Last Update: 05 Oct 2005

This is one of those Sean Bean rumours that was in the works for
years. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest update and confirmation.

Sharpe's Tiger, by Bernard Cornwell, was published in 1997. This is the
story of Richard Sharpe and his adventures in India as a raw recruit before
the Peninsular War, a prequel to the popular Sharpe series which ran
from 1992 to 1997 on television in the United Kingdom (several other
countries including the United States, Australia and Canada have
also since aired the series).
Almost immediately rumours began to circulate that Picture Palace
Productions, which produced the series in conjunction with Celtic and Carlton
Television, would be making a feature film of the novel. Starring Sean as the
20-something Richard Sharpe, the film would either be shown on television or
released theatrically or, according to some, made into another three-part
television series along with two yet-to-be published Cornwell stories about
Sharpe's early years as a soldier.
Picture Palace confirmed their interest in making the film and continued to
express their optimism at again working with Sean in the part of Sharpe. A
script was reported as being "in development" for possible production in 1999,
however aside from scouting possible filming locations, nothing further was
As of November 12, 1998 Picture Palace Productions continued to report:
"Sharpe's Tiger development with Celtic Films through Film Europe.
Feature film set in India in 1799, and made as a prequel for the Sharpe TV
series. Written by Matthew Faulks and Mark Skeet, and based on the novel by
Bernard Cornwell, creator of the Sharpe novels, the project is backed by
Carlton UK and MEDIA II."
Casting, however, remained a question mark. In an issue of the Sharpe
Appreciation Society Bulletin, Sean was quoted as saying "however much he
enjoyed his role of Sharpe and he is very proud of it, he very much wishes to
expand his acting roles, and leave Sharpe behind."
As well, an article, The Tough Guy's Hardest Role Yet, by Steve Poole, in the
Daily Mail (January 2, 1999), reported that Sean "finally quit the role [of
Sharpe] this year because he felt 'as though he'd done enough' and the series
came to a natural end with the Battle of Waterloo." 
Finally, in the April/May 2000 issue of the Sharpe Appreciation Society
Bulletin, secretary Chris Clark wrote:
"Many of you have asked how this project is progressing. I am sad to say that
having spoken to one of the producers concerned, it seems to have been put
on hold for the time being. Understandably the producers have other projects
on the go, and it seems Tiger has been one of the less important projects."

In May 2002, we again began to see signs that a new Sharpe might be in
the works:
Bernard Cornwell, the author of the Sharpe novels, writes a regular column
for The Bulletin, the bi-monthly newsletter of The Sharpe Appreciation
In the April/May 2000 issue of the newsletter, Cornwell wrote:
"...(as) to the question of whether Sharpe will ever be filmed again...I have
to give the usual answer, I suspect not. I think the Indian books pose too
many problems, but there is a real chance that they will make a Sharpe
Christmas special, but not, I think, for this coming Christmas - it will be for
2001 if it happens at all. There does seem to be some real enthusiasm for
the project and more importantly, a realistic chance of raising the money,
so I've sent off a story and can only live in hope. It also depends on Sean
Bean agreeing, but I have no reason to think he won't."
A spokesman for Picture Palace Productions confirmed that the idea
of a future Christmas special was being considered, but the concept was still
only "just a gleam in the producers and writers eye."

Then, in 2002, we heard the following:
The UK weekly magazine 'Best' dated 25th June 2002 included the following
item in their section, The Most Outrageous Gossip in Showbusiness:

Hunky Sean Bean is set to star again in the hit ITV1 drama Sharpe.
Sean revealed that he loves the idea of the hero returning and has
missed playing the swashbuckling character. Filming starts early next year.
But it wasn't to be. A spokesman for Sean stated: "While Sean has spoken
of his enthusiasm for Sharpe, and has stated that he misses playing
the character, there are no plans for a new Sharpe film or tv series."

In mid-2004, the Telegraph, and other UK news outlets, began to
carry stories about ITV's plans to resurrect popular TV series,
including Sharpe:
Morse and Rumpole get new lease of life
By Tom Leonard
The Telegraph
(Filed: 16/07/2004)
Two of television drama's most memorable creations, Inspector Morse
and Rumpole of the Bailey, are to be revived, despite the death of both
their main stars, ITV said yesterday.
Inspector Morse is British television's most successful export and
continues to attract high ratings even after numerous repeats.

