During the first season of “Poldark,” the series’ leading man, Aidan Turner, received lots of attention and kudos from both fans and critics. As Ross Poldark, Turner won over audiences with his purposeful presence and versatility – of course his chiselled body and lady killer facial expressions didn’t hurt. But, then you had his complicated cousin Francis, a man who won the hand of Ross’ early love interest Elizabeth, but allowed jealousy and a lack of self-confidence to lead him down a road of disrepair.
American actor, Kyle Soller, is the man who brought Francis to life and gave him an incredible level of depth, as he simultaneously trudged through a collection of emotionally wrought moments. Ross may have been the superhero of “Poldark,” but Francis – as twisted up as he became in season 1 – is arguably the series’ most dynamic character.
In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Soller was asked about why he thinks a period drama such as “Poldark” has resonated so well in the UK.
“This country has an amazing history of great period drama. No one does it like the Brits,” offered Soller. “While there have been some great original series, there’s also a great wealth of period drama literature from which to draw inspiration. I think period dramas’ endurance has a lot to do with a certain type of escapism. There’s usually a strong, moral central character dealing with a social problem; a commentary on the class system with some upstairs/downstairs, us/them rivalry; unrequited/forbidden love; a nasty villain; beautiful clothing; stunning scenery; usually a ball or dance somewhere…”
With the series’ popularity leading to honours like winning the Best New Drama distinction at the TV Choice Awards UK and the fan-voted Radio Times Audience Award at the BAFTA TV Awards, you’d have to assume that Soller does get recognized a fair bit when not in front of the camera. As it turns out, that’s not quite the case.
“I get recognized pretty infrequently but maybe a little bit more since ‘Poldark,’” said Soller. “I was in town last year and a guy in a white van stopped, leant out the window and said, ‘Oi! You in that show, ‘Poldark,’ yeah?’ I thought he was going to punch me out for pretending to be British or because of my general appearance. So, edging away from the curb, I offered a noncommittal, ‘Oh, you watch that?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s brilliant! You guys doing another [season]? It’s great!’ I couldn’t believe it. That’s when I realized how successful the show had become.”
Speaking of a second season of “Poldark,” fans in the UK will be treated to that this fall. North American broadcast dates are to be determined. Please visit our Poldark mini-site for the latest news when we have it.
Click here for a closer look at the stars of “Poldark”!