Poldark and Beecham House go head to head forcing viewers to choose between hunks

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Viewers will be forced to choose between historical hunks Ross ­Poldark and John Beecham after TV bosses set up a head-to-head clash in the Sunday night drama slot.

BBC1 saga Poldark, which stars Irish heart-throb Aidan Turner, begins its fifth and final series in mid-July.

But it faces a fight with new ITV show Beecham House – dubbed the Delhi Downton and starring strapping Tom Batemen – which hits screens three weeks earlier, on June 23 at 9pm.

Both pec-packed period pieces are set in the 1790s and an insider said the ratings battle could be one for the ages.

They explained: “Beecham House may hook the audience in over the first few episodes but Poldark already has a ­dedicated army of loyal fans – thanks in no small part to Turner’s dashing good looks. They are not going to want to miss the show’s last hurrah.”

While Poldark takes place in Cornwall, Beecham House will transport us to the other side of the world and the start of British colonialism in India.

Aidan Turner as John Poldark

It stars Bateman as former English soldier Beecham, who is trying his best to make an honourable living through trade on the subcontinent.

This week we revealed the Vanity Fair actor will strip off in the very first episode for a sweaty scything scene.

The sequence was inspired by “that” Poldark moment when Ross took to the fields to undertake a spot of bare-chested hard labour of his own.

After the sequence was aired in 2015, Turner admitted that his scything ­technique had been deliberately lacking in authenticity – because it looked better on screen. “I said, ‘Let’s sex this up a little bit,’” he laughed afterwards.

Poldark is up against Beecham House starring Tom Batemen

Last year fans were again treated to the Irish actor swimming semi-naked in the sea and sources have hinted the upcoming series will feature further glimpses of Turner’s torso.

Unveiling Beecham’s copycat agricultural scene four years on, director Gurinder Chadha admitted: “Poldark has set the bar in terms of period dramas.”

And while Turner is used to being recognised by adoring fans, Bateman has yet to enjoy full TV heart-throb status.

“How do you get ready for that?” he wondered. “I don’t think you can be. But if that happens it just means people loved it I suppose, so how wonderful.”

How they shape up

Aidan Turner/Poldark

Age: 35

Physique: Honed abs, scar on his face from American War of Independence (Poldark, that is).

Hobbies: Sweaty scything, horse-riding on clifftops, annoying toffs.

Real-life girlfriend: American actress Caitlin Fitzgerald.

TV love: Former kitchen maid Demelza, played by Eleanor Tomlinson.

Tom Bateman/Beecham

Age: 30

Physique: Honed abs, gunshot wound to the chest from his soldiering days (Beecham, not Tom).

Hobbies: Sweaty scything, travel, looking after his baby son.

Real girlfriend: Stars Wars actress Daisy Ridley.

TV love: Governess Margaret Osbourne, played by Dakota Blue Richards.

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