Monday, April 5, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 54 - Sharpe's Challenge and Sharpe's Peril

For a 5 on Friday I did a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the opening theme music to the Sharpe series is way up there on my list of favorites. In fact, everything about the Sharpe series is way up there on my list of favorites.

Sharpe is based on the series of books which follow Napoleonic-era British soldier Richard Sharpe, written by the awesome Bernard Cornwell.

Tom Clegg directed all sixteen of the 2-hour film adaptations of Cornwell's books, starring the sigh-worthy Sean Bean and Daragh O'Malley.

I've been so grateful, these past two weekends, for PBS Masterpiece's broadcasts of the latest two Sharpe's.

Sharpe's Challenge, 2006

This one I'd seen before, but I can never get enough of Sharpe.

It features Toby Stephens in a rather dastardly role, whom I've also enjoyed in many other productions, including his role as the rotten Prince John in season 3 of BBC's Robin Hood.

It also introduces the very handsome Karan Panthaky as a rajah not quite of age, and who is at the mercy of his regent, his late father's foremost concubine and her lover, played by Toby Stephens.

Here's the trailer:

Sharpe's Peril, 2008

I was delighted to find Raza Jaffrey in this one, who played Zaf in seasons 4-6 of Spooks/MI-5.

I was also happy to see David Robb appearing as Major Tredinnick. He looks like this when you can get a close-up:

I saw him in another PBS Masterpiece broadcast back in grade 11 (that's 1981, if you're wondering) in The Flame Trees of Thika and have always admired him since then - especially his gorgeous voice, which is why he obviously does a lot of voice work.

And you can't beat the joy of seeing a recurring character like Simmerson show up, played with elitist relish by Michael Cochrane. He has appeared in 5 of the 16 Sharpe films.

There's lots of challenge in these two stories for our intrepid hero. And amazing stuntwork by dreamy Sean.

And did I mention peril? Did I mention I can never resist a hero in chains?

NOTE: There is a 30-second leader at the beginning of this trailer.

Both of these films are available on DVD, and Sharpe's Peril will be rebroadcast on Saturday on PBS.

Beth says Wow, I've never heard of these before!

Naquility says You've intrigued me. I will have to check these out as they look like very good shows.


Tlloydt said...

Are there just the two? I can't find a reference on the Internet that any more episodes have been or will be produced.

beth said...

Wow, I've never heard of these before!

Julia Smith said...

Tlloydt - Check out THIS LINK for a complete list of all the Sharpe films. They're fantastic.

Naquillity said...

you've intrigued me. i will have to check these out as they look like very good shows. have a great day.

M. said...

I've never heard of this series but Sean Bean is always reliably entertaining, even when he plays a moron (like the incompetent mercenary in 'Ronin').

BTW - I've always loved Berthe Morrisot's work and am thrilled she's in your sidebar

Nessa said...

I DVR'd them (I DVR masterpiece classics because I go to bed before the sunsets being a fogie and all.)

I love Sean Bean.

sanjeet said...

I've never heard of these before!
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Travis said...

I haven't heard of this program.

But I can attest and affirm that Sean Bean as Boromir is expert casting.