And after all of that, we’re finally here: the end. Five seasons of copper, chaos and romantic mishaps comes to a touching close on the Cornish shores, and so, too does this podcast. Co-hosts Robin Ellis and Barrett Brountas bid Ross and company farewell one final time.
Barrett Brountas Ross. Ross. Ross. How could we have doubted you, after all these years? But of course, Ross remains true to Demelza, from now until forever.
Ross All that matters – is now.
Demelza An’ we. Two hearts. One beat. We can’t ask more than that. There isn’t any more to ask.
Barrett But Sir George? Could ANYone have expected to see Sir George saving Ross’ life at the last minute? Not I, to be certain.
Ross Clearly we are never going to be the best of friends.
George Or any manner of friends.
Ross But I believe thanks are in order.
George The gesture was not out of concern for you but out of loyalty to my country.
Barrett And in a true bit of Debbie Horsfield scripting cleverness, our podcast co-host, Robin Ellis, gets a final Ross farewell, just like everyone else.
Ross Will it be enough to detain them?
Rev. Dr. Halse For a considerable time.
Ross Your servant, sir.
Rev. Dr. Halse And yours, sir.
Barrett I’m Barrett Brountas, and this is Mining Poldark, a podcast from MASTERPIECE.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be joined yet again by my podcast co-host, Robin Ellis, who played Ross Poldark in the original MASTERPIECE adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels. Hello again, Robin! And where I’d like to start is wondering, what is it like for you to be saying goodbye to this series again? It’s actually, in fact, although it’s for the first time for many of us and not all of us, because there are many fans of both the original Poldark series and the series who have been tuning in the whole time. But this is in fact, your second Poldark goodbye. So what did it feel like wrapping up on the second iteration of Poldark?
Robin Well, I’ve sort of learned not to say goodbye, really, because you never know. God, as Aiden says, you know, in 40 years time, He’ll be playing Halse and I’ll be playing the violin in forever. But anyway, I mean, Poldark pursues me, luckily. I mean, it’s absolutely wonderful. I’ve had 40 years of Poldark and I just never tire of it. And so, yes, it’s sad to see this series. And of course, for people, because it’s a great story and we’ll talk about that in a great characters and you get very involved with it. And so when something that you enjoy so much comes to an end, it’s a disappointment. But I know Poldark never dies basically. It extraordinary how it has a very long life. And who knows? Who knows?
Barrett Well, that’s perfect. I think that’s just the thing that all of us need to hear. So thank you. And you continue to just give us so much with this. So now, you’ve given me hope that there will be more Poldark for me in the future.
Robin Well, there’s a lot more now. There’s you know, there is a lot more just to be practical. There’s a lot more material there that Winston left. His legacy is five books, more so. Who knows? That’s what I mean. Who knows, right? Who knows? Right on the page, I mean.
Barrett Okay, so there’s so much in this final series of Poldark. But among the top moments, not just of this whole series, but not among the top moments, not just of season five, but the whole series overall is this wonderful scene that we’re treated to at the very end. Right. You know, a few minutes before the end of the episode and the end of this series, where the Reverend Halse comes in is called, you know, like in the earliest hours of the morning to arrest Merceron and Hanson our big bads for the series.
Rev. Dr. Halse Could this really not wait till morning? I trust the matter is significant?
Ralph “Possession of brandy on which the duty has not been paid”?
Rev. Dr. Halse Is that the charge? You realize that being in possession of smuggled goods is a serious offence?
Joseph Do not lecture me on the law, sir. Do you not know who I am?
Rev. Dr. Halse No, sir. Who are you?
Joseph A magistrate.
Rev. Dr. Halse Then I wonder you are so ill acquainted with the law as to hold it in contempt. You will reside in Truro jail until the case comes to court.
Ralph What case?
Joseph I’ll give you a dozen names who will have us released before you can say.
Ross Ned Despard? Sir. The list of charges.
Rev. Dr. Halse Bribery, corruption, fraud, blackmail, false witness, mistreatment of prisoners, murder.
Ross Will it be enough to detain them?
Rev. Dr. Halse For a considerable time.
Ross Your servant, sir.
Rev. Dr. Halse And yours, sir.
Barrett That’s just like pure fanservice and pure gratification. Just a real gift with a beautiful bow. So what did you love that scene as much as I did? I wanna know everything, So just tell me, everything please.
