a new British species?
It’s the season of mines and mellow shirtlessness (to misquote Keats) as Poldark is back for another series on BBC TV.
Ever since the first episode aired in 2015, its hero has created quite a stir and triggered comparisons with Mr Darcy, leading to rumours of a new British species – the Poldarcy.
Here’s what we know about this fascinating hybrid of Ross Poldark and Fitzwilliam Darcy:
Classification: Class = Hero; Family = Brooding Alpha Male; Genus = Period Drama; Species = Poldarcy. Group name = pride, as in ‘a pride of Poldarcys’.
Habitat: Native to British period drama adaptations, found mainly in the wilds of Cornwall and Derbyshire. Occasional sightings in Hertfordshire, Kent and London, although this would normally be as a result of complying with social norms – which the Poldarcy considers a form of captivity. The Cornish version has also been spotted across the English Channel, where it is usually shot at.
Appearance: Tall and athletic, instantly recognisable by his brooding looks and impressive head of tousled dark hair. May wear a hat to avoid identification. In Cornwall, the Poldarcy has a battle scar down one side of his face and dresses more shabbily than his Derbyshire counterpart.
Diet: Carnivore, with regional differences; the Cornish version is fond of pilchards and home-made pies, whereas the Derbyshire one has more refined tastes.
Group dynamics: Poldarcys are usually men of honour, respected for their leadership qualities. They enjoy physical exercise, especially during the mating season; this is often limited to dashing around on horseback, although they occasionally shed their outer layers to swim in cold water. They claim to prefer a quiet existence running their estates, but will defend their territory aggressively when provoked – although, increasingly, the Cornish version has been seen indulging in unprovoked bouts of fighting both at home and abroad.
Mating habits: Displays of courtship are infrequent and repressed. The species tends to mate successfully only with feisty females of a lower classification. Once a mate is selected, the Poldarcy proves himself intensely loyal and an avid breeder. However, in Cornwall the Poldarcy has been known to attach himself briefly to another female before returning to his mate.
Protection status: Despite (or perhaps because of) being fiercely protected by his female admirers, the Poldarcy is vulnerable to attack by other males. He finds the ‘W’ species of anti-hero particularly provoking – Warleggan and Wickham being notable examples. At one time there were fears that the Poldarcy was an endangered species, as he seemed to be appearing at 10-year intervals1 (following earlier, longer gaps2). However, with three seasons of Poldark filmed and a further two expected, these fears are believed to be unfounded.
Please note: The Poldarcy is not to be confused with the Thornton, a different species entirely. While they have some characteristics in common, the Thornton favours northern industrial areas and railway stations rather than open countryside. The Thornton is even more endangered than the Poldarcy, having appeared only once3, and has never been seen to shed anything beyond his cravat.
1 Pride & Prejudice – 1995 (BBC TV mini-series) and 2005 (Universal Studios film); Poldark – 2015 (BBC TV mini-series).
2 Poldark – 1975-1977 (two BBC TV mini-series); Pride & Prejudice – 1980 (BBC TV mini-series).
3 North and South – 2004 (BBC TV mini-series).
4 August 2017. General
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