We have had enough. Poor old Aidan Turner has just been officially nationally objectified by winning an “Impact Award” at the British National Television Awards this week, all for appearing shirtless whilst doing mundane farming chores in the third episode of historical drama Poldark.

Although Poldark received a nomination for best New Drama and Aidan Turner for Drama Performance, the public voted for Aidan to take home the “Impact Award” for his physique, and not the considerable acting chops he displayed as Ross Poldark from the beloved series of books by Winston Graham.

Radio Times claimed in this article that Aidan was “beaming with joy about his win” when he told them “I didn’t even know what this was, I was sitting there and my face just came up on screen”. Rather, in this video, he pulls a face and asks them “it’s a good thing right?” After all, in Poldark Aidan Turner has given the acting performance of his career, to be acknowledged and awarded for one brief scene that focuses on his body, however well formed, rather than that performance, is actually kind of insulting.

It’s only a “good thing” if it really is a good thing that people simply can’t move on from seeing an attractive man without his shirt on, which is hardly as staggering as the betrayal of Jon Snow (another contender for the award). The said shirtless picture, which the strictly non-objectifying nerds refuse to publish, has been endlessly flogged since Poldark producers released it early last year for some pre-show publicity. Clearly the BBC were impressed with the reaction it caused, also forcing Aidan appear half-naked in his next BBC show And Then There Were None.

Aidan told Radio Times he does not feel objectified. Of course, it’s not surprising Aidan would not want to upset anyone. Yet it hardly matters that he is being good-natured when it is plain to see that his looks are being fully exploited, and exploitation is unacceptable for either sex. If Eleanor Tomlinson had been splashed about the internet half-naked for months and months on end there would be a fully-justified uproar.

There are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen instances of popular magazine Radio Times displaying the image in some way, which is all I could stand to find before wanting to stick forks in my eyes. I am sure there are more. But that is more than one a month, and in a little under half of the articles on Aidan Turner or Poldark I could find on said website. This includes an entire article dedicated to Twitter reactions to Aidan Turner in a towel. It does not include the endless remarks made by Radio Times staff about Aidan’s looks, or the claim that the character Ross Poldark is “a man with a penchant for taking his top off” when the character removed his shirt to work in the fields once, and once more to go for a swim. Bedtime undressing/dressing doesn’t count. Which hardly indicates a penchant when in only one of these instances it was not absolutely strictly necessary.

It’s not only Radio Times of course. Digital Spy published a doozy the other day where Aidan allegedly “promised” more “slightly naked scenes” in Poldark series 2 when all he was doing was responding to whether he had relaxed his diet over Christmas, answering “I think I’ve finished all the slightly naked scenes I’m going to be doing – I think they might all be done by this stage!” The article did not choose to focus on his other commentary on keeping the Poldark standard high, but instead, on supposed nudity.

Of course the number of times that Radio Times has used the image is less relevant than the length of time they have been using it for. Had they used it a couple of dozen times in the weeks after it was released, when there was still a buzz around it, it could hardly be deemed strange. The fact that they have now been frequently using the same image, and making the same sort of objectifying remarks, for almost a year is the behaviour of weird, creepy perverts.

Thankfully the fan-favourite Poldark pictures tend to be images of both Ross and Demelza looking wind-swept and romantic on cliff-tops. In fact one of the more popular images of Eleanor Tomlinson is this lovely image of her lying dreamily in a field with her best friend Garrick.

Poldark-S01-Demelza-Garrick

Because we, like most fans, like to celebrate the beauty and splendour of the story, and not treat talented artists like pieces of meat, we invite you to help us put a jumper on Aidan. We have prepared a series of vests for Aidan. Pick your favourite, or create your own and share with the hashtag #pleaseputajumperonaidan, (or post them on our Facebook page). I’m rather fond of the fluffy vest myself.

AIDANVEST1

AIDANVEST2

AIDANVEST3

AIDANVEST4

AIDANVEST5

About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

16 Responses

  1. Jasmine

    Unfortunately sex sells everything these days. Modern society has a hang up about what an individual looks like rather than what they do. I have never seen a rational answer to the question as to why women in their 50s disappear from TV programmes (documentaries, news programmes etc rather than drama) while men in their 60s, 70s and even 80s continue to front similar programme.
    A few years ago there was a TV newsreader called Moira Stuart who was taken off the TV when she got to around 55, but is still heard on the radio where presumably people are not offended by her facial lines or possible grey hair.

    Reply
    • Olga Hughes

      See it’s not as noticeable in the UK because British actresses tend to get a very long run. So we assume the presenters are also valued for their talent and not looks, it’s sad that is not the case.

