Episode Descriptions


SERIES 5


Starting on Wednesday 7th May 1997 at 8.00pm on Meridian.

Sean Bean returns as British officer Richard Sharpe for the battle of his life in the final series of the award-winning drama SHARPE, which begins on Wednesday 7th May at 8.00pm.

SHARPE, which made its screen debut in 1993, regularly attracts more than 10 million viewers and has built up a loyal army of fans who have followed the 28 hours of quality action drama.

In the eagerly-anticipated final series of three two-hour films, Sharpe's enemies are not just on the battlefield - he also has a rival in the bedroom...

Abigail Cruttenden returns as Sharpe's wife Jane, Daragh O'Mallet as his friend and comrade in arms - Sergeant Patrick Harper, Caroline Langrishe as Lady Ann and Hugh Fraser as Wellington.

The new films also star Cecile Paoli as beautiful French widow Lucille and Alexis Denisof as Lord Rossendale, Sharpe's rival in love, who steals not only his wife but also his savings.

Says Sean Bean: "You can't go through five years worth of adventures with old friends, as well as new, without feeling sad that it's coming to an end.

"I will miss the camaraderie, the jokes, the stories, the laughs we had and packing my bags and trunks each summer to go heaven knows where."

In this final series Sharpe is reunited with the Chosen Men for one of Britain's most famous victories, the Battle of Waterloo and there are old scores to be settled - not just with the French.

Producer Malcolm Craddock says: "The film tells how Sharpe and Harper experience the famous battle of Waterloo. We have not tried to recreate the whole battle but there is a scale in the cavalry charges in this final film, which has never been achieved before in Sharpe.

In the first film of the new series, SHARPE'S REVENGE. Sharpe is set up by his long-time enemy the French spy Ducos and finds himself accused of stealing Napoleon's treasures. Abandoned by his wife Jane and persecuted by both the British and the French, Sharpe goes in search of truth and revenge on a perilous journey across post-war France.

In SHARPE'S JUSTICE, he returns to England with his reputation restored and is ordered to the North to command a local militia force in his home town. He must choose whose side to take - that of the corrupt gentry or his own kind.

SHARPE'S WATERLOO sees Sharpe torn from his settled life in Prance with his new partner Lucille and reunited with the Chosen Men to organise the defence of the British key positions on the farm of La Haie Sainte.

Based on the best-selling novels of Bernard Cornwell, the series was filmed on location in Turkey and the UK. The writers are Patrick Harbinson, Eoghan Harris and Charles Wood. The series is produced by Malcolm Craddock, directed by Torn Clegg and the executive producer is Muir Sutherland. It is a Celtic/Picture Palace production for Central.

There is a book on the making of SHARPE available: Sharpe's Victory written by Rachel Murrell and published by Carlton Books. A CD of music from the series is also available along with a board game called Sharpe's Attack and collectible model soldiers.



Sean Bean

Sean Bean feared that his luck would finally run out and he might be injured, while filming the last ever series of SHARPE.

Sean, who has always enjoyed doing his own stunts, has fortunately only needed eight stitches and has received just one black eye from his five years on the battlefield.

"I can't help but throw myself into the fights", says Sean. "it makes it more realistic. Over the years I've picked up the odd cut and knock here and there but thanks to the professionalism of the people around me I've been well looked after.

"You have to put yourself out on a limb occasionally but I enjoy doing it, it's part of the job."

Sean's last few moments as Richard Sharpe were in a sword fight late one Saturday night on the Yorkshire moors.

"I kept thinking, 'This is your last fight, just make sure you don't get whacked!'"

Filming the final series was also emotional for Sean, who has made the eponymous hero his own.

Says Sean: "Sharpe has been a big part of my life and of course I felt a certain amount of sadness while we were filming the final scenes."

The east and crew of SHARPE have spent up to five months of every year together on location and they have become renowned throughout the television industry for their willingness to endure the rigours of filming in the Crimea.

Says Sean: "There has been a real determination and a team spirit over the years.

"I think everyone felt that this being the final chapter in the Sharpe saga, it deserved a great send off and I think that is what we have achieved.

"It's good to go out with a bang, but I am certainly going to miss it.

"The reaction we have had to the series from people from all walks of life makes me feel very proud. I have always been encouraged by people who serve or who have served in the forces, especially the Royal Green Jackets. They have always been very positive about SHARPE.

"The great thing about the series is that it is a pioneering, swashbuckling adventure with a wonderful optimism which runs through all the stories."

Sean's portrayal of the Napoleonic hero inspired author Bernard Comwell to write further books.

"Bernard pieced together the character of Sharpe from true stories and experiences of the soldiers at the time - so really Sharpe is all these men rolled into one. The places and battles are real enough so people have been able to gain an insight into history at the same tune and I think that's great. Waterloo should be remembered as one of Britain's great victories."

Over the years Sean has collected memorabilia from his time as Richard Sharpe, but his most treasured item is his Green Jacket uniform which he was allowed to keep at the end of filming last year.

Says Sean: "As well as my uniform I also have the original heavy cavalry sword that was given to Sharpe by Captain Murray on his death bed in the first film, SHARPE'S RIFLES."

Sean has always described Sharpe as one of his favourite roles and says he will look back with fondness.

"Sharpe is the sort of bloke you would rely on to back you up when tilings get dodgy. He may not be the most tactful or compromising of men but he believes in himself and his comrades, and is loyal, honourable and courageous.

"I think he would be quite a laugh to have a beer with as well!"

Sean can also be seen later this month in the film Anna Karenina in another military role, as dashing cavalry officer Vronsky with Sophie Marceau as Anna.


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