BBC One today reveals Aidan Turner (The Hobbit Trilogy, Being Human) will star as Ross Poldark in Debbie Horsfield's adaptation of Winston Graham's acclaimed saga set in 18th century Cornwall, made by Mammoth Screen and directed by Ed Bazalgette (The Guilty, Endeavour). BBC MEDIA CENTRE LINK.
Winston Graham was one of the most successful and prolific novelists of the twentieth century. He wrote in many genres but his best known body of work was undoubtedly the twelve historical novels set in Cornwall at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries which became known as The Poldarks.
Although it is the Poldarks that brought Winston Graham the most fame, he also wrote more than thirty other novels, six of which have been filmed including Marnie directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964 that has been much in the news in 2012. Winston Graham also wrote short stories, historical works, plays and film scripts. His novels are translated into more than seventeen languages and many were selected as dollar book club choices in the USA.
In 2008, to mark the centenary of Winston Graham’s birth and his long connection with Cornwall, The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro held a hugely successful Centenary Exhibition – Poldarks Cornwall: the life and works of Winston Graham. It included the trilby hat without which he never went out, personal memorabilia and many of his manuscript notebooks. The exhibition opened with the announcement of the Winston Graham Historical Prize for an unpublished work of historical fiction.
In the same year panmacmillan re-published The Poldarks series. Seven of these were televised in the 1970s by the BBC (the first such historical series by a living author produced by the BBC). They were such a success — with audiences reaching 14 million on Sunday evenings — that vicars moved or cancelled church services rather than try to hold them when Poldark was showing.
The Centenary Exhibition along with the re-publication of the Poldarks provided the excuse for a party. The weekend of 28th/29th June 2008 saw Winston Graham’s family along with many of his dearest friends including Christopher Biggins, Angharad Rees, who so sadly died in 2012, and Jane Wymark (actors in the Poldark series) together again in Cornwall. They gathered to celebrate Winston Graham’s unique style of story-telling and gifts as a writer in the beautiful scenery of North Cornwall where he had grown up and which he had so loved.
The Strangles © Photo: Simon McBride
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