1 9 8 6 (UK)
10 x 60 minute episodes
In this ten-hour continuation of the classic Treasure Island tale from the Disney Channel and HTV (UK), an adult Jim Hawkins (Christopher Guard) meets up again ten years later with an older, but not necessarily wiser, Long John Silver (Brian Blessed).
Long John Silver learns that a cache of diamonds still lies buried on Treasure Island, and to get the map which reveals the secret burial spot, Silver has to return to England at great personal risk.
His arrival in England coincides with Jim Hawkins’ coming down from Oxford and his acceptance of a commission to run Squire Trelawny’s sugar plantation in Jamaica.
Brian Blessed’s task of coping with the one-legged role of Long John Silver was daunting. He ran three miles and worked out on weights for two hours every day, having to add some exercises to his routine to strengthen the leg that carried his weight (the other leg being strapped up underneath his coat).
Blessed eventually added two inches to the circumference of his right leg, enabling him to run 100 yards in 17 seconds on his wooden leg.
The filming of John Silver’s Return to Treasure Island was a mammoth task.
The series was shot in Jamaica and Spain, as well as Gloucester in England and at several locations in South Wales, and director Piers Haggard had to take over 100 people on the seven-week shoot in Jamaica. The whole project had to be shot in 20 weeks.
The production used 90 actors and hundreds of extras. In Jamaica, a harbour had to be dredged to get two of the four ships used in the series into port.
Whilst shooting in Almeria, Spain, Haggard was injured in a riding accident when the horse he was on stopped suddenly. The resulting fall injured his pelvis and he ended up in hospital where he continued to work, as 16mm editing equipment was brought into his room so he could view the latest edits.
Long John Silver
Van Der Brecken