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 ‘Poldark’ novels set in Cornwall at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. In 2015 they come to life again.
TV series - 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
A fresh adaptation of the Poldark saga, starring Aidan Turner (The Hobbit Trilogy, Being Human) began on BBC1 TV in March 2015. The eight part series was adapted by Debbie Horsfield (Cutting It, The Riff Raff Element) and directed by Ed Bazalgette and William McGregor. Series 2, 10 episodes of 60 minutes each, began in September 2016. Series 3 was aired on BBC in June, 2017 and Series 4 came to air in the Autumn of 2018. Poldark Series 5 is expected to return in the Autumn of 2019. Click the Radio Times link to get the latest news. All the TV programmes are produced by Mammoth Screen. Andrew Graham, Winston’s son, comments: ‘I am thrilled to see the Poldarks returning to the screen. I have worked closely with Mammoth Screen and their concern to stay faithful to the books has been wonderful. My father would be totally delighted’.
New editions of the Poldark novels
Coinciding with each TV series, Pan Macmillan produces new editions of the Poldark novels: in 2015 Ross Poldark and Demelza and in 2016 Jeremy Poldark and Warleggan. Series 3 in 2017 saw the re-publication of The Black Moon and The Four Swans. Series 4, 2018 was based on The Angry Tide. Series 5 will be shown on Sunday evenings in the summer of 2019.
Poldark’s Cornwall re-issued with new photos
Winston’s semi-autobiographical book of Cornwall with its beautiful photos of the Cornish sea and landscapes was re-issued by Pan Macmillan with many new photographs in 2015. The book includes an introduction by Andrew Graham who writes: ‘My father, Winston Graham, effectively wrote two autobiographies. The official one was Memoirs of a Private Man. The other is Poldark’s Cornwall. At least that is how my sister, Rosamund, and I see it; and, in addition to the photographs, it is this factor that makes this such an interesting book’.
OPERA – Marnie, 2018
The original Marnie was a psychological suspense novel written by Winston in 1961. It inspired Hitchcock to make a movie of the same name (starring Tippi Hedron and Sean Connery) and, more recently, by special arrangement with Universal Pictures, it has been made into an opera. The London premiere was performed by the ENO (at the London Coliseum) in 2017 and the New York premiere was held at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2018. Composer Nico Muhly unveiled his gripping reimagining of Winston’s novel about a beautiful, mysterious young woman who assumed multiple identities. Director Michael Mayer and his team devised a fast- moving, cinematic world for this exhilarating story of denial and deceit.
The Strangles © Photo: Simon McBride