Poldark Country

Take me to the beachNicola here, with a post that is part travelogue, part about settings and backgrounds in books. 

There’s something about Cornwall, isn’t there. It rivals Scotland in the imagination as a romantic setting for a novel. It's wild, rugged and magical. Perhaps it all started with Daphne Du Maurier and with Winston Graham’s Poldark books and the TV series. I know it did for me.  I grew up on the original BBC dramatization of Poldark, though my teenage heart was mostly given to Dr Enys rather than to Ross. When the more recent dramatization came out I felt it couldn’t possibly match the first one but it carved its own niche in our affections as well as raising interest in the ancient skill of scything. And as for Daphne Du Maurier’s books, well, Frenchman’s Creek is still up there on my all-time favourites list, and Jamaica Inn not so far behind. Both Du Maurier and Winston Graham created the atmosphere of historic Cornwall so evocatively that I was desperate to visit (which was neither quick nor easy 40 years ago from Yorkshire!)

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Is Costume Drama Coming Back into Fashion?

HatNicola here. Today I’m talking about costume dramas old and new. It seems to me that after a long period with very little historical drama on TV and even less on film, there has been a revival of interest in the genre, at least from some television companies. Hurrah! It’s been a long time coming but to me the new historical series are very welcome and of course they bring with them a modern spin on an old genre.

I have such happy memories of the UK costume dramas of the 1970 and 80s. The Smuggler epic Forsyte Saga had been running for a while when I became old enough to watch “grown up” TV and Upstairs Downstairs was also a feature of our Sunday Night viewing. The ultimate historical drama for me though was Poldark. Based on the novels of Winston Graham, it was for me the epitome of everything that a historical romance should be: the handsome hero, the feisty heroine, the wicked cousin, some smuggling thrown in and lots of passion and angst and intrigue. In those days I didn’t even notice the wobbling film sets and the terrible special effects. It was all about the characters and the story. This was the era of plentiful historical drama. There was Dick Turpin, based on the exploits of the legendary highwayman, and Smuggler, with Oliver
Tobias as a naval officer turned…well, smuggler. There was Arthur of the Britons (Oliver Tobias again, as a young King Arthur) and Robin Hood with Michael Praed, and many more.

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