‘Would it have been handled the same way in the press if it was a young woman? I don’t know. Possibly not. But I didn’t feel objectified’
The 39-year-old Irish star created a bit of a stir in 2015 when he was depicted in the working topless pose with a scythe in a field as he starred in BBC One historical drama.
But speaking to the Radio Times, Turner recalled the day the photograph was taken, which then caused such excitement among devoted fans and even those less familiar with the series.
Turner said: “I do remember the day. The first thing I think of when I see the photograph is that they airbrushed out the make-up artist who was covering a tattoo.
“I always think of Jacquie Fowler and how she didn’t make that photograph. She was right there, painting out a tattoo.”
Turner, who also starred in The Hobbit trilogy of films, explained that the tattoo in question was a small design he had done while on holiday with his friends in Tenerife, which he has since had removed using a laser
However, speaking about the reaction, he added: “Was it safer to make a big deal of this photograph because it was a young man?
“Would it have been handled the same way in the press if it was a young woman? I don’t know. Possibly not. But I didn’t feel objectified.”
He also explained why he was in particularly good shape for the role of Poldark, which he played between 2015 and 2019.
“I figured in my preparation that, given Ross Poldark was a very active guy, and the sort of diet he’d be on, it just felt right to get myself into that.
“He’s a farmer, he’s working, he’s riding a horse all the time, he’s a soldier. So it made sense to be in shape, but it wasn’t something I focused on. And the shot, that was a behind-the-scenes photograph. It wasn’t a publicity photo.”
The show is based on a series of books of the same name by Winston Graham. It followed Captain Ross Poldark as he returned to his home of Nampara in Cornwall after fighting in the American War of Independence.
However, Turner, who stars as a clinical psychologist in new ITV drama The Suspect, also confirmed there are no plans for a Poldark return, despite not all the novels having been adapted.
In the new drama series, which is adapted from the novel by Australian crime writer Michael Robotham, Turner plays Doctor Joe O’Loughlin, who appears to have the perfect life but, after the death of a young woman and his diagnosis of early onset Parkinson’s, the truth begins to reveal itself.
Speaking about the project, Turner added: “A lot of the jobs [I’ve had] in recent years have been either fantasy or period or not contemporary. This felt different. And pretty refreshing, actually.”