Friday, March 27, 2015

In Ross Poldark, we have reached romantic hero nirvana

Sarra Manning
March 25, 2015

Ross Poldark
 ‘He straddles different social classes with the same mastery with which he straddles his stallion.’ Aidan Turner as Captain Ross Poldark. Photograph: Mike Hogan/BBC/Mammoth Screen

Stripped to the waist, his pecs lightly furred, a faint, photogenic sheen of sweat delineating his six-pack, the sun glinting on his dark Byronic tumble of curls, the classic patrician lines of his face given distinction by the devilish scar that lovingly caressed one sharp cheekbone, Captain Ross Poldark treated the nation to some hot scything action on Sunday night – and the nation did swoon. By the time Poldark, aka Aidan Turner, had saved a misguided young poacher from transportation, gainfully employed the local peasantry by reopening his father’s mine, then bedded and wedded Demelza, his flighty young serving girl, Twitter was a’twitter with love for the kind of romantic hero that has been absent from our screens for far too long.

Not since Colin Firth, as one Fitzwilliam Darcy, strode purposefully out of the lake at Pemberley, his white shirt clinging to the planes of his chest, have Sunday nights been such a treat.

In Ross Poldark we have reached romantic hero nirvana. Whether he is straddling different social classes or his stallion, it is always with the same mastery. He has the life experience that can only come from fighting in a war then returning home to find his father dead, the family tin mine all but derelict and his one true love married off to his doughty cousin. He’s equally at home in the drawing rooms of the gentry as he is supping cider in the fields with the great unwashed. He has contempt for those who are rich only by accident of birth and knows how to perform all manner of household tasks. He’s part alpha male, part metrosexual, all combined in one HD-ready, smouldering package.

Now, compare Poldark to that other romantic hero of our age, Christian Grey. Grey’s deep inner turmoil comes from the kind of mummy issues so basic that even a GCSE psychology student would roll their eyes at them. He may be suited and booted, but in the box office-busting adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, with every extraneous hair felled from his body, Grey looks disturbingly pre-pubescent for a tortured torturer. Even more disturbing is that Jamie Dornan looked sexier playing a serial killer in The Fall than he ever did when he was getting down to some sexy slapping in the Red Room.

There’s something incredibly reductive and old-fashioned about the pumped-up posturing of the BDSM-lite billionaire. It harks back to the days when steamy bodice-rippers featured brutish heroes and love scenes that bordered on rape – the kind of romances that have long fallen out of favour with the readers of romantic historical fiction, who now prefer the more considered and contemporary novels of writers like Courtney Milan, Stephanie Laurens and Elizabeth Hoyt. Their heroines have backbone, their heroes aren’t autocratic arseholes, and any bodice-ripping is entirely consensual.


Downton Abbey to end after six series

March 26, 2015

The cast of Downton Abbey

The next season of ITV's period drama Downton Abbey will be its last, its makers have announced.
"Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and Downton is no exception," said the programme's executive producer Gareth Neame.

Created by Julian Fellowes, the show follows an aristocratic family's fortunes from 1912 to the mid-1920s.

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern have played the Earl and Countess of Grantham since the show began in 2010.

The drama has won a string of awards since its inception, including two Baftas, three Golden Globes and 11 Primetime Emmys.

Its success both at home and abroad was recently demonstrated when the Duchess of Cambridge went to see it being filmed at Ealing Studios in west London

"The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard," said Lord Fellowes, whose next project will be The Gilded Age, a period drama set in New York.

"People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea.

"Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain."

"But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience."


Richard Armitage Joins Pilgrimage

23 March 2015  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Screen International


The story of a group of monks transporting a holy relic might not sound like the basis for an action thriller. But throw Richard Armitage, Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland into the mix, plus the possibility of trouble from barbarians on the road to Rome, and you have a good chance of a little violence ahead. That’s the basic set-up behind Pilgrimage.

Brendan Muldowney is set to start directing the film next mouth, working from a script by Jamie Hannigan. The basic story, as mentioned, finds a group of 13th century monks who must escort a monastery’s holiest relic to Rome and find their faith severely tested en route.

