7 reasons Poldark is the new Downton

09 May 2016

By Pan Macmillan

Poldark will return for a third series in 2017, covering books 5 and 6 of Winston Graham’s novels, The Black Moon and The Four Swans. Filming is set to begin as Series 2 airs this September.

Poldark superfan and founder of ​Poldarked.com Evie Bowman tells us why Poldark is the best thing on TV since Downton Abbey. 

1. It’s about the English Social Class

This holds a fascination for so many of us with the split in society between the gentry and the working class. Like Downton, Poldark has posh people and poor and we love to see how the posh behave. Both dramas are set in times of social change which impacts on the stories themselves and gives an air of realism too.

2. A character moves between the classes

Demelza begins life at Ross Poldark’s home as a kitchen maid but ends up as Ross’ wife. Tom Branson is the Crawley’s chauffeur who marries Lady Sybil and is eventually accepted by the Crawley family. In both cases the treatment of these characters by the class they move from and the one they move to provide some interesting storylines.

3. There’s balls and parties

There’s nothing like a big party with all the people in ‘society’ for starting tongues wagging or outing some misdemeanour. All this and fancy costumes and hairstyles too! Yes! Poldark, like Downton, enjoys its share of soirees and the glamour that goes with them.

4. And on the subject of costumes and hair

Don’t we just love to see the different fashions of the day? The men in breeches in Poldark, tux in Downton; the gorgeous outfits the Crawley women wear; the amazing hairstyles of the Poldark women - and of course –Ross’ hair certainly deserves a mention.

5. The evil one

Well, you have to have someone who’s a bad egg to add edge to the story: who’s always able to whisper about some wrong-doing or plot another’s downfall. And if they’re handsome and bad, then so much the better. In Downton this role goes to Thomas Barrow, the Crawley’s footman: in Poldark to George Warleggan, a banker and long-time enemy of Ross’.

6. Dining 

Is it a pre-requisite to have a dining scene in every episode? It sometimes seems so. Anyway, in Poldark as in Downton, much of the upper classes time is spent discussing the issues of the day around a dining table groaning with food. It’s always great to see what’s on offer. Swan? Did someone say swan?

7. The family elder

Aunt Agatha in Poldark and Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton, sit in judgement on the family and, with their acerbic wit, often get the killer lines of the episode delivering a swift blow to the receiver.

What’s not to like?

Evie Bowman runs Poldarked.com with news and titbits about the BBC drama Poldark. She is a reporter for Middle-earth News and lives with her family in Suffolk. Follow @Poldarked on twitter for more Poldark news!

Relive the epic series with Poldark: The Complete Scripts. Poldark returns to our screens with a second series in Autumn 2016. 

Listen to an audio clip of Ross Poldark the first novel in Winston Graham's epic Poldark series. 

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Poldark: The Complete Scripts - Series 1
The World of Poldark
Ross Poldark
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The Black Moon
The Four Swans