Robin Well, I did. I mean, when I read it, I thought, well, this is a real I mean, they I think they had difficulty fitting me into the last episode because basically Halse isn’t very central to the whole thing. So anyway. Debbie did a fantastic job. And in the end, it turned out to be, you know, for the for the idea of Halse and me being in it, it turned out to be a lovely new, more lovely ending to come to that kind of very, very background story. But it’s kind it had its own sweetness about it. And so I was really I’m very much looking forward to to playing it. And I arrived very early, actually, in the morning because I was called first thing you get there at 6:00 in the morning and it’s pretty bleary. And we didn’t get to our final bit until the afternoon, by which time, although I’d been sitting there, I was very weary. Anyway, I had this this scene where I come on, there’s very little rehearsal. In fact, there’s no rehearsal ready. And you come on and you kind of have to get it together. And in a sort of ironic way, I was. Halse was was in a non non prepared state, which in a way was quite convenient. I mean, you know, we had difficulty finding his wig. Unfortunately, I found it. So I had to put it on. But anyway, he comes in, he comes in in a very flustered state and very upset that he’d been disturbed, etc. And we have this little scene and there’s one line in this scene. I really, truly tell everybody who’s listening that I did work very hard on this scene. I learnt my words, but I had real difficulty remembering this line. Then I he says one of them says, I am a magistrate and he I say, how says? Then I wonder you are so little acquainted with the law as to hold it in contempt. That is my line. And could I remember it? I could not remember it. It was, you know, I was. Then I wondered. Crowd contempt, right? Oh, sorry. Could be. Could we go that? Could we go again, please? Then I wonder, you are so, so sorry. So sorry. I’m so sorry. I know what. One more time, please. Then I wonder, you are so ill acquainted with the way I am. I’m so sorry. And in the end, I did it about ten times, I think, and I almost gave up. I said, well, look, you know, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Throw in the towel and you watch it now. And it’s as though that hadn’t happened at all. It’s it’s seamless. It’s extraordinary that the the this the that how tech, how the technical side really helps you out. So that was a bit hairy. But the moment when we shook hands and smiled at each other was a very genuine, sweet moment of ending this this this very nice conceit of the two Poldarks being together, as it were, in the same scene, which was the same as the first scene in the courtyard. So it was it was a it was fun. And everybody cheered. And and it was just one of those lovely moments in my my acting life. So I appreciate it very much. I appreciate Debbie doing it. Very lucky, I am.
Barrett It’s a very Reverend Halse scene. He’s scolding his audience for not properly knowing the rule of law. You know what? He’s threatening others with the full weight of the British legal system. Was that great fun? Did you enjoy this?
Robin I did. I did. It was terrific to play this because actually, I haven’t played all that many. I mean, he’s not a villain, but it’s always fun to play those slightly negative characters. And I haven’t played all that many of them. So it was fun. It was quite stressful because I had one or two scenes, maybe mostly one scene, every series. So, you know, you arrive in the morning. And as I explain and it’s over by the evening and it’s gone in a flash. But it the pleasure really was was manyfold. I mean it. The pleasure was doing it, of course, and reconnecting with this fantastic serious story, storylines and characters, but also working in with this group of people who were know one of the pleasures of being an actor is working with groups of people. I’ve done it a lot in the theater and in television. And when it’s a series in the old days, you really were a group. You really were a company. And because it was done slightly differently, but they managed this time to to read to replicate that and be the atmosphere was absolute like a company. And also they were incredibly good at what they did. I mean, they it really is an impressive cast. And so it was a pleasure to rejoin with them every time. And just in the green room, just sort of catch up with them while we were waiting to go on and things. So it was fantastic.
Barrett This there’s something that’s nice that comes full circle about this scene because they had been antagonists. And here they’re on the same side of the law for a change and in complete agreement about who exactly is breaking the law. And it’s not wrong this time. So what do you see? Could you could you possibly see Reverend Hall’s and Ross working together like this in the future?
Robin I absolutely want one of the scenes. What? There was a sort of change from from me trying to get him hanged, basically, and put away with the help of George.
Rev. Dr. Halse Mr. Poldark it is alleged that you roused the neighborhood and led a blood-thirsty mob down to the beach.
Rev. Dr. Halse Which part?
Ross They were not thirsty for blood. They were starving for food.
Rev. Dr. Halse Did you encourage the riot which broke out on the beach?
Ross I did not consider it a riot.
Rev. Dr. Halse Do you approve of plunder and lawlessness?
