The last series of Poldark began on BBC One on Sunday – and the first episode has gone down well with the critics.
The Daily Telegraph’s Gerard O’Donovan said it was “a thoroughly enjoyable start” to series five.
Giving the opening episode four stars, he added that the series was “almost certain to be an emotionally draining but hugely entertaining final run”.
Around 4.6 million viewers tuned in – roughly level with the 4.7 million who saw the start of series four last year.
But Sunday’s episode was beaten in the BBC One ratings by the men’s Wimbledon final and Countryfile, according to overnight figures.
Spoiler alert – minor plot details may be revealed below
The Guardian’s Emine Saner also gave the first episode four stars, writing: “There’s something deeply comforting about it all – it’s as cosy and familiar as a candlelit supper at the Nampara kitchen table.”
She added: “The story gallops along like Seamus the horse on a Cornish clifftop. It’s all faintly ridiculous, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”
The Independent was a little less glowing, awarding three stars. Its reviewer Ed Cumming wrote: “The more I think about the programme, the more it reveals itself as a jamboree of toxic masculinity.
“Maybe there are some viewers who still care deeply about the specifics of who does what to who, but who are they kidding? It’s pure windswept melodrama.”
He concluded that: “Finale seasons can suffer from being laps of honour, which new plot elements help to mitigate against.
“The irony is that Poldark need not have worried: it has always been a lap of honour, shameless twaddle chocker with troublesome characters and absurd plots, and all the more lovable for it. We will see its like again, but clap it in anyway.”
‘Enjoy your Aidan Turner rations’
Den of Geek’s Louisa Mellor wrote that the series appeared to have turned into “an espionage thriller” and asked viewers to appreciate the show while they could.
She continued: “A toast then, to the new century. What does it hold for us? Just seven remaining Sunday nights of Cornish joy. Relish them.”
Writing in The Times, Carol Midgley noted that writer Debbie Horsfield had “taken Ross’s already considerable hero credentials and upped them”.
She added: “Only seven episodes to go and then that’s your lot. Enjoy your Aidan Turner rations while you’ve got them.”
Meanwhile, The Herald’s Alison Rowat was another impressed critic who gave the episode four stars.
“By episode end, plots were afoot, Demelza was hurtling towards London, and Ross was having clipped conversations with a strange man called Wickham who had a whiff of His Majesty’s secret service about him.
“The hubble, bubble, toil and trouble is coming along nicely.”
Scott Bryan from BBC Radio 5 Live’s Must Watch podcast said: ”It’s one of those shows that the BBC knows works. I’m intrigued about how they take George in a new direction.
”If you’ve been a fan of Poldark, it’s still as good as it’s ever been.”
But fellow Must Watch reviewer Hayley Campbell was less impressed, saying: ”It’s lots of people looking pensive and making travel arrangements. It’s not for me. It’s not a show that you can come in at series five and pick up what is going on.”