Mr Darcy never had a six-pack, says Richard

Monday 11 May 2015

Credit: Twitter/@BBCOne

Ah well, I suppose it had to happen: the luvvies’ backlash against Aiden Turner’s ripped torso as Poldark.

“Mr Darcy never had a six-pack!” was the general theme in a lament led by actor Matthew Macfadyen, a man not lacking his own posse of admirers.

Even so, he admitted that when he was cast as Jane Austen’s hero opposite Keira Knightly in the 2005 version of Pride And Prejudice, he was handed a diet and fitness regime along with his contract.

“These days you do the deal and then the personal trainer gets straight in touch,” he told Radio Times.

“When I see it on screen it immediately smacks of vanity because I know exactly what’s happened – they’ve been doing crunches and 50,000 press-ups before breakfast. A character in a period drama would never have done that!”

He’s right of course and it’s a very recent trend.

I don’t remember Colin Firth displaying particularly prominent pecs in that career-defining, soaked shirt scene.

And TV’s original Poldark, Robin Ellis, made the ladies swoon without taking himself down to the gym and a punishing programme to bulk up for Demelza.

But maybe the new trend to trim and tone will ripple (pun intended) into other media forms.

Daytime TV, perhaps. Expect to see a pumped-up Phillip Schofield onscreen next season – more silver bear than silver fox.

Eamon Holmes too – he’ll be cracking walnuts with his biceps over on Sky.

Me? I’m safely on the radio at the moment, sitting in for Terry Wogan on his R2 Sunday brunch slot.

Anyway I could never compete with Tel in the beefcake stakes. In summer he often presents the show dressed in skimpy shorts.

Buns of steel and thighs like sturdy oaks, so I’m told. Which explains the bottle of baby oil I often notice discreetly placed handily close to the mic.

Read Richard and Judy's column for the Daily Express in full here.
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  • A buff Ross Poldark is eye candy, adds to the story, makes us all have sweet dreams, and it doesn't affect the story