Treasure Island

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Very difficult directing a production that has been produced so many times before in the theatre, film and television.

Particularly challenging as the BBC could not afford to let us go on location in the Caribbean where most of the story takes place!

In the end I got permission to film for a week on the coast of Corsica for the beach and Hispaniola sailing scenes and the rest of the location filming was shot near Plymouth on the Mildmay estate which had already been used for previous incarnations of this story.


What could I bring to such a well known story?



Probably not a lot. 

But I decided to try to make it as real as possible - take out the glorification of piracy - as I found a few years later to my cost they are not a bundle of fun - see Attacked 

The problem, if it is a problem,  is that in the end RL Stevenson wrote a romantic novel and it works well as a romantic story and it is not in the nature of the beast to be truly hard and gritty. 

I tried, with some small success I think, but in the end it was a fairly classic Treasure Island.

I was blessed with superb performances from Alfred Burke as Long John Silver, Thorley Walters as Squire Trelawney , Anthony Bate as Dr Livesey and Patrick Troughton (Dr Who) as Israel Hands.  My 'Ahhhh Jim lad'! was a clever young actor - Ashley Knight.

They were surrounded by excellent supporting actors giving some very gritty performances like Jack Watson's Billy Bones, David Collins Blind Pew and Paul Copley playing the long lost Ben Gunn and lots more.

It was successful and very popular with the audiences. 

 It  was an interesting experienced to be following in the footsteps of some enormously talented directors.


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