Sharpe World => What are they doing now? => Topic started by: patch on June 08, 2019, 02:12:41 AM

Title: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on June 08, 2019, 02:12:41 AM
Thanks to
#Sharpe Reposting from Winona Kent :
 Attention Sharpe fans - those of you who met up with me in London in 2002 to see Sean Bean in Macbean at the Albery Theatre might remember our memorable dinner at Porters English Restaurant in Covent Garden (it had fabulous sticky toffee pudding). Alas, Porters is no longer there, having closed a few years ago...but you'll recall I arranged to have a "special guest" in attendance...and it was Jason Salkey! Over the past few decades Jason's been releasing his Rifleman Harris Diaries on DVD (and before that, on VHS)... and now he's writing a book about his Sharpe adventures. It's close to being finished so if you'd like to contribute to his publishing costs, get your name on the list now! Read on!…/from-…/updates/finishing-line-in-sight

From Crimea with Love
Jason Salkey

Friday, 7 June 2019
First of all I would like to thank family, friends and Sharpe fans for allowing me to realise the long held desire to put my Sharpe experiences into book form. And thank you to Unbound for letting me write the book I want to write. Some might say how could the ramblings of a spoilt, entitled actor be of any interest to an audience beyond the world wide legions of fans? If tales of mishaps, danger and catastrophe while filming one of Britain’s best loved television shows in foreign locations isn’t enough. Perhaps the story of a group of Westerners thrust into a formally ‘forbidden’ land at momentous time for that country in a pivotal period of world history, will interest a wider demographic.

Life in the disintegrated former Soviet Union for a lad from London proved to be enough of an eye-opening experience; couple that with the ‘glamour’ of film making, the explosion and confirmation of stereotypes and Western boy meets girl from the East, you’ve got a story that should appeal to a wider demographic. Though the majority of my five seasons on Sharpe were spent in the Crimea, Southern Ukraine, the memoir covers our further, equally tumultuous adventures in Turkey, Portugal and England as we pursued television legend. Transcribing my written diary for this book dredged up many dormant memories of some painful times endured by our maverick crew. And how we found friendship and many heart-warming moments with our new Ukrainian colleagues all recounted to you with witty irreverence. At the time of this update the fund stands at 86% and my first draft is about 90% done. But remember, the book will only be published when the fund hits 100%, so please tell your Sharpe fan friends and share the link over the hills  and fare away. Once again, thank you to all supporters of the book for allowing me bring the amazing story of life on Sharpe to a wider audience; here’s a little passage to show you what to expect:

On the 15th of December 1992 we moved our base to the Lisbon Hilton for the remaining two weeks of the shooting schedule.  Our arrival in the Portuguese capital coincides with Bernard Cromwell’s first visit to set which as a newly minted fan of the novels and the son of an author I was eagerly anticipating.  Our first meeting El Maestro was at a unit dinner at a restaurant in the famed Alfama district of Lisbon that specialised in Fado, the national music of Portugal usually hauntingly performed on an acoustic guitar. All the heads of the departments were present along with many of the cast and crew, some with their partners. A great night was had by all as we took in the heavy strumming of the unique looking guitar, aided by liberal lashings of the local plonk music, Vino Tinto. Late into the night we’d had enough.  The bill was requested as the party gathered their things; the bill which took an inordinate amount of time to sort out still hadn’t arrived but the time we were ready to leave. Not that surprising due to the size of our party, plus the management of the service was haphazard and inefficient. But we were in a good mood, still warm on Vino Tinto. Then the bill finally arrived, we understood quite quickly the manager had been seriously over egged it; that or we were too drunk to know how much we’d actually consumed. However we did have some sober heads in the group, as well as some Portuguese speakers who after negotiation realised the manager was trying to pull a fast one on a bunch of English gringos. We outright refused to pay the inflated bill; instead dumping a pile of Escudos down on a table, more than sufficient in our minds and motioned for our party to exit.

The restaurant was down in a cellar with the exit door at the top of a steep staircase which we could see was being locked by a small, scared looking waiter. This action was like a red rag to a bull. Well-oiled on the vino and well stuffed with pent up anger after numerous rows with my girlfriend, I vaulted up the stairs wrenching the waiter aside and unbolting the door. I defiantly yanked the door open to find a more fearsome, ugly looking Lisbonite, standing in the street waiting for us, armed with a small knife. Before I could raise even an eyebrow let alone shout “Chosen Men to me”, I felt a massive shove on my back forcing me to the pavement in quick fashion, leaving me in the gutter staring at the moon over Lisbon. In second it was all over our whole party was in the street unharmed, with the chap who was sent to stop us firmly despatched. It turns out that Sean, who wasn’t adverse to a little agro from time to time, in his haste to smash the bloke’s face in, had shoved his learned Chosen Man out of the way in order to have a clear run at the enemy. Maybe Sean was just protecting me, either way the sight of Sean Bean charging at you with intent made the guy run a mile.

