Luke Norris is Dr Dwight Enys
The fifth and final series of Poldark will air on BBC One this summer
POLDARK SERIES 5 14th July 9pm, BBC One
As he returns for the final time to play Poldark’s trusted doctor Dwight Enys, Luke Norris reveals there is trouble ahead for Dr Enys and his wife Caroline.
"Caroline (Gabriella Wilde) and Dwight reached an uneasy equilibrium at the end of last series, and things are slowly getting back to normal until some new and disruptive characters enter their world, one of whom unintentionally drives a wedge between them.
Kitty Despard (Kerri McLean) arrives this series with this firebrand spirit and Dwight becomes unromantically smitten with her. This naturally causes Caroline to create narratives about him being in love with Kitty, when really it is just a deep admiration he has for her, for her story and her plight. He follows Kitty on her mission for social justice and leaves Caroline behind, so it eventually comes to a head towards the end of the series and he realises he may not have been the attentive husband he should have been, considering what they have been through."
Luke discusses what is in store for his character this series, starting with his interest in mental health and where that leads him.
"Mental illness is a hot and important topic at the moment, which is one of the reasons why our writer, Debbie Horsfield has included it this series. But back then it was ungenerously treated. However, there was a new school of thought about 'talking therapy', rather than just straight-jacketing or lobotomising people, that instead suggested the idea that mental illness wasn’t a moral failure or an inherited one, but that it could affect anyone who has been through trauma, which is something that interests Dwight. Having gone through his own trauma in series three, suffering from PTSD after being a prisoner of war in France, he is the obvious exponent of this new school of thought.
Dwight’s own experience sparked an interest in mental health that has equipped him with a proficiency in the field which leads him to being the key witness for the defence in a contentious murder trial. This storyline is based on a true story of a man who attempts to assassinate the King. Dwight’s argument is that if he is not of sound mind then he cannot be held responsible for his actions, which is something we believe to be self-evident now but was incredibly shocking to people at the time."
Considered to be one of Poldark’s most honourable characters, Luke reveals that audiences will see a brand new side to the noble doctor this series.
"Debbie reminds us at the end of this series that Dwight has not always been squeaky clean, and the reason he has appeared so good in the past few series is because of a fundamental error of judgment in series one with Keen Daniel, and everything afterwards is an attempt at atonement for that.
One of Dwight’s first ever lines in Poldark is, 'I intend to keep my head down here' - which just shows you how much he wants a quiet life but is unable to ever achieve that. This year however, he fights a bit harder for that life. He is not as generous as you might expect him to be with certain things this series because he is sick to the back teeth of the conflict. As a result, he struggles more this series with acquiescing to Ross’s plans, and the two of them fiercely butt heads like we have never before seen.
Aidan and I have a few great scenes where we are nose to nose, which was great to play. After years of gentle cajoling, Dwight’s tactics this series are much more confrontational, as he is just done with it. That's part of their friendship we haven’t seen yet, so it was exciting to lift the lid on it.
Ned Despard (Vincent Regan) was their commanding officer back in the American War of Independence and is a bit of a hot head and renegade - all the things Ross aspires to be and that Dwight loathes. So their differences are mainly about Ned, who has this cross to bear and is righting perceived wrongs which are probably justifiable, but which do not directly involve Dwight.
Dwight becomes involved due to Ross’s involvement, but he would rather Ross stayed out of it for his sake, for Demelza’s sake and for the sake of their children. Dwight, partly because of the events of last year and having lost a child, is much more forthright in calling out Ross’s irresponsibility to his family. Dwight is angrier than he has ever been this year."
Luke reveals a connection that struck a chord with him following the last series.
"After the tragic death of baby Sarah was aired I received one particular letter that was quite staggering and humbling to read. It was from someone who had lost a child, and they talked about how honestly that storyline had been depicted, which was the aim for Gabriella and myself. I felt a responsibility with this storyline to not misrepresent that experience. Part of the reason that television is in everybody’s language is that it allows us to try and make sense of our own lives, and we get to deal with heavy subjects on this show. And whilst we do it through the glossy lens of TV with the beautiful landscapes, there is a huge responsibility to get it right."
Luke offers a final thought on the success of Poldark...
"Its heart is in the right place. Poldark is a story about love conquering all and about courage and equality being rewarded and avarice and greed being punished and that is what we wish was happening in our society - it represents the good of our humanity."
July 5, 2019 11:05am ET by BBC One