The Even Chance
first episode in the stirring adventures of Horatio Hornblower (Ioan
Gruffudd), has the young midshipman introduced to the discomforts
and brutalities of life at sea.
it doesn't start well for our hero. Seasickness is a bit of a brute
for landlubbers - let alone members of His Majesty's Navy.
there is the vicious and bullying senior midshipman Simpson, whose
failures as a would-be officer turns his already dark nature black.
for Hornblower, who is recovering from a savage beating at the hands
of Simpson, fate has it that he transfer to the frigate Indefatigable,
whose officers and captain are a decent - but no-nonsense lot.
Sir Edward Pellew (Robert Lindsay) was a real life character who
was equally as able as his screen portrayal. He takes a distant
like to Hornblower and, while trying to teach him the difficult
ways of command, ignores some of the young man's rashness.
in charge of a small prizeship filled with rice, Hornblower has
to try to sail the leaking vessel back to England with a small crew
that not only has to work the ship, but guard the French crew as
a major misadventure - not of Hornblower's doing - the English manage
to get back on board the Indefatigable in time to cut out (steal
an enemy vessel while it is at anchor) a French frigate.
of the cutting out party is his old nemesis Simpson, who tries to
kill our lad during the battle.
Hornblower takes over command of the captured vessel and gets Pellew
out of a sticky situation against three French warships.
for his courage, he then has to once more face Simpson in a beach-side
a made-for-TV movie, the production values of the Hornblower series
are simply excellent. There are sailing ships aplenty, many locations
and sets, and a host of accurate uniforms and weapons.
comparison with the early Sharpe videos has Hornblower in the lead
by about seven boat-lengths.
Gruffudd and Lindsay are terrific as the main characters and their
support crews are also spot on.
storylines are multi-layered and not only host plenty of action,
but also lots of character-driven drama.
don't need to be a nautical buff to get into this series, anyone
who likes a good, quality yarn will enjoy it.
marks, our Horatio.