Tag Archives: Winston Graham

Poldark Series – Better Than Downton?

Better Than Downton?

  • RossPoldarkCover2015-2Title: Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall
  • Author: Winston Graham
  • ISBN13: 9781447281528
  • Series: The Poldark Saga #1
  • Published: Published February 12th 2015 by Pan Macmillan (first published 1945)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Genre/s: Historical Fiction
  • Source: Puchased
  • Rating: A

SYNOPSIS – (From Goodreads) Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin.

But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home – an act which alters the whole course of his life . . .

Though it may not feel like it outside, we do live in Canada after all and the climate can be uncertain at best, the dog days of summer are fast approaching. The time of year that used to be a barren wasteland of reruns has now evolved into a trial period of sorts for new television programming some good and some bad case in point Under the Dome. To which my husband refers to ironically as our favourite comedy series but I digress.

This year, however I am waiting with bated breath for the latest adaptation from BBC One of Winston Graham’s classic Poldark saga. First published in 1945, it was a great favourite of my mother’s family and watching reruns of the original 1975 series are some of my best television watching memories.

Poldark (1975) Robin Ellis as Ross and Angharad Rees as Demelza on the Cornish coast.

Better than Downton, say it isn’t so. Shocking as the statement may be the answer is likely “yes”. Now don’t get me wrong I was so moved by Matthew and Mary’s trials and tribulations that I stayed up all night watching season three only to have the finale spoiled literally hours before I planned to watch it. Whereas the love triangle at the centre of the Poldark Saga is stuff of legend and by comparison Downton Abbey without Matthew is just a sad, sad thing that not even Carson and Mrs. Hughes engagement could revive.

I know many of us need another book series to read like we need another hole in the head but that never stops us from hoarding them all the same. The Poldark Saga consists of a weighty twelve volumes of which the first six focus largely on Ross’ exploits and the remainder concerning his decedents though I have not read them all I may have to revisit this compelling family in the near future. Regardless of whether I dive into those particular literary waters again, I for one will be watching Poldark when it premieres on PBS June 21st and if you are one of those people who has to read the story in advance there is still time!

About the Author

main.winston-portraitWinston Graham was the author of forty novels. His books have been widely translated and the Poldark series has been developed into two television series, shown in 22 countries. Six of Winston Graham’s books have been filmed for the big screen, the most notable being Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Winston Graham was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 1983 was awarded the O.B.E..





It’s Not You, It’s Me

South ParkYou’re Getting Old (S15, Ep 7) – Stan turns ten years old and suddenly things change and everything is seems like crap to him; music, movies, food, and life in general, and his friends can’t stand him anymore.


Despite the fact that my mother made life long impressions on my media tastes growing up, it was she who imparted her love of classic films and novels onto me, watching television with her could be patently unsatisfying.  I adopted an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach as I am sure most of us did growing up in single television families but came to love Poldark, Upstairs Downstairs, and Daphne Du Maurier‘s Rebecca to name just a few. Nevertheless this exchange was mostly one sided, my younger self simply couldn’t comprehend her lack of appreciation of  the books and movies I enjoyed. More than once she would state plainly “that would never happen…” when we were watching something to which I would mentally roll my eyes and think “there is no accounting for taste.”

Rebecca_1It wasn’t until I was watching Joe Wright‘s visually captivating version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, three years after her death that I began to see things from her perspective.  In the 2005 feature film when Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays a visit to the Bennett family, to ensure Lizzie is aware that she does not support a possible marriage between their families, she arrives after dark and the family receives her in their night clothes. It was at that moment the first traitorous thought entered my head, that they would never at that point in history have allowed any person not even intimates of the family to see them in such a state let alone a ranking member of the peerage. I sternly hushed that same voice when Lizzie went traipsing through the fields at dawn in a state of undress only to come upon Mr. Darcy in similar dishabille.


Don’t get me wrong, this version of Pride and Prejudice was achingly romantic, the seething passion between Keira Knightley’s Lizzie and Matthew Macfayden‘s Darcy almost eclipsed my favorite, the BBC version starring Colin Firth.

Beyond watching period pieces where I can give that nagging voice more latitude, because truly any history major will tell you that persons, particularly those of quality, circa 1850 did not expose their ankles let alone go haring about the countryside in their dressing gown! Lately I have found that more and more I am struggling to silence that inner skepticism with less and less success. Which begs the question “am I simply too old” to enjoy some of the books that I am reading? I celebrated my fortieth birthday recently and like Stan Marsh of South Park  fame, did following his tenth birthday, I have been eyeing things that I used to enjoy with ever increasing suspicion. So the next time I go off on a tear about the veracity of the existence of large groups of tattooed, muscular, intelligent emotionally available men you can reassure yourself that it isn’t you, it’s me and that I am just getting old.

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