Ross Do you approve of whole families being without sufficient food to keep them alive?
Rev. Dr. Halse What part did you play in the death of Matthew Sanson?
Ross Regrettably none whatsoever.
Rev. Dr. Halse Enough of this insolence. Ross Vennor Poldark, I am committing you for trial at the Bodmin assizes. Bail will be set at one hundred pounds. And may God have mercy upon you – for I most assuredly would not.
Robin To realizing through the various scenes and series that I had quite a lot of respect for this this character. And there’s a scene I actually try and get him to become a magistrate. And Ross being Ross refuses.
Rev. Dr. Halse It’s not simply in the matter of justice that one wields power. As a magistrate one has a say in the setting of rates, of taxes, the use to which they are put. One’s influence in many spheres is considerable.
Ross Then I’d be required to judge my fellow men.
Rev. Dr. Halse Naturally.
Ross Therein lies the problem.
Rev. Dr. Halse You should be aware that if you decline this role, it will be offered elsewhere.
Ross Nevertheless, I do decline.
Rev. Dr. Halse To Mr. George Warleggan.
Ross An admirable choice. George has all the qualities I lack!
Rev. Dr. Halse And lacks many of the qualities you have.
Robin So Halse clearly has respect for him in the end. And now, of course, Ross has moved on and Ross is a member of parliament. And Halse will know through the grapevine that he’s he’s setting out on a new career of espionage and government service, as it were. So I’m sure that within the confines of Cornwall, although, Ross, I don’t think we’ll ever become a true member of that establishment Halse. Well, you know, at a distance. Be very if he had anything to do with Ross, it would be, you know, with sympathy and understanding and with a certain keenness to do it. I mean, I think he sees his qualities. So definitely. Yeah.
Barrett You know. Yeah, well, that could go on, as we know, and we know that Ross is bound to become a spoiler alert. Sir Ross in the years to come. So it seems like these kind of noble actions for Ross. Maybe they’re more than just a neat close to his personal fights with these villains, Hanson and Merceron. Maybe this is what comes next for him?
Robin Yes, I would say would I? Way back. You know, all these years ago, I was so disappointed that he became Sir Ross Poldark. Oh, yes. I mean, he joined the establishment. Really, it’s a disgrace, you know. And that he, yeah, Sir Ross. I mean, you know. Sir George Warleggan. It happens to everyone. They give in in the end, the rebels.
Barrett Happens to the best of them.
Robin Yeah. Yeah. I think I.
Barrett And that’s that’s why a part of me wants to read the books, but part of me doesn’t, so we’ll see. I wanted to know…You’ve done so much different work over the course of your career, but Poldark was a really important span for you and project for you, right? I mean it really. You went on a journey in Poldark. And I’m wondering, did you ever did you ever think, as as this was closing and you were completing this last scene with Aiden Turner, did you ever sort of look at him and think, here’s a young man who’s had this role and who’s been on a real journey as well and sort of just like, look at him in sort of knowingly smile like, I’ve been there, too, I wonder what’s in store for him in his future? He has a nice future.
Robin Yes. I mean, I think you ever feel that way. I think I think the part for me certainly was the first time I’ve been on BBC One, for instance. I mean, I’ve been on BBC Two on iTV and individual things on classic serials, on WGBH Masterpiece, actually quite a few. But nothing like this, which was, you know, popular television. Sunday afternoon, in fact, you know, really, really popular stuff watched by a pretty constant increasing audience every Sunday, and that had never really occurred with me, you know, so. So it was. Yeah. It was a watershed in my career. And I think for wind, for for Aidan, you know, he was a well-known actor before he did this, but he’d never done that kind of popular television. He’d done his films. He appeared as I did, and in costume drama and stuff like that. But nothing like this. And this kind of you know, this is a long do. This is how many, 35 episodes, isn’t it? Or more So now that’s a that’s a lot to to appear in every six months, every Sunday evening. You know, that’s. But that really brings you into the public domain. And nowadays, of course, it’s different than the all with all the social media and stuff. It’s sort of a constant repeat of that image goes on all the time. I mean, this moves pretty strong when I was around. But now it’s ten times as much as that. So it establishes him hugely and because he was so good in it, you know, and so powerful in it. It’s going to make a huge difference to his future. So we both have a lot to thank Ross Poldark for.
