Sean Bean Shines in Fabulous Napoleonic Adventures!

Discovering this long-running series, which first aired on British television, has been one of my great joys, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves a rousing adventure saga!

Based on the series of best-selling novels by Bernard Cornwell, the story of Richard Sharpe (the remarkable Sean Bean), illegitimate son of a prostitute, rising from the enlisted ranks to an "Officer but Not a Gentleman" Lt. Colonel through a combination of courage under fire and luck, offers action, drama, comedy, romance, and a healthy dose of irreverence, as the more-than-capable Sharpe is often assigned under less-than-competent officers, under the eye of his mentor, Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser, in most of the films). Accompanied by loyal Irish Sergeant Patrick Harper (Daragh O'Malley, soft-spoken and absolutely fabulous in the role), and his 'Chosen Men' (John Tams, Jason Salkey, Lyndon Davies, Michael Mears, and Paul Trussell), Sharpe is given one 'impossible' assignment after another, testing his resourcefulness, honor, and, often, his patience, as well!

A terrific collection of first-rate actors appear in the series, as Sharpe's allies, enemies, and distractions, including Philip Whitchurch as scarred, one-eyed Capt. Frederickson (who, despite being thoroughly disgusting, grows into a quite endearing fellow, before Sharpe 'steals' his lady), Michael Cochrane, Pete Postlethwaite and F�odor Atkine (three of the nastiest villains you'd ever care to meet) and a young Paul Betthany (as the infuriatingly reckless and incompetent young Prince William of Orange, who decimates Sharpe's command in "Sharpe's Waterloo").

American audiences will recognize a youthful, dark-haired Daniel Craig ('James Bond', in "Casino Royale"), as a malevolent fellow officer, Brian Cox ("X-Men 2") as an Irish strategist for Wellington, Elizabeth Hurley ("Austin Powers") as a duchess with a 'past' that included Sharpe, Alexis Denisof (TV's "Angel") as the nobleman who 'steals' Sharpe's wife and money, Alice Krige (the Borg Queen from "Star Trek: First Contact"), as a pawn in an elaborate plot to disgrace and hang Sharpe, and Toby Stephens ("Die Another Day") as a renegade British officer in India, in Richard Sharpe's long-awaited return to the screen, "Sharpe's Challenge".

While buxom beauties are always a part of the story, three remarkable women figure prominently in Sharpe's saga; Assumpta Serna, portraying the doomed Spanish resistance leader who has his daughter; Abigail Cruttenden, as his less-than-faithful bride; and C�cile Paoli, as a French officer's widow with whom he would eventually find happiness, for a time.

Above everything else, the series succeeds because of Sean Bean, who truly brings Richard Sharpe to life. Dashing, quick-witted, and brave, Bean's 'Sharpe' literally 'leaps off the screen', with his dazzling portrayal. If you are only familiar with his many villainous screen roles, prepare to be surprised...Bean makes a wonderful hero!

This is a first-rate series that should NOT be missed!

My "Sharpe" 'Heroes and Villains' Caricature!

The Sharpe Theme

Here's forty shillings on the drum
For those who'll volunteer to come
To 'list and fight the foe today.
Over the hills and far away.

(Chorus) O'er the hills and o'er the main.
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain.
King George commands and we obey.
Over the hills and far away.

When duty calls me I must go
To stand and face another foe.
But part of me will always stray
Over the hills and far away.

If I should fall to rise no more,
As many comrades did before,
Then ask the fifes and drums to play.
Over the hills and far away.

Then fall in lads behind the drum,
With colours blazing like the sun.
Along the road to come-what may.
Over the hills and far away.

- Traditional, with additional lyrics by John Tams

For MORE about Richard Sharpe, and the remarkable Sean Bean, I highly recommend these sites...

The Official Website of "Sharpe" author, BERNARD CORNWELL

SHARPEFILM.COM, the Official Sharpe Films Website

'Richard Sharpe' at WIKIPEDIA.ORG

The Sharpe Appreciation Society


SHARPE and his CHOSEN MEN: a Life in Pictures, by Jason Salkey ('Rifleman Harris')

SHARPE and his CHOSEN MEN: Sharpe's Rifles Quiz

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THE COMPLEAT SEAN BEAN, a Sean Bean Fansite, a Sean Bean Fansite

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