Home Television Drama Buccaneers, The

Buccaneers, The

1 9 5 6 – 1 9 5 7 (UK)
39 x 30 minute episodes

This ITV pirate action-adventure series starring a young Robert Shaw as swashbuckling, ex-pirate Captain Dan Tempest – was a Weinstein Production for Sapphire Films Ltd.

In 1718, Tempest had been the leader of a band of freebooters in the British Caribbean province of New Providence in the Bahamas.

However, he was persuaded by Royal Navy Lieutenant Beamish (Peter Hammond), the new deputy governor, to switch sides and fight on behalf of the Crown against the advancing Spanish, and to help counter the disruptive influence of other pirates, such as the infamous Blackbeard.


Armando (Edwin Richfield), Taffy (Paul Hansard) and Gaff (Brian Rawlinson) were all loyal members of Tempest’s swashbuckling crew on the brig Sultana, with Dickon (Wilfrid Downing), a young stowaway-turned-cabin-boy, and Captain Morgan (Tempest’s pet monkey) also seen.

Van Brugh (Alec Mango) was an untrustworthy local businessman in Nassau, where the action mainly took place. Estaban (played by Roger Delgado, the future Master in Doctor Who) was one of the Spanish principals.

The series was hailed as “one of the most exciting romantic discoveries of the year”. With its ‘a-roving’ theme song, The Buccaneers was reputedly television’s first pirate series and was also unusual in that its lead character did not appear until the third episode – the first two being devoted to setting the scene.

The first three episodes of the series were made at Nettlefold Studios in Walton-on-Thames before production moved to Twickenham Studios for episode four onward.

The sea sequences were filmed off Falmouth and the ship featured was a show-business veteran, having already played the part of the Hispaniola in Disney’s Treasure Island (1950) and the Pequod in John Huston’s Moby Dick (1956).

The small budget meant members of the supporting cast often appeared as two different characters in the same episode.

Dan Tempest
Robert Shaw
Lt Beamish
Peter Hammond
Governor Captain Woodes Rogers
Alec Clunes
George Margo (1)
Terence Cooper (2)
Edwin Richfield
Paul Hansard
Wilfrid Downing
Gaff Guernsey/Davies
Brian Rawlinson
Van Brugh
Alec Mango
Sam Bassett/Captain Hornigold
Neil Hallett
Willoughby Gray
Roger Delgado
Peter Bennett


Blackbeard | The Raider | Captain Dan Tempest | Dan Tempest’s War With Spain | The Wasp | Whale Gold | The Slave Ship | Gunpowder Plot | The Ladies | The Surgeon of Sangre Rojo | Before The Mast | Dan Tempest & The Amazons | Articles Of War | The Hand Of The Hawk | Gentleman Jack And The Lady | Marooned | Mr Beamish And The Hangman’s Noose | Dead Man’s Rock | Blood Will Tell | Dangerous Cargo | The Return Of Calico Jack  | Ghost Ship | Conquistador  | Mother Doughty’s Crew | Conquest Of New Providence  | Hurricane  | Cutlass Wedding | The Aztec Treasure  | The Prize Of Andalusia | Dan Tempest Holds An Auction | Spy Aboard | Flip And Jenny | Indian Fighters | Mistress Higgins’ Treasure | To The Rescue | Decoy | Instrument Of War | Pirate’s Honour | Printer’s Devil