Saturday 20 January 2018

Angharad Rees

Actress who starred in Poldark, the Cornish saga that captivated TV viewers, and later became a jeweller

Angharad Rees, the actress who died last Saturday aged 63, was best known as Demelza in Poldark, the BBC's popular saga of gentry, smugglers and derelict tin mines in 18th-Century Cornwall.

Noted for her flouncy dresses and wild auburn tresses, she starred as the former servant-girl who "drops her knickers for a shilling". Despite her humble birth she eventually marries Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis), a dashing army captain who returns from the American Revolution to find his estate in ruins and the love of his life, Elizabeth (Jill Townsend), betrothed to his cousin.

The 29-episode drama featured a host of twists and sub-plots, with Demelza becoming pregnant by Capt Poldark, who also finds himself embroiled in a feud with his neighbour, George Warleggan, played by Ralph Bates.

Based on the Poldark novels by Winston Graham, the series was broadcast between 1975 and 1977 and attracted 15 million viewers.

Angharad Mary Rees was born in Cardiff on July 16, 1949. Her father, Professor Linford Rees CBE, was an eminent psychiatrist.

Educated at Commonweal Lodge in Surrey, where she struggled with dyslexia, Angharad at 16 went on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris before winning a scholarship to the Rose Bruford drama college in Surrey.

She first came to public notice in 1969 as Marie Melmotte in The Way We Live Now, a television adaptation of the Anthony Trollope novel.

Having appeared in Nescafe coffee commercials with her first husband, the actor Christopher Casenove, and their two sons, she gave up full-time acting in 1981. Her stage appearances included roles in The Millionairess; It's a Two Foot Six Inches Above The Ground World; The Picture of Dorian Gray and A Handful of Dust.

In 2005, she founded a jewellery design company, Angharad, based in Belgravia. She was commissioned to design necklaces and earrings for the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

She married the actor Christopher Cazenove in 1973. The couple divorced in 1994 and in 2005 she married David McAlpine of the McAlpine construction company. He survives her with Rhys, the younger son of her first marriage. Her elder son, Linford, was killed in a car crash in 1999, aged 25. Christopher Cazenove died in 2010.

© Telegraph

Sunday Independent

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