Eleanor Tomlinson (Death Comes To Pemberley, The White Queen, Jack The Giant Slayer) will star as Demelza, the fiercely independent heroine of the new BBC One drama, Poldark, made by Mammoth Screen.
This much-anticipated role will see Eleanor filming alongside Aidan Turner (The Hobbit Trilogy, Being Human) as Ross Poldark in Debbie Horsfield’s adaptation of Winston Graham’s acclaimed sweeping saga set in 18th century Cornwall.
The only daughter of an impoverished and brutal miner, Demelza (Tomlinson) is rescued from a life of violence and drudgery by Ross (Turner) who employs her as his kitchen maid. Outspoken and free spirited she gradually becomes indispensable to all at Nampara, Ross's ancestral home.
Eleanor says: "I am very excited to have been asked to play Demelza in the BBC's new adaptation of these classic novels. I am conscious of the fact that the original series had a huge following and was tremendously popular. All I can promise is that I will do my utmost to do justice to the spirit of Winston Graham's iconic character. Demelza was so brilliantly portrayed by Angharad Rees and I will do my very best to try not to disappoint the army of Poldark fans out there."
Heida Reed (Silent Witness, DCI Banks) is cast as the beautiful Elizabeth, promised to Ross as a young girl but after three years apart and rumours of his death abroad, she agrees to marry his cousin Francis. Tormented by the return of long buried feelings, Elizabeth can’t help but feel she may be marrying the wrong Poldark.
Heida says: "I am extremely flattered and excited to be part of such a wonderful new BBC period drama. Elizabeth is such an intelligent and elegant character and a dream role."
And Ruby Bentall (The Paradise, Larkrise To Candleford) will play Verity, Ross's cousin and dutiful daughter to his Uncle Charles. She has lacked suitors but Ross's return allows her an opportunity to venture into society, escaping the watchful eye of her family.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: "The wonderful combination of our talented and stellar cast and Debbie Horsfield's well crafted characters will ensure Poldark, our new epic and romantic drama, will be a real treat for the BBC One audience."
Poldark is an eight-part series, adapted by Debbie Horsfield (Cutting It, The Riff Raff Element) and directed by Ed Bazalgette (The Guilty, Endeavour) and Will McGregor (Misfits). It is produced by Eliza Mellor (Death Comes To Pemberley) and the executive producers are Debbie Horsfield, Karen Thrussell and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen and Polly Hill, Head of Independent Drama, for the BBC.
Filming begins in Cornwall and Bristol next month and the series will transmit in 2015 on BBC One.