Barrett Let’s hold on for a second and get a quick word from our sponsors…
Barrett So I’ve been thinking about what comes next for Ross and yeah, as you know, as I’ve said, I’ve not read the books. And I guess what I would like to know from you because you’ve thought so much about these characters and you know them so well, is what you would wish for them, not what happens to them, as you know, but like not what happened. But what would you wish for, Ross? What would you wish for Demelza. And what would you wish for. Maybe George and these biggest characters.
Robin Well, first of all, I hope that Ross doesn’t get killed in France because he’s taking on a very dangerous mission as as this his friend Dwight who is going with it so that you know, again, they’re putting in harm’s way. We do know, of course, if we’ve read the last book that he does survive and he he survives long enough, in fact, to go to the Old Vic, what’s known as the Old Vic Theater in London, where his daughter, who’s about to be born in the in the final series here, beautifully named Isabella Rose, Bella Poldark is about to appear in the theater. So we know that he survives. And I know he’s going to have a very exciting life. I think it’s always going to be it’s always going to be a bit tempestuous. Because Demelza, you know, she’s pretty tempestuous person, too, so. But I wish them. What do you think? What do you think?
Barrett I guess what I want for Ross and Demelza has to honor the man that Ross has become. He’s gone on this journey of developing into someone who can embrace the good he can do, even though it means not railing against the system, but being a part of it. Right. So I have to honor that. But what I would really like for them is to be together in Cornwall. Working the mines and working the land and raising their children and being with their friends and him not being on adventures abroad and her not being without him and them not being together. That’s like what I would wish for them.
Demelza Ross! You will come back?
Ross I swear to you, my love. I will return.
Robin Well, I think you’re absolutely right about that. And I think I got the impression that really Ross and Demelza, London isn’t really their scene. I think they are Cornish characters. I think he will do his work. He will be, you know, he will serve his country abroad and be in that business and he will probably remain a member of Parliament. But I think he is the center of his life, as it really has always been, is the family.
Barrett I think so, too.
Robin On the other hand, I think Dwight is an interesting case. He’s going off to France to ostensibly. Do some research in Paris. But I have a feeling that he might, with Caroline’s money, I mean, she has money. And I think, you know, she will cross fingers, have a child, maybe two, and they will have a home life as well. But I think Dwight is ambitious in. In medicine. I think, you know, he might develop the new hospital in Truro. He might develop a research department. He might go into, you know, mining diseases. He might, you know, develop that side of him with her money. He might even establish a hospital in London. Who knows? But I think he’s he’s quite capable of that. And having a home life. Yes. Which is interesting. What do you say?
Barrett I agree. I think Dwight has a brilliant career ahead of him and he’s ready for it. He’s therefore it. You know, he he’s become so much more secure and confident than his sort of earlier. I’m just a country doctor with some remedies. He’s really grown into his role. And you see him this season really standing up for what he believes in in a very public sphere.
Dwight Ladies, gentlemen, fellow members of the Royal College of Surgeons, may I welcome you to this lecture in which I will attempt to articulate my own, perhaps controversial views, of the causes and treatment of insanity. I have come to consider insanity not as a moral failing,nor an inherited one… But an affliction which may happen to the best of us. I am of course aware of the plethora of conventional treatments – many and varied, but alike in their brutality and lack of humanity.
Caroline Sir, are you suggesting that the mad man – or woman – does not benefit from a firm hand?
Dwight From my own observation and experience, I suggest that patience and simple kindness can yield equal if not better results.
Caroline But what of the man who attempted to assassinate his Majesty?
Dwight I do not know his history, ma’am, but…
Erskine He is a soldier, sir, who sustained severe sabre wounds to the head in the service of the king.
Dwight I’m no lawyer, but I venture to suggest that a man who has been bludgeoned across the skull might not be entirely of sound mind! And if he’s not of sound mind, how can he be held accountable for his actions?
Barrett So in a way, although what would I wish for, Ross, is to just get back to Cornwall and be with Demelza and his family. What? I I feel like honors the character that Dwight is, is to sort of be in Cornwall, but also maybe be in London. And as you were saying, maybe opening a hospital and the end. So he’s kind of at the beginning of this great career that fits well with what I want for him, because I think that he and Caroline are such a team.
Robin Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful. Yeah. Very rarely. I quite agree with that. We were on the same wavelength.
Barrett Of course we are. So. What do you think about George? What would you like for George? He’s really won my heart this season and I feel bad for him. And I had this great joy that he actually saved Ross’s life. So what do you want for him?
