The Buccaneers

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ITV (ended 1957)

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The Buccaneers

Show Summary

Swashbuckling UK Export Of The Mid-50s –

Robert Shaw stars in this well-made, rousing British adventure series of the mid-50s. Taking place in the early 18th century, in the British Caribbean colony of New Providence (The Bahamas), episodes revolved around ex-pirate raider Dan Tempest (Shaw), who has accepted a pardon from King George, and the job of defending the islands, in his trusty ship 'The Sultana', along with a rag-tag, but hearty Crew of reformed ex-buccaneers, also pardoned by The King.

For the first two thirds of the run of the series, Peter Hammond appears, as Lieutenant Edward Beamish, of The Royal Navy. Left in charge of New Providence, by original Colonial Governor Woodes Rogers, the young, efficient, but inexperienced Beamish works together with Tempest in the fight against not only the various pirate raiders who still plague the Caribbean, but against the Spaniards, with whom, the British are at war. Some episodes found Tempest, Beamish, and the Crew of the Sultana facing the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard, and at other times, outwitting the devious Van Brugh – A rich, greedy New Providence plantation owner who often consorted with the various shady characters who came to the island, from time to time. For the concluding third of it's run, the series assumed a slightly different format, with Tempest and Crew sailing off the Eastern seaboard of the continental Colonies, dealing with various sinister elements, sometimes returning to their old buccaneering ways, as they helped the Colonial Farmers and Merchants in a kind of Robin Hood-like fashion.

Produced by Weinstein Productions, and Sapphire Films, Ltd.., and filmed entirely at Twickenham Studios, in London, The Buccaneers was soon brought to the USA by CBS, who premiered it on the evening Saturday, September 22nd, 1956, at 7:30 PM, EST. Despite it's overall good quality, however, it didn't catch on with the viewing public. Scheduled opposite NBC's popular People Are Funny, it was cancelled after a single 39-episode season, and it's last prime time telecast was on September 14th, 1957. It was replaced, the following week, by the soon-to-be phenomenally popular Perry Mason.

With a dependable supporting cast – Which included a kind of repertory company of players, who appeared often, in various roles – Excellent sets, costumes, acceptable-for-the-time special effects, and plenty of action – Including expert swordplay – This well written and directed sea-going, swashbuckling adventure series is well worth a look.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I like the summary of this old show. But the link to Peter Hammond is wrong. Beamish/Peter Hammond is NOT Peter J. Hammond, writer. The actor Hammond went on to a Directing career of over 30 years, starting with very first AVENGERS in 1960.moreless

    9.8
    This is the first time I've seen a summary/review of this old favorite of mine that didn't dismiss Beamish as totally inept and bafoonish.



    The character certainly came into his own after 5-6 episodes. Peter Hammond (NOT the writer) took what was originally presented as an affable, likable but bumbling young Lieutenant in over his head and, knowing it, warily reaching out for some help from know-it-all pirate, Tempest.



    Peter Hammond takes a slightly green Lieutenant, instills a strong sense of Duty, Honor & Country and generally matches himself pretty well with Dan Tempest. He's good in a brawl, steady with a sword, and when he suddenly disappears from the show, I find the show loses its spark. The core of this show was Tempest and Beamish butting heads over issues, even when they agreed. Without Beamish, Tempest became more the Robin Hood of Pirates, rather than a fox trying to out maneuver Beamish and the Royal Navy.



    Frankly, the show ceases to be fun after Beamish and New Providence are written out (thus saving considerable cash by using less sets and less regulars). I have no idea of the professional relationship between Shaw and Hammond, but their two **characters** totally clicked. And the show needed that tension.



    Shaw, however, did and does remain Dan Tempest. For years, every time I caught him in anything else, my first thought was "It's Dan Tempest!" Shaw might not have appreciated that type-casting but, frankly, Shaw really played some form of Tempest all his career because Tempest IS Shaw. (and Red Grant is Tempest on steroids)



    His best role - yes, probably Quint in JAWS. But wasn't Quint really just an older Tempest? I have enjoyed all of Shaw's other roles and I am still discovering Peter Hammond's acting/Directing career, which started with the original B&W AVENGERS and culminated with the Grenada Sherlock Holmes series. "Master Blackmailer" 2 hour movie in the series is one of the more lyrical I've seen. Wonderfully visual Director.



    BTW, the show wasn't cancelled because it failed to catch on - it was quite popular and made Shaw an International Name. But some of the funding was coming from American backers and in 1957 the networks decided Westerns were IN. So funding was pulled from a pirate period piece. In fact, few of the costume period pieces being done in UK then lasted beyond a 35-40 episode run, save Robin Hood. Which I also watched faithfully to the last episode.moreless

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Themes

Historical, Swashbucklers, Thrillers, Classics