1 9 6 1 – 1 9 6 2 (UK)
26 x 25 minute episodes
Terence Morgan starred as Queen Elizabeth’s pirate captain of the flagship Golden Hind, as he plundered his way across the Atlantic in the late 16th century, reigning havoc on the Spanish.
The series brought considerable pictorial imagination to its small-screen presentation: sunlight and shadow effects, eerily confined narrow streets, sumptuous palace interiors, and decorative Spanish costumes and courtiers of the time of Philip II of Spain.
But although accurate in period detail (the producers made every effort to replicate exactly the Golden Hind), a great deal of poetic license was taken with Drake’s adventures for dramatic effect, and Drake was quite often called on to buckle his swash and demonstrate his mastery of the sword.
Included in his (fictional) exploits were the rescue of Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colony in Virginia, an attack on the Spanish fort at St Augustine in what is now Florida, and the release of a captive Seminole Indian princess.
Jean Kent played the Virgin Queen (pictured below) with great patience and dignity and a host of future stars made their TV debuts.
Amongst them were Michael Crawford (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em) as the good admiral’s wide-eyed nephew, John Drake, and the villain of the piece, the swarthy Spaniard Mendoza, was played by Roger Delgado (who would later star as the first incarnation of Doctor Who‘s nemesis, The Master).
Guest stars included David McCallum (Man From U.N.C.L.E), Nanette Newman, Susan Hampshire and Warren (Alf Garnett) Mitchell.
The series was shown in the US in 1962 as The Adventures of Sir Francis Drake.
Sir Francis Drake
Morton, Earl of Lenox