Friday, July 20, 2007


For Christmas last year one of my presents was a full set of the DVD's of the Sharpe series that has been on television. I have so far seen four of them. I have read all the books, but only caught snatches of the television series before. Interestingly, many of the people who made Morse were also involved in Sharpe. Of course the stories are very much 'Boy's Own' and complete fantasies, but they are competently made, with good Russian stuntmen and locations in the Ukraine and Turkey. The movies are shot in 30 days, with 36 scenes shot every day. Sean Bean, whom we met at my daughter's wedding last year, makes an engaging Sharpe, though his Sheffield accent is at odds with Bernard Cornwell's description of a Londoner. For today's youngster's who know virtually nothing of British history it is a painless way of learning about the Peninsular war.

I was brought up in Aldershot where the street names and pubs were all named after battles or generals. Talavera and Salamanca were the names of the old barracks where I did my boy-scouting


Paul said...

I find the Sharpe programmes rather irritating. But I served in the 6oth Rifles, the sister GreenJacket regiment to the Rifle Brigade.
Mark Urban has written an interesting book on the Rifles in the Penisular War.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the above comment, I've enjoyed the few they have shown on PBS in my area. The quality of the program shows through.

BTW, with the mention of Morse (one syllable in the UK, two in the US, interestingly enough), I note that the wonderful actor who played Morse, John Thaw, died of esophageal cancer, apparently not a good way to go.

You oncologists are letting some fine people die. Can you imagine another 10 Morse programs?

Terry Hamblin said...

Morse was going to be killed off even had John Thaw lived. For some years they had given up the practice of writing new stories for him, and were only producing new films when Colin Dexter wrote a new novel. The Remorseful Day was the last novel written and Dexter decided to kill Morse off becuase he intended to write no more. He was sufferening from diabetes (like Morse) and thought it time to call it a day.

Esophageal cancer is a hazard for those who smoke and drink. John Thaw did a lot of both. If you get the video of "Carry on Sergeant", the first of the 'Carry on' films, you will fing a young John Thaw in a small part as a soldier.

Anonymous said...

Too bad. Morse is one of my favorite characters, although ill-tempered and having little patience towards his much put upon sergeant, Lewis.

My mom gave me the entire Morse cannon on DVD a couple of years ago, and I am jealously watching perhaps one every three months or so. I REALLY hate to have them run out.

Depending on the writing of a novel is guaranteed to result in a slender output. I wish there were five dozen more 'Inspector Morse' programs.