Flagship drama set to sail as Hollick saves Hornblower

Horatio Hornblower is set to sail the high seas again after the most ambitious drama project in the history of ITV has been saved by the intervention of Lord Hollick's United News & Media.

The pounds 10m adaptation of the Hornblower books by CS Forester has been running into problems because of delays in building a replica 18th century frigate that will be the star of the Napoleonic adventure stories.

Filming had been due to start in the Black Sea last month but problems with the replica Indefatigable which is being built in Turkey caused United News & Media to step in.

"The boat was taking forever to build and there were fears that the whole thing would end up massively over budget," a source on the production has been reported as saying.

So far the only major role to be cast is that of Hornblower himself. For the part played by Gregory Peck in the 1951 Hollywood version, ITV has picked unknown actor Ioan Gruffudd. Actresses Kate Beckinsale and Samantha Morton have been linked with the part of Hornblower's French mistress.

In addition to the major characters United is hiring 150 extras from the Ukraine for the drama's large battle scenes.

"We always knew this was going to be a mammoth task," said Vernon Lawrence, head of United Film and TV. "But remember this is the third attempt to make Hornblower - Thames tried to do it before and so did the BBC. It is just taking a little longer than expected."

Filming will now start on 14 September but only two of the planned films can be made this year before winter seas endanger the production and the crew. The 24-gun frigate has had to be made to modern safety standards while looking as authentic as possible.

Mr Lawrence said: "It was a hugely complicated job which meant it just fell behind schedule."

The vessel is the idea of Surrey boat-builder Michael Turk and is the first hand-built wooden frigate to be built for 150 years. He used the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, south-east London to research its design.

The plan is that if the first four Hornblower films are a ratings success the boat can be used for a long-running series, thereby amortising the building costs over time. It will also be made available to tourist charters to help pay its way and is reportedly destined to be part of Greenwich's Millennium celebrations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links