‘Chosen man’: TV star heads north to tell Sharpe stories
‘Superfan’ gives ‘Rifleman Harris’ his king’s shilling to plant his colours in Angus for the first time at speaking event
A Sharpe “superfan” has asked one of TV’s most famous riflemen to plant his colours in Angus for the first time.
From over the hills and far away, 95th Regiment ‘Rifleman Harris’ has been enlisted for a spoken word event in Montrose on January 22.
Local man Barry Graham, 56, said he has given Harris – actor Jason Salkey – his king’s shilling for a one-off oral history of how Bernard Cornwell’s epic novels were brought to the small screen.
Mr Graham said: “I’m just a big fan of the series Sharpe. I personally regard the series almost as an institution and of legendary status.
“I think that it is a fantastic opportunity for the ‘lucky few’ to meet Jason and hear his fascinating insights and his personal experiences during his Sharpe years, with a question and answer session included.
“Whether others in Montrose will agree has yet to be seen.”
Salkey has written a new book, From Crimea with Love, about his role in the Napoleonic War-set drama alongside Sean Bean that changed his life forever.
The series was shot mainly in Crimea, in the rapidly disintegrated Soviet Union, where Salkey and the crew went on to create one of Britain’s most successful and critically acclaimed television programmes.
Mr Graham, who is an author, poet, composer and historical researcher, said Salkey got in touch via social media to inquire if he would be interested in his upcoming book. He said: “I’m guessing he found me through his co-star, Daragh O’Malley, who is on my friend list.
“I’m also a great admirer of John Tams, who was rifleman Daniel Hagman, and his music and have been privileged to have met him.
“After some mutual messaging, we have made a plan and I contributed £270 towards Jason’s book in order to have the lecture in Montrose.
“I will cover his expenses and try to offset some of them with a small, £5 door charge on the night. I’ve arranged he and his wife’s accommodation and the lecture venue – 7 Sins, here in Montrose – with the help of its owners, Scott Learmonth and Rhys Gourlay.”
Mr Graham and his late cousin, John Molloy, founded The George Beattie Project and published a history book containing extensive research on events occurring in Montrose and St Cyrus around the Napoleonic era.
Salkey’s memoir promises to be an “eye-opening, jaw-dropping insider’s account” that will document 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”.
He will appear in Montrose on Tuesday January 22 at 7 Sins on Hume Street at 8pm, with tickets on sale now at the venue.
Barry Graham has arranged for Jason Salkey to visit Montrose.
Jason Salkey, left, was cast in Sharpe’s Rifles in 1992 and played Harris, one of Sharpe’s ‘chosen men’. Salkey, pictured with John Tams, is a huge fan of the series and the history behind it and often participates in related military events.