Monday ..... Sharpe's Challenge ITV1, Sunday, Monday .....
(Television program review)
The Mail on Sunday (London, England); 4/30/2006
Byline: JACI STEPHEN
What sort of a person participates in TV Turnoff Week, which, thank the lord, ends today? Apparently, six million switched off their sets last year in favour of horrific activities such as walking. To what purpose, pray?
A life without television is a life half-lived and no amount of snobbery from saddos trying to prove its inferiority as a life force is going to convince me otherwise. So there.
But. Wonderful as television is, life really is too short to spend 180 minutes watching Colonel Richard Sharpe. As he returned to our screens in Sharpe's Challenge, nothing he endured came close to meeting the challenge of this viewer trying to make it to the end without wishing to commit hara-kiri.
Sean Bean, we know, is a good actor. He is especially good at losing his neck in the way-too-small jackets this production insists on cramming him into, especially at moments when use of his arms would be extremely useful (grabbing women, pulling a trigger). I don't fancy him one iota, although friends tell me he has It. To me, he has It in about as much abundance as Homer Simpson but there you go.
I suspect my indifference has something to do with Sharpe's accent, which makes him sound as if he is learning Russian while trying to eat a Big Mac.
'Eh by gum tht soold up monteen... ' That sort of thing.
You see? No real words, just a sort of dribble of syllables. Small wonder all the women want to sleep with him; sex is probably the only way to get him to shut up.
Anyway, off he went to India to speak more incomprehensible Russian and investigate a maharajah and a renegade officer bumping off British soldiers.
It wasn't a pretty sight. Some died when nails were rammed into their skulls, others had their necks broken. If they were lucky, they were simply shot.
The renegade officer, Dodd (Toby Stephens), was a particularly nasty piece of work who took delight in torturing our hero when he discovered he had infiltrated the maharajah's troops. I could go on: sexy Indian bird, kidnapped British bird, more shrivelled neck acting, dreadful French accents ... On and on it went for ever. In fact, it might still be on for all I know; but I had to contribute something to TV Turnoff Week.
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