Carlton/Central Press Releases for Sharpe's Gold, Battle and Sword
A series of three two-hour films from Carlton UK Productions which ran on ITV on Wednesday 12 April 1995 at 8.00 pm.
Sean Bean returns as dashing and daring Richard Sharpe in three two-hour adventures set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars, after attracting audiences of more than 10 million and receiving a BAFTA nomination this year.
Battles are fought and hearts broken as Sharpe and his chosen men fight Napoleon's army in Sharpe's Gold, Sharpe's Battle and Sharpe's Sword.
Sean is joined once more by Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper, Sharpe's friend and comrade in arms. Sharpe, however, is having to face up to life without his wife Teresa who was killed by the evil Hakeswill in the last series.
But there are some new women in his life including Wellington's second cousin, Ellie (Jayne Ashbourne), Lady Kiely (Allie Byrne) and a young convent girl, Lass (Emily Mortimer). Sean's own belief in the character has already been rewarded by the response of Sharpe's creator Bernard Cornwell who was inspired to write another book, Sharpe's Battle which is the second film in the series.
In Sharpe's Gold, Sharpe meets his match in more ways than one, when he gets caught up in a ruthless gun trade and the search for some hidden Aztec gold.
Wellington's cousin Bess and her daughter Ellie have come from Ireland to find Bess's husband who has gone missing searching for gold rumoured to be hidden in the mountains. Ellie is determined to prove herself to be more than a match for Sharpe but she unwittingly becomes part of the deadly trade of deserters for guns.
In Sharpe's Battle, Sharpe has his work cut out for him preparing the Royal Irish Company for their first ever battle. Lord Kiely's wife is keen to assist in the preparations for battle but seeks Sharpe's help on a personal matter.
Sharpe's life is in danger in Sharpe's Sword when he is wounded during a dangerous mission to conceal Wellington's master spy from his French counterpart. In tracking him down Sharpe is disarmed, his sword destroyed and he is left for dead. Lass, a young girl becomes attached to Sharpe and tries to save his life.
Sharpe was filmed in the Ukraine and Portugal and is produced by Chris Burt whose credits include Inspector Morse, Reilly-Ace of Spies and The Woman in Black.
"Sharpe is an exciting period action film with a very strong lead character excellently played by Sean Bean. It is a very different programme from the general run of British drama on television at the moment," says Chris.
"Sean loves playing the role. He is a natural athlete so not only does he find the action sequences exciting to do, he is also very good at them."
Sharpe was filmed with the assistance of the East-West Creative Association, an organisation which works with foreign producers in Russia and the former Soviet Union providing a range of production services to Western crews.
The series is directed by Tom Clegg and the executive producers are Ted Childs, Malcolm Craddock and Muir Sutherland. Sharpe is a Celtic/Picture Palace production for Carlton UK Productions. A Central programme for ITV.
SEAN BEAN IS SHARPE
Reluctant heartthrob Sean Bean has achieved every man's fantasy this year, returning to the role of swashbuckling hero Sharpe, playing football for the team he supports and landing a role in a James Bond movie.
In the latest Bond movie, Goldeneye, Sean will be playing agent 006.
"It's great to be able to play a memorable role in the sort of films we've all seen since we were kids. Like me, I think people are fascinated by the very special feel that a Bond film has."
In the new series of Sharpe, Richard is having to come to terms with the loss of his wife Teresa.
"There are obviously moments when her memory stirs him and even catches him unawares. It has been nice over the last couple of years to make the character of Sharpe my own." Sean's own belief in the character has been rewarded by writer Bernard Cornwell who has written a new book with him in mind. Sharpe's Battle is being shown as part of this new series.
"I am obviously very flattered to have a book written for me by Bernard Cornwell. I suppose you could say it's the biggest compliment you could wish for coming from the man who actually created Richard Sharpe."
Sean is married to actress Melanie Hill and has two young daughters Lorna and Molly.
"The girls like me to play the hero and they don't like anybody that gives me a bashing!"
"Sharpe is great Boys Own stuff, it must be every man's dream to lead a troop of men against the French, or to storm a huge fort. It's an important part of the film to make the fights look good so we work them out with the director so that they feel as natural as possible.
