The Adventure of Ben Gunn – BBC Television.

Although I can’t remember much of this serial, it seems that it was an expensive production for those days and – as was the case at that time – it went out ‘live’ from the Ealing Studios that the BBC had taken on.

It is as though the BBC were trying to take on ITV who had had great success with ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ later ‘Ivanhoe’ and ‘Sir Lancelot’ .     However ITV were much cleverer here – they made these on film and so were able to sell them to America which in the case of ‘Robin Hood’ proved a great move.

With ‘Sir Lancelot’ some of the episodes were filmed in colour – had that happened with ‘Robin Hood’ then even greater success would have come their way.

It does seem that the BBC were a step behind here – surely it would have been obvious to them that on film it had much more potential

The Adventures of Ben Gunn tells the story of how Ben met Nick Allardyce, son of a local parson, who yearned for a life of adventure.

The Adventure of Ben Gunn BBC TV

Nick had finished medical school before gaining his full qualifications, but he managed to get the job as  surgeon on a transport vessel, the Walrus (later to become Captain Flint’s pirate ship)

Nick and Ben meet John Silver and others from Treasure Island. We learn where  the buried treasure in Treasure Island came from.

The story also tells how Ben came to be marooned on the island years after he had fled the ‘Walrus’ pirate ship

The television series, which starred Peter Wyngarde as John Silver and John Moffat as Ben was a six-part serial which began at 5.35 pm on 1 June 1958 with The Parson’s Son

The last episode was broadcast on 6 July.

The BBC spent a large amount of money on this production

 They even had a giant wave machine and a Spanish galleon for the scenes on board the ship.

During a sword fight between Peter Wyngarde and Olaf Pooley,  Peter sustained an injury but luckily only in a rehearsal.

This as we have said was done ‘live’ so had this sort of thing happened, I really don’t know what would have been done.

Peter Wyngarde was taken to hospital with the  sword still protruding from his leg which to say the least must have been pretty alarming at the time.

Peter Wyngarde played John Silver as a young man. He did say that “I played Long John absolutely straight. In this series he was a young man – about 30 years before the Long John of Treasure Island.”

He was also played as a quite well to do type from a good family who later fell into bad ways.

One role I well remember from Peter Wyngarde was in the 1961 film ‘ The Innocents’ with Deborah Kerr

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