Poldark: The Vampire That We Need

  • Karen Bloom GevirtzEmail author


This chapter compares two television productions of Poldark (1975, 2015) to show how each generation represents the eighteenth century to construct the history that it wants. The portrayals of Ross by Robin Ellis and Aidan Turner, and of Demelza by Angharad Rees and Eleanor Tomlinson reify significantly different norms. The subsequent analysis of cinematic technique focuses on the second Poldark’s use of heritage film conventions. Drawing on ideas of the “post-heritage film” and the “retrovision,” the chapter contends that 2015s Poldark addressed two histories: national history and film history in the form of heritage film. Using heritage film’s conventions, Poldark accepted and challenged heritage film as a genre, in part by constructing a national history ostentatiously different from the one expected from heritage film.


Poldark Aidan Turner Adaptation Heritage film Eighteenth century English history 1700–1799 


  1. Auerbach, Nina. 1995. Our Vampires, Our Selves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BBC 1. 2016. Poldark’s Cornwall Locations. Accessed 5 Jan 2016.
  3. British Historical Cinema: The History, Heritage, and Costume Film. 2002. Edited by Claire Monk and Amy Sargeant. London: Routlege.Google Scholar
  4. Cartmell, Deborah, and I.Q. Hunter. 2001. Introduction: Retrovisions: Historical Makeovers in Film and Literature. In Retrovisions: Reinventing the Past in Film and Fiction, ed. Deborah Cartmell, I.Q. Hunter, and Whelehan Imelda, 1–7. London: Sterling Press.Google Scholar
  5. DiPiero, Thomas. 2007. The Forms of Formlessness. Philological Quarterly 80 (3) (Summer 2007): 205–225.Google Scholar
  6. “Filming in Cornwall.” 2015. Poldark video, Season 1, 2:00. June 21.
  7. Hourican, Emily. 2015. The Return of Romance, Sunday Independent, Living, 1st ed., February 22.Google Scholar
  8. Kao, Vivian. 2015. Adapting Heritage: Reading the Writerly Text in Orlando. Literature/Film Quarterly 43 (4): 276–290.Google Scholar
  9. Lawson, Mark. 2015. Poldark, A 40-Year-Old Series Set in 18th-Century Cornwall, was Ripe for a Remake. The Guardian, March 6.
  10. Lipkin, Steven N. 2002. Real Emotional Logic: Film and Television Docudrama as Persuasive Practice. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  11. O’Connor, John J. 1977. The British are Still the Masters of the ‘Mini-Series’, The New York Times, May 22.Google Scholar
  12. Pukas, Anna. 2015. How Poldark Creator Hated the BBC’s First Adaptation, The Express, March 3.Google Scholar
  13. Poldark. 1975. Adapted by Jack Pulman, Paul Wheeler, Peter Draper, and Jack Russell from the novels by Winston Graham. Season 1. DVD. London: BBC.Google Scholar
  14. Poldark. 2015. Adapted by Debbie Horsfeld from the novels by Winston Graham. Season 1, DVD. Boston: Masterpiece.Google Scholar
  15. Poldark Revealed. 2016. Directed by Keelin Cordelia. DVD. Midnight Oil for PBS.Google Scholar
  16. Politics in Fantasy Media: Essays on Ideology and Gender in Fiction, Film, Television and Games. 2016. Edited by Gerald Sedlmayr and Nicole Warner. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. PDF e-book.Google Scholar
  17. Retrovisions: Reinventing the Past in Film and Fiction. 2001. Edited by Deborah Cartmell, I.Q. Hunter, and Imelda Whelehan, London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  18. Robertson, Peter. 2014. My Return to Poldark: Robin Ellis, The Express, April 10.Google Scholar
  19. “A Set Tour with Eleanor Tomlinson.” 2016. Poldark video, Season 2, 2:43. Aired November 16.
  20. Visit Cornwall. 2016. Poldark Cornwall. Accessed 5 Jan 2016.
  21. “Why a New Poldark?” 2015. Poldark video, Season 1, 2:40. Aired June 21.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSeton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations