Poldark: So fertile, I may have got pregnant watching him

In contrast, whenever we cut to Ross (Aidan Turner) and his saintly wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) they are carrying bales of hay, or pumping water, or punching sheep, or wrestling horses. The baby comes out shirtless, brooding, riding a small horse and wearing a tricorn hat. Everything is sun-dappled or candle-lit. And then there’s the beautiful, ocean-battered coastline of Cornwall along which Ross and Demelza ride when in emotional turmoil and which some liken to “another character on the show”. “Curse my hunky fertile genes!” cries Ross Poldark shaking his fist at the heavens in anticipation of an excitingly tumultuous eight episodes to come. There are references to the war which will, I think, dominate later episodes. “The trick is to outrun them.” This shows a basic and panicky misunderstanding of the science of shadows, but we’ll let it pass. “He favours you, I think,” says Elizabeth to George, chancing her arm. Elizabeth spends the episode trying get thrown from a horse or flinging herself down stairs in fear that George will listen to Aunt Agatha’s hints about the child’s parentage and figure out that Elizabeth is nine months and not eight months pregnant. Possibly due to its roots in the novels of Winston Graham, it never undermines its historical strangeness with high-concept notions or overly prescient references to the internet or the millennium bug or Jeremy Corbyn. And then there’s Elizabeth’s son, Geoffrey Charles, who has never read any old English novels about what happens to the first children of remarried English aristocrats, and so is unwisely insolent towards George. That Poldark, what’s he like? Actually, Ross keeps his shirt on for this episode, leaving the more explicit hunking to two new characters, Demelza’s brothers, the wannabe preacher Sam and the Canadian hip-hop artiste Drake (editor’s note: um, I think that’s a different Drake, Patrick). Poldark, all in black, his brow furrowed like an Olde Tyme goth, has much on his mind. Caroline Penvenen, a friend and local pug-farmer (well, she has a pug), is marrying noble military doctor Dwight Enys in defiance of her kindly, slowly-expiring guardian Bergerac (John Nettles). The latter action apparently causes her to go into labour. Ross spends a bit of time lurking outside the window spying at this point, which is pretty weird behaviour even for him (this show expects you to forgive a lot). Demelza wishes he didn’t always “rise before dawn” …

Five TV shows to watch this week

Things are complicated by the discovery of mysterious remains washed up on the shores of the loch – including a human heart. Jordan’s proven himself adept at dramatising the lives of the super- rich with his series The Borgias – and with Banville on board as co-writer, we’re hoping Riviera will have glitz and grit in equal measures. She must find out who killed Constantine, and she must also delve into her husband’s mysterious dealings to get at the truth behind his vast riches. She also has to deal with Constantine’s formidable ex-wife Irina (Lena Olin) and his three complex kids. He says he’s been stitched up; she believes him. Initial word is good – the series stars Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios, the wife of a billionaire banker, Constantine (played by Anthony LaPaglia). Expect lots of wild, rugged Caledonian scenery and some serious chills, as Redford risks all to catch the serial killer on the loose. In fact, she’s so convinced of his innocence that she’s willing to put her career and reputation on the line. She is living a life far removed from her down-home Southern roots, filled with lavish mansions, luxury yachts, private jets and gold and diamonds galore. We’re promised a “heartwarming celebration of a family home and the family that lived in it”, so don’t knock it until you’ve seen it. She plays Emma Banville, a human rights lawyer who specialises in lost causes, and there’s no more lost cause than Kevin Russell, a man jailed for the murder of a schoolgirl 14 years ago. But when she begins to delve into the case, suddenly things don’t seem so clear-cut. Stiles was woefully under-used as Nicky Parsons in the Jason Bourne movies (she and Matt Damon didn’t get so much as a snog) so hopefully Riviera will give her a chance to shine. Following her husband’s death, Rosemary Woods is keen to downsize, which will mean saying goodbye to the family home she’s lived in for the past 18 years. Riviera Thursday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm We’ve been rattling our jewellery in anticipation of Riviera, the much-touted new crime/drama series set in the bling world of the super- rich in the South of France. But just to make it interesting, three of her children go househunting, each one picking what they think is the ideal small home for her. It’s written by Stephen Brady, who counts …