“POLDARK! Miley!!! POLDARKKKK!” But say that in a Cornish/pirate voice- “Poldarkkk!!!” That’s what my dad has been shouting at 20.59 every Sunday night for the last two months, to inform my mum (who’s usually sitting next to him), that “Poldarkkkk!” is about to begin. ‘Miley’? My mum isn’t actually called ‘Miley’, she’s called Amanda. My dad just calls her Miley Cyrus for some reason…
I was up in the climbs of Aberdeen visiting my parents last week, happening to be there at the same time as the second series finale of….“POLDARRKKKKK”! They have a relatively big house my parents. Big enough for three people to be in three separate rooms when Poldark is showing. But we weren’t in three separate rooms. We were all in the same room. Watching fucking Poldark. I can watch Antiques Roadshow, Autumn Watch, Country File, Location Location Location, even the One Show with my parents. But I cannot, or (new policy), I will not, ever, EVER, watch Poldark with them again. Here’s why.
“POLDARKKKKK!” Ross Poldark to be exact. Ross Poldark who returns from the American War of Independence to find his father dead, his tin mine in ruins, and his “true love” engaged to his cousin… Ross is a smuggler who went to war to avoid charges of…smuggling. And, on returning to British shores, he saves a peasant girl called ‘Demelza from a “beating”, who, eventually, (after much ‘soul-searching’), becomes Ross’s wife and mother to his son.
So there you go. “POLLDARRKKK!” Adapted from Winston Graham’s novels of the same name. Granted it’s a good premise, which incorporates many interesting contexts- smugglers and pirates, Cornwell, (which looks beautiful throughout the show), mining, and that famous British class tension. So why do I hate it so?
Maybe it’s the corny story line, or the corny characters, or corny Aidan Turner? However I fear the fundamentals of the fault lies with the beloved BBC. Why does the most famous media institution in the world continue to choose to spend millions of pounds of (that dreaded term!) ‘tax-payers money’ on producing the same old drivel clearly designed, EXCLUSIVELY, for neurotic mothers and grannies.
From the ridiculous villain to the bland supporting class to the pitiful females and the usual story tropes about rivalry and loyalty, and sacrifice and choices. I’m not complaining about the actual story tropes. The same fundamental tropes that have driven stories and fairy tales (and religions) for thousands of years. I’m complaining about the way we still represent these tropes and ‘conflicts’ in the same old fucking way. With the same moody leading male, and the hapless leading female, with the only real change being we dress them up in different costumes depending on the period they’re set. The show is wet. And another thing! Women actors!!!
It’s not ‘actresses’ anymore. That term has been outlawed because it’s sexist…apparently…for some reason… Anyway as I was saying, women ACTORS are crying out for decent female roles. Not the pitiful Demelza, or the ridiculous Elizabeth Chenowith (Ross’s “true love”. Or, if you wanna get technical with me- first love). But who gives a shit. The show’s shit. And the final episode of the latest series was shit-
Poldark anxiously deciding whether to go to war (made obvious by him putting on his army uniform in front of the mirror, then taking it off again). Then going off to play matchmaker for Dr Dwight Enys and Gabriella Wilde. Then Poldark rides into the night and saves his arch-nemesis from being killed by the angry country folk of Cornwell (clearly identifiable as being angry because they’re in a group, walking through the night holding pitchforks and flaming torches, whilst shouting) ((clearly identifiable as being country folk because they look dirty)) (((very original BBC writing there!)))
And why, may I annoyingly ask, is Poldark saving his arch-nemesis? He is an arch-nemesis after all. Wouldn’t Poldark rather see him dead? Ideally by the hands of others so he won’t get the blame. The only conclusion I can come to is that Poldark knows this is the end of season two of the TV series about him, a third season has been commissioned, and he needs his ‘arch-nemesis’ “Dick Dastardly”, alive to create tension, duality and so the grannies who watch his coveted show will still be able to clearly identify what “evil” is, according to the Beeb.
Okay. Rant over Harry? Now. Take a breath, and do what everybody else in this world is doing. Stump up the subscription fee and turn to Netflix.
Poldark will return for another series.