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28 October 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Local History > Graham's Poldark

Winston Graham

Graham's Poldark

A new exhibition chronicling the life and works of the Poldark author Winston Graham opens in Truro in mid June. Graham was well known for his books which were based in Cornwall. The novels were turned into a popular television series too.

June 2008 sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Winston Graham.

The author wrote several books in his lifetime, but he is best known for his Cornwall based Poldark stories.

Seven of the 12 Poldark books were turned into BBC television series during the '70s, making stars out of Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees.

Angharad Rees and Robin Ellis

Angharad Rees and Robin Ellis in Poldark

Now a massive exhibition, celebrating the life of Winston Graham, will be displayed at Truro's Royal Cornwall Museum.

It will feature some of the original costumes and design sketches.

BBC Cornwall's Matt Pengelly went to speak to BBC costume design wizard John Bloomfield, who worked on the original Poldark production all those years ago:

As well as his Poldark books, Winston Graham wrote over 40 widely translated novels among them 'Marnie', which Alfred Hitchcock made into a memorable film.

But it's Poldark that will be Winston's lasting legacy among book readers and television viewers.

Winston Graham (centre)

Winston Graham (centre) meets cast

During the war years and serving in the Auxiliary Coastguard Service in Cornwall Winston Graham freely admitted he'd had a very, very 'lucky' war, with many long quiet hours alone on watch in all weathers which into the bargain brought him the sort of health he had never known before.

"When I began to write Poldark I drew on this part of my life as in another dimension," he explained in a rare interview.

"It was a remarkable experience. What I was writing was not a planned thing, it was organic, with the characters working out their own destiny.

"Sitting there in the grey old empty bungalow, I felt like a man driving a coach and four, roughly knowing the direction in which the coach would travel, but being pulled along by forces only just under his control.

Poldark on the box

Radio Times from 1975

"It was physically and mentally both exhausting and exhilarating...All I knew was that I was writing something out of my very guts, and that I was content."

Poldark's Cornwall - The Life and Times of Winston Graham opens at the Royal Cornwall Museum on Saturday 14 June and runs through until Saturday 13 September 2008.

For information about Winston Graham, and the exhibition, click on the link below:

last updated: 04/06/2008 at 14:48
created: 04/06/2008

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