Sharpe is a British series of television dramas starring Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe is the hero of a number of novels by Bernard Cornwell; most, though not all, of the episodes are based on the books. Produced by Celtic Films and Picture Palace Films for the ITV network, the series was shot mainly in Turkey and the Crimea, although some filming was also done in England, Spain and Portugal. The series originally ran from 1993 to 1997. In 2004, as part of ITV's new set of drama, ITV announced that it intended to produce new episodes of Sharpe, in co-production with BBC America, loosely based on his time in India, with Sean Bean continuing his role as Sharpe. Sharpe's Challenge is a two-part adventure; part one premiered on ITV on 23 April 2006, with part two being shown the following night. With more gore than earlier episodes, the show was broadcast by BBC America in September 2006. At a book signing in Bath on 11 October 2006, Bernard Cornwell revealed that there were plans by ITV to film two more episodes. Filming was supposed to start in April, but was postponed due to the resignation of ITV's chief executive, at which point production was pushed back to September. However, Sean Bean was unavailable due to other commitments, so production was postponed once more. When asked about the stories, Cornwell said that he believed that they were producing two new stories specially for television. It was announced that filming Sharpe's Peril, produced by Celtic Film/Picture Palace, began on 3 March 2008 in India. The first part was broadcast on ITV on 2 November 2008 with the second part shown a week later. Sharpe's Challenge and Sharpe's Peril were broadcast in the US in 2010 as part of PBS' Masterpiece Classic season.
Spain 1812 - After victory at Ciudad Rodrigo, Wellesley (now Duke of Wellington) sets his sights on Badajoz. Sharpe is reunited with Teresa and learns that he is the father of a baby girl, but is alarmed to learn that the baby is in Badajoz.As new men arrive from England, Sharpe discovers that his old nemesis, Obadiah Hakeswill is among them. Hakeswill was responsible for having Sharpe flogged for a crime he did not commit. His speciality is preying on soldiers while being servile towards the officers. Hakeswill also believes he is immortal, after surviving a hanging.Hakeswill attempts to rape Teresa who is on the point of killing Hakeswill when Harper intervenes. Hakeswill develops an obsession with Teresa and is determined to hurt her to get at Sharpe. Adding insult to injury, Sharpe learns that he is to be demoted from captain as the regiment now has a full complement of captains. Sharpe volunteers to lead the attack on Badajoz in an attempt to secure his captaincy, but he is refused.
Portugal 1812 - The Spanish village of Adrados has been overtaken by a horde of French, Spanish and British deserters and they have taken two English women hostage, Sarah Dubreton and Lady Isabella Farthingdale. Captain Sharpe is assigned the task of dellivering the ransom, much to the disgust of Sir Augustus Farthingdale. Sharpe and Harper enter the convent where the women are being held and are confronted by two French officers. Sharpe learns that one of the officers is the husband of Sarah Dubreton and they are on the same mission.To Sharpe's dismay, he learns that Hakeswill is involved and he has increased the ransom price, giving Sharpe five days to come up with the extra money or the women will be raped. Nairn receives information that the French intend to invade Portugal from Adrados and decides to thwart the plan. Sharpe is promoted to major and given command of the 60th Rifles in order to secure the safety of the women and prevent the French from taking the town.
1813 - A grieving Sharpe is challenged to a duel by a Spanish Marques who demands an apology for having forced his attentions on his wife. Dumbfounded, Sharpe protests that he has never met La Marquesa and is innocent of any wrongdoing. Sharpe refuses to apologise and the duel goes ahead. Just as Sharpe holds his sword against the Marques' throat, the duel is stopped by Nairn who insists that there was no duel - just friendly sword practice. Later that night, the Marques is murdered and the following day, Sharpe is arrested for his murder. Witnesses testify that Sharpe was the murderer and he is sentenced to death.However things are not what they seem. In the middle of the night, Harper is reunited with Sharpe and they are given the task of capturing the beautiful La Marquesa so that the British can discover the French's next move.