Surfing the net for a bit of Poldark news this morning (I’ve become a groupie!) I chanced on a series of wonderful photos, many of which I had never seen before.
They were taken during the filming of the original series by a gifted young photographer, Ian Barnes, who was just starting out in his career.
Here’s his story and the photo slide show, published today by the Western Morning News: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Unique-record-set-original-BBC-cast-Poldark/story-26324743-detail/story.htmlEbony the Horse
The slide show reminded me that I had written the story of two of the photos depicted in my memoir Making Poldark. [Also available on Amazon.com]
My steed for the second series, Ebony, was supplied by the wonderful horsemaster, Ben Ford (the back of his head is visible in the photo below).
I had more riding to do in the second series, so Ebony and I saw a lot of each other. She never threw me like Dennis (my mount in the first series, an ex-Steeple chaser), but I’m sure she knew she had a novice on board.
Our most difficult day was the first shot of the second series—Ross Poldark‘s return from Holland.
In real life, I had been in London the previous day to see my then girlfriend play Cordelia at the opening night of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear, which had transferred from Stratford to the Aldwych Theatre. After the performance I caught the overnight train to Cornwall.
So I was there, fresh as a wilted daisy, at 8am on the beach at Caerhays ready to film. It was pouring with rain.
Ebony and I waited until 3:30 in the afternoon before we could even get on the beach. Neither of us was in very good shape by then. The wind was blowing the sea into a frenzy, and I had great difficulty in keeping my over-large hat on my head. Ebony, quite sensibly, was none too keen on the conditions. She could see the waves out of the corner of her eye and thought they were coming for her.
With difficulty, trying to control my hat, my flowing cloak and the reins, I managed to get her facing the right way. The camera was mounted on the roof of a Land Rover and we were supposed to follow it at full gallop across the beach. It should have been an invigorating experience. Instead it was a nightmare.
Ebony HATED the sound of the Land Rover and decided the SAFEST place was her horsebox—so that’s where we headed.
We passed the Land Rover with ease and I managed to stop her only a few feet from the end of the beach. Exhausted I fell off into a puddle!
I remounted. (Well, I was the hero!)
Ben, experienced in such things, placed a sister equine on the seaward side of the Land Rover track, hoping Ebony would run towards her. We tried again and Ebony rejoined her friend rather more quickly than the cameraman anticipated.
By this time, I was losing confidence and my fingers were losing their grip.
We tried once more. Ebony did an impromptu gavotte, crisscrossing the Land Rover, and then another mad gallop.
I decided she’d won the day and walked back to the coach.
Two days later we had a perfect sunny day and managed the shot in one take.
I think Ebony had worked in television before.
Poldark filming seems to attract characterful beasts. Aidan Turner’s steed Seamus (Darkie in the series and Irish, like Aidan) is enjoying his new found fame!
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