Almanac TV (and Footy): How Poldark would greatly benefit from an Aussie Rules sub plot

Throughout our game’s great history people of vision have pondered how to extend its influence into other areas of high culture, thus enriching both the sport and the host activity.


The footy off season provides ample time to ponder how new synergies could be formed across art and culture. For example, I’m enjoying the repeats of Poldark on the ABC but recently realised the show lacked an essential ingredient: bruising Aussie Rules matches between the workers from George Warleggan’s estate and the labourers from Ross Poldark’s mine.


Surely the writers could work this thematic device into the scripts? Footy action would bring a welcome change of pace to the show, which mainly consists of Ross galloping along Cornish cliff tops, interspersed with occasional births, deaths, shipwrecks, marriage infidelities and quaint harvest customs.


Indeed, aficionados of Cornwall’s clifftops, coastal scenery, birth and funeral rituals, maritime mishaps, spousal betrayal and nineteenth century farming practices have been well catered for to this point and the serious footy fan is about the only demographic that hasn’t had a look in.


I’ve decided to point out this glaring anomaly to Poldark’s producers, who have recently started filming a fifth and final series. It’s worth noting that the show’s ratings – while still impressive – have dipped somewhat over recent seasons and this plot device could provide just the fillip the show needs to go out with a bang.


Now I realise the lack of footy action in the first four series presents a potential plot hole going into the fifth, but this could be overcome using flashbacks in which the young Ross leads his miners in a series of increasingly brutal footy encounters against the men from George’s estate. Such flashbacks could also provide further background to the show’s simmering feuds, including the revelation that Ross defeated George by one vote to become the Cornwall Coastal Football League’s (CCFL) Best and Fairest winner for 1793.


The script logistics would be relatively simple. Football matches involving key cast members would take place on either a Wednesday or a Saturday afternoon, depending of course on the harvest timetable and whether this part of Cornwall had adopted the mid-week or Saturday half holiday.


League rezonings will need to be covered. For example, the mine workers may already be part of an industrial league and the farm workers may be in the neighbouring district league, in which case fixture changes would be required, perhaps hammered out under the auspices of the CCFL. These discussions could be neatly covered off in one episode, one and a half tops.


Naturally, the final episode would focus on the week leading up to the grand final between Ross’ miners and George’s estate workers. In a dramatic plot twist, Valentine Warleggan – reluctant full forward for George’s estate and Ross’ real son born during the third series – discovers during the traditional grand final parade through the village that he is in fact eligible to play for the miners under the league’s father – son rule.


A last minute protest by George is dismissed by the league in a fractious late night hearing, providing the spur the miners need to triumph over the estate workers. Valentine kicks seven goals and is named BOG. What better way to end the final series?


As you can see, this stuff almost writes itself. Further plot suggestions are welcome before I send my proposal off to the show’s producers …



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About Robert Allen

Robert is a football history tragic who lives in Brisbane with his three children and a ginger cat named Thomas O'Malley. He recently completed a biography of Roy Cazaly, in which he endeavoured to avoid what Gideon Haigh has called the two facets of most Australian sports biographies: cut-and-paste and tongue-in-bum.


  1. Angela Vary says

    Loved your article and I think it’s a splendid idea! Now we need to come up with team names. Perhaps team Warleggan’s could be the sharks and team Poldark the peasants or the proletarians?

  2. What a great idea Robert. I bet Rulebook’s jealous he didn’t think of the idea.

  3. Robert- I enjoyed this immensely and laughed out loud reading it in the Riverbank Stand at Adelaide Oval last night. Brilliant. Must be a development grant coming your way.

  4. Team songs? Suggestions?

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