Robin Yeah. Well, you’re right. I mean, they they have this extraordinary scene in the last episode where they they have a little drink together.
Ross May I suggest a brandy? Clearly we are never going to be the best of friends.
George Or any manner of friends.
Ross But I believe thanks are in order.
George Spare yourself. The gesture was not out of concern for you but out of loyalty to my country.
Ross I’m indebted to you nonetheless. Which is not a position I relish.
George Whereas I revel in it!
Ross So – shall we revert to our usual animosity?
George With pleasure.
Robin But I think he’s going to cut himself off. He’s going to become, you know, thorough. I think he’s going to spend an awful lot of time in London. He’s ambitious. He’s got connections. I think he’s interested in becoming very rich and therefore gaining status because of his enormous riches. Do we hold out very much hope? I think he will. He’ll marry again. What do you think of his relationship, his attitude to Valentine? In the end? Yeah, I think it did. You think it was. He was sort of separating himself from Valentine, really? And that was interesting.
Barrett It was an interesting moment when he asks Ross to agree that Valentine won’t be allowed at Nampara. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. Because he sort of he knows, but they’re all agreeing to pretend that they don’t know this. So I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen to George. I imagine he will sort of be this like. You know, just up, up a powerful toff who is just accumulating more and more wealth. But I would love to see him fall in love again. You know, and and because he loved Elizabeth so much. Will there any would he. Is there anyone that he could love again? I feel like Valentine is not in good hands and he hasn’t been for a while. Well, this last part of our conversation has definitely made me decide that I will turn to the books to see what happens in spite of knowing that Ross becomes a knight. I still I. I’d say there’s still too much more that I have to know that I think I am going to love. So we’ll see. Now, Robin, I when we first had our first conversation, when we were talking about whether or not we would do this podcast together, you said how delightful. Poldark has been in your life and that you’ve had what you call the Poldark perks. And I just want to say that this has been a Poldark perk for me. Every conversation I’ve had with you. Has been such a delight. I feel like I couldn’t have had a better experience and could not have enjoyed more talking about this show and just learning all the things I’ve learned from you and the expansiveness of all that. And it’s been a joy. So I thank you so much for my very own Poldark Perl.
Robin Well, that’s extremely generous and lovely of you. Thank you very much. But I have to say that it’s entirely mutual. I’m often asked what I think you know, Poldark why it’s so popular. Why? Why is it that it continues to be so from the very start and to television series experiencing the same kind of real, really popular reaction? And it made me think of Richard Morant, who was the original Dr. Ennis in the first go round. Some years ago, the BBC did a series of programs called The Cult of Sunday Night, which examined a half hour programs of just examining each of the sort of early 70s, 80s series that showed on Masterpiece as well, I think. And he was asked this question, why does he why did he think it was so popular and why did he think what was the attraction? And I just like to read you what he said, because it’s it’s just sums it up for me. He said it’s about love, it’s about betrayal, things that hurt us, things that give us joy like any kind of creation where people, you know, are going through their emotions, expressing their feelings of love, life and death. It evokes strong attachments, strong passion. And you love it, you love them, you love the people, you cherish them, you honor them, you respect them. And I thought it was just wonderful, really simple and and absolutely what it’s about. That’s why it’s attractive.
Barrett It’s perfect. And it’s such a gift. And it’s people like you, you know, and all the colleagues and all those people who work so hard that make it for us to just have all of that. That rich, rich tapestry of feelings and emotions and experiences through it. So that’s perfect. Thank you again so much, Robin Ellis.
Robin Well, thank you very much, Barrett. It’s been a pleasure. I shall miss it.
Barrett And with that, we bid farewell to Poldark, and to Mining Poldark: the podcast. I want to thank you for joining us on this five season adventure, recapping the entirety of this beloved series and reminding ourselves why we love this swashbuckling, heroic story of love, loss and friendship.
If you find yourself searching for a favorite episode of the series out there and wonder, Is there an apt episode of Mining Poldark available for me to revisit the highs and lows of this moment with Barrett and Robin?, I can assure you — there definitely is.
You can find all of our episodes on PBS.org/MiningPoldark, or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public or wherever else you listen to podcasts.
Mining Poldark is hosted by me, Barrett Brountas, and Robin Ellis. We’re produced by Nick Andersen, with help from Robyn Bissette. Tina Tobey-Mack is our sound designer. Our executive producer is Susanne Simpson. The executive producer of MASTERPIECE is Susanne Simpson.
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