At incident’s end I dusted myself off and noticed Bernard Cornwell was grinning ear to ear at witnessing life imitating his art. Sharpe and his Chosen man Harris displaying the ‘take charge nature’ that was expected of a 95th rifleman. Only later when recounting the story did it dawn on me the dangerousness of the incident, how it could have possibly led to harm or a night in the cells, with the resulting delay to the last days of filming. But we were fearless, stuffed full of hubris and weren’t going to let anything stand in our way. I mean we had just gone three months in newly disintegrated Soviet Ukraine in conditions that could make a grown man cry, so a cheating restaurant manager and two short-ish chaps, no matter how ugly, weren’t going to defeat us. Despite this being an adrenaline filled, exhilarating episode of our off set adventures I began to wonder; how much more fighting would be required on this first series? How many more hairy incidents with potentially harmful outcomes would we have to be endured on Sharpe?" Jason
Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on June 20, 2019, 10:44:46 AM
Great news! From Crimea with Love by Jason Salkey has just been funded at Unbound. Pre-order your copy:

From Crimea with Love
Writing in progress
Publication date: TBC 
100% funded
Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on July 05, 2019, 09:48:33 AM
Sharpe’s Rifles: Actor spills the beans on the making of a TV blockbuster set in Portugal and Spain
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If you think today is a miserable time to be British (given Brexit and its associated economic and political chaos), spare a thought for those Britons who lived through the early 1990s. A severe recession inflicted misery on millions. Interest rates and unemployment soared while house prices and incomes crashed.

Unsurprisingly, a weary public sought respite in front of their TV sets with escapist series such as “Sharpe’s Rifles”, set in Portugal and Spain, particularly popular.

First broadcast in 1993, the show featured a tough Yorkshire soldier called Richard Sharpe (played by a then relatively unknown Sean Bean), who battled and eventually overcame assorted rogues and scoundrels, many on his own side, during the Peninsular War that raged across Portugal and Spain in the early 19th century.

Chaos and corruption
 Every week, 10 million Britons tuned into “Sharpe”, and the series also become immensely popular across the globe. Yet, the story of the making of the show, much of it filmed in the Ukraine, is as dramatic as the battles in which the eponymous hero fought, according to the actor Jason Salkey. He played one of the most prominent characters, Rifleman Harris, who memorably introduced himself to Sharpe as “a courtier to my lord Bacchus and an unremitting debtor”.

I recently talked to Jason about a book he is writing entitled Crimea with Love. It documents “the mishaps, blunders, incompetence and downright corruption that made Sharpe’s Rifles go down in British television and film production folklore for its tales of hardship, disaster and chaos only rivalled by the Ukraine itself.”

Jason explains: “Initially, Paul McGann was given the lead role of Richard Sharpe, but Paul hurt his knee playing football six days into the shoot sending the production into chaos, which ended only after Sean Bean came in to save the day.

“The incompetence lay in the decision to take a Western film unit into the disarray of the newly-splintered Soviet Union and to link up with Russian co-producers, adept at overcharging the British producers and underpaying the local crew. But the Soviet Union was run like a mafia; corrupt to the bone, so it was the only way they knew how to operate!”

However, as Jason details in the book, which he is crowdfunding (see link at the end of the article), Sharpe changed his life: “I met my wife, who was on the show as an interpreter, and we even managed to conceive our very own Sharpe baby while we were on ‘active duty’. In addition, playing the part of Rifleman Harris allowed me to make a small contribution to a legendary TV series, which in turn has given me a new career catering to the questions of Sharpe fans worldwide.”

 Sharp shooters
 Since taking part in the series, Jason has become a fan of the riflemen and the era. The men who belonged to the Rifle brigade that features in the TV series were the elite troops of their era. They were armed with Baker rifles, which were far more accurate and had a much greater range than the muskets carried by most soldiers of the time.

Jason says of the riflemen: “A hardy breed, they would have no problem dealing with post-Soviet Ukraine. Being an absolute newcomer to everything Napoleonic before I got the role on Sharpe, I got my introduction when reading ‘The Recollections of Rifleman Harris’, a memoir written by a real rifleman called Benjamin Harris.

“I was aghast at the horrors faced by a foot soldier of the 95th on campaign in the Peninsula. The Napoleonic campaigns represent the true First World War. The conflict spanned the globe and involved numerous countries.

“The Napoleonic era was also a time of great change coming just before the dawning of the industrial revolution. I’ve always liked the anecdote that Robert Stephenson sought advice from rifle maker Ezekiel Baker on how to bore metal for the cylinders used in his ‘Rocket’. That, of course, led to the invention of the steam train.”

