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.
June, 1813 - The South Essex is seriously short of men and when Wellingtion is informed that there are no recruits available, he orders Sharpe to go to England to investigate. When Sharpe and Harper arrive in England, they are informed that there are 700 men waiting for them in Chelmsford. Arriving at Chelmsford, Sharpe finds the barracks deserted with no sign of his missing regiment. While visiting an old friend, Harper and Sharpe are attacked and Sharpe decides to feign death. Taking the initiative, Sharpe and Harper decide to do some undercover work and enlist. Recruited by Sgt Havercamp, Sharpe and Harper arrive at a training camp near the estate of Sir Henry Simmerson, where they are trained mercilessly. Sharpe discovers that the new recruits are being auctioned to other regiments and his suspicions are confirmed by Simmerson's niece, Jane.
Winter 1913 - Wellington is informed by the debonair Comte de Maquerre that Bordeaux is ready to rise in rebellion against Napolean. Wellington's spy master, Ross, is suspicious and tests Maquerre by suggesting that they use Maquerre's own castle as a base. Maquerre reluctantly agrees, but informs them the castle is in Napolean's hands. Wellington appoints Col Bampfylde to lead the attack on the castle with Sharpe in support. Sharpe, newly married to Jane Gibbons, is outraged that he has lost his command to Bampfylde, however he is soon distracted when there is an outbreak of yellow fever and Jane falls ill. Her chances of recovery are poor as there is not enough quinine in camp to cope with the outbreak. With a heavy heart, Sharpe leaves to go on his mission, realising that he may never see Jane alive again.Bampfylde, intent on glory, sends Sharpe on a scouting mission and tries to capture the castle on his own. He fails and casualties are heavy. Sharpe, seeing the carnage, has Harris an
France 1813 - The war is entering its final stages and the French formulate a desperate plan to capture Wellington's spy master, Major General Ross. Sharpe is ordered by Wellington to accompany Colonel Brand, who is intent on destroying the French's main powder supply in the caves of Rocha. Wellington and Ross are both suspicious of Brand's loyalty, but they do not reveal this to Sharpe. The suspicions are well-founded as Brand secretly meets with the French and makes plans for capturing Ross. On the home front, Sharpe's wife is showing signs of being bored with army life and enjoys the attentions of a young poet.