The Acorn Media Group have done it again. Their release of yet another fascinating BBC production in the U.S. as a budget-priced box-set is a “must” for fans of great British television. In this case, it is Poldark: The Complete Collection - an eight-DVD set which features series one and two of the program. The term “series” is used in English television lingo the way we in the United States use the word “season.” Just by way of explanation, Poldark ran for two seasons - and this set contains all 29 episodes.
Poldark was originally shown in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre in 1977. The producers call it a “costume drama,” which is useful - but there is much more to the program than just the excellent re-creation of 18th Century England. The title character is Captain Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis), and the series deals with his life both in and out of the military.
One of the basic themes throughout the various episodes is that the events in Poldark’s personal life are often more difficult than those he faces as an English Captain. In the first series, we find the wounded Captain returning from the American Revolution - after escaping from a French prisoner-of-war camp. He is faced with the awful fact that not only has his father died while he was away, but that the woman he had intended to wed is engaged to another man. To add to his woes, there is also a ruthless businessman out to force the family off of their land. During the second series, the trials and tribulations continue - and Captain Poldark is faced with a number of crises that he again must face, in addition to his outstanding career as a military officer.
In watching Poldark: The Complete Collection, it is hard to believe that it was filmed way back in 1975. Even by today’s hi-def standards, the landscapes, costumes, and sets remain very impressive. Obviously, a great deal of care went into “getting it right,” and the efforts certainly paid off.
Bonus features include “Getting It Right” by star Robin Ellis - which is excerpted from his book Making Poldark. There are also cast filmographies, and a fascinating historical background on Cornwall, where most of the series takes place.
For fans of great BBC “costume dramas,” Poldark: The Complete Collection is a real treat. Acorn previously released each of the series as two separate four-DVD sets. If you did not pick those up when they were released in 2010 - then by all means, get Poldark: The Complete Collection. Not only is it “bargain priced,” but you will want to see the whole story. Maybe not all in one sitting, because the whole thing runs about 25 hours. But believe me, once you tune in - the various plots and subplots will have you hooked. I know it certainly was that way for me.
Poldark: The Complete Collection is another set of excellent British television, from the always reliable Acorn Media Group. I recommend this without hesitation.