasant or gazing out to sea, she remains unbelievably pale. In real life, she would be wrinkled and burned to a crisp by constant exposure to the bracing Cornish elements.

There are several other minor characters. I am rather fond of Pugaline Penvenan who inherited a massive fortune from her uncle, Bergerac, and wishes her new husband, the worthy Dwight Enys, would finally get around to giving her a good seeing-to. Dwight has been struggling with France-induced post-traumatic stress disorder. I once got this when Air France went on strike, again, marooning my family and me in poxy Euro-Disney. The best thing about Pugaline is that she does indeed have a pug, Horace, who makes random appearances. Allegedly, the pug was introduced in the last series because the actress playing Pugaline was pregnant in real life and so needed to hold a small dog in front of her enlarging stomach. I don’t think a barrel-shaped pug would be the best breed for this. Maybe something thin, like a whippet, would have been more effective.

The last episode beckons tonight.

Will Ross finally accept a respectable job?

Will Sam Carne catch something nasty from the local slapper and have to visit Doctor Enys?

Will Prudie attend a food hygiene course?

Will Morwenna run from her sex-crazed husband leaving her randy sister, Ankles, as hostage ?

Will George disown mini-Ross, Valentine, and cast him and Elizabeth out of his house ?

The plot thickens …

Update: Monday 7th August 17  (Spoiler alert!)

The action was fairly fast and furious – by recent Poldark standards.

Ross took on the fairly responsible job of leading the local militia against the evil ‘Frenchies’. This job mainly involved farting around with Doctor Enys, Baldrick and a motley crew of assorted peasants.

Morwenna’s sister, Ankles (?), got up the duff thanks to the sex-crazed vicar, while Morwenna was drugged courtesy of Doctor Enys. Ankles blackmailed the vicar into buying her and her proposed new husband, a greedy librarian, a fully-furnished cottage – Go Girl!

Morwenna refused to let Ozzy, the sex-crazed vicar, come anywhere near her by threatening to smother his baby.

George, eaten up by suspicion, was confronted by Elizabeth who brazenly swore on the bible that her illegitimate son with Ross was George’s and how dare he be so suspicious!

Drake Carne had his blacksmith hovel torched by the evil sheriff, Tom Harry. Drake is also beaten up and rolled into a pond – hurrah.

Demelza used her favourite swear word again – ‘Judas!’

Ross couldn’t resist winding up George on the beach by hinting that all George’s beliefs (e.g. that his wife loves him) may all be fantasies.

Demelza, encouraged by the unsavoury Prudie, takes to the sand dunes to let her sailor boy (who reminds me of Harry Styles) ravish her – before he goes blind.

Ross did have a cursory look for Demelza across the sand dunes. I think it would have been amusing if both her ankles had been waving about in the air above the marram grass – but they might have attracted the sex-crazed vicar.

Prudie’s crusty pirate husband – who wears a tri-corn hat that reminds me of fresh mushroom-stuffed ravioli – led revolting peasants to break into George’s over-priced grain stores.

The riot was quelled by Ross, craftily promising to become a responsible MP – should he be given the chance again.

The episode ended with guilty Demelza doing the walk of shame back to her marital bed.

Awkward!

Some Westminster wranglings next season we suspect …

 

Photograph by U.S. Air Force:  photo by Airman 1st Class Lausanne Morgan
http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000314432/
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