Jack Farthing on the grief rocking George Warleggan’s world and what it's like saying goodbye to the evil Poldark character he loves so much...
George Warleggan has been the Poldark character everyone’s loved to hate. But this series viewers have witnessed a very different side to poor George – and the sight of him being shackled to his bed as a “cure” for his madness is something no Poldark fan will ever forget.
It also highlights the acting skills of Jack Farthing, who has played evil George since Poldark hit BBC1 five years ago.
Here, Poldark star Jack, 33, tells What’s On TV how hard it was to show George’s vulnerable side and why his final word is ‘goodbye’…
It’s been difficult to watch George Warleggan’s descent into madness. Has it been hard to play him for this last series of Poldark?
Jack Farthing: “It’s been a massive challenge for me as an actor! George has been struck by Elizabeth’s death like he’s never been struck by anything. It’s been seismic for him, he’s had to go to some very dark places and he’s kind of post-traumatic. I don’t want to tell you where it goes, but there are still massive challenges ahead for him. It’s profound.”
Warleggan’s’s not suddenly going to turn into one of the good guys, though, is he?
JF: “He’s never going to be perfect! I think it would be a disservice to him as a character to strip away his capabilities as a villain – he’s definitely still villainous. George is always capable of falling back into inexplicable malice, but there’s definitely a more of a sense of him as a human being this series. At times he’s unforgivably hateful but he’s also a little puppy as well!”
Would you say things have things softened between Warleggan and Ross Poldark since his wife Elizabeth’s death?
JF: “Yes, their priorities have changed. They’re still pitted against each other personally and politically but the fighting in the pub days are behind them. There’s a kind of maturity to them, although they’re still both capable of totally childish behaviour, too! But they’ve got this traumatic common ground that they share and that brings them together.”
You’ve loved playing George Warleggan. Will you be sad to say goodbye to him?
JF: “Yes, definitely! You do invest, I suppose. You put part of what you own into that character, so it will be sad to leave him behind, although I won’t miss wearing the heels, that’s for sure. They’re Cuban in the extreme and I sort of look like an antelope, like I’m trotting along! And when I’m angry in them it’s an absolute joke – I’m wobbling!”
Can you tell us what your last scene in Poldark is like?
JF: “I love my last ever scene playing George Warleggan very much. It’s satisfying and moving and clever! Actually I think my last word might be ‘goodbye’. I should have done it to camera, like ‘thanks for watching’!”
Have you taken any mementoes from the set?
JF: “Yeah, my pockets are full! Seriously, George’s stuff is all so ridiculously extravagant and a golden marble table in my little flat? Probably not! Actually I don’t know why I took it, but I’ve got one of these horrible two-piece black suits, a tailcoat and trousers. I must auction it!”
What’s next for you post-Poldark?
JF: “I’d quite like to do something where I can lounge around in jeans! Having said that, roles like George are often the most appealing and interesting psychologically and I’d rather be playing someone like him than an earnest do-gooder!”
Interview by Hannah Davies
* Poldark continues on Sundays, BBC1, 9pm