Passion and turmoil mark filming of new 'Poldark'

MARIANNE MACDONALD

Arts Reporter

Winston Graham's Poldark, presently being dramatised by HTV, is a saga of love and hatred, loyalty and betrayal, tragedy and passion. Unfortunately the film itself has aroused exactly the same emotions.

Set among the Cornish tin mines at the end of the 18th century, the saga tells the story of Ross Poldark, an impoverished squire who marries his servant, Demelza, after being jilted by Elizabeth, his well-bred fiancee.

Problems started after HTV decided to film The Stranger From The Sea, one of the last four Poldark books, 20 years after the BBC's wildly popular adaptation of the early novels. This had starred Robin Ellis as Ross and Angharad Rees as Demelza.

On the principle "if it's not broke, don't fix it", HTV asked Ellis and Rees early this year to ask them to recreate the roles. Both were delighted to agree, asking for a pounds 60,000 fee for a two-hour film.

They were told filming would start this April, but the date was put back to June, then September. In August HTV unexpectedly cut their fees by half.

Passions started to mount. "I contacted my agent and told him I didn't think it was right, having waited six months and done a lot of work on the script," says Ellis. He was told that unless he accepted by Monday he would lose the part.

However, by the time both had agreed to accept the fee, Ellis was told the roles had been given to Mel Martin and John Bowe. They are filming in Cornwall, with the result to be screened over Christmas or the New Year.

Rees has now put the matter in the hands of her solicitor.

In other circumstances - or sagas - this would have been an unpleasant but relatively minor incident. But HTV had reckoned without the might of the 5,000-strong Poldark Appreciation Society.

Val Adams, the founder, has received an extraordinary 7,000 letters of complaint about the issue. Members have picketed HTV's offices and promise to boycott the film - clearly rattling HTV to the extent that Geraint Morris, Poldark's executive producer, recently met Ms Adams for a 45-minute meeting.

"It wouldn't have mattered if they'd cast Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The point is that no one else can play Ross and Demelza," Ms Adams said. HTV merely comments that "negotiations with the original cast broke down".

One thing is clear: the saga - on and off screen - looks set to run and run.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Nursery assistants required in Cambridge

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

Year 4 Teacher

£20000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

English Teacher Thetford Secondary

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: An Academy based in Thetfor...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week