Poldark’s Ellise Chappell: 'I cry when I think about what Morwenna has been through!'

Ellise Chappell as Morwenna
(Image credit: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Mike Hogan)

Ellise Chappell reveals the drama to come for Morwenna in Poldark this week when Drake kidnaps her beloved son John Conan…

When Morwenna married Drake Carne at the end of the last series, Poldark fans hoped that it would be happy-ever-after for her after years of abuse at the hands of her odious ex husband Rev Osborne Whitworth. Sadly, coming to terms with her past has been easier said than done for Morwenna, especially the torment of being separated from John Conan, the son she abandoned when she finally fled the Whitworth vicarage.

This week, desperate to ease Morwenna’s pain, Drake makes the foolish and dangerous decision to kidnap John Conan. But can Demelza persuade her brother to return John Conan before he’s locked up?

Here Ellise Chappell, 27, reveals to What's On TV how there are plenty more twists and turns for her Poldark character Morwenna and the precious memento she claimed from the Poldark set…

Morwenna is still suffering this series. Is there any hope for her?

Ellise Chappell: "It’s not that simple unfortunately. Morwenna has got this really horrific past, which puts a wall between her and Drake. She still goes through a rocky journey, but she finally has a sense of safety in her relationship, which is nice. Drake’s so patient and loving and open, but it’s still not an easy journey!"

Part of Morwenna's pain has been losing her son John Conan. How’s she dealing with that?

EC: "Morwenna had to make this really awful decision to leave her child in order to get out of this awful situation she was in. I think if she’d stayed, Lady Whitworth [Rebecca Front] would have attempted to put her in an asylum, so she had to leave and by doing that abandon her son, which was traumatic.

"This series she goes through this process of needing to have closure. She needs to process what’s happened to her and grieve the things she’s lost and John Conan is part of that. She needs to grapple with her relationship with him and whether it’s healthy to be in his life, not just for her but for John Conan, too."

Morwenna marrying Drake

Happy times: When Morwenna married Drake in the last series

Have you found it hard to play those emotional scenes?

EC: "Yes, Morwenna’s story has been so challenging, she’s had to go through so much! I’ve had to play innocence and a love for life through to a really dark and horrific time to coming out the other side and healing and trauma recovery – it’s been a crazy journey. But I never realised how you could feel so deeply about a character! I love Morwenna so much and I have so much empathy for her that just thinking about all she’s been through I start crying!"

Have you had positive feedback from Poldark fans about Morwenna?

EC: "Yes, and it means a lot that this story means something to people because it’s such an important story. So many people have been through something similar, so I really wanted to do it justice. It’s really incredible so to have feedback from people saying how Morwenna’s story has touched them."

How do you feel about Poldark ending and saying goodbye to Morwenna?

EC: "I feel absolutely bereft, I feel so emotional and fragile. I think she’s an amazing character and I feel so lucky to have been able to play her. I’m going to miss the show and Morwenna so much and it’s only now that it’s sinking in that it’s finished. But I’ve made friends for life on this show and I’m pretty positive we’ll all stay in touch – we’re all on WhatsApp which is nice, and I’ve kept Morwenna’s shell bracelet that Drake gave her, which I love!"

Interview by Hannah Davies

Poldark continues on BBC1, Sundays, 9pm


Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.