Meet The Cast of Poldark Season 5
Want to learn more about your favorite Poldark stars, and get to know the newest cast members of Season 5? We’ve got you covered! Get to know which star recently dropped an album, which star is joining the Wonder Woman sequel, and who took what from the set as their parting gifts. Plus, get an in-depth introduction to this season’s newcomers, and where you’ve seen them before!
Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark)
For five seasons, star Aidan Turner has brought the heroic Ross Poldark to life. At the end of Season 4, after Elizabeth’s tragic death, Ross and Demelza find themselves on firmly solid ground, and all appears well at Nampara, for now. Needless to say, however, Season 5 will bring new adventures right to the Poldarks’ doorstep, as it always does.
“It has been incredible taking him on this journey,” Turner said of filming the final season and saying goodbye to Captain Ross Poldark. “I was watching some clips of scenes from series one and one of them was when Eleanor [Tomlinson] was singing in the parlor and we all look so young. It is when I reflect on moments like those that all the emotions come in and it makes me think about how much Ross has grown and how much I have grown and learned and what these characters have been through.”
Before his final farewell to the Poldark cast, crew, and sets, Turner had one special request. “I sent a text to Karen Thrussell, our executive producer, asking if I could possibly have the kitchen table and benches from Nampara as it is this beautiful, vintage French table and they said yes, so I am very excited to put them in my house. That will be a cool memento because it was at the middle of all of the big scenes we had in Nampara and where a lot of things went down.”
And, of course, he couldn’t let go of his most iconic accessory: “Obviously I am also taking the tricorn hat…”
Before his days donning that very tricorn hat, Turner was best known for his work in The Hobbit trilogy as dwarf Kili, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (alongside Les Misérables star Lily Collins), and on the TV series Being Human. On top of his screen credits, Turner has also stepped onto the stage, most recently in the Martin McDonagh black comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore in 2018 at the Noël Coward Theatre in London.
Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza Poldark)
Since her very first appearance being shoved about in a dog fight, only to be rescued by the one and only Captain Poldark, Demelza has stolen the hearts of those around her. Going into Season 5, the fierce, proud, steadfast, and true leading lady is as strong as ever. This season, Demelza handles affairs at Nampara, at the mine, and in the community, stepping into the role of leader whenever Ross is called away to London. And yet, somehow, she still finds the time to raise her family and support Ross and his (often reckless) endeavors, on top of it all.
The relationship between the pair is something Tomlinson admires, and knows the audience does, too. “Ross and Demelza’s relationship is a very modern one and I believe that is why people have loved them as a couple, because they are relatable. Their lives aren’t perfect, Ross has cheated, as has Demelza, there is dishonesty in the relationship but there is also a lot of love and passion. Their relationship is very honest and it has been wonderful portraying that.”
The Poldark leading lady admits that playing Demelza has changed how she approaches new roles. “I now look at scripts and think who is this character, what does she offer this project and playing Demelza has definitely given me the strength of character to challenge myself in many ways,” she said.
Like Turner, Tomlinson got to take a piece of Poldark history with her, too. “As a gift from the props department I was given a small collection of the hand written letters Demelza has written or received throughout the show’s run. One of which was the love poem Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse) wrote to Demelza, which is so beautiful.”
Eleanor Tomlinson is certainly no stranger to the screen (big or small). Before Poldark, Tomlinson was known for her work on The White Queen, and The Illusionist. She also appeared in the film Colette, starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West (of Les Misérables), in 2018. MASTERPIECE fans may recognize her from Death Comes to Pemberley as Georgiana Darcy. Next up: Tomlinson is set to star in Joss Whedon’s newest series, The Nevers, alongside Poldark co-star Pip Torrens, former Grantchester leading man James Norton, and Press star Ben Chaplin. She’s also set to star in the upcoming film Love. Wedding. Repeat, alongside Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn and Poldark co-star Jack Farthing.
Not only is Tomlinson an accomplished actress – but she’s a professional musician, as well. In 2018, she released her album Tales from Home, featuring covers of popular, classic folk songs from Simon & Garfunkel, Bonnie Raitt, and Carole King.
Jack Farthing (George Warleggan)
Jack Farthing’s George Warleggan has long been the character we hate to love and love to hate, but there’s no denying: it won’t be easy saying goodbye to the haughty villain. After last season’s tragic loss, this season, George is left dealing with unbearable grief. “The most challenging work I’ve done in the past five years is all in this series,” Farthing said. “George is grieving in a particular and dramatic way. There are climaxes to his sadness and some of them were pretty challenging to film.”
