Poldark review: Aidan Turner's lusty Ross causes tremors across the Cornish coastline

Episode two: You get the impression that Francis won’t be coming round with a card and a box of chocolates any time soon

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The Independent Culture

The key moment of tonight’s second episode of BBC1’s remake of its classic 1970s series Poldark came when brooding perma-stubble Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) danced with the laminated beauty Elizabeth Chynoweth (Heida Reed) at a swanky ball.

There they were – he, like an upholstered werewolf, she resembling a porcelain heron figurine you’d find at your nan’s –in full public view, lost in each other, despite Elizabeth’s engagement to Ross’s stuffed shirt cousin Francis (Kyle Soller). Ross Poldark is back in town. And he’s drinking from your tankard, kicking your dog and dancing with your woman.

Love was in the salty sea air of Cornwall as "plain" Verity Poldark (Ruby Bentall) was wooed by the iffy Captain Blamey (Richard Harrington) with risqué talk of rigging. And young Ruth Teague’s mother tried selling her daughter’s virtues to Ross in a manner that would have made King George blush ("One only has to taste her syllabubs to know they are succulent" – blimey). Our swarthy hero only has eyes for one woman in Truro though. Or does he?

Tonight we saw the first blooms of romance between Ross Poldark and Demelza Carne (Eleanor Tomlinson), perhaps precipitated by Demelza catching an eyeful of the most anticipated naked body in recent televisual history as Ross took a skinny-dip off the Cornish coast. The slightly gawky (though wholly beautiful) Demelza is attempting to get to grips with life as a good maid, though she is also becoming something of an object of fascination and gossip in high society (perhaps not helped by the fact that her curtsy currently resembles an ironing board tumbling down a flight of stairs). Demelza’s feistiness and sweet nature is not lost on our Ross, who has at least two eyes for the ladies.

Ross Poldark and Reverend Halse

Ross Poldark isn’t back to step out with the women of the West Country, however. He has money to make and a family name to rebuild. So Ross is reopening the family mine (we’ve all got one) and is hoping to repay his investors’ faith (and money probably) as well as bringing employment to the hard-up local men. This endeavour will surely bring him into some kind of contact (most likely a fracas) with the nouveau riche Warleggan family, blacksmiths-turned-bankers who are now raking it in as the local economy struggles (Poldark getting political? Surely not).

Back, like the proverbial bull in a china shop, Ross is causing tremors all over the coast and the result of tonight’s action was poor Francis getting a bullet in the neck. Ostensibly defending his and his sister’s honour, Francis – limp and soggy compared to the hulking testosterone mannequin that is his cousin – may well have been taking aim at Ross when he challenged Captain Blamey to a duel. Ross patched him up but you get the impression that Francis won’t be coming round with a card and a box of chocolates any time soon.