With assistance from the Irish Film Board and Creative Europe, Muldowney and primary producers Conor Barry and John Keville have tracked down the cash for a shoot that will take in the West Coast of Ireland and Ardennes in Belgium.


Ripper Street: Season Three Starts April 29th on BBC America

March 26, 2015

As you may recall, BBC cancelled Ripper Street after two seasons. The series was later revived thanks to a deal between BBC and Amazon. Late last year, the new season of eight episodes was offered exclusively in the UK on Prime Instant Video. Now, BBC America has announced the premiere of season three in the States for Wednesday, April 29th.

Here are the details:


The robbery of a goods train leads to a cataclysmic locomotive disaster on Leman Street, reuniting the men and their resentments to seek its cause

New York – March 26, 2015 – BBC AMERICA’s critically-acclaimed and BAFTA nominated original British drama Ripper Street returns in April. Picking up in 1894, four years after the culmination of season two, the new season reveals a vivid and sensual descent into the lives of the men and women who must live on the violent streets of Whitechapel in late Victorian London. Ripper Street premieres Wednesday, April 29, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

Ripper Street series three: five things you should know

Matthew Macfadyen returns as Detective Inspector Reid, Jerome Flynn as the newly promoted Detective Inspector Bennet Drake, and Adam Rothenberg as Captain Homer Jackson. MyAnna Buring also returns as Long Susan in the eight-part season.

Four years have passed since Reid bayed for Drake to end the life of Jedediah Shine. Four years that have seen the crime-fighting axis of Reid, Drake and Jackson split and isolated from one another. Drake has left London for Manchester to become the policeman – and man – he felt he could no longer be in Whitechapel. He is an Inspector himself now. Jackson has reverted to the man Reid plucked out of the Tenter Street brothel, a two-penny, sawbones, clap-doctor. And Reid has succumbed to his own shame and isolation, policing Whitechapel with a level of forensic detail and dedication that leads Chief Inspector Fred Abberline to fear for his old friend’s mental well-being.

Meanwhile, Long Susan has made good on her threats to both Captain Jackson and the dying Silas Dugan – she has separated from her husband, taken command of Duggan’s criminal empire and turned it into a legitimate property empire of huge philanthropic ambition. But such aspirations are costly, as her loyal but scheming solicitor Ronald Capshaw knows only too well.

All these resentments, fears and ambitions are soon forgotten, however, when two trains collide on the newly constructed bridge above Leman Street. It is a catastrophe which falls into Reid’s world and demands explanation. His pursuit reunites him with Drake and Jackson and sets him on his own collision course with his past and with the secret crimes of Long Susan and Ronald Capshaw.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Aidan Turner's girlfriend denies she is engaged

March 25, 2015

Aidan Turner's fans were having meltdowns last week when rumours circulated the actor had secretly popped the question to his long-term girlfriend Sarah Greene. They no doubt breathed a sigh of relief this week, however, when the Irish beauty revealed she and Aidan are not in fact planning a wedding.

She made the denial when spotted out and about in Dublin, having attended the JDIFF's Expressing Emotion: Actors in Conversation event with her beau.

"I'm not engaged," said Sarah, as reported by Photographers had flocked to the event to capture the first photos of Sarah's engagement ring, but were left disappointed when they saw the actress' bare left hand.

Aidan and Sarah, who have kept their three-year romance largely out of the spotlight, were recently at the centre of engagement reports.

A source told the Sunday Express that the couple are "really close and happy" and that "marriage is the logical next step for them" – leaving some to jump to the conclusion that Aidan had secretly proposed over the Christmas holidays.

Speaking to HELLO! magazine in this week's issue, the handsome The Hobbit star admitted that he was "out of the loop" and unaware of the frenzy he has caused among his army of female fans.

"Is that a real thing?" Aidan laughed, when asked if he'd heard of Turner Fever. "Oh dear. I don't know anything about that. Sounds frightening though. I don't do social media and stuff so maybe I'm slightly out of the loop to a degree."

Aidan admitted that he doesn't read much about himself and the attention he spurs, especially online. "People don't tell me a lot of it either," he said. "My friends are under strict instructions not to tell me anything so I rarely hear of it, but I get a giggle when I do."

For the full interview with Aidan, pick up the new edition of HELLO! magazine, on newstands now.