John Hollingsworth is Captain Henshawe in BBC's Poldark


Poldark Series 3 - An adaptation of the fifth and sixth novels in Winston Graham's Poldark Series

John Hollingworth who plays Ross Poldark’s right hand man and friend, Captain Henshawe, reveals he owes his new found love of Cornwall to filming Poldark.

"One of the best memories I will cherish from working on Poldark is the amount of time I have spent down in Botallack in St Just on the Cornish coastline.

"I didn’t know Cornwall at all before doing Poldark and maybe one of the biggest things I will take away is an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of coves and moorlands! It is somewhere I have fallen in love with and my wife and I now fantasise about moving down there.

"It is definitely one of the memories I will treasure, standing there and looking out over the sea on those sunny days and being part of an incredible production you can be so proud of. Those moments don’t come around too often."

John reveals what he thinks makes Poldark distinctive from other period dramas.

"What is different about Poldark is that it is not as polished an age as a lot of other period dramas, it is a bit dirtier, there are more horses and mud.

"What is great about the project is that compared with other dramas of that era, Poldark is a bit more aggressive, a bit more real and down in the muck, with people who are struggling to get ahead with their lives.

"That is very much part of the socialist vision behind what Winston Graham has written, an examination of the have-nots and how they progress alongside the emergence of a middle class. It is a really valuable and interesting part of the story. Often period dramas only look at the rich and Poldark looks at the other side of the spectrum too."

However, he believes this is one of many reasons for Poldark’s global success.

"It’s definitely not just one thing that makes it popular and that is part of its charm. None of us knew what a big hit it was going to be and in a way that was brilliant. No one said yes to it because we thought it would be this global success, we said yes because we thought the scripts were fantastic and it was a really interesting world to inhabit.

"It is such an unexpected story, the way Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) get together, it is brilliant and romantic. It is great to have a drama about someone who treats people well and looks after those less fortunate. That’s the moral that’s at the heart of it; it is brilliantly written Sunday night drama with a conscience."

John tells us what he enjoys most about his character and what is in store this series for him.

"It was Henshawe’s warmth that initially drew me to the role, that and his relationship with Ross and the fact he is always up for doing whatever needs to be done to help his friend.

"With the dastardly character of George Warleggan it is nice to have a decent, good-hearted character too - the law abiding good guy. I feel really lucky that Debbie Horsfield writes such interesting characters. Winston Graham did a fantastic job to begin with and Debbie has done an amazing job of bringing them to life and modernising them slightly, especially when it comes to the smaller characters.

"In series three Henshawe is having the time of his life and has the best story line yet. He is braver, funnier and gets away from the mine. His storyline gravitates away from tin and copper and money counting and it becomes about being a best friend to Ross and supporting Ross and Dr. Dwight Enys (Luke Norris) in their mad endeavours."

Whilst they play close companions on screen, John reveals that him and Aidan have really bonded off screen too.

"I have never been in a scene without Aidan so the journey of Poldark for me, has also been a journey of becoming mates which has been one of the best parts of the job.

"I was at university in Dublin so we knew a lot of the same people and I had previously been in Being Human with Aidan briefly a few years ago and so there were a couple of connections there that allowed us to become friends really quickly.

"It has been amazing to witness the transformation of his career, it’s been a real journey to be on his shoulder and watch what he has been through. The hours that he works on set are so gruelling it has always been fun to have a laugh with our scenes."

Other than building wonderful on and off screen friendships, John has particularly enjoyed another aspect of this project.

"The one thing I have loved almost more than anything is the amount of time on set with the camera crew. We have been blessed to have three amazing crews and I am a camera geek so it is fascinating to learn more about the shots and the lenses and to watch a series of incredible lighting designers go about their work.

"On a long running drama you spend a lot of time with the crew and it is a privilege to work with people at the top of their game, shooting a drama with the quality of a film. Mammoth Screen and BBC One have delivered a product that looks perfectly at home on the big screen. That has been the difference in TV drama in the last ten years. It has been great and I have gone into producing short films and the knowledge I gained having worked with the camera teams on Poldark has been invaluable."

June 1, 2017 4:00pm by BBC One  

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