Golden Armchair Awards 2016: The People

 

The holidays are approaching, 2016 is (finally!) drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to look back and smile or shake our heads at all that happened this year in the world of costume dramas. First: let’s vote on the characters we loved, hated, and will miss.

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Poldark: The Wreck

Poldark_episode_8_review__Aidan_Turner_s_Ross_Poldark_faces_tragedy_on_all_frontsPreviously on Poldark: Francis, in a rage because Verity eloped with Blamey, retaliates by telling George the identities of all the Carnmore Smelting Company shareholders, allowing George to start putting the squeeze on them in a big way. The whole situation drove a massive rift between the two branches of the Poldark clan that even a very earnest Demelza was unable to heal.

Demelza sings a really lovely song while she makes some buns and then delivers them to the mine. Looks like things are still a bit tense between her and Ross, but he seems to appreciate the delivery, which he hands out to some of the kids playing around. After the mine, Demelza takes some buns to Jud and Prudie, who’re living not so secretly in a barn on Ross’s land. Ross knows it, too, and chooses to turn a blind eye, because that’s what he does.

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Poldark: Consequences

poldark_eleanor_to_3271268bPreviously on Poldark: Demelza made getting Verity and Blamey back together her new project, Ross became the public face of a new smelting company and exposed George Warleggan’s cousin as a cheat, and Mark’s unsatisfied wife, Keren, started making the moves on Enys.

Someone besides Ross rides along the coast! Maybe just take half a shot? It’s Blamey, going to leave a letter in a secret hiding place for Demelza to recover and pass along to Verity, who receives it, observed from a distance by a female servant.

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Poldark: Welcome to Ross’s Pity Party!

poldark2_3263555bPreviously on Poldark: Francis, being supremely stupid, wagered Grambler in a card game he was already losing and, predictably, lost the mine and his only real source of income. Ross agreed to be the public head of a new smelting company, so he and the other mine owners could actually get a good deal on their copper. Verity and Blamey started secretly dating again, aided by Demelza, and Jim got pinched for poaching.

This was not a great episode, guys. I found it to be a frustrating slog that just made me hate the main character. That’s not good. It also had a couple of strange moments. You’ll see what I mean.

The prison where Jim is appears to be quite a miserable place. No surprise there.

Meanwhile, Jinny’s keeping track of how many days he’s been inside. She marks another off and goes to help Demelza with the laundry. Demelza notes that Jim’s getting out soon. Jinny worries that Jim will have changed, but Demelza says it only matters that he’s come this far.

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Poldark: A Gambling Man

Ross and Dr Enys in Poldark, Image: BBCPreviously on Poldark: Verity fell in love with Captain Blamey, only to have Francis screw it up because Francis just screws up everything nowadays. Ross and Demelza’s constant diet of sex had the expected outcome, and he finally realized he’s in love with her. He also struck copper. Wins all around!

A miner digs, digs, digs away at Wheal Leisure.

Up top, a young man rides towards the mine and is happily welcomed by Ross. This is Dr Enys, an old buddy of Ross’s who’s come by to study mine diseases. Cheerful work. The two men talk a bit about some riots that have been going on in London and Exeter before Ross pulls him away to meet Demelza, who’s now hugely pregnant. She recognizes Enys’s name, as he’s the one who patched up Ross’s wounds.

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Poldark: Watching for Pilchards

Ross and Demelza. Photograph: Mike Hogan/BBC/Mammoth ScreenPreviously on Poldark: Elizabeth and Francis had a son, and Francis started going to a really dark, dissolute place. Demelza started obsessing over Ross, who paused in his work getting the mine going again to have sex with and then marry her.

Demelza walks along the cliffs with Garrick in the evening, gathering flowers, while back home Prudie and Jud bitch about the marriage and how not right it is. Demelza returns home and notes that Ross is late that night.

Ross, of course, is galloping along the coast (drink!). He arrives home to find Demelza singing to herself while she kneads some bread dough. She hears him and is startled, calling him ‘sir’ by accident. He comes into the kitchen and gets flirty, kissing her and asking why she’s up so late. She says she has chores and he playfully tells her he has other plans for her.

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Poldark: Rumour Has It

Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiden Turner in PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Ross decided to reopen his mine, Wheal Leisure, and look for copper, with the backing of some locals. Verity fell for a nice captain with a shady past, but once he got into a duel with her brother that whole thing got kind of ruined, so now she has a broken heart. Francis is proving to be a jealous, shrill kind of brat, but a fertile one, because Elizabeth’s pregnant.

Some months have passed, and now Wheal Leisure’s ready to open. Ross walks around, making some last-minute checks and probably enjoying the fantastic view. Miners come out of their homes, greet each other, and make their way toward the mine. Ross greets Henshawe at the mine and they watch the long line of workers snake up the road. Some of the investors are there as well, to see their money go into action. Once everyone’s assembled, Ross welcomes them with a speech and declares the mine open. Everyone cheers. Demelza beams at him. Some of Ross’s buddies come by to thank him for doing this, while Demelza goes and serves drinks to the investors and they stare at her, then wonders if the rumours that she and Ross are hooking up are true.

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Poldark: In the Blood

269B565D00000578-2995976-image-a-14_1426442119671Previously on Poldark: Ross returned home, only to find his girlfriend now engaged to his cousin, his father dead, and his home a wasteland. He responded by trying to make something of his land and taking a young girl named Demelza under his wing.

A local mine is closed down: the workers arrive to find soldiers guarding it and a notice of closing posted. The mine’s owner dresses himself and blows his brains out while the workers, for some reason, decide to fight with the men turning them away from the mine. It doesn’t go well for the workers. While all this is going on, Jud tells Ross that mining’s a terrible game and did Ross’s father in before his time.

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