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Tag Archives: Richard Sharpe

We recently signed up to stream Britbox and, oh, happy days! One of the offerings is the BBC’s Sharpe Series. I haven’t watched Sharpe in years and I’ve been having a great time binging on some young Sean Bean and the Napoleonic War. What could be better?

I dished on the Sharpe series in an old Risky Regency blog and my thoughts are pretty much the same then as now. Here they are, edited for now.

Richard Sharpe, for those of you who may not know, is a fictional soldier in the Napoleonic War, created by Bernard Cornwell in a wonderful series of books, adding new stories beyond those depicted in the tv series. Sharpe is a marvelous character and Cornwell does a masterful job of giving us such rich detail about the war and the time period, so that you actually feel as if you are there, experiencing it with Sharpe.

The BBC series Sharpe is played by Sean Bean, a very sigh-worthy choice.

Here is what Sean Bean’s Sharpe website said about the BBC series at the time of my original blog in 2006:

“The films are based on the Napoleonic campaign novels, and follow Sharpe and his “Chosen Men” (riflemen who are trusted crack shots). Sharpe has been promoted from the ranks, very unusual in its day, so he has the resentment of the “gentlemen” officers, and also that of the men, who assume he is no better than them. He is promoted after saving Wellington’s life, and is often sent on dangerous missions, along with the Chosen Men, due to his skills and bravery.

In the first film, Sharpe’s Rifles, we are introduced to the Riflemen who will become the Chosen Men, and Sharpe has to forge both respect and friendship with their soon-to-be Sergeant, Patrick Harper. The later films show how cohesive a fighting force these few men become, they think and act as one. The last film to be made was Sharpe’s Waterloo, depicting the great battle.”

I was first introduced to Sharpe years ago through the Chivers Audiobook versions. William Gaminara narrated, and his deep, sexy voice truly enhanced the experience. I can still hear him say, “Sharpe swore.” Unfortunately, I no longer can find those versions. I recently started listening to another audiobook version of Sharpe’s Waterloo read by a different narrator. Not quite the same, but good enough.

Sean Bean is also not the Sharpe I visualized while listening to those audiobooks years ago. In fact, almost all the cast of the BBC version are not the people Cornwell gave to my imagination. Furthermore, I think of the BBC shows as “Sharpe Lite.” The shows meld elements of several of the books into one story, but cannot give the richness of detail that is in the books. Another point–these were not high budget productions, so rather than a cast of thousands, you get a cast of….dozens.

Cornwell also is no romance novelist. His Sharpe is actually quite stupid in love, which is quite frustrating, but even unsatisfying romance elements were not enough to keep me from loving the books, the character, the life of the Napoleonic soldier.

And the Sharpe films, for all that they are not being the Sharpe of my imagination, are still wonderful. If you don’t get Britbox, you can also buy the Sharpe films from Amazon and, I presume, other outlets.

Enjoy!
Diane


Oh, happy days! Sharpe has come to BBC America, Saturday nights at 9 pm, right after one of my favorite shows, Cash in the Attic.

Richard Sharpe, for those of you who may not know, is a fictional soldier in the Napoleonic War, created by Bernard Cornwell in a wonderful series of books, now spanning his early years with Wellington (then Wellesley) in India to beyond Waterloo. Sharpe is a marvelous character and Cornwell does a masterful job of giving us such rich detail about the war, so that you actually feel as if you are there, experiencing it with Sharpe.

The BBC Sharpe is played by Sean Bean, a very sigh-worthy choice.

Here is what Sean Bean’s Sharpe website http://www.shipofdreams.net/seanbean/sharpe/index.htm
says about the BBC series:

“The films are based on the Napoleonic campaign novels, and follow Sharpe and his “Chosen Men” (riflemen who are trusted crack shots). Sharpe has been promoted from the ranks, very unusual in its day, so he has the resentment of the “gentlemen” officers, and also that of the men, who assume he is no better than them. He is promoted after saving Wellington’s life, and is often sent on dangerous missions, along with the Chosen Men, due to his skills and bravery.

