The new version of Poldark aired on Sunday night. Facebook is full of people's reactions, mostly in favour of the new version, but with a minority who insist the older version was better.
I have to admit I can barely remember the original version, though I know I admired Robin Ellis. I spent a lot of holidays in Cornwall and the scenery was a draw. The costumes were romantic, too. I was never certain about Rees as Demelza. Entertaining she undoubtedly was but she never looked like a heroine to me. Too small, always dwarfed by that silly floppy cap she used to wear. In the new version, I'm still not happy with Demelza. This girl is too big - oh, I know, I'm never happy! - but really, she is almost taller than Ross. If they stood side by side, she probably would be. She also looks like a mature woman from her first scenes - and yet Ross calls her a child. In the book she was thirteen. I once sent a story to an American publisher and was told they wouldn't take it because the heroine was too young at fourteen for the sexier aspects of the story. So far, Demelza's age hasn't been mentioned in the tv production, but she looks about eighteen. Yet Ross thinks she's a child. Credibility gap?
I love Aidan Turner in most things, and think he is fine in this. I like his sudden irritation with Elizabeth when she says he must forget her as she will marry Francis, then asks if they can be friends. He turns on her with a roar of pain and fury. But I keep looking at that scar - surely they could have done it with more skill? His costume changes are interesting - he has finery for weddings, but often wears faded coats and shirts and neck ties that look as if they've been worn for days on end - and probably have! Costumes have improved so much these days. Demelza, on the other hand, never gets out of her brother's rags during the entire first episode! She and Elizabeth soldered together might make one nicely rounded woman. Both actresses are stick thin.
I wondered if they would keep Jud's way of speaking - "tisn't fair, tisn't right, tisn't decent. tisn't nice" - and they have! Prudie did so very well to run all the way to the big house while Carne battered Ross into the floor. She should enter for the Olympics - Ross needed a horse to get home from Trenwith to Nampara on his first night home. Prudie got there before the fighting finished. A truly remarkable athlete in spite of her size.