Interview with Jack Farthing who plays George Warleggan in Poldark
Jack Farthing reveals that we will see his character, George Warleggan, rise the highest and fall the farthest he ever has in this series of Poldark.
“It is peaks and troughs for George this series. There are definitely moments that are too much to deal with, whether they are setbacks that Ross has instigated or personal losses; George is put through the ultimate human tests. When we meet him in series four a little time has passed and he has recovered and got his bearings again. He and Elizabeth are starting this new, secure partnership and he has promised to cherish and love Valentine in a way that he always should have and Elizabeth has accepted it. They are a team, more so than ever. George is almost submissive because he cares so deeply about this relationship and he needs it to work. He was shown a world in which he didn’t have Elizabeth at the end of last series and it was too much to bear so he has started again with a clean slate.
“However, George faces a humongous, professional loss early in the series. He prides his political power right up there with his relationship with Elizabeth and to have that in jeopardy is terrifying so that motivates and energises a whole new spark in George. Having been knocked really far off his perch, he climbs up and up until everything seems to be going well for him and he is commanding a huge amount of authority in Cornwall. Then Geoffrey Charles puts his foot in it in an appalling way that causes all of George’s old feelings of suspicion to come flooding back. But it is George’s set-backs which propel him into his next adventure and so we see him recover, he gets everything he has ever dreamed of, he reaches the absolute pinnacle of success and happiness and then a heartbeat later his entire world collapses.”
After the climactic moment between George and his wife, Elizabeth (Heida Reed), last series Jack tells us that we see these two are working together to start fresh.
“We see them as close as we have ever seen them this series. They figure out how it works, their marriage and partnership. Elizabeth is a hugely intelligent, forward thinking, bold, energetic character who is confined by her context and George really sees that. He sees how exceptional she is and how knowledgeable she is about the world he is so desperately trying to be a part of and so they work together. From growing up in that world Elizabeth has gained all of this free experience, which George has not and because of that doors open to her in a way they don’t to him and so he is very happy to be on her arm as much as she is his. They are a unit, the three of them and they come as close and rise as high as we have ever seen in this series.
“So many of the scenes that Heida and I have shot in previous series have been antagonistic and tense whereas this series we had some really nice moments where we could be happy together which was unusual and really great to play. There were scenes where were laughing and smiling and were looking at each other thinking ‘what is going on?!'”
Whilst his relationship with Elizabeth may be a source of happiness, Jack discloses that George’s rivalry with Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) is as present as ever this series.
“As much as George wants to have Ross completely out of his life there is an inevitability to them coming back together. This series they come back together in different spheres and in a different context, which is interesting. The ways in which they meet and butt heads is different to anything we have seen before. But it is a biological thing, they just can’t fit together, we all have those people and sometimes you can’t even explain it.”
Jack does tell us however, that fans can expect to see more of George’s humane and emotional side that we were given a glimpse of at the end of last series.
“George has to face some of his toughest moments this series so we definitely get to see more of his emotional side. For me, that is the work I love the most, as it is the most challenging. With the more time we spend with these characters, the more of them we see and it is nice to surprise people, including myself, and to remind everyone that people constantly behave out of character. We all behave in unpredictable ways all of the time depending on our context and so that is fun to play as an actor and it is liberating because it feels human. Those are my favourite moments, when you feel George is acting out of character but you understand it because he is human and human beings are multi-dimensional.”
This series we see George out of Cornwall more than usual as he embarks on his political journey in London.
“Politics represents the opportunity to exert power and influence, and George obviously loves that and needs that to boost himself, massage his ego and to remind himself that despite his lowly roots he is a force to be reckoned with. Politics is the ultimate playground for people who want power like that so it is the logical next step for George. He fits in in London, maybe more so than on the Cornish cliffs, because he can mix with the type of person he pretends to be and is so desperately trying to be.
“He loves being in the city and having those double doors swing open for him. He can waltz into these parties he is finally getting invited to and by the end of the series he even has a line to the Prime Minister, which is unthinkable. He feels like he has come home, he would much rather spend time in his London house than in Cornwall, he resents going to the provincial back quarter that he thinks Trenwith is and he wants to be where he big buildings and important people are.”
Jack tells us that with political storylines unfolding in London, this series feels like the biggest one yet.
“The show really bursts its seams this series. We filmed in London, surrounded by these incredible white marble buildings and it felt unusual for Poldark, which was fun. This series will feel bigger and it will be unusual for audiences to see the characters they are familiar with in places such as the House of Commons. Our House of Commons set is amazing and is part of why this series feels more national than ever. George gets this beautiful new London house. It feels like his world and the show have grown because of it, especially when you think back to where it all started, in the countryside of Cornwall.”