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.