It’s a very good time to be a fan of historical romance – with two huge television series, Outlander and Poldark, capturing the imagination (and the hearts!) of viewers around the world.
The second season of Outlander is about to start screening for lucky people with access to pay television, while the second season of Poldark will be a second half of the year treat.
So I thought now would be a good time to take a look at other television historical romances – some of which have been long forgotten or miscategorised as adventure or children’s stories.
Some episodes of the series I’ll review are in the public domain and are available to legitimately and freely download from the likes of Archive.org, others will have an episode or two loaded onto YouTube.
Scroll down to take a look at the first episode of our “Outlander Alternatives”.
Billed as a children’s story, this 13 episode series first screened in 1982 as a TV vehicle for Oliver Tobias who had already become a heart throb as Joan Collins’ leading man in the 1979 screen adaptation of sister Jackie Collins novel The Stud.
In 1802, former navy lieutenant Jack Vincent (Tobias) turns his back on a naval career after an incident and sets up as a Smuggler on the English Coast.
He becomes the unwilling guardian of a Welsh lad, the misnamed Honesty (Hywel Williams-Ellis), evades the Revenuers and starts a romance with Sarah Morton (Lesley Dunlop), the feisty and independent granddaughter of local gentry.
Jack Vincent is a classic alpha male hero – tall, dark, handsome and brooding. Aged in his early 30s, he is a man of the world. He has seen a lot of life and death and has been haunted by it. His full back story is hinted at but only fully revealed at the end of the series. He is quick tempered but has a deep sense of justice and is not afraid to put his own life on the line for the welfare of others.
Sarah Morton is a young woman who knows her own mind. Aged between 18-21, she is devoted to her only living relative, her grandfather who is the local gentry. Like Vincent, Sarah too is quick tempered but she is also quick witted. She dislikes Vincent at first but the attraction on their first meeting is undeniable. Her attitude to him begins to soften as she sees him care for Honesty and she too takes the young lad under her wing.
Honesty and Sarah plead for the life of Jack Vincent when his true identity is revealed.
What makes it a romance
In many respects Smuggler is a lot like Poldark in the sense that the adventure and the characters drive the story. The beautiful rugged coastline is also lovingly filmed.
We see the relationship between Vincent and Sarah develop across the series from initial distrust, sometimes exasperation to a deep sense of longing.
As befitting a show of this type, Smuggler thrives of unresolved sexual tension between the hero and the heroine and what is left unsaid through lingering glances is worth a thousand words.
Is there a HEA?
There is a ‘happy for now’ with an acknowledgement of feelings between Vincent and Sarah but there is one more adventure in Vincent’s future, so we are left to imagine a ‘happily ever after’ off screen.
This is a delightful TV series, with plenty of action and adventure as well as romance. The chemistry between Tobias and Dunlop is undeniable.
Just watch this clip below from the 4:55 mark
Romance: 4 Hearts
Adventure: 5 Hearts
Next week: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955)
By EE Carter|2016-04-09T11:15:08+10:00April 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Outlander Alternatives – Part 1: Smuggler (1982)