Television Movie: Based off the eighth book in the Poldark Series, The Stranger From the Sea, Poldark (1996) tries to continue the Poldark TV series started in the mid-70s. The year is 1810, ten years after the original Poldark series ended. Jeremy Poldark, the son of Captain Ross Poldark and his wife, Demelza, find a strange man at a ship wreckage and rescue him while Ross is working in Parliament in London. As the man, Stephen Cravenson, recovers, him and the Poldark's older daughter, Clowance, fall in love, though Demelza senses that there is more to Mr. Cravenson's story than he is telling them.
Ross returns from fighting for Britain in the American Revolution to his native Cornwall only to find his ex-fiance, Elizabeth, now engaged to his cousin Francis.
Verity, Ross' cousin, is considered by everyone to be an old maid. They are all astonished when she attracts the attention of Captain Blamey at a ball. Unfortunately her father strongly disapproves of the match because the Captain is an ex-prisoner and former alcoholic. He forbids them to meet but Ross and Demelza take pity on Verity and encourage them to meet secretly so that Verity can get to know him better. Verity also tells Ross that Demelza is in love with him which amazes him. He still has feelings for the exquisite Elizabeth but he feels a growing affection for Demelza.
Ross' former employee, Jim Carter, stands trial for poaching and Ross gives evidence in his defence. Demelza, taken in as a maid by Ross, falls in love with him but learns that Ross still loves Elizabeth. She seduces him and becomes pregnant, running away because she knows that he isn't likely to want the child.
Ross learns that Demelza is pregnant and goes looking for her. Demelza gets into terrible trouble with her Puritan father and step-mother who can't stand the scandal. Before this Elizabeth finally agreed to run away with Ross and leave Francis whom she doesn't love.
Ross decides to marry Demelza because she is pregnant to Elizabeth's great displeasure. Ross'daughter Julia is born and he holds a party to celebrate. Elizabeth is very unhappy and not nice to Demelza.
When Jim Carter becomes seriously ill in prison, Ross worries that he will die before completing his sentence.
Young Geoffrey Charles is stricken with a serious illness; when Francis also becomes ill, Demelza assists Elizabeth in caring for him.
Mark Daniel learns of Keren's affair with Dwight Enys; Ross helps Mark avoid capture by the authorities.
Ross determines to find Mark Daniel who may be able to remember where he saw copper while hiding down Wheal Grace. To do so he must accompany Trencrom's smugglers to the Scilly Isles, which is dangerous as there is an informer amongst them.
Elizabeth accepts an offer of marriage, although she knows it will appal Ross. when tragedy strikes at Wheal Grace the double blow creates in him an unreasoning and obsessive reaction.
Ross goes to Trenwith to confront George for the last time.
Ross returns home to Cornwall from the war with the French and soon renews his feud with the Warleggans.
Elizabeth celebrates the birth of her son but worries that there was a Dark Moon at the time of his birth. Meanwhile, word arrives that Dwight Enys is missing at sea.
Ross is captured as a spy when he goes to France in search of Dwight Enys.
Demelza gives birth to a daughter. George arranges a marriage between Morwenna and Osborne Whitworth unaware that she's in love with Drake Carne.
As Aunt Agatha prepares a party for her 100th birthday, Ross prepares to rescue Dwight Enys from French custody. Neither the rescue nor the party go as planned.
Aunt Agatha's deathbed curse haunts George while Ross brings Dwight Enys and Hugh Armitage back to Cornwall.
Ross decides not to stand for Parliament but George Warleggan decides to throw his hat into the ring.
Demelza discovers that Ross had a secret meeting with Elizabeth while fighting her own attraction to Hugh Armitage.
Ross is unable to help miners who are facing starvation because of a strike. Rowella blackmails Osborne.
Ross gets elected to Parliament. Hugh Armitage dies of a brain tumor. Osborne tries to have Morwenna committed to an asylum.
George continues to scheme for more power by planning to bankrupt Ross.
Demelza takes a huge risk to help out an old friend. Drake wants to marry Morwenna now that she's free.