Poldark on MASTERPIECE: Season 3 Preview

Deborah Gilbert | September 22, 2017

That hunka hunka burnin’ Red Coat love, Ross Poldark, and his whole extended (dysfunctional) family are back for Season 3 of Poldark, premiering on Masterpiece Sunday, October 1 at 9pm on THIRTEEN.

Are you excited, Poldarkians? You should be! As the saying goes, third time’s a charm; in the world of Poldark, third season’s a charm! I’ve been lucky enough to screen the first episode of Season 3 already and I can report that it does not disappoint! Episode 1 sets up a lot of pins, and given all the secrets, resentments, and baggage nestled among those gorgeous Cornwall coves, those pins will no doubt be knocked down one by one as one bowling ball after another comes barreling down that cliffside bridle path we know so well.

13 Essentials for Poldark Viewers

13. Know the Past: Get back into Poldark mode, and get more insight into all that baggage leftover from Season 2 (AKA cliffhangers) by reading my Season 2 finale recap.

12. Poldark in Three Words: What does the cast have to say about Season 3? In this clip, Poldark cast members have to describe Season 3 in just three little words. Most notable here is that Heida Reed (who plays Poldark’s first love Elizabeth Chynoweth) seems to be wearing a coat made from Ross Poldark’s hair. Leave it to Eleanor Tomlinson, channeling her inner Demelza (Poldark’s wife), to sum it all up perfectly in just one word: “Love.” (Then she expounds, and you hear the Demelza sensibility in her.)

Dezmelda and Ross Poldark

Dezmelda and Ross Poldark in Season 3 of the Masterpiece drama.

11. Forgive and Forget? At the end Season 2 Ross pulled that old red coat out of mothballs and contemplated joining the French Foreign Legion (or something like that), which would follow his familiar pattern of running from his problems. But in the end he went galloping back to Demelza. He always goes galloping back to Demelza, and she always forgives. But Demelza is no dumb bunny. Even if she forgives, can she ever forget? 

Then there were the fed-up village people who had marched on Trenwith with their pitchforks and torches, planning to burn it to the ground after one of George’s toadies took a pot shot at Demelza for walking through the woods. So incensed were they that even Demelza couldn’t get them to turn back. It took Ross to ride up and do some mansplaining (naturally) to get them to disperse. Over the years Ross has had numerous brushes with the law, but it seems there isn’t a jail cell or a charge that can hold him. While Ross is a regular Harry Houdini where Truro Jail is concerned, quite a few of those poor villagers around him haven’t been so lucky – so we had the feeling he was there to save them as much as Trenwith.

When Ross gallantly lifted Demelza up onto his trusty steed and rode away home, he left seething Elizabeth behind. But what did she expect? After all those years of not-so-secret longing, it took just one roll in the hay for him to realize that she was more appealing from afar. Or did he just realize that (by this point) he only wanted her as a means to take something back from George; that Elizabeth was merely a possession, a currency, to be taken for revenge. Are both men who claim to love her only using her as a pawn?

10. Baby Poldark? And what does Demelza have to forgive and forget about? That infamous night of wild abandon between Ross and Elizabeth may or may not have left Elizabeth with a lovely parting gift. Elizabeth, who may require her toes to do complicated math equations, has to have her ladies maid help her off with her shoes to figure out when the stork will be arriving.

And we now await her greatest fear; the birth of a baby with a head full of unruly black hair, a brooding expression, and a propensity for shirtless scything, do we not? The question of paternity truly is up in the air because Winston Graham, who created the original books, was ambiguous as to who the daddy was so, without DNA testing and Maury Povich, will we ever know for sure? Who knows? Maybe it was neither Ross nor George; maybe it was Jud (though that wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be fair, wouldn’t be proper either!)

Elizabeth’s alter ego, Heida Reed, with her baby bump.

9. Hero Today, Gone Tomorrow: A deeply flawed hero can make for an interesting drama, but at this point, Ross Poldark has feet of clay to such a degree, he could forget all about the mines and start a pottery mill instead. How many times can Ross betray Demelza before he ceases to be heroic? Has he already gone too far? Do we have to forgive him just because Demelza does? What say you, Poldarkians? Can you still look at him with the same unbridled enthusiasm you once did? Can one flinging off of his shirt wash all our misgivings away? Are we now as conflicted as Ross Poldark? Sigh.