Finally, I asked Jason when he realised that Sharpe was going to be a success.

Jason responded that he knew the show had the potential to be a hit after he had read some of the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. He adds: “I thought Sharpe was special, almost a Bond-like hero capable of amazing feats of heroism. Did I realise the show might have the longevity it’s experienced? Not really, but actors always hope they are in on something that will stand the test of time and is enjoyed across generations, so I suppose the thought was somewhere in the back of my mind.”

Jason hopes to have his book released by late November saying he has written most of the first draft. People can still support the project by purchasing their hardback copy ‘up-front’ before publication.

You can also catch the entire series of “Sharpe” on Amazon Prime in Portugal and the audiobook of the memoirs of real Rifleman Harris, voiced by Jason, is available via his website below.
Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on February 05, 2020, 12:00:47 AM
Thank to

From Crimea with Love
By Jason Salkey
Reaching the next level!
Just a quick note to say a huge thank you for your support of my cherished project and of course for your patience while it’s in the production process. After putting the manuscript through five drafts it was finally handed over to Unbound’s capable hands and I'm told the book is currently well under way with it’s ‘structural edit’. Once that is done I’ll be given a few pointers and suggestions on how to further improve the text; hopefully with photos decided upon and permissions secured I imagine the manuscript will be ready sometime later this year. Stay tuned to this space for further updates. Again, thank you for making this project a reality! Jason
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Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on April 12, 2020, 05:46:51 AM
Dear supporters of my memoir, thank you for your patience. In late Aug I handed in the manuscript to the publishers only to be told I needed to make substantial cuts. Through gritted teeth I’ve cut out tens of thousands of words to edit it down to the required amount and have now re-submitted the manuscript. Despite the pain of losing a lot of stuff, I feel the book has benefitted from the cuts and flows a lot better now.
Again, massive thanks to all everyone who has helped fund this project; I really appreciate your tremendous support. While the publishers put their professional editors to work you can still pledge support; those who do get a copy of the book pre-release and your name on a list of supporters in the finished publication.
All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds!
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Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on July 06, 2020, 06:29:44 AM
I received this email from Jason Salkey.
Chosen Greetings. Hope all is well in these unprecedented times?
Along with fellow veterans I’ve recorded a few Sharpe podcasts with more planned in the future. The links are below:
Sharpe and Harris:
The Chosen Men:
Film crew and Chosen Men:
Oh, yes. I’m writing a Sharpe book. If interested you can pre-order here:
Stay safe, stay Sharpe!

From Crimea with Love
Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on July 08, 2020, 07:50:26 AM
Final draft submitted!
From Crimea With Love has just completed the structural edit phase, where with the help of my editor I’ve expanding on certain passages, made things clearer in others and generally tried to avoid lawsuits! Now my writing duties are almost done, the publisher can get to work on copy editing, type setting, photo selection and all the other magic involved.

It’s taken masses of hard, unglamorous work to knock the book into shape. This couldn’t have been achieved without the herculean graft put in by my editor, Rachel Kerr who helped smooth out the edges and expertly steered me to a tight, exciting and much improved final draft that exceeded even my own expectations.

Aside from the relief and elation of finishing the final draft, I have the honour and privilege of having Bernard Cornwell write the foreword to the book. I’m not sure what I’m more excited about!

I’ll likely update before publication, but in the meantime, thank you again, first for supporting the project and for your patience. Please share this message, tell all your friends who like a good read, even if they aren’t Sharpe fans!

Jason 'Rifleman Harris' Salkey
Title: Re: From Crimea with Love
Post by: patch on January 05, 2021, 05:42:30 AM
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Dear Supporters of From Crimea With Love.
The Sharpe community has shown immense support in helping me realise my dream, I really appreciate it and send you Chosen thanks. Getting the book ready for publications has provided a nice distraction from the annus horribilis we’ve all endured.
The ‘copyedit’ of my manuscript has been combed over and will soon be fed into the ‘printing machine’. Another vital stage has been reached with completion of the cover art which I’m very happy with; many thanks to­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Mark Ecob (@mecobtweets) for his sterling work. The next task is to trawl through my huge photo collection to decide on which ones I want to include within the book.
And possibly the best news of all is confirmation of a release date: July 7th 2021. A glimmer of light at the end of an awfully long tunnel.
After reading this e-mail can you please go into your Unbound account and check your e-mail and postal address are up to date. Also, you can make sure the name(s) you want printed on the supporter’s page of the book are correct. And why not tell all your Sharpe fan friends not on Facebook about the book and share the link to the funding page.
Stay safe, stay Sharpe!
Jason ‘Rifleman Harris’ Salkey