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First look at Poldark series four: prepare for the internet to go into meltdown as Ross strips off again

PUBLISHED: 00:01 01 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 01 June 2018

Ross Poldark in a pose which is integral to the plot- (C) Mammoth Screen  - Photographer: Mammoth Screen

Ross Poldark in a pose which is integral to the plot- (C) Mammoth Screen - Photographer: Mammoth Screen

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Not a scythe in sight - the BBC release the first photographs from the new series of Poldark and we're all pleased to see that Aidan Turner got to film scenes on the beach when it was so warm he had to take his shirt off.

Ah, Poldark is back and he’s swapped topless scything for topless sunbathing on the beach – I think we’re all glad to see that he’s getting his recommended dose of daily Vitamin D.

When Ross Poldark returned in 2015 from the 1970s, his welcome home wasn’t quite what he expected: his father had died owing the bank pots of cash, the love of his life Elizabeth (Heida Reed) was engaged to his insipid cousin Frances (Kyle Soller), the farm he’d inherited was sited on the equivalent of nuclear wasteland, his tin mines were empty, his father’s servants were the lost members of The Wurzels and there were goats in the front room.

On the plus side, he was a tousle-haired Adonis prone to skinny-dipping and naked scything and he was soon to meet the winsome Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) so everything was OK.

I can only share with you a fraction of the photographs which the BBC has released ahead of the series four, which starts on June 10 at 9pm, but to be fair, we are allowed to use one which reveals that Ross (Aidan Turner) is enjoying some sea air in Cornwall on a warm day. Which is nice.

Is it OK that women can ogle a topless Turner yet when men ogle women there’s an outrage? Frankly, no, but that’s an issue to take up with the BBC (for the record, Turner himself said, when asked if he minded people objectifying him: “no, I don’t at all. Go for it!” although he kind of has to say that, does’t he?). It’s pretty pointed that in a selection of just three or four photographs that aren’t embargoed, this was one of them.

Aidan Turner has revealed the next series of Poldark will see TV’s most tempestuous couple rekindle their romance after season three ended on a cliffhanger with Demelza cheating on Ross with charming newcomer Lieutenant Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse).

Writer Debbie Horsfield said: “After the upheavals and threats to their marriage in series three, series four sees a major reconnection between Ross and Demelza as they realise how close they came to losing everything they hold dear. London calls for Ross, whilst Demelza holds the fort in Cornwall. We have a host of exciting new characters, some new rivalries and challenges – and some old rivalries which escalate to the point of catastrophe.

“The world of Poldark is always expanding, and as we move to London we encounter a new social and political scene and a host of new characters. Some of these are actual historical personages (Prime Minister Pitt, Attorney General John Mitford, William Wilberforce).

“Others, such as Monk Adderley, are vibrant and exotic new additions, who have a major impact on the lives of Ross and Demelza. As always though Ross and Demelza remain at the heart of the story. This is a particularly turbulent period of British history - a time when we came close to having our own revolution (following those of American and France) and it’s been enjoyable to write about the unfolding dramas set against it.

“For me the on going Poldark saga never ceases to excite, challenge and engage. As a story with the portrait of a marriage at its heart, sometimes it’s made for uncomfortable viewing. The reconnection between Ross and Demelza, the renewed passion, the forgiveness and redemption of their marriage has been hard won, and is therefore all the more to be valued and enjoyed.”

In the first episode, Prime Minister Pitt (Edward Bennett) calls an election and uncertainty grips the country. While Ross watches Cornwall suffer under the power of Truro’s MP, George Warleggan (Jack Farthing), Demelza’s infidelity leaves her torn between her husband and a lovesick Hugh, who is set to rival George in the upcoming election.

The Enyses contemplate having a child and Elizabeth seeks the same to secure her marriage while Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) uses Osborne’s (Christian Brassington) affair with her sister Rowella (Esme Coy) to keep the reverend’s advances at bay and Demelza seeks to reconcile rival local Lords Falmouth and Basset.

A corn riot erupts in Truro (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), and Zacky’s (Tristan Sturrock) son Jago (Jack Riddiford) leads the charge. Sam Carne (Tom York) and Drake Carne (Harry Richardson) attempt to dissuade him but arrive too late, and a merchant is killed in the fighting. Tom Harry (Turlough Convery) tells George that the Carnes and Jago murdered the man, and Ross finds himself powerless to save his brothers-in-law...

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