8. Let’s Go To The Videotape: In this brief preview clip, Ross Poldark actor Aidan Turner has his own ideas (or not) about what to expect from Season 3. You may be wondering, who is this “Debbie” that Aidan Turner mentions in the interview? I must report that (sadly) it is not this Debbie (more’s the pity), but rather Debbie Horsfield, the screenwriter who has adapted Winston Graham’s Poldark book series for TV. Here, in this clip, is that Debbie, at last year’s Hay Festival, talking about how Aidan Turner was her only choice to play Ross Poldark. And here she discusses the special challenges of producing a costume drama, interviewed by a man who seems to have showed up for the interview in his pajamas. All three clips are definitely worth a watch!

7. They Ain’t Heavy, They’re Demelza’s Brothers: Who’s  new this season? Reinforcements have been called in (i.e., new characters) to add new story possibilities, and they all blend right in rather seamlessly. For starters, Demelza’s brothers, Sam and Drake, re-establish contact with their sister and take on bigger roles. I won’t say how they do this, but that will be established early on.

Then there is a baddie named Tholly Tregirls, an old acquaintance of Ross, who is of questionable provenance and dental hygiene.

At Trenwith there is the arrival of Elizabeth’s cousin Morwenna, brought in to be a governess for Boy (AKA Jeffrey Charles). For his part, Jeffrey Charles seems to have grown quite a bit and has an inquiring mind of his own (which we think he gets from Aunt Agatha), much to the chagrin of Step-Daddy Dearest George. Will Morwenna be an ally for Jeffrey Charles? We hope so, because with George ruling the roost, he sure needs one! And speaking of Aunt Agatha, she’s still hanging on and getting on George’s last nerve – but for how long?

6. Poldark Book Report: There are a total of 12 Poldark novels. In case you’re reading along, the first two seasons of Poldark each covered two of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels. But the next two novels in the series are rather thicker tomes, and Debbie Horsfield didn’t want us to miss any of it, so Season 3’s episodes of Poldark are an adaptation of Graham’s novel The Black Moon, and the first half of The Four Swans.

5. Poldark Origins: Where did the name Poldark come from? Winston Graham named the character after a friend named Polgreen, but then decided that wasn’t mysterious enough and changed it to Poldark, a name he invented. Ross’ scar, adding to his personal intrigue, is based on an injured WWII flying ace Graham once met on a train.

4. Binging with Poldark: To be truly prepared for the Poldark Season 3 premiere (or the entire season, which will be available in its entirety to THIRTEEN Passport members), one must have the appropriate viewing snack. Unfortunately, the official snack of the Poldark villagers is either Pilchards — salted fish – or starvation.

Skip several decades ahead, past Mad King George, and on to Queen Victoria (who, by the way, will be returning to Masterpiece in January 2018), and bake up a Victoria Sponge cake for your viewing and eating pleasure. Yes, I’ve mentioned the Victoria Sponge before, but now that I’ve got Mary Berry’s recipe (courtesy of PBS Food), there’s no turning back!

I made one for guests last weekend and they inhaled it! Get your bake on for this Sunday night. Skinny jeans be damned!

3. To Thine Own Selfie Be True: The Poldark cast are just like us, only more so. They love a good selfie. The difference? Their selfies are of people we actually want to see! The pictures you see on my preview blog come from their Instagram feeds. Here, Ruby Bentall’s Instagram shows that they are just as excited as we would be to run into Selasi from The Great British Baking Show!

3.1. Dizzy Lizzie: And what do we know about Heida Reed, the actor who plays Elizabeth? She’s from Iceland (can you think of anyone else from Iceland?), and from her Instgram we know she loves spending time in L.A., and she gets weepy watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. What else do you need to know? It’s love. She also makes some funny selfies for her Instagram account. Here we see the alter egos of the Poldark/Warleggans dining out:

You can see more behind-the-scenes pics on Heida’s Instagram feed.

2. Both Sides Now: And here we see both sides of a cast selfie, from Beatie Edney’s Instagram feed:

1. Sunday, Funday: I’ll be reviewing every Poldark episode again this season, so please make sure to come back here every Sunday night, just as the night’s episode is ending, to read my recap and join in the conversation/group therapy in the comments section below. For a refresher on last season before this season starts Sunday, you can watch all Season 2 episodes on THIRTEEN Passport, and read along with all my Poldark recaps. There you go, Poldarkians! You’re all ready for another season of adventure and romance from Poldark!

Join the conversation in the comments section below, or on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #PoldarkPBS.

If you are on Twitter you can follow THIRTEEN at @THIRTEENWNET and me at @E20Launderette. On Instagram, find THIRTEEN at @THIRTEENWNET and me at @GothamTomato.

Stream full episodes of Poldark on MASTERPIECE.