      Reply
      • Jasmine

        Did you watch Strictly Come Dancing? There was a female judge on it called Arlene Phillips, a very experienced dance judge. She was late 50s/early 60s when the BBC got rid of her and replaced her with a young woman who was not a proper dance judge but simply someone who had won the competition. There was an outcry in the media and the BBC belatedly offered her her own modern dance programme, but it only lasted one season.

        Of course Len Goodman the chief judge is around 70 but being a bloke, the BBC assume the viewers are not offended by his looks!

      • Olga Hughes

        No I’ve never watched it, I thought the BBC was better than that. Then again the BBC are responsible for the offending picture I was discussing…

    • Underdogge

      I’m UK based and I used to think Moira Stuart was great – and she was (in my opinion at least) a handsome lady even if she was over 50. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Kate Adie (a much respected female UK news reporter) on TV lately though she does still present “From our own Correspondent” on BBC Radio 4.

      Actually, I read something recently (but I was just browsing – not making notes so I don’t have the reference) that there had been thoughts about replacing Len Goodman. I don’t watch “Strictly Come Dancing” if I can help it – nothing against the people involved, it’s just not my cuppa!

      Has anyone read any of the J A Jance “Ali Reynolds” mystery stories about a dismissed mature reporter who becomes a solver of mysteries? The Ali Reynolds character was created when one of JAJ’s favourite female presenter’s was given the royal order of the boot at the age of 53 (well in America I don’t suppose it would be the ‘royal’ order), so TV ladies don’t have their careers curtailed only in the UK it seems.

      Reply
      • Jasmine

        Yup, Kate Adie disappeared from the TV screens when she was in her early 50s and only appears on the radio where people cannot be surprised or shocked that a mature woman is still working! Of course David Dimbleby (70s) and David Attenborough (soon be 90) can still be shown on TV…….Looks it seems are important if you are female. If I were Fiona Bruce I would be getting worried……

    • tj

      what about dame maggie smith, judy dench, julie walters i could go on but im sure you get my drift. i think you ought to look a little harder as older women are everywhere on tv and in movies.

      Reply
      • Jasmine

        These are all actresses and in my post I said I was talking about documentaries and news programmes, not drama. Of course there are older actresses in dramas – it would be insane to have a character like the Dowager Countess of Grantham played by a young woman. However, with other non-drama programmes, older women are few and far between.

  2. Underdogge

    Forgot to mention this in my earlier comment – the photoshopped pictures relating to how much of Mr Turner ought to be on show made me think of the paper outfits with tabs at the shoulder that you could put over cardboard dolls (really just a few inches high) in my childhood. There used to be dresses one could cut out on the back of the “Bunty” comic to stick over a figure of the eponymous comic book character. This was over half a century ago mind! I can’t remember exactly – but the cardboard Bunty (well you had to cut her out and stick her on cardboard) was dressed “respectable” I believe.

    Reply
    • Olga Hughes

      I loved paper doll books, we had Little Golden Books with paper dolls as well.

      Reply
  3. Underdogge

    tj, there have always been what used to be called “character” actresses. From my younger days I can think of Margaret Rutherford (famous for saying “a handbag” in The Importance of Being Ernest and for playing Miss Marple). There was also Irene Handl and I recall Gladys Cooper (a former “Gaiety” girl – though even I wasn’t around when she was a Gaiety girl) playing the grandma in the Hayley Mills version of The Parent Trap. Presenters and news readers (if they are female and no longer in the first flush of youth) do have a harder time of it though.

    Reply
  4. Kaat

    THAT pic gets even posted when talking about other series…. Geez. I am going to post allll your jumper versions!

    Reply
  5. Kelly Schumann

    Just to clarify, Aidan did not win the Impact Award solely for his shirtless scene. The award was originally called the Best TV Moment award. So many scenes from Poldark were nominated (scenes that highlighted Aidan’s wonderful acting), that they had to change the name of the award. He did not win for that one scene, but the media chooses to emphasize and refer to only that one scene. He is no more naked in Poldark than any other actor in any other series. The media needs to stop talking about his body, and start talking about his talent. With that I agree.

    Reply
    • Olga Hughes

      I just watched the clip on Youtube and it showed three scenes, two of which Eleanor Tomlinson was in – Demelza telling Ross she was pregnant, Demelza and Ross grieving for Julia and then Aidan in scything scene, and they were playing Demelza’s song from Trenwith over the whole lot.
      So I think Eleanor should have won 😉

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.