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Trivia / Sharpe

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  • Ability over Appearance: Sharpe is played by 5'9" blond Yorkshireman Sean Bean whereas in the novels he's described as over six feet tall, dark haired and a Londoner. However Bean owned the role so thoroughly that Bernard Cornwell retconned the character as having spent a large part of his teenage years in Yorkshire to explain his accent.
  • Blooper: In Sharpe's Eagle, as Sir Henry says "The South Essex will advance slowly and with caution, Major Lennox!" Hogan's costume changes from a blue jacket to a white one.
  • California Doubling: Sharpe's Rifles had Ukraine doubling as Spain. In fact pretty much all the series were filmed in either Ukraine or Turkey. Presumably labour is cheaper there.
    • That's actually pretty much true. In a mostly unknown 'making of' documentary for the series, they talk about the awesome Ukranian stunt men who are cheap, plentiful and absolutely insane. Given that the core cast is actually pretty small (6 riflemen, 2 wives, Wellington, Hogan plus a handful of speaking villains du joure) and that any part of the Europen countryside (where all the battles are fought) looks so similar it makes no odds, it makes a LOT more sense to move the production to the stuntmen, rather than transporting and accommodating 200+ psychopathic men and horses to wherever they were needed.
  • The Cast Showoff: Chosen Man Hagman is often seen singing or playing music. John Tams who plays Hagman is also a folk musician and composer. He also co-authored music score for the series.
  • Creator Backlash: Hugh Fraser hated the prosthetic nose he had to wear to recreate Wellington's distinct beaky appearance.
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  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Bernard Cornwell named Sharpe's Siege as his personal favourite book in the series.
  • Creator's Favorite: Sean Bean named Richard Sharpe as his favourite role:
    He's a very complex character. He knows that he's a good soldier, but he will always have to fight the prejudice of aristocratic officers because of his rough working-class upbringing. On the battlefield, he's full of confidence - but off it, he is unsure, a bit shy and ill at ease.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Michael Mears, who plays Chosen Man Cooper in several of the films, is actually a dedicated peace activist who has written and performed a play about WWI conscientious objectors.
  • No Budget: The series was rather infamously filmed on the cheap, making epic battles like Waterloo look like minor skirmishes.
  • No Stunt Double: Sean Bean didn't use a stunt double for the series.
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  • The Other Darrin: Wellesley was first played by David Troughton, who departed after Sharpe's Eagle due to poor health. Wellesley's elevation to the peerage not only changes his name to Wellington, but his actor to Hugh Fraser (the one who played Captain Hastings from Poirot).
  • The Other Marty: Paul McGann was originally cast as Richard Sharpe, but he broke his leg while playing football only a few days into the shooting of Sharpe's Rifles. Sean Bean was recast in the role and... well, you know the rest.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The series uses an extended version the traditional British military song "Over the Hills and Far Away", using the lyrics from George Farquah's 1706 play The Recruiting Officer. Although written during the War of Spanish Succession, they are fortuitously fitting for Sharpe's career, which also took him "to Flanders, Portugal and Spain" (although Waterloo is in Brabant, which is fairly close to Flanders, Sharpe's first battle ever, as a private in the 33rd, was actually in Flanders - Boxtel 1794).
  • Romance on the Set: Sean Bean met his third wife Abigail Cruttenden on the set. She played his second wife who eventually cheated on him and stole all his money. The marriage lasted three years.
  • Star-Making Role: For Sean Bean.
  • Throw It In!: The part where Sharpe and La Marquesa fall off the horse in Sharpe's Honour was unscripted, but the director, Tom Clegg, liked it and kept it in.
  • Writer Revolt: An editor told Bernard Cornwell to change a scene where an Ensign died likely because ensigns are frequently young boys or men in their mid to late teens. He resented being told how to write, so he changed it to be more depressing. And in a number of the books since, Cornwell has killed off Ensigns in increasingly worse ways.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Cornwell does plan his novels in advance, but has admitted to changing them up midway through because he thinks it reads better. An example - Frederickson was supposed to marry Lucille in Sharpe's Revenge.
  • You Look Familiar: Julian Fellowes appeared in Sharpe's Rifles as Major Dunnet and later appeared in Sharpe's Regiment as the Prince Regent.


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