It is the part actresses have been clamouring for since the BBC announced the remake of its classic bodice-ripper series Poldark.

And now it has been revealed that the central character of Demelza will be played by 21-year-old Eleanor Tomlinson, who was in the BBC drama The White Queen.

She will follow the late Angharad Rees into the role of the fiery servant who falls in love with Captain Ross Poldark in Winston Graham’s series of classic novels.

“I will do my utmost to do justice to the spirit of Demelza,” says Eleanor.

“She’s such an iconic character, who was so brilliantly played by Angharad, and I will do my very best to try not to disappoint the army of Poldark fans out there.

“I am conscious of the fact that the original series had a huge following and was tremendously popular,” Eleanor told The Mail on Sunday.

Producers have promised that a post-watershed slot will ensure the 18th-century romantic saga is steamier than the original, which ran for 29 episodes from 1975 to 1977 and screened at 7.00pm on Sundays.

It had such an impact that churches in Cornwall even changed the times of evening services to avoid a clash.

Damien Timmer, an executive producer of the new Poldark, added: “Demelza is the heart of the story and it is a real coup that she will be played by Eleanor. We believe a new audience will fall in love with Eleanor.

“Demelza is an incredibly complex character and we needed someone who has the potential to play the character for hopefully many series to come.”

The story follows the fortunes of Poldark, an Army officer who returns home to Cornwall from the American War of Independence to find his former life in tatters.

His late father’s estate is in chaos and the love of his life, Elizabeth, is engaged to his cousin.

Poldark then sets about repairing the family name, but also marries Demelza, the servant girl he has made pregnant.

Other key roles have gone to Lark Rise To Candleford star Ruby Bentall, who will play Poldark’s cousin Verity, and Icelandic actress Heida Reed, who will portray Elizabeth.

The new eight-part series, due to air next year, will feature Irish film star Aidan Turner in the title role.

Winston Graham’s son Andrew said: “I am thrilled that producers Mammoth Screen are bringing my father’s novels freshly to life with such authenticity to the original books.”