It started in 1987 and finished after 33 episodes in November 2000
with the irascible Oxford detective's death from a heart attack.
The problem of reviving the drama is compounded by the death of
John Thaw, the actor who played Morse, and the fact that ITV has
already filmed all the books by Colin Dexter.
However, the broadcaster is planning a new two-part episode with the
spotlight instead falling on Morse's long-suffering assistant, Sgt Lewis,
played once more by Kevin Whately.
ITV, which is drawing on its old successes in an attempt to challenge
BBC1 in the ratings battle, adopted the same tactic to ensure the
continuation of its Scottish detective series Taggart after the death of
its star, Mark McManus.
As Leo McKern has died, Rumpole this time is almost certain to be
played by Albert Finney.
ITV is also in talks with Sean Bean about resurrecting a third of its old
drama staples, the adventures of the Napoleonic war hero Richard
Sharpe of the 95th Rifles.
Nick Elliott, the head of ITV drama, said that with the death two and a
half years ago of Thaw from cancer, it now seemed an "appropriate" time
to revive Inspector Morse.
"Kevin will be Lewis, getting on with his life after his friend's death," he
Thaw's widow, Sheila Hancock, and Dexter have both given their
blessing to the new show, said Mr Elliott. "Time has now passed (since
Thaw's death) and it's appropriate and everyone's very happy about doing
it," he said.
The two episodes will be written, with Dexter's blessing, by Russell Lewis,
who worked on previous episodes.
Lewis will also write the new Rumpole series, basing it on three short stories
by the barrister's creator, Sir John Mortimer.
Leo McKern, who played Rumpole, died two years, aged 82.
However, Mortimer never killed off his character so, this time played by
Finney, ITV can bring him back to the Bar from a nursing home.
If it goes ahead, the new Sharpe drama - based on a story originally
written for television - will be shot in India.
Mr Elliott said he planned to make further dramas for Rumpole, Sharpe and
Lewis, if the new productions were successful.

The Picture Palace website was updated in early 2005 with the following info
(under Latest News). (This information was also repeated at a May 2005
convention of the Sharpe Appreciation Society in the UK, along with the
information that a script had been written and locations were being scouted.)
SHARPE MOVIE is planned to film in India in Autumn 2005, starring Sean
Bean (TROY, LORD OF THE RINGS, GOLDENEYE). After five seasons of
14 action-packed adventure films which averaged an audience share of
47% on UK television and which still sell in over 50 territories - the
award-winning SHARPE returns as a movie - SHARPE'S CHALLENGE.
The fate of an Empire and the life of a General's daughter lie in one
man's hands....
SHARPE'S CHALLENGE is a co-production with Celtic Films, Shaftesbury
Films in Toronto and MPD Films in Mumbai. 1 x 110' theatrical film /
2 x 90' for ITV

On August 9, after a BBC radio interview in which Sean expressed
enthusiasm at the prospect of a possible new Sharpe, Sky News Showbiz
in the UK reported reported the making of a one-off feature of Sharpe
set to be aired in 2006. Shooting would begin in late 2005 in India.
This proved again to be unconfirmed.

On 19 August 2005, the following story appeared in Variety:
BBC America looks 'Sharpe' with movie
Net to produce 4-hour swashbuckling pic
Source: Variety
August 19, 2005
BBC America has engineered one of the biggest co-productions in its
seven-year history, four-hour movie "Sharpe's Challenge" starring Sean
Bean as a swashbuckling 19th century British officer.

Project is an extension of the series of 14 telepics on England's
ITV, with Bean appearing as the character featured in a series of
novels by Bernard Cornwell.
Expectation is that BBC America will buy reruns of the telepics from
producers Picture Palace/Celtic Films Entertainment, but neither
side addressed that issue in the announcement of the pic.
Although based on the Cornwell character, "Sharpe's Challenge" is an
original screenplay by Russell Lewis. Producers Malcolm Craddock and
Muir Sutherland will lense the project on location in North
India, where Sharpe will have to contend with a powerful maharajah;
nothing less than the fate of the British empire hangs in the
The dollar investment in "Challenge" is on a par with BBC
America's stake in the six-hour musical thriller "Viva Blackpool,"
scheduled for October, and two original movies from the playwright
Stephen Poliakoff: "Friends & Crocodiles" and "Gideon's Daughter,"
slated for 2006. Unlike "Challenge," these three projects are all co-
productions with parent BBC.

Finally, in August, September and October 2005, information began to
appear which indicated negotiations were finally coming together. Picture
Palace updated their website with this information:
STOP PRESS.....New SHARPE drama to film in Rajasthan, India in
November 2005, starring Sean Bean (TROY, LORD OF THE RINGS,
GOLDENEYE). After five seasons of 14 action-packed adventure
films which averaged an audience share of 47% on UK television
and which still sell in over 50 territories - the award-winning SHARPE
returns as a 2 x 90' serial - SHARPE'S CHALLENGE. A Picture Palace /
Celtic production for ITV. The fate of an Empire and the life of a
General's daughter lie in one man's hands....
On October 5th, the final t's were crossed and the i's were dotted, and
Sharpe's Challenge was a go.


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