Who’s the daddy? The safe bet, as usual, was Master Ross. Elizabeth and Demelza were both expecting but one of them was the victim of a Cornish curse in Poldark, by Jim Shelley
Poldark was back, starting series three with Master Ross in the middle of a domestic set-up that even a 1790s Cornish Jeremy Kyle would turn down as being too complicated.
Our hero’s ex, Elizabeth, was about to give birth, although whether Poldark actually was the daddy and had impregnated her passionately or forcefully remained open to debate amongst the villagers and the viewers.
Not only was Poldark’s enemy George Warleggan set to raise the child as his own, Aunt Agatha then promptly cursed it. Whereupon Poldark’s current wife, flame-haired supermodel Demelza, announced that she too was expecting. And you thought your love life was complicated...
Scroll down for video
Pprince Charming: Poldark was back with Master Ross in the middle of a domestic set-up that even a 1790s Cornish Jeremy Kyle would turn down as being too complicated
Dastardly banker: George Warleggan (right) makes Aunt Agatha, Morwenna, and young Geoffrey Poldark form an orderly queue to check whether Baby Valentine (!) has black curly hair and a designer scar
At first though it seemed everything in Poldark’s garden was rosy.
As he acknowledged to Harris Pascoe over a pint of scrumpy, his accounts were healthy, the mine prosperous, and his land thriving - all thanks to local yokels who asked to be paid only in stale bread, fudge, and the honour of serving Master Ross.
After an honest day’s hammering for tin or scything the fields, the ruddy-faced peasants would end their evenings gathered round a fire, swigging moonshine, singing bawdy early Wurzels’ songs, or bare-knuckle fighting. And that was just the women...
So although he tended to act as if he were one of the penniless, downtrodden, masses Captain Poldark was a man who had it all: (relative) wealth, Demelza, and Champion The Wonder Horse, the creature he would charge back and forth along the cliffs on, at least twenty or thirty times a day.
Demelza (right) may have looked like a flame-haired supermodel but she was only a humble peasant and prepared to forgive Poldark for his indiscretions with Elizabeth when he was nice enough to organise the secret wedding between Dr Enys and Caroline (left)
Was he happy though? Hell, no.
As Demelza observed bitterly, he envied his friend Dr. Dwight Enys. Not for marrying Caroline Penvenen (the hot blonde who’d put the gals from Made In Chelsea to shame) but because Dr Dwight was returning to fight in the war.
‘Do I?’ snapped Poldark. ‘His clarity of purpose perhaps. The simple act of living in the moment and not knowing whether you live or die...’
No wonder Demelza didn’t feel wanted...
Her husband, she ventured, preferred to spend all day thatching his roof, which was not actually Cornish slang after all.
‘What is it for Ross?!’ she wailed. ‘You’re always about some task but to what purpose?! ‘Tis almost to keep your mind from thinking!’
Elizabeth's steed was no match for Poldark's trusty stallion, Champion The Wonder Horse, as he proved by stopping it at full gallop with his bare hands
‘Whereas you my love think too much,’ he remarked, which frankly sounded unlikely. ‘Everyone has shadows. The trick is to out-run them,’ Poldark murmured, gazing away at the horizon as if he were quoting the lyrics of a pretentious 80s synth band.
But they both knew, as we did, what the real problem/shadow was.
Knowing of their infidelity, it was Elizabeth who was the elephant in the room. (A very good-looking elephant, with Lovely Hair, but the elephant nonetheless.)
‘How difficult it must be for Ross,’ Caroline suggested to Demelza. ‘Did he and Elizabeth not...’
‘Um...Love each other once. And to know tonight she shall deliver the child of his worst enemy must be vexing.’
Trouble ahead: Elizabeth and George Warleggan look daggers at Captain Poldark, unaware that their horses are getting Up Close and Personal
Thanks Caroline! She was right though and Poldark was clearly preoccupied, knocking back port with gusto (an old fashioned cocktail), although fretting more about her baby/his baby than any possible accusations he had raped her in the last series.
