Entertainment & Arts

Poldark series finale watched by 5.9 million

Aidan Turner in Poldark
Image caption Aidan Turner will return in a second series of the drama, set in 18th century Cornwall

The series finale of BBC One's costume drama re-make Poldark was watched by 5.9 million people on Sunday night, just over a quarter of the TV audience.

Competition included ITV detective drama Vera's two-hour finale starring Brenda Blethyn, seen by 4.9 million, and film The Impossible on Channel 4.

A second series of Poldark, starring Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, has already been commissioned.

The actor won legions of fans as the brooding, scythe-wielding Cornish hero.

The Telegraph's Allison Pearson called the finale "devastatingly good", adding: "It's hard to remember a more emotionally pummelling hour of TV drama."

She wrote: "If you weren't crying, what's the matter with you? There were enough salty tears shed across the UK last night to fill a Cornish cove."

She also suggested the tagline for the next series should be "Poldark 2: Better Than Downton."

The Independent called for "some Poldark perspective", pointing out that "Winston Graham, author of the original novels, was no Jane Austen".

However Ellen E Jones concluded: "Poldark is not a sophisticated drama, but the simple things can sometimes be very satisfying."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scenes of Ross Poldark scything shirtless caused a stir on social media

The Daily Mail's four-star review said, "Poldark has been a joy."

It added: "The sunsets, the seascapes, the glowers, the swoons, the dances, the duels, the feuds, the passions - Sunday nights will be dull without them."

Poldark was originally made for TV in the 1970s, with Robin Ellis in the lead role, and hooked audiences of 15 million.

This series has averaged around eight million viewers a week including catch-up services.

"Huge emotions, lots of excellent acting, probably a bit too much flashing between different plotlines," wrote The Guardian's Vic Groksop.

She added: "Adieu, Captain. See some glimpses of your chest again soon."

Image caption Heida Reed played Poldark's old flame Elizabeth in the costume drama

The bare-chested antics of Poldark star Turner have become a subject of national debate in recent weeks, thanks to promotional images of the actor scything in a field without his shirt on.

Last week Stylist chose to debate, "Is it OK to objectify Poldark" in its new Ask a Feminist column, just one of many articles published on the subject.

Poldark actress Heida Reed - who plays former flame Elizabeth - told The Telegraph she felt the obsession was an example of reverse sexism.

"Of course it's nice for everyone involved that he's viewed as a sex symbol or a very attractive man. But it's getting a little bit ridiculous. I think it just undermines the rest of the show," she said.

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