'Poldark' Rape Scene Complaints Will Not Be Investigated By Ofcom

The episode sparked a backlash from angry viewers.

Poldark’ has been cleared by Ofcom, after a number of viewers complained about a rape scene.

The TV watchdog received 41 viewers complaints last month, after the BBC drama’s lead character Ross Poldark forced himself upon former lover, Elizabeth.

<strong>Ross Poldark forced himself upon Elizabeth</strong>
Ross Poldark forced himself upon Elizabeth

However, Ofcom has now decided not to investigate the matter further, with a spokesperson stating: “We recognised that some viewers were offended by the way in which this scene was portrayed.

“However, we took into account the right to freedom of expression and that drama programming is not required to portray behaviours in a way that either advocates or opposes them.”

Viewers and critics alike slammed the episode on Twitter at the time, with one critic calling it “a rape fantasy scene” - blurring the lines between consent and non-consent, while others threatened to boycott the rest of the series in protest.

When the scene was initially discussed, the show’s star Aidan Turner – who plays Ross – defended the creative decisions, saying: “It seems consensual, and it just seems right. He goes to talk. He doesn’t go to commit a crime.

“They talk and it seems like there is still this spark between them, this unfinished business emotionally. Certainly, that’s how Ross feels. He doesn’t force himself upon her.”

<strong>Aiden Turner plays Ross Poldark</strong>
Aiden Turner plays Ross Poldark

‘Poldark’ writer Debbie Horsfield later weighed in on the debate, following the backlash, claiming it was a consensual act, born of long-suppressed desire between the two.

“Although he is hot-headed and reckless – in the books and as depicted on screen – Ross is fundamentally a man of honour, a rebel who stands up for the underdog,” she told Radio Times.

“How likely is it that he would commit a crime against a woman, a woman he has loved for ten years? It would fly in the face of everything we know about him.”

‘Poldark’ will return for a third series in 2017.

Poldark Series 2 - copyright BBC

Poldark Series 2