Poldark rape scene sparks Ofcom complaints

first_imgPoldark appears to force himself on Elizabeth Credit:BBC "You would not dare," she tells him Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiden Turner as husband and wife, Demelza and Ross Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiden Turner as husband and wife, Demelza and RossCredit:BBC “To be more precise – in the novel Warleggan, the point of departure for the relevant scene is indeed consistent with the potential for rape. But what then actually happens is not described but is left entirely to one’s imagination.”The only way to judge what my father intended is to read the novels as a whole. Doing so it becomes clear, from earlier scenes as well as from Elizabeth’s immediate reactions and later mixed emotions, that what finally happened was consensual sex born of long-term love and longing. She added: “However, as programme makers, we needed to decide what the audience would actually see. And, as far as possible, to bring to life what the original author intended the scene to depict.”We were fortunate to have Winston Graham’s son Andrew as our consultant on the series so we were able to clarify with him what his father’s intentions for this scene were. What you saw on screen is consistent with what we believe those intentions to have been.” Heidi Reed plays Elizabeth Heidi Reed plays ElizabethCredit:BBC “It was, as Aidan Turner has put it, ‘unfinished business emotionally’.”Debbie Horsfield, Poldark screenwriter, said no two readers would imagine a scene the same way, and that is particularly true of this scene as the action is left entirely to the reader’s imagination. Television viewers have complained to Ofcom over what critics describe as a rape scene in BBC period drama Poldark.The media watchdog confirmed it has had seven complaints so far following Sunday night’s episode, with 17 complaints direct to the BBC.An Ofcom spokesman said the complaints would be assessed “before deciding whether to investigate or not.”In the episode, Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner, turns up unannounced at the house of his former fiancee Elizabeth, played by Heida Reed.He kicks in the door and demands that she cancels her wedding to his enemy George Warleggan. Poldark appears to force himself on Elizabeth center_img Heidi Reed and Aiden Turner star in PoldarkCredit:BBC Sarah Green, co-director at charity End Violence Against Women, said: “It is definitely portrayed very much as a rape.”The female character says ‘no’ and there are also non-verbal signs. She is moving away from him and pulling away from him. There is lots of stuff that is ambiguous.”She added: “The directors have done something really ambiguous. It is a really appalling message, which is they have made the representation of non-consensual sex ambiguous by making her appear to change her mind.”Asked why she thought this was the case, Ms Green continued: “The problem the producers have found, because this character is extremely popular, they can’t represent him as that, they can’t represent him as doing something criminal.” The show has not shied away from intimate scenesCredit:BBC The show has not shied away from intimate scenes She ignores what he says and instead asks him to leave, prompting him to take her face in his hands and forcefully kiss her.When she pushes him away and insists she loves George, he forces another kiss on her before looking at the bed.Elizabeth tells Poldark: “You will not dare. You will not dare.”He replies: “I would Elizabeth. I would and so will you.”The lead character then pushes her on to the bed and she appears to finally give in to him. Poldark, based on the novels of Winston Graham, was originally made for TV in the 1970s when it attracted audiences of 15 million and the remake has helped BBC1 to its highest share of an audience in a decade.Commenting on the controversial scene, Mr Graham’s son Andrew said: “There is no ‘shock rape’ storyline in the novels. To say so is to misconstrue my father’s text. The BBC has cut nothing and Mammoth Screen’s portrayal of these scenes is entirely true to my father’s writing. Heidi Reed and Aiden Turner star in Poldark “You would not dare,” she tells himCredit:BBC Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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