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Aidan Turner is taking the title role in the remake of hit 1970s Cornish costume drama Poldark.

The Hobbit star, who plays the dwarf Kili in the films based on JRR Tolkien’s novel and also starred in Being Human, has signed up for the show, which is inspired by Winston Graham’s books.

He plays the part of soldier Ross Poldark who returns to his home in Cornwall from the American War of Independence to find his fiancee believes him dead and is about to marry his cousin.

He said: “I’m very excited to play Ross Poldark for the BBC and it’s obviously a huge challenge to honour the extraordinary character Winston Graham created and who Debbie Horsfield has brought new life to. But there’s a terrific team coming together and the scripts are superb, so I can’t wait to get started.”

BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson said: “We are really excited. He is a brilliant actor, he is part of the BBC family, we are incredibly thrilled he is coming back from Hollywood from The Hobbit in order to lead Poldark for BBC1.”

The show was a big hit with viewers when it was first transmitted between 1975 and 1977.

Graham’s son Andrew said: “I am delighted at the choice of Aidan Turner as Ross, as I am sure my father would have been. Ross in the novels was a man of dark good looks, impulsive temperament, strong loyalties and deep emotions. I am greatly looking forward to seeing Aidan bring all these qualities freshly to life.”