Set in 18th-century Cornwall after America’s War for Independence, seen onMasterpiece Theatre
in 1975, this epic saga of passion, adventure, and heartbreak is aBritish Gone with the Wind
. Robin Ellis stars as Capt. Ross Poldark, a young hero who returns home to find his estate in ruins, his inheritance gone, and his beloved Elizabeth (Jill Townsend) engaged to another man. "Sweeping, swashbuckling, exotic"Washington Post
. "Romance and pure escape"New York Times
. SDH Subtitles. 16 episodes; approx. 13 hours 36 min. on 4 DVDs More titles from Acorn Media
Limping and scarred, Ross Poldark returns from the American war to Cornwall after a daring escape from a French prison camp. He finds his debt-ridden father dead, his estate in shambles, and his beloved Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis.
Ross tries to drink away thoughts of Elizabeth but eventually returns to work restoring his estate. A chance meeting at the market brings Demelza Carne, an ill-bred urchin girl, into his household. Meanwhile, his cousin Verity comes to him for help after falling for a man with a dark past.
Ross supports Verity’s romance, leading to tragic consequences, while his opposition to the wealthy George Warleggan makes him enemies with the most powerful man in Cornwall. His relationship with Demelza deepens but is complicated by the class divide.
While Demelza remains in misery at her father’s home, the Poldark family is struck by bad fortune and a series of tragedies. Elizabeth flees her unhappy marriage and runs to Ross to rekindle their romance, but Demelza’s secret threatens to come between them.
Ross and Demelza grow closer with their marriage and the birth of their daughter. However, both their families disapprove of the union, and Elizabeth can barely hide her contempt. Ross also considers a risky new business venture, and Demelza plays matchmaker for Verity.
Ross’s business plan attracts the attentionand the ireof the Warleggans. Later, he makes matters worse with a daring rescue mission to free his unjustly jailed tenant from certain death. Tensions run high at the Warleggans’ charity ball, where Ross exacerbates the grudge.
The whole family feels the repercussions of Francis’s betrayal, although Ross is distracted by a murder that casts suspicion on one of his employees. The crime sends the usually honorable Dr. Dwight Enys into a tailspin of doubt and self-loathing and sets Ross on a course that may ruin the Poldarks.
Demelza tries to make peace with Elizabeth and Francis, but her goodwill has grim results. Mad with grief, Ross finds himself entangled in yet another scandal after his attempt at aiding a wrecked ship devolves into chaos and violence.
Arrested for his role in the shipwreck riot, Ross seems doomed to an unfair trial. Francis seeks to make amends with Demelza, but his guilt over his part in her husband’s fall from grace threatens to push him over the edge.
Demelza does everything in her power to stop Ross from being unjustly convicted, but the odds are stacked against him. The key to the trial lies in the hands of former servant Jud Payntera tipsy layabout easily swayed by drink and coin.
Furious over Ross’s continued success, the Warleggans hatch a plan to financially devastate the Poldarks. At the same time, Ross and Francis agree to settle their quarrel and begin again as partners. Jud, too, has a business proposal for Ross, but it comes with many risks.
After an irate Warleggan and his henchmen punish Jud for his loyalty to the Poldarks, Ross’s simmering dislike for George boils over into violence. Demelza has some surprising news, but her husband’s reaction is even more shocking.
Demelza puts herself in mortal danger by trying to improve their financial situation. A newly optimistic Francis pays a high price for his partnership with Ross, and the family seems to be on the brink of ruin once againuntil an anonymous benefactor steps in.
Ross and Demelza are overjoyed by the birth of their son and their change in fortune. Life appears to be going well for the Poldarks, until a villager’s treachery puts Ross in danger and separates Dr. Enys from his betrothed.
Ross escapes the fracas unscathed, but the villagers are not so lucky. Robbed of their land and livelihoods by George Warleggan’s greed, they whisper about revolt. Desperate to leave Cornwall, Elizabeth makes an unforgivable decision, and Ross risks everything to change her mind.
After her husband’s deception, Demelza looks for revenge from some unlikely sources. Tensions run high at home and abroad: the villagers are in open rebellion and war with France lies on the horizon. The discovery of tin at the family mine gives the Poldarks financial stability, but their marriage threatens to collapse.
Run Time:821 minutes
Number of discs:4
Color or B&W:Color
"Sweeping, swashbuckling, exotic"The Washington Post
"Romance and pure escape"The New York Times
"Romantic adventure, complete with raging ambition, terrible betrayals, frustrated loves, daring deeds, and a marvelously dashing hero"The New York Times
BAFTA TV Award Nomination for Best Costume Design (1978)
BAFTA TV Award Nomination for Best Make Up (1978)
Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Special Musical Material (1978)
TP de Oro (Spain) Award Winner for Most Popular Personage (two awards, Robin Ellis) (1980)