Monday 2 October 2017

Visit to the Set of 'Poldark' Series 3 - Part Two

It's almost a year since I reported from the set of Poldark series three and, now the first episode has been shown in many countries, I thought I'd do a follow-up to the scenes I wrote about back then.

Lots of you have asked about the "s**t" moment so that seems a good place to start. The scene is the one at Nampara where the letter arrives from Geoffrey Charles (Harry Marcus) to say Elizabeth (Heida Reed) is ill. When they were filming Ross (Aidan Turner) read the note and, as he said the line 'Dr Choake cannot be found so the boy begs Dr Enys to come instead,' there was a pause and everyone on set said "s**t". It still
makes me smile! This is the scene too where Aidan felt he was 'sitting like a cowboy' and asked if he might cross his legs instead. As you can see from the screen shot, he did! The scene starts at 33 minutes on the DVD if you want to take another look.

Next up was the Enys's wedding breakfast which brought with it the problem of the puddings. The
crew had been up making puddings until 4am but, by the time they were needed, they had flopped. The problem was Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) mentioned them when praising Prudie (Beatie Edney) with the line, 'Since Jud's been away she's had time to perfect her puddings!' (at 30 mins. on the DVD). They kept the line in, however, as Debbie Horsfield felt there were dishes on the table that represented the modern understanding of the word pudding.

As the cameras rolled there were other adjustments to the scene: the actors were asked not to raise their glasses too high when toasting the happy couple as the glasses blocked their faces and - puddings again - when Prudie served Caroline (Gabriella Wilde) her pudding it created an unwanted shadow that had to be dealt with.

The episode moves on to the happenings at Trenwith and, when we next return to the wedding feast, Ross and Demelza are making their excuses to leave the table. When they were filming this scene the director, Joss Agnew, asked if one of the actors could to tell a joke before they began filming so there would be laughter when the scene started.  Of course, no-one could think of one on the spot, so they chatted happily instead!

Many of the scenes shot this day involved drinking and Ron Dowling, the stand-by props man, told me how every props man has their own secret recipe for producing something that passes realistically for alcohol on the TV screen. It's all to do with colour and viscosity and, apparently, ingredients available from an upmarket grocery store!

Ross, in particular, seemed to be drinking all the time (no surprise there). In one scene take after take he walked across the room, decanter and glass in hand until, suddenly, the solemness of the scene was broken by Aidan's laughter. He was just about to put the glass to his lips when he realised he'd only the decanter to swig out of. Somehow he'd left the glass behind! (At 35 mins on the  DVD).

A little later in the episode Dwight (Luke Norris) sends a letter to Nampara with news that both Elizabeth and Ray Penvenen are gravely ill. It is this note which led the props department to question seal or no seal? In the end the production department decided not to put a seal on the letter as this seemed most realistic given the circumstances Dwight was writing under. (38 minutes on the DVD)

On hearing Dwight's news Caroline decides she must return to her Uncle Ray. This is the scene where Caroline's dress and shoes seemed to make a disproportionate amount of noise as she moved across the room (at 39 mins. on the DVD). But, as sound engineer Ron Bailey assured me, that post-production magic makes it all just fine!

I hope you've enjoyed my insights into the filming of some of the scenes from Poldark S3. Many thanks to the cast and crew and, of course, Mammoth Screen for making this visit possible.

Related Links:
Letters Puddings and Drama: On the Set of Poldark Series3

Please remember to credit Poldarked when reposting from this article.

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