"Sharpe is a believable hero because he makes mistakes but he's got the heart of a lion and firm values and things that he will stand up for."
Sheffield born Sean is an avid Sheffield United supporter and has just finished filming When Saturday Comes in which he plays Jimmy Muir, a Sheffield United footballer.
"It was a great feeling to be actually pulling on the strip of Sheffield United. If it had been another club it wouldn't have been the same. But the 'Blades' - what can I say! "Like many kids I always had dreams of being a footballer. This was probably my last and only chance of getting close to the real thing."
"My character, Jimmy, works in a brewery filling beer barrels. He works hard, likes a pint and is a pretty good footballer."
"I only get about six goals but they have to be carefully set up so that the camera knows where the action is going to be."
"We tried to be as realistic as possible but there was one 'take' when the goalie was not very popular. I put the ball in the net but the goalie saved it. Everybody started shouting at him - 'What did you save it for'!"
JASON DURR IS LORD KIELY
When 28-year old Jason Durr saw the glint in Sean Bean's eyes as they prepared to sword fight, Jason knew that Sean was psyched up for it.
"Sean and I wanted the fight to be as realistic as possible. There were no stuntmen involved and when they said 'action' I could see the intensity in Sean's eyes - he was ready to go. "We went for it hell for leather so what you see on the film is basically two people wacking the hell out of each other. "We went through the moves with a Russian olympic swordsman, but when it came to it he had created a very clean fight and Sean and I wanted it to be rough and dirty."
"We both really enjoyed the fight and were pleased with the result even though Sean accidentally head-butted me during it! "It was great to have a job where I was able to do the two things I enjoy the most, horseriding and stage fighting. It's not very often done except in period pieces like Sharpe." Jason is not expecting to be high in the popularity stakes because not only does he fight the hero, he is unfaithful to his wife Lady Kiely.
"I enjoy playing a character who is not very nice - I'm happy to let Sean be the good guy!"
EMILY MORTIMER IS LASS
Emily, who recently starred in ITV's The Glass Virgin, says her father writer John Mortimer would be equally thrilled if she had become a car mechanic.
"I grew up with loads of actors and writers visiting our house but at the time I would have been more impressed if the pop group Wham had turned up!"
Emily graduated from Oxford with a degree in Russian and English languages. Her fluency in Russian made the the cast's ideal unofficial tour guide and interpreter.
"I think I came in particularly handy when we visited Chekhov's house. I had already spent a year in Russia as part of my course and fell madly in love with a Russian poet. It was a wonderful year and fulfilled all my schoolgirl fantasies!"
In Sharpe's Sword, Emily's character has to turn 'Florence Nightingale' and perform a delicate operation on Sharpe. "On the day I had to operate I had difficulty with one of my contact lenses. I had to thread a needle and make a stitch in Sharpe. I was terrified!
"The wound looked very realistic and gory but it smelt like caramel which was a bit off-putting."
Emily had to overcomer her fear of flying to go to the Ukraine to film Sharpe.
"My mother gave me some tranquilisers for the journey. I took all three valium before the flight but found that I had slept through a technical hitch and woke from my peaceful slumber just in time for take-off!"
Sharpe meets his match in more ways than one, when he gets caught up in a ruthless gun trade and the search for some hidden Aztec gold.
Wellington's cousin Bess (Rosaleen Linehan), and her daughter Ellie (Jayne Ashbourne) cross Sharpe's path while they are looking for her father. Ellie is determined to prove herself to be more than a match for Sharpe.
Sharpe is given the task of preparing the glamorous Royal Irish Company led by Lord Kiely (Jason Durr) for their first ever battle. Sharpe has his work cut out as the company have previously only been used for royal ceremonial duties. He is instructed to make their lives a misery with some strict training.
But Sharpe has been led into a French trap. False reports of a massacre in Ireland by the English causes trouble in the ranks. Lady Kiely, meanwhile, seeks Sharpe's help.
Sharpe's life is in danger when he is wounded during a dangerous mission to conceal Wellington's master spy - El Mirador. Sharpe must find Colonel Leroux (Patrick Fierry) reputed to be one of 'Boney's best' and chosen by Napoleon to capture El Mirador.
Lass, a young girl (Emily Mortimer), becomes attached to Sharpe and comes to his rescue when he is wounded in battle.
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