Photo from pbs.org.
I’ve loved the Poldark saga for decades now. Fell in love with the original series, read all the books.
And now I’m on Cloud Nine because not only is there a new production of Poldark for Masterpiece/PBS/BBC, but it’s starring Aidan Turner as Poldark. I can pretend I’m watching Jamie from Summer’s Winter on an acting job, because Aidan Turner comes closest to my mental picture of Jamie.
But for now…let’s talk George Warleggan.
I’m enjoying the new Poldark adaptation and most of the actors, but I’m having a hard time with the new Warleggan. Not because Jack Farthing doesn’t seem to be a perfectly capable actor, but first, because he seems miscast. George Warleggan, the slimy nemesis to Ross Poldark, was described by author Winston Graham as always looking too stocky and bullish for his elegant clothes–as though he never could escape his common blacksmith origins.
Ralph Bates, in the 1970s adaptation, was in my humble opinion, perfect. Cold, calculating–and physically powerful. Yes, he could have come from a family of blacksmiths.
And now, take a look at the new Warleggan. He looks and acts like nobility, like an elegant fop. This character does NOT communicate to me a man who is so insecure about his low-class roots that he’s never comfortable in his expensive, tailed clothes–and that he’s consumed with envy of the Poldarks and their ilk.
In last night’s episode, I also had trouble with the implication that he was consorting with a Truro lady of ill repute. In the novels (and earlier adaptation), one of the things that telegraphed George’s coldness was his frigidity around women. Except for wanting to take an elegant woman of the higher classes for his wife as a sort of trophy, he really wasn’t interested. George Warleggan wouldn’t be caught dead with a common, well…you know.
I just looked at the two Warleggan pictures I shared. At least they both look surly.
Are you watching the new Poldark? What do you think?