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Poldark on TV
Winston Graham Prize
Life & Times – More
When the first TV series of the Poldarks was shown in the 1970s it was a huge success with audiences peaking around 14 million. Shown
on Sunday evenings at 6.30, the story is that vicars moved or even cancelled church services rather than trying to get the congregation
to attend when Poldark was on. The first seven of the Poldark novels were adapted for that series (the remaining five were not yet
written) and it was the first such historical series by a living author produced by the BBC. Winston and Jean stayed in touch with many
of the actors. Robin Ellis, Angharad Rees (who so sadly died in 2012), Christopher Biggins and Jane Wymark amongst others all became
good friends.
In 2008, to celebrate the centenary of Winston Graham’s birth and his long connection with Cornwall, the Royal Cornwall Museum set
up an Exhibition, Poldarks Cornwall: the life and works of Winston Graham. The exhibition included the trilby hat without which he
never went out, personal memorabilia and many of his manuscript notebooks. Several of the actors came and it was all a huge success.
Recently a new edition of Poldark’s Cornwall was published and this year, fourteen years after his death, we have the re-publication of
more Poldark novels and another TV series. He would be delighted.
Winston died in his home at Abbotswood, Buxted, East Sussex on 10th July 2003. He was 95 and had continued writing and publishing
to the very end. Most of the obituaries got the date of his birth wrong. This was hardly surprising since Winston never talked about his
age and, as he grew older, he made increasing efforts to conceal it. When asked, he replied that if publishers knew how old he was they
would be less interested in his work and less willing to publish him.
 Perranporth Beach 2010 © Photo: Simon McBride
Winston and Jean
Abbotswood, Buxted
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