Ellise Chappell is Morwenna Carne
POLDARK SERIES 5 14th July 9pm, BBC One
Poldark series five The fifth and final series of Poldark will air on BBC One this summer
Stepping back into the shoes of her character for the final time, Ellise Chappell reflects on Morwenna Carne’s incredibly turbulent journey over the past three series.
"I hadn’t read the Poldark books before I signed on to play Morwenna so I didn’t know anything about what happens to her - all I knew was that she was this open-hearted character with a zest for life who falls in love with Drake Carne (Harry Richardson), this lovely, gentle man from the wrong class. So to then discover that she goes on this intense, rocky journey was both amazing and challenging.
Morwenna goes through so much and I wanted to do her justice because these storylines are so important. What I will take away with me is just the experience of going through it, of doing the research and feeling so passionately about this role and caring so much about her, I didn’t think I could ever feel this deeply about a character. It was an emotional experience and that level of empathy is amazing and is something I will definitely keep with me."
Ellise discusses where we find Morwenna at the offset of the new series and what is in store for her.
"It was wonderful to come back into a different world this series, as in series three and four Morwenna had been in Warleggan world and then Whitworth world, so to be in Sawle with the Carnes and Poldarks this year was really different, but it felt right and where she was supposed to be.
When we see Morwenna at the start she has just got married to Drake, which is so joyous and lovely, but we pick up with them in their marriage trying to work through this wall between them which is Morwenna’s past trauma. This series is about Morwenna’s healing and how she deals with the recovery from this trauma."
Ellise touches on some of the heart-wrenching moments this series when Morwenna tries to reconnect with her son.
"Last series Morwenna was put in a position where she felt there was no other choice than to leave the situation she was in, and that meant leaving her son, John Conan. If she had stayed she would likely have ended up in an asylum so she had to reach that choice to leave, which was heartbreaking for her and we revisit that this series.
In terms of her journey and her healing, facing the loss she has felt - which is not just the loss of her son but also of aspects of her livelihood, personality, time and happiness - she has to revisit that and grieve for it. John Conan is very much a part of that, she needs to reconnect with him in order to experience that part of her healing and trauma recovery. It is heart-rending, as he doesn’t know she is his mother and that is a big part of her story, wrestling with her place in his life and deciding whether it is healthy for her and for her marriage to Drake."
One way in which Morwenna begins to heal this series is through finding her calling as a teacher.
"Morwenna helps start a school to teach the young children in the community to read so they can hopefully one day make something better of themselves. Up until this point Morwenna had spent so long being isolated with no real purpose, stuck in that life as a Whitworth. Now she is in a new environment where she is again an outsider, because she is not one of the villagers and she is seen as this lady who doesn’t belong there. So to be able to offer something, to use her skills and have a real purpose is an incredible thing for her. That is where she started; she began as a governess to Geoffrey Charles so to be able to use those skills to help people and to focus her attention on something good is wonderful."
Ellise reveals an incredibly special token she will be taking with her from her time on Poldark.
"When I first read the scripts in series three it said in the stage directions that 'Morwenna sits reading Cecilia' and I thought it was a lovely little detail that the book had been specified, and I had a really old version of that book on set that I was reading in a scene with Ossie. It is also the book I used in series four, after the hanging scene, where I come back and I am pretending to read. So I asked if I could take home a few of the old books Morwenna would read, and on one of my final days of shooting one of our wonderful props team handed me Cecilia and I opened it and it still had the pressed winter primroses that Drake sent to Morwenna in the front page, which was incredible and that meant so much to me. I love collecting vintage books and so to have this one is very special. I also have my shell bracelet of course."
July 9, 2019 9:55am ET by BBC One