When Aidan Turner put in another head-turning performance in BBC One’s chilling TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None last year, the Irish actor did little to quash the Bond rumour mill.
But while he’s keeping strictly schtum on the soap opera of who will play 007, he will gladly talk about the impressive body of work that has, in the last year, catapulted him to new heights.
With audience numbers for Poldark — which sees Turner take centre stage as brooding hero Ross Poldark — peaking at 9.4m, alongside scooping the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s Baftas, Turner made light work of its 2015 debut.
“We did really well on the show, and this is going to sound awful, but I didn’t expect any different. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, course it wasn’t going to sink, we weren’t going to fail it.’ That would have been shocking.
"But looking back now, how lucky are we that we found an audience? You can go out on Sunday night at 9pm and have no one watch it. We just struck a chord; it was the right place, right time.”
It’s little wonder, then, that the prime-time epic is back for a second instalment next month, with a third already announced for 2017.
Discussing the ease of falling back into character, the Dubliner says: “That’s what you’re looking for every time, isn’t it? Especially when the first series has been a hit. It’s nice to walk back in and go, ‘We did something right.’”
Turner is excited for this somewhat “more tempestuous” leg of the journey, but with an impending court case — last season left viewers on a cliffhanger after Ross was caught stealing the contents of a shipwreck and inciting a riot, both crimes punishable by death — the protagonist’s luck may be about to run out.
“Ross and Demelza [Eleanor Tomlinson] are not in a great place when we start off, and it doesn’t really get better,” says Turner.
Meanwhile, keeping in shape is a necessary part of the job.
“I need to, or I won’t fit the costumes. Literally, I can’t put on a pound.
“Seven months of that is boring. It’s not fun — there are no pasties and loads of press-ups. I hate it, but it’s got to be done. Physically, I want [the character] to look a certain way. Considering the diet he was on and how physical he is — he’s down the mines a lot, he’s on his horse, and he’s a farmer — it makes no sense to look any other way.”
Laughing, he adds: “It’s a good time to be me.”
Poldark returns to BBC One on September 4
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