The classic television series, chock full of smartly written action and adventure has been lovingly remastered, showcasing the award-winning Sean Bean's most enduring role in all its timeless glory! The acclaimed actor stars as Richard Sharpe, in a pair of thrilling feature-length episodes set during the Napoleonic wars of 19th century Spain.
Sharpe is a British soldier who finds himself face-to-face with numerous challenges, as he combats adversity on and off the battlefield. This fast-moving, hard-hitting action adventure series, based on Bernard Cornwell's best-selling novels, brings to life all the danger and romance of one of the bloodiest wars in history.
In 1993, Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, GoldenEye
) starred in Sharpe's Rifles
, the first installment of a series of telefilm-length stories about Richard Sharpe, a British soldier and officer fighting abroad in the early 1800's. The role originally went to Paul McGann (Doctor Who
), but a knee injury forced McGann out of the role, and Bean was "drafted" to replace him.1
ITV kept Bean in the role afterward, beginning with a second telefilm-length installment which also aired in 1993: Sharpe's Eagle
. The two episodes of this first "season" (series) were broadcast a week apart, in May of that year.
A year later, in May/June 1994, ITV showed three episodes of a second series (season) for the program, again with all of them telefilm-length: Sharpe's Company, Sharpe's Enemy
, and Sharpe's Honour
. While the 1993-aired episodes took place in 1809, these new stories brought events to 1813. Most episodes tried to be based on one of the numerous Sharpe
novels from Bernard Cornwell, which began publishing in 1981. The books - there were reportedly 21 of them, plus three short stories - took place during the Napoleonic Wars (mostly; the final couple of stories took place shortly after the end of those wars). As the ITV program first starts out, Sharpe is being giving a field promotion from Sergeant to lieutenant, and command of a group of hard men, thus setting events into motion. As the stories advance, we see Sharpe's military career advance as well.
1995, 1996 and 1997 also saw 3 episodes each. For each of those seasons, each telefilm-length episode were aired on ITV a week apart (similar to how Sherlock
has been seen on the BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch). The 14 productions were marketed as TV movies rather than episodes of a program, and each "film" was sold as an individual DVD. Even the IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase) lists them that way, with no "umbrella" listing for an overall television show of Sharpe
. In 2006, a follow-up production (Sharpe's Challenge
) was aired in two parts, on two consecutive nights. Bean reprised his role as "Sharpe," in a story which took place in India during 1803 and 1817. Then, in 2008, Bean reprised the role once again with Sharpe's Peril
, also shown in two parts (but broadcast a week apart this time). That story's setting was in 1818 India. Those follow-up productions have also been released on DVDs as TV movies. And so far, the 2008 installments were the last we've seen of ITV's Sharpe
Now BBC Home Entertainment is working with ITV to put out a new series of DVD releases for Sharpe
...but this time newly remastered, and in season set form! First up this August 22nd
is Sharpe - The Complete Season 1
, a release the BBC describes as having "3½ hours on 1 disc," with English SDH subtitles. Priced at $24.98 SRP, it includes "Sharpe's Rifles" and "Sharpe's Eagle," and co-stars Brian Cox, Daniel Craig, James Purefoy, Mark Strong, Elizabeth Hurley, Emily Mortimer, and Julian Fellowes. We've got a look at the package art for you below.
Then, on October 3rd
, "Sharpe is back with three more edge-of-your-seat, feature-length episodes set during the Napoleonic wars of 19th century Spain.
" On that date BBC Home Entertainment will follow up with Sharpe - The Complete Season 2
, another remastered volume featuring the 1994 episodes "Sharpe's Company," "Sharpe's Enemy," and "Sharpe's Honour." This time coming on 2 DVDs, the price will again be $24.98 SRP. Box cover art can also be found below, underneath the first season image. Above both is an Amazon.com pre-order button link, where you can advance-purchase either title (or both!). There's also a BBC Shop button link for the first season set, if you prefer to pre-order from them instead. We presume the remaining seasons are also in-the-works; stay tuned and we'll let you know when we find out more about those!