In the first film, Sharpe’s Rifles, we are introduced to the Riflemen who will become the Chosen Men, and Sharpe has to forge both respect and friendship with their soon-to-be Sergeant, Patrick Harper. The later films show how cohesive a fighting force these few men become, they think and act as one. The last film to be made was Sharpe’s Waterloo, depicting the great battle.”

I was first introduced to Sharpe through the Chivers Audiobook versions. William Gaminara narrated, and his deep, sexy voice truly enhanced the experience. I can still him say, “Sharpe swore.”

Sean Bean is not the Sharpe I visualized while listening to the audiobooks. In fact, almost all the cast of the BBC version are not the people Cornwall gave to my imagination. Furthermore, I think of the BBC shows as “Sharpe Lite.” The shows meld elements of several of the books into one story, but cannot give the richness of detail that is in the books. Another point–these were not high budget productions, so rather than a cast of thousands, you get a cast of….dozens.

Cornwell also is no romance novelist. His Sharpe is actually quite stupid in love, which is quite frustrating, but even unsatisfying romance elements were not enough to keep me from loving the books, the character, the life of the Napoleonic soldier.

And the Sharpe films, for all their not being the Sharpe of my imagination, are still wonderful. If you don’t get BBC America, you can also rent the Sharpe films from Netflix or purchase them online.

Enjoy!
Diane

by


I posted this press release on my own blog a few days ago, and thought it was newsworthy enough to post here, too (and there are questions for you to answer at the end):

SPEND A SHARPE, ACTION-PACKED SUMMER WITH BBC AMERICA

-Romantic war saga stars Sean Bean

Every Saturday night this summer, BBC AMERICA takes viewers on a sweeping two-hour journey to a new land, a new battle, and a new set of potential love interests with the epic romantic war saga Sharpe. Created by novelist Bernard Cornwell and starring Sean Bean (North Country), Sharpe chronicles the victories and loves of the legendary fictional Napoleonic war hero, Richard Sharpe. BBC AMERICA is showing the complete fifteen-episode series from the first episode, Sharpe’s Rifles, through to the U.S. premiere BBC AMERICA co-production, Sharpe’s Challenge, shot in India. Sharpe’s Rifles premieres Saturday, May 27, 9:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. PT.

Sharpe’s Rifles begins in 1809 when Sharpe is a scrappy Sergeant. After bravely saving the life of a distinguished Captain, he is quickly promoted to Lieutenant and charged with a company of men slated for a rescue mission in Portugal. Throughout June, BBC AMERICA features channel premieres Sharpe’s Eagle, Sharpe’s Company, Sharpe’s Enemy and Sharpe’s Honor. In July and August, BBC AMERICA features channel premieres, Sharpe’s Gold, Sharpe’s Battle and Sharpe’s Sword and the brand-new, never before seen U.S. premieres Sharpe’s Regiment, Sharpe’s Siege, Sharpe’s Mission, Sharpe’s Revenge, Sharpe’s Waterloo and Sharpe’s Justice.

September brings the U.S. premiere of BBC AMERICA co-production, Sharpe’s Challenge, shot entirely in India. The fate of an empire rests in one man’s hands in Sharpe’s Challenge. Two years after the battle of Waterloo, dispatches from India warn that a local Maharaja is threatening British interests. Wellington sends Sharpe to investigate on what turns out to be his most dangerous mission to date.

For up-to-the-minute information on BBC AMERICA, forthcoming U.S. premieres, art work and news from the channel, log on to www.press.bbcamerica.com.

Seeing this made me think of many, many questions. I love reading the Sharpe series (and have never seen the series, so I am way excited), not so much for its time period (Regency), but for the amazing way Bernard Cornwell has with a battle scene, and his ability to throw in some surprising twists even through the course of what appears to be a normal action-packed novel. His writing is so fluid, and so compelling, I learn history without even noticing it. I’ve read his books set in the Middle Ages also, and he has a Civil War series I’ve gotten a few books of, but haven’t read yet.

So–have you read Cornwell? Do you like his writing? If you’ve read the Sharpe series, is Sean Bean a good Sharpe? What other series (historical or otherwise) would you like to see made into movies? Do you find that once a book has been translated to film that it limits the way you imagine the characters? What’s the best book to film adaptation have you seen? And the worst?

Thanks for answering–

Megan
www.meganframpton.com

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