Farthing, like his co-stars, also took a memento with him. “I have a George Warleggan costume already hanging in my wardrobe at home,” he admitted. “A jacket, britches and waistcoat that were all made for me and I spent the whole series in them and I just love them. It is pure nostalgia, although maybe one day I’ll wear it for a fancy dress party.”
We’ll miss his bratty, deep-cutting quips, and his obsessive rivalry with Ross, but fear not, more Jack Farthing is on the horizon for fans. Up next for the former Poldark baddie is the upcoming film Love. Wedding. Repeat with co-star Eleanor Tomlinson. Prior to his days tormenting the poor patrons of Cornwall, Farthing appeared in The Riot Club, Blandlings and Burn Burn Burn.
Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde (Dwight and Caroline Enys)
When Dr. Dwight Enys arrived in Cornwall back in Season 2, he was aiming to just keep his head down and quietly tend to patients. Despite his best efforts, though, he was still dragged into most of Ross’ adventures, and ended up marrying socialite heiress Caroline Penvenen, who also guaranteed anything but a life of solitude. The final season brings even more adventure and (often unwanted) limelight for Dr. Enys, from being enlisted to help Ned and Kitty Despard, to making waves in the medical community. And, of course, the heartbreaking loss of baby Sarah last season still weighs heavily on not only the Enys family, but the actors who play them, as well.
“After the tragic death of baby Sarah was aired I received one particular letter that was quite staggering and humbling to read,” Norris admitted. “It was from someone who had lost a child and they talked about how honestly that storyline had been depicted which was the aim for Gabriella and myself. I felt a responsibility with this story line, to not misrepresent that experience. Part of the reason that television is in everybody’s language is that it allows us to try and make sense of our own lives and we get to deal with heavy subjects on this show and whilst we do it through the glossy lens of TV with the beautiful landscapes, there is a huge responsibility to get it right.”
Before his days as the lovably selfless Dr. Dwight Enys (or, shall we say, Mr. Caroline Enys), Norris appeared in The Inbetweeners, The Duchess, and Skins.
Caroline Enys, the posh socialite heiress whose wits and charm had us falling in love just as quickly as Dwight, has been played by the equally enchanting Gabriella Wilde for the past four seasons. On-screen, we’ve seen Caroline evolve from privileged heiress, to the loyal friend and layered woman she is now.
“Caroline has grown so much since we first met her,” Wilde said. “Every series we see her come up against something new and the multiple, different sides of her that has brought out have been interesting to explore. … While I have loved the heavier storylines and going through all of those emotions as Caroline, I also love when she is naughty and sharp. It is fun to play a character who is bright in that way. She has been a constant surprise.”
Before she was doting on Horace and scheming with Demelza, Wilde starred in 2014’s romantic drama Endless Love alongside Alex Pettyfer, as well as in the 2013 remake of the hit horror film Carrie. Wilde is slated to appear Wonder Woman: 1984, the sequel to the 2017 superhero blockbuster.
Ellise Chappell and Harry Richardson (Morwenna and Drake Carne)
Ellise Chappell and Harry Richardson have been making our hearts soar and break ever since their introductions in Season 3 as Morwenna Chynoweth and Drake Carne. Their love story has been nothing short of tumultuous, but at the end of Season 4, the two finally grasped their chance to be together. In Season 5, the newly married couple are still navigating the waters of wedded bliss, while Morwenna tries to find a way to heal from the PTSD of her marriage (to Ossie Whitworth). Drake, meanwhile, does his best to love and support his wife, no matter the cost.
Drake’s heart of gold has inspired Richardson in real-life. “No matter what situation Drake finds himself in, he operates from a place of kindness and open heartedness and so playing him has set a bar for how open hearted and devoted one can be,” he said. “He makes me aspire to be nicer and kinder and while I don’t know if anyone is as sweet as Morwenna and Drake, we can try.”
Chappell felt much the same. She said she’ll miss Morwenna’s heart, and the heart she poured into playing her. “I didn’t think I could ever feel this deeply about a character,” she said. “It was an emotional experience and that level of empathy is amazing and is something I will definitely keep with me.”
