Sharpe's Challenge .



...and really! Here he was, Daragh O'Malley aka Sgt. Patrick Harper, standing on the pavement in lifesize only a step away from me. He wore dark trousers with a dark Jacket and unterneath a longsleeved black T-Shirt with a V-neckline. His hair is pretty short at the moment. I pulled out my travel-diary, queued behind some other people and asked also for an autogramm/autograph, which he very patiently gave. He asked for my name and the spelling of it and wrote something along the lines ..."with love from all Sharpe ...(sign) - Harper....

And that's what Herr O'Malley says about Harper in Sharpe's Challenge: “...When Sharpe gave up soldiering and became a farmer in France, Harper returned to Ireland. But he couldn’t settle and was soon working undercover as a spy for the Duke of Wellington. It’s like every boy’s dream working on Sharpe. You never really grow up on that set..." (from: "Interview: Daragh O'Malley is Patrick Harper" Fundort:, 2006)

We heard, that only the British will be so privileged, to have a 2 part mini series on ITV1, 23. and 24. April 2006 with 2 x 90 min.

It is not clear at the moment, if the DVD, that will come in the UK/Region 2 on the 1. May 2006, will be the "international" aka short version, or not.

It was also brought to our attention, that Sean Bean, so very disappointed about this, couldn't attend this screening.


We were then allowed to enter the building and could finally pick up our tickets. Behind the entrance area, we could see a room with bar and comfortable darkbrown leathersofas and tables, slowly filling with people. When thinking about this gathering later, it only sunk in slowly into my Sharpe numbed mind, that this was a really democratic way of starting this special screening. Please, bear in mind: There was no red carpet, no big entrance. Just actors, BAFTA-members, and ordinary ticket-buyers like us, strolling in, meeting and mixing leisurely for about 30 to 45 minutes. You could watch the people, seeing this beautiful Indian Woman in the nice yellow dress talking to Salman Rushdie (and learning, that this was actress Padma Lakshmi, actually married to the man).

It was great to see faces, like that of "Wellington" suddenly in reality, and looking, how these figures of another, far away world of fiction and illusion became very real and human. Of course you know, with your brain, that actors are also only human, but it is quite another thing, to see them before your very eyes walking around, drinking, chatting... that is when you understand it on another level. Also, it was suddenly quite easy to imagine Herr Bean amongst these people, oh, sorry, amongst us, drinking, talking, greeting...

Sharpe's Challenge
Special BAFTA Screening - London, Great Britain
Montag, 3. April 2006
Finally, everybody strolled into the theatre, a few announcements were made, the light went out...


..and Sharpe marched in. He was incredibly blond, and incredibly handsome, wearing a red uniform. It was phantastic seeing Sharpe for the first time ever on a big screen. They should do a special theatrical screening of all the Sharpes ;-)

I won't go into detail about the actual story, and go along the already known story line - I think, on other boards the interested can already get spoilered information - because you really have to watch the film.

As is known, Sharpe, now a Farmer in Normandie, is called back to England were he learns, that his friend Patrick Harper has vanished in India. That is the main reason, he leaves also (one hopes, that this plays after the harvest time, or - trust me - he wouldn't have had time just to vanish just like this from his farming lands! Would be interesting to hear, what Lucille had to say about this.)

In India, of course, there is sun, incredible landscape, Indian Soldiers, Simmerson and the very, very, bad, very handsome and nicely longhaired Dodd, played by the very very very talented Toby Stephens. For once, an Englishman as an enemy, and he really gives us all, we await in a real Sharpe Enemy. We saw some awfully good fencing scene(s) I'm also happy to tell, that Sharpe has not lost his appeal for women. We also have as an enemy the female Regent, that the beautiful Padma plays. Sharpe and Harper go undercover into her palace, and it comes (of course) to a battle.

Sharpe has not lost an inch of his Sharpe-ness, he has grown a little bit older, there are wrinkles around his eyes, but it suits him well, he is wonderfully fit and when the final confrontation with his enemies comes, you start to feel sad, because you begin to realise, that this colourful story will end in a short time. When then the so well known "Over the Hills..." starts and Sharpe looks back, like he always looks back, people in the audience started to sing slowly the well known lines with John Tams, and that was a really moving end to this screening.

After that the Question and Answer with Bernard Cornwell, Padma Lakshmi, Daragh O'Malley and Tom Clegg started. The Moderator presented them, and they told first, what they thought about the just seen film. It was all positive. Both Tom Clegg and Daragh O'Malley, who are with the Sharpshooters as long as Sean Bean, repeated, what they had said also before: that Sean Bean "is" Richard Sharpe and always will be. That they really meant it, you could learn, when Tom Clegg and Daragh O'Malley started telling something about Sean Bean, and both very unconsciously used at one time instead of saying "...Sean was..." - the phrase "...Sharpe was...". I liked that very much.

I also thought it very generous of Herr O'Malley, that he told a lot about Sean Bean - he wasn't forced to do this, and he could as easily have talked about himself.

When asked, how it was after such a long time to find back into their roles, he told, how he hadn't seen Sean Bean for 8 years, but when then he went out of the car, Sean just said "hey there Daragh..." if he had just come back from the toilet...and after the second day of filming they were just back as usual... (badly told - Daragh O'Malley can do it so much better. You got the impression, that this one can tell a story, if nicely asked.)

Also, after it, we got some more information, why Herr Bean couldn't be there: He is just filming in Amerika ("Faceless") and there was a delay of two days. Very unfortunate, and he must have done his utmost, to make it to this screening, but it wasn't possible. It was said again, how very disappointed he was about this.



Well, that was it - a really special event I won't forget - and who would have thought 8 years before, when I watched on German Television a film about some Sharpeshooters I adored from the moment a bold Sergeant answered to the question of his officer "...Drunk again..." with " too, Sir!" - that I would stand here and talk to one of them? My special Thanks goes to Daragh O'Malley, who, as Irishman Patrick Harper, not only represented the Chosen Men, but also all the foreign forces, like the KGL, in Wellingtons Army and also stood in today for his friend, Richard Sharpe... or do I mean Sean Bean? Anyway.



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rg/14. April 2006 - rg's email


"... He’s reluctant to go back to soldiering. He’s not lost any of his admirable qualities, but he’s a reluctant warrior when we find him at the beginning of the film... "
Sean Bean





"Interview - Sean Bean is Richard Sharpe" from: -- rg/14.04.2006