Hugh Armitage, Poldark‘s very own romantic poet, was like actual Romantic poet John Keats in his consuming love and his deadly consumption. (Though the less said about the poetry, the better…) Upon the tragic departure of the sweet Lieutenant, we still have some questions about Hugh vis-à-vis Demelza and Ross. Actor Josh Whitehouse was kind enough to answer them, to dish on his experiences filming Poldark, and even participate in a MASTERPIECE lightning round!
MASTERPIECE: We Poldark fans knew that Hugh was a goner once Dr. Choake was put on the job. Were you super horrified at the prospect of Choake’s treatments like “trepanning”?
WHITEHOUSE: My mom used to do that to me when I was six—she’d always go for trepanning if I got a headache or something like that! [laughs] I mean, his techniques were pretty out there.
MASTERPIECE: Hugh is so sweet and innocent that we don’t even care that he’s a HOMEWRECKER! How did you feel about it?
WHITEHOUSE: I felt that he was just following his heart. I don’t think he’s a homewrecker necessarily…I mean, his actions have consequences, but when I was portraying him, I really wanted to try to connect to people about how people go through this experience, falling in love, and emotions being strong. So, I just felt like he was a guy going through his life and his feelings—I couldn’t feel towards him as a homewrecker. I had to find a way to relate to it.
MASTERPIECE: When Hugh got really sick, he didn’t bother to hide in the least his infatuation with Demelza—Were you ever like, Um, her husband is right there?
WHITEHOUSE: [laughs] A little bit, sometimes. But then, I guess in those moments he was doing that, Ross didn’t really know what had happened. So, I thought it was a bit cheeky—yeah, he definitely has a couple of cheeky lines. But it’s all part of the drama, isn’t it?
MASTERPIECE: What do you imagine might have become of Hugh and Demelza if he’d lived?
WHITEHOUSE: I think I think nothing would have come of them because she belongs with Ross. And I think that Demelza would have remembered that. You know, she was already sort of saying “no” to him. I think it’s probably good for everybody that he dies—perhaps even for Hugh, because I don’t think he would have wanted to go on, as it would seem.
MASTERPIECE: What will you miss most about your castmates?
WHITEHOUSE: I think, mostly, I’ll miss days out in Cornwall when we were staying in this big castle hotel, having dinner together each night, and getting to know one another, and playing tennis, going swimming, things like that. It’s always fun if there’s a lot of you on a set. And then, when people aren’t on set, and you’re stuck hanging around at a hotel finding things to do, we were all getting to know each other. It was a lot of fun, so I’ll always miss it.
MASTERPIECE: Have you ever written a love poem (or maybe a song, since you’re a musician) to woo someone in particular?
WHITEHOUSE: I think I’ve maybe without meaning to. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever presented one, but I’ve had feelings before, and then written a song that gets those feelings off my chest. And hey, maybe the person that it was written about might have, you know, started liking me over it. But I wouldn’t have turned up and gone, [singing] “This is for you. Please love me now!”
MASTERPIECE: How will you be watching Season 4 of Poldark? [asked before Poldark’s UK broadcast]
WHITEHOUSE: I always like to see the end product on things I’ve worked on. I know some people don’t, but I like to check it out because I’m proud of it! But yeah, my girlfriend, my family, and my friends all generally get together. I live with eight people and sometimes a couple of friends from next door come around as well, and we’ve got a projector. We tune in live because it’s exciting!
And now, a MASTERPIECE Lightning Round!
MASTERPIECE: French prison or Dr. Choake?
WHITEHOUSE: French prison.
MASTERPIECE: Lose your sight or lose your hearing?
WHITEHOUSE: Lose your hearing.
MASTERPIECE: Poetry or prose?
MASTERPIECE: Sand dune or bed?
WHITEHOUSE: Sand dune.
MASTERPIECE: Pol-dark or Pol-dark?
Not ready to say goodbye to the dashing Hugh Armitage? Hear an in-depth conversation with actor Josh Whitehouse on the MASTERPIECE Studio Podcast.