Tuesday 27 September 2016

'Experts criticised my technique and they were dead right' - Aidan Turner on that Poldark scything scene

Laura Harding

Published 26/04/2016 | 08:11

Aidan Turner in the BBC drama Poldark.
Aidan Turner in the BBC drama Poldark.

Aidan Turner has admitted that his star-making turn in Poldark is the first role he has not had to audition for.

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Turner set pulses racing as the shirtless Cornish heartthrob and has revealed it was the first time he wasn’t put through his paces before he was offered the job.

The Dublin-born actor told Radio Times magazine: “I usually audition for things but they just sent me the scripts and the books, and asked me if I wanted to play the role.

“It’s the only thing I’ve got offered in my entire life! Everybody else must have been busy.”

Aidan Turner as a fully-clothed Ross Poldark
Aidan Turner as a fully-clothed Ross Poldark

Tuner (32) had three months to get into character as Ross Poldark, saying: “It gave me tonnes of time to keep reading the books and the script and to figure out how I see the character and mentally prepare for it, get the accent down, get in shape, have horse riding lessons.

He also decided to keep his long hair, which paid off when filming started, telling the magazine: “When the offer came in and I read the book, there was a moment when I went, “Let’s not go to the barber’s, let’s keep this long, see what they want to do with it.”

“Physically, I saw Ross in a certain way. He’s strong, does a lot of manual labour, if he’s not on the horse he’s down a mine, he’s building stuff, he’s got a farm... It just made sense for him to be fit and strong,” he added.

“So I went to the gym a bit more, ate a little less, all those boring things. Unfortunately, there’s no little pill you can take to grow a six-pack.”

Aiden Turner from Poldark with the award for Best Impact/TV Moment in the pressroom at the National Television Awards. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire
Aiden Turner from Poldark with the award for Best Impact/TV Moment in the pressroom at the National Television Awards. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

One thing Turner did not have to prepare was a Cornish accent, having decided his character went to public school so wouldn’t have had a West Country lilt.

He admitted he still struggles to understand his co-stars who do speak with the accent. , saying: “When I listen to Jud and Prudie (played by Philip Davis and Beatie Edney), I can’t understand a single word of it! And even Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) at times, I look at her script, which is written phonetically, and I can’t work any of it out.”

Turner also failed to master the ancient art of scything, despite the now-notorious meadow-mowing scene.

“Anyone who knows scything looked at that scene and thought, ‘Oh, dear God, what is he doing?’ A couple of experts criticised my technique and they were dead right,” he said.

“There was an expert there, looking at me while I was doing it and shaking his head. I’d go back and say, ‘Show me again,’ just to make him happy, and then I’d get back in front of the camera and carry on swinging it around...”

Poldark is expected to return to our screens in the autumn.

Herald

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