Sharpe returned to our screens last weekend in Sharpe’s Challenge, the first new on-screen adventure for the Duke of Wellington’s favourite soldier in nine years. I’m a massive fan of Sharpe – both the books and television series – and seeing him back on ITV after so long was an utter joy.
Not as much of a joy, however, as spending half an hour in a small room with Sharpe himself. Somehow, lucky, lucky, lucky bint that I am, I managed to wangle an interview with Sean Bean.
For the love of Elvis, life is good!
I should point out – reluctantly – that I wasn’t alone. There were ten other journalists there, but strangely enough hardly any of them seemed to know anything about Sharpe. Most just wanted to talk about The Lord Of The Rings or whether Sean wanted to be James Bond or how Sheffield United, his beloved footie team, were doing at the moment and if he still went to their matches. It seemed a tad rude, seeing as ITV had arranged the interview to promote their show, so I made sure I congratulated Sean on bringing back the famous Sharpe headbutt and, among other questions, asked if any more episodes were planned. (I was dying to see Sharpe’s Trafalgar but apparently it’s far too expensive to film – though they did think about it. Bother.)
Hilariously, I managed to get Sean to say one of my favourite lines from The Fellowship Of The Ring – when he picks up one of the broken shards of Narsil, pricks his finger and says: “Still sharp.” He even looked at his finger as he said it! Bless. If only I’d managed to get him to say, “They have a cave troll…” though. What a pity.
The most bizarre thing about meeting him was watching the first episode of Sharpe’s Challenge on a huge screen, soaking up Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe in the process – hair flowing, skin bronzed and beautiful, jaw firmly set, a man ready for action. And then walking into the room next door a few minutes afterwards to find him sitting on a sofa, fag in hand, shaven-headed and sporting a goatee… and wearing cowboy boots. My brain bounced around my skull with the shock.
I also had a streaming cold that day – the kind so bad that you wish you could stick a tampon up each nostril to save you having to blow your nose every two minutes. But it COMPLETELY VANISHED for the thirty minutes I spent in that room.
Sean Bean. Cure for the common cold!
And now, changing the subject completely, here’s a text message conversation I had with my friend Biddy the other day after we both saw a pig on TV getting rescued from a sticky situation. If there were awards for non-stop punning, they’d be sitting on our mantelpieces right now…
Biddy: Cute pig!
Jayne: They just saved his bacon.
Biddy: He’s hogging the limelight.
Jayne: They should give him the chop.
Biddy: I don’t think much of his acting. It’s a bit hammy.
Jayne: I think his delivery is crackling.
Biddy: Hmm. Sty as you might, you’ll never out-pun me!
Jayne: I reckon you’ll make a pig’s ear out of it eventually.
Biddy: That’s sow not true.
Jayne: Now you’re telling porkies.
Biddy: Snout wrong with that.
Jayne: I suppose you could say where there’s a swill, there’s a way.
Biddy: I’m going to have my lunch soon. I may have to cur-ly-tail our punning.
Jayne: I have a feeling we’ve hit a trough, anyway.
Biddy: Nah. I could trotter ’em out for hours!
Jayne: I think we were just going rind in circles, to be honest.
Biddy: It’s no use swining about it.
Jayne: You’re piglet-ing yourself get carried away now.
Biddy: It’s ok, I don’t rind.
Jayne: You re-used one of my puns! I win!
Biddy: But it was in a different context! There’s no need to be pig-headed about it!
Jayne: Nope, you cheated! I’m the winner!
Biddy: Ok. I’ll stop now. You’re obviously getting boar-ed.
Genius, I’m telling ya. Genius.