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. More titles from Acorn Media
George Warleggan now owns the home of Ross’s elderly aunt Agatha. Ross protests to no avail, but Georgewhose wife, Elizabeth, is pregnantcannot easily dismiss the ominous words Agatha utters about "a child born under a black moon."
Demelza Poldark is expecting a child of her own, but Ross is preoccupied with other newsthe wreck of Dwight Enys’s ship off the coast of France. Meanwhile, Demelza’s two younger brothers, Sam and Drake Carne, generate more friction between the Poldarks and the Warleggans.
After narrowly escaping execution in France as a spy, Ross continues the search for his friend Dwight. Drake also runs risks as he pursues a relationship with Elizabeth Warleggan’s young cousin, Morwenna.
George Warleggan makes his own plans for Morwenna’s futureand plans of a distinctly different sort for Drake. Only Ross’s intervention saves his young brother-in-law’s neck, an act of generosity that Drake is determined to repay.
A daring raid to rescue Dwight from a French jail succeedsbut at great cost. Back in Cornwall, tension fills the Warleggan household after their infant son falls ill; Morwenna is unhappily married off to a vicar; and Aunt Agatha’s final words shock George to the core.
George sets out to find the truth about his son. Dwight marries his sweetheart, Caroline. And Morwenna’s recently arrived younger sister, Rowella, attracts the attentions of Morwenna’s husband, Ossie.
Ossie and Rowella form a new bond as Ross and Elizabeth rediscover an old one. More interested in social status than romance, George concentrates his efforts on getting elected as the local member of Parliament.
Members of the Warleggan and Poldark families become mired in jealousy. George takes out his hatred of the Poldarks on poor Drake Carne, but it is the gentle Morwenna who proves particularly ruthless in exacting retribution and getting just what she wants.
Corn prices are rising, miners are rioting, and Ross is divided between his loyalties to the Crown and sympathies for the poor. When a new election is called, he decides to run for Parliament against George, who risks not only losing his seat, but also his wife.
Marital tension pervades the Poldark home, although it’s nothing compared to the rancor between Morwenna and Ossie. Tragedy lurks for Dwight and Caroline, while George finds yet another way to hit back at Ross.
A party at the Warleggans’ attracts the great and the goodas well as the uninvited Ross, who manages to steal some moments with Elizabeth alone. Meanwhile, Drake faces an excruciating choice when he learns about the fate of Morwenna’s husband, Ossie.
Drake disappears, suspected of murder, and George’s plans to hurt Ross begin to take effect. But it is the actions of Demelza that not only nearly bankrupt the Poldarks, but also put Ross’s life on the line.
Ross accepts a duel, risking a conviction for murder. Newly pregnant Elizabeth considers extreme measures to safeguard her marriage and family. And Drake makes one last play for a life of happiness with Morwenna.
Run Time:683 minutes
Number of discs:4
Color or B&W:Color
"Romance and pure escape"The New York Times
"Sweeping, swashbuckling, exotic"The Washington Post
"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)