Moonfleet

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

After a spirited new take on Treasure Island at New Year 2012, Sky serves up another 19th-century tale of assorted sea-dogs and blackguards. Based on John Meade Falkner’s novel, Moonfleet centres around a coastal village in Dorset, where the cruel magistrate Mohune aims to stamp out smuggling – except the salt-encrusted Elzevir’s gang stands in Mohune’s way.

In the middle of them comes tousled orphan John Trenchard, who longs for a life of adventure. He sides with Elzevir, but falls for Mohune’s flighty daughter. A mix of Jamaica Inn, Dr Syn and Poldark, this handsome two-parter, adapted by Ashley (Life on Mars) Pharoah, offers us a world of moonlit coves, exploding flintlocks and men lugging barrels over shingly beaches. There’s more than a whiff of the supernatural about it, too, as a quest for Blackbeard’s diamond nudges it out into Pirates of the Caribbean waters.

Despite its Colin-Firth-from-the-waves moment the romance is a little under-nourished. But Ray Winstone reins in his Bet365 lairiness to breathe briny life into Elzevir – his enmity with Ben Chaplin’s Mohune is gripping, if a touch too gritty for very young viewers.

Summary

Ray Winstone stars in this two-part adaptation of John Meade Falkner's 19th-century novel following the adventures of an orphan and a grizzled smuggler thrown together on a dangerous quest to find a fabled diamond. Young John is bored of his life in the coastal village of Moonfleet and longs to join the smugglers on their risky raids. But local magistrate Mohune is determined to stamp out the smugglers' activities - by whatever means necessary. Aneurin Barnard, Phil Daniels and Ben Chaplin co-star.

Cast & Crew

Elzevir Block Ray Winstone
John Trenchard Aneurin Barnard
Magistrate Mohune Ben Chaplin
Grace Mohune Sophie Cookson
Loder Anthony Ofoegbu
Ratsey Phil Daniels
Meech Lorcan Cranitch
Davey Block Fionn Walton
Blackbeard Frank O'Sullivan
Director Andy de Emmony
Producer Dan McCulloch
Writer Ashley Pharoah
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