Elizabeth had gone into labour prematurely, having seemingly thrown herself down the stairs in despair at the thought of Warleggan raising the babe as his own.
Dr Enys had ended up with the gig of delivering it and saving both of their lives. No wonder Poldark was drinking so heavily.
‘So much for my wedding night,’ muttered Caroline sympathetically.
As for Demelza she had shown the detection skills of a young (redhead) Miss Marple.
‘You think it an accident? Why would Elizabeth fall down the stairs?!’ she questioned. (Never mind that this is what accidents were.)
She was peeved, as Caroline was, that both Poldark and Dr Enys were more interested in Elizabeth than the potential deaths of Demelza’s estranged father and Caroline’s Uncle Bergerac.
Demelza’s brothers, Drake and Eminem Carne, had come to tell her ‘father, he is a-dying.’ (They were but humble peasants you see.)
As the birth and two fond/sad farewells approached, an ominous moon caused every character to look out of the window simultaneously.
‘A black moon is a bad omen mark my words,’ cackled Aunt Agatha as if she were unveiling a great revelation even though we could’ve guessed that. The clue was in the name (even though the black moon was actually red).
‘What do it mean?’ asked Drake who had a cool name but was clearly not that smart.
‘Tis the coming of the shadow of death,’ said Eminem Carne.
The question was whose? Demelza’s dad, uncle Bergerac’s, Elizabeth or Elizabeth’s baby? Or a full house?
Predictably the drama over Elizabeth proved a false alarm or an anti-climax. Only the old men (the minor characters) passed away.
Elizabeth and child were both fine, or rather they were until George Warleggan took the baby boy and acclaimed him as ‘my son and heir’, proposing his name would be Valentine.
The ensuing row saw Warleggan order the servants to carry Aunt Agatha into her room and the old lady to put a curse on him. Families eh?
‘That child of yours ! Cursed he be. Born under a black moon ! No good shall come to him!’
He's all mine: George Warleggan cared not a jot that the newborn he declared was his 'son and heir' was in fact Poldark's. Although admittedly that was because he didn't know. Yet...
Poldark had been watching from the trees and decided to take action. Not the way we would have expected - by charging in on Champion The Wonder Horse and saving his baby, Aunt Agatha, and his nephew young Geoffrey Charles Francis Poldark but by arranging to meet Warleggan and hand them over to him for ever more.
Captain Ross had been sucking up to Elizabeth by being nice to Geoffrey, even letting him go mining – the kind of uncle every boy dreamed of.
‘Never hammer without taking your shirt off,’ Poldark had advised him, passing on his greatest tip.
Now Poldark offered to ‘remove myself from your life Warleggan. There will be no need for our paths to cross ever again. This was in exchange for Warleggan promising not to abuse Geoffrey Charles or Aunt Agatha ‘as a means to injure me.’
‘Is that all?’ asked Warleggan, not unsurprisingly. T’was too...
Back at home Poldark broke the news to (a secretly delighted) Demelza. He was giving up/abandoning both children.
‘I must trust Geoffrey Charles to his mother’s care and the child to his father’s. I’ll have no more to do with Trenwith.’
‘I think that’s for the best,’ Demelza said. (She would.) ‘No good can come of the connection between the two families.’
She sealed the deal by revealing she was ‘with child again’ as she put it. ‘You’re not displeased?’
‘I might wish the timing were better. The war’s getting deadlier. Everything in this world seems less certain except for you,’ the smooth-talking devil purred, over looking the fact that five minutes earlier he had been pining for Elizabeth and her newborn. ‘With you beside me, whatever life sends...’
‘We can face it.’
We shall see.
Frankly the optimism of Demelza and George Warleggan that Poldark would keep to his promise and keep away from Trenwith made you wonder if they really knew him. It was only Episode One in the new series after all.
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of: Poldark had to walk home when Champion The Wonder Horse bolted in disgust on hearing news that Master Ross had done a deal with George Warleggan, agreeing to stay away from Trenwith, from the new baby, Geoffrey Francis and even Aunt Agatha in return for, well, not very much actually...