Meet Your New Pick-Up Artist: Poldark
Rip those bodices and buckle those swashes because the BBC’s hit period drama Poldark is back on our screens. Starring possible-next-007 Aidan Turner, this is 2016’s Christian Grey, this year’s Mr Darcy – the closest we’re going to get to a female consensus on the subject of what “heartthrob” looks like. So what lady-wowing lessons can we mortals learn from Captain Ross Poldark? Here’s his 10 commandments of sex…
1. Thou shalt trim thine chest-hair
Series one’s infamous shirtless scything scene was voted the TV moment of 2015. Lo and behold, the second series opened with Poldark stripped to his breeches for some pumped-up copper-mining, his perspiring pecs illuminated by flickering candlelight. Phwoar – amirite, ladies? Turner doesn’t wax his chest, like many pretty-boy actors, preferring a period-authentic hairy look – but neatly clippered and manscaped to accentuate his 18th century buffness.
2. Thou shalt be mean and moody
Ross Poldark is an all-or-nothing kind of man. He’s serious-faced with an armour-piercing, coal-black stare one minute, then throwing his head back for a toothsome, thigh-slapping guffaw and some sexytime the next. There’s rarely anything in between but that seems to be all he needs: pouty coldness or sizzlingly saucy. Ye olde babes go mad for that moodiness.
3. Thou shalt grow thine hair
Like Heathcliff on the windy moors or Mr Darcy emerging dripping wet from the lake, Poldark favours unkempt raven curls. None of your new-fangled quiffs, side-partings or man-buns for this hero. Just tousled, just-tumbled-out-of-bed locks for swooning ladies to run their hands through. Its even got its own Twitter account: @PoldarksHair.
— Poldark’s Hair (@PoldarksHair) November 9, 2015
4. Thou shalt mount a stallion
Whenever something dramatic happens in Georgian Cornwall, Poldark hops onto his magnificent mount and gallops along the rugged clifftops. Though nameless in the show, this trusty 14-year-old Irish draught horse is called Seamus in real-life and has attracted a cult following among equine-fanciers – who play a drinking game whenever he appears on screen. Tall, dark, handsome, snorting with animal passion… And Aidan Turner’s not bad either. Arf.
5. Thou shalt skinny dip with no “shrinkage”
The Cornish sea can get pretty chilly but when Poldark took a naked dip – on Mother’s Day 2015, as a special present to the mums everywhere – we’ll bet he had nothing to be ashamed of. Hell, it probably got bigger.
6. Thou shalt be kind to those less fortunate
His ale-addled servant Jud Paynter (Phil Davis) might have the catchphrase, “T’int right, t’int fair, t’int proper,” but Poldark is scrupulously fair to the poor and has been called “the original class warrior”. He takes Jud and wife Prudie back into his household several times, despite their transgressions. His efforts to pull the local community out of poverty are crucial to the plot, as was his decision to let starving peasants plunder a shipwreck to feed themselves. Even his beloved wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) was a “nit-infested urchin” rescued by Ross from her abusive family. The man’s all heart and abs. The contemporary version of this, of course, is not being a dick to waiters or cab drivers. Be a good tipper instead.
7. Thou shalt wield a large tool
First it was a scythe. Now it’s a pickaxe and sledgehammer. As long as it’s suggestively phallic and heavy enough to get his muscles flexing, Poldark’s happy to heft it. What next? An electric guitar, giant sausage or huge pepper grinder, probably.
8. Thou shalt have demons
A real man has a dark side but keeps his cards close to his chiselled and manicured chest. The debut series opened with Captain Poldark returning from the American War of Independence, where he saw terrible things that, naturally, he never talks about. While he was away, his lost love Elizabeth (Heida Reed) married his cousin, thinking Ross was dead. He now grieves for his daughter Julia, who died at the end of series one. And that’s just the stuff we know about. He’s a veritable Cornish pasty of meaty secrets and interminable trauma.
9. Thou shalt cover thine modesty with a precariously placed towel
OK, so this is from Aidan Turner’s other recent hit BBC period drama, And Then There Were None. But come on, look at it – that towel’s hanging on by a thread. We suspect tit tape, smoke and mirrors.
10. Thou shalt be flawed but heroic
The photogenically macho scar on Poldark’s face – that beautiful, beautiful face – is a metaphor for his personality. He’s flawed but in all the right places. Proud and noble, often to the point of self-destructiveness. Violent and vengeful but only towards those who have wronged him. Passionate and up-for-it but only with his wife. And childhood sweetheart. And any other corset-clad fitties who happen to be passing by.
Hey, he’s only human.