Fake shirtless scene wasn’t a publicity stunt, reveals Poldark star | Television

His shirtless scenes in BBC One’s Poldark turned him into a national heartthrob and became one of the most memorable moments in television history.

But Aidan Turner says the image of his shirtless physique wielding a scythe was not meant to be a publicity photo.

The 39-year-old said he couldn’t look at the image without thinking of hair and makeup artist Jacquie Fowler, who was featured in the original backstage photo.

Fowler was captured covering up a tattoo that Turner got on holiday in Tenerife a few years ago, but was later Photoshopped out of the image.

“The first thing I think of when I see the photo is that they airbrushed the makeup artist covering up a tattoo,” Turner told Radio Times. “I always think about Jacquie Fowler and the fact that she didn’t do that picture. She was just there, painting a tattoo.

Images of the actor playing the smoking Ross Poldark sparked debate over the focus on his topless body, but Turner said he didn’t feel objectified.

“Was it safer to make a big deal out of this photograph because it was of a young man? Would she have been treated the same way in the press if it was a young woman? I do not know. Maybe not. But I didn’t feel objectified,” he said.

Turner said it made sense for him to be fit for the show, which ran for five series between 2015 and 2019.

“I thought in my prep that given Ross Poldark was a very active guy and the kind of diet he would be on, it felt right to get into this. He’s a farmer, he works, he rides a horse all the time, he’s a soldier,” he told the magazine.

The hit period drama helped BBC One achieve its highest audience share in a decade.

Turner will star in the ITV thriller The Suspect, in which he plays a clinical psychologist, Joe O’Loughlin, who has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The series, which premieres next Monday, is adapted from the novel by Michael Robotham and comes from the producers of Line of Duty.

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