Though, that’s not all she’ll have of Morwenna to remember her by. “When I first read the scripts in series three it said in the stage directions that “Morwenna sits reading Cecilia” and I thought it was a lovely little detail that the book had been specified and I had a really old version of that book on set that I was reading in a scene with Ossie. It is also the book I used in series four, after the hanging scene, where I come back and I am pretending to read. So I asked if I could take home a few of the old books Morwenna would read and on one of my final days of shooting one of our wonderful props team handed me Cecilia and I opened it and it still had the pressed winter primroses that Drake sent to Morwenna in the front page which was incredible and that meant so much to me. I love collecting vintage books and so to have this one is very special. I also have my shell bracelet of course.”
Aside from her work on Poldark, Chappell appeared in the 2019 film Yesterday (also starring Downton Abbey star Lily James and Unforgotten star Sanjeev Bhaskar), and it set to next appear in the upcoming TV series Miss Scarlet and the Duke. Richardson appeared in the Academy Award winning film Dunkirk in 2017, as well as in the TV mini-series Doctor Thorne.
Vincent Regan (Ned Despard)
Season 5 newcomer Vincent Regan stars as Ned Despard, a former Army colonel who served with Ross in the American Revolution. When Ned’s wife, Kitty, shows up at Nampara’s doorstep pleading for the Poldarks’ help, Ross can’t help but dive right in to help his old friend – consequences be damned.
Regan is most excited for people to meet Ned and realize that his character was, in fact, a real-life historical figure. “Edward Despard was a fascinating person and his story fits incredibly well into the world of Poldark,” he said. “Playing him was interesting as he is a real person amongst the fictionalized characters in the series and the fact is that he had a real, poignant story and so I felt there was a gravitas to him that was given to me by history… It is important for people to know this history and I am hopeful it will spur people on to find out more. … Ned is in trouble because big business wants to exploit land and workers and so if you delve deeper and peel away some of the layers of the story you can see the social issues which are as relevant now as they were then.”
Previously, Regan has appeared in blockbusters such as Snow White and the Huntsman, 300, Troy and Clash of the Titans. He’s had roles on TV shows such as The Royals and The White Princess, and has previously been seen on MASTERPIECE in Victoria (as Season 3’s King Louis Philippe) and appeared in episodes of Wallander and Inspector Lewis.
Kerri McLean (Kitty Despard)
Kerri McLean is joining the series this season as Kitty Despard, the wife of Ned and a former slave. She instantly fits right in with the Poldarks and the Enyses, as a kind friend and powerful voice for justice and equality. Kitty, like Ned, was a real-life figure in history that has made her way into the world of Poldark, thanks to writer and creator Debbie Horsfield.
“When I first researched Catherine Despard online and found that she was going around London in the early 1800s campaigning, writing, and giving talks I just thought ‘what a woman’,” McLean said. “She is one of those unheard voices of history. Period drama has traditionally not shown black characters and so it is a real honor to play her and I have felt a responsibility to do a good job. I am proud and feel enormously lucky to have been given this role.”
Before Poldark, McLean appeared on the TV series Doctors, MASTERPIECE’s Small Island (2009), and on Season 1 of MASTERPIECE Mystery’s Unforgotten.
Peter Sullivan and Lily Dodsworth-Evans (Ralph and Cecily Hanson)
Season 5 also marks the introduction of the Hanson family: wealthy businessman Ralph and his teenage daughter Cecily. Ralph’s intentions aren’t immediately clear, but he’s interested in business with George Warleggan, which is almost never a good sign. Actor Peter Sullivan’s other work includes roles on series such as The Borgias (as Cardinal Ascanio Sforza), The Hour, and Critical. MASTERPIECE fans may also recognize him from 2015’s Indian Summers as Hugh Slater.
Lily Dodsworth-Evans, who plays Ralph’s witty, freethinker daughter Cecily (who strikes up a bond with Geoffrey Charles), may be the daughter of a cut throat businessman, but she soon proves her politics and heart differ from her father’s. “Cecily is very different; she is a modern woman and a feminist before feminism was really a thing,” Dodsworth-Evans said.
The young actress also marveled at how welcoming the Poldark fans and community were to her as she stepped onto set for the first time this season. “I was amazed in Cornwall, even when it was cold and rainy fans were there and would come to see us filming. I met someone who had been to every location, from Bristol to Cornwall basically along with us. It is nice; they’re all such lovely fans. It is a bit daunting because you really want them to like you.”
Dodsworth-Evans recently worked on The Art of Racing in the Rain, starring Amanda Seyfried and Milo Ventimiglia. She’s set to next appear in the upcoming film The Good Liar, starring Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen and Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter, as well as the upcoming TV mini-series Dracula, alongside fellow Poldark (and Grantchester!) cast member Sofia Oxenham.