Sofia Oxenham is Tess Tregidden in Poldark

POLDARK SERIES 5 14th July 9pm, BBC One

Sofia Oxenham joins the cast of Poldark this series as the rabble-rousing troublemaker, Tess Tregidden. Being from Cornwall herself, Sofia admits she was incredibly excited to land this role.

"Not only do they film Poldark in Cornwall, but they also told me when I auditioned that this character, Tess, is from Cornwall, which is where I am from so that naturally resonated with me. Everyone in Cornwall loves Poldark, including my friends and family who were equally as excited as I was. Tess is very feisty and sees herself as a leader, so I was over the moon at the thought of stepping into her shoes. I was nervous to join the cast but as soon as I stepped on set that first day everyone made the new comers feel very welcome."

Sofia reveals that audiences can expect a lot of drama from this ‘firecracker.’

"Tess was described by Debbie (Horsfield) as fierce, spirited and uncomfortably restrained by her maid’s uniform, and that perfectly sums her up. She is very layered. Throughout the series she presents herself as numerous different characters, which makes people think she may have changed for the better and that her motives aren’t the same as what they previously were. However, Tess is a master manipulator.

Demelza thinks she can help Tess and change her troublesome ways, but in order to do so she needs Tess around her, so she employs her as a farm hand at Nampara, helping Prudie (Beatie Edney) and doing extra work for them. There is a glimmer of something in Tess that Demelza recognises, possibly from a past version of herself, and she really wants to help guide her. However, Tess is hugely bitter of those who have it easier than her, especially people like Demelza who once walked in Tess’s shoes. The resentment from Tess is so strong that the more Demelza tries to help her, the more Tess ends up hating her."

Sofia discloses that Tess sets her sights on the eldest of Demelza’s brothers, Sam Carne.

"Whilst Tess does actually fancy Sam, more importantly she thinks she can use him to her advantage. She is sure that if she plays the role of this holier-than-thou girl in need of saving he won’t be able to resist helping her, and in turn she will be able to control him. She can use Sam to get embroiled into the community a little more and she’ll be in the know with what is going on with Demelza and Ross. Tess thinks that being more involved in all of that will help her in becoming more of a leader, which is what she really wants."

Sofia explains that Tess takes on a leading role in an eventful uprising this series.

"Tess is causing unrest in the mine, purposely winding people up in order to anger them enough to speak up and demand more. She is injecting a lot of fear into the community, which results in a dramatic climax. After the closing of a mine Tess leads a huge march towards Trenwith, and the protest has an aggressive element to it because she wants there to be unrest and for the people to rise. It is quite a moment."

Sofia recalls a moment from filming that she won’t soon forget.

"Just before Christmas we were filming a big celebratory dinner at Nampara and a lot of the cast were involved. Prudie and Tess were serving everyone and at one point Tess steals a bit of cake and starts eating it. So Prudie is meant to shove her quickly out of the view of the rest of the dinner guests. Beatie literally barrelled me over in one swoop but no one knew she was going to do this, so it seemed as if she had just shoved me out of the room out of nowhere. No one could contain their laughter."

July 9, 2019 3:50am ET by BBC One  


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