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Captain Dan Tempest


" I think I was desperately in love with Robert Shaw, he was just magic." 



Captain Dan Tempest was an ex-pirate who received a pardon from the King and turned privateer after his stronghold of New Providence was taken over by Crown soldiers. Tempest and Lt. Beamish, the Crown-appointed deputy governor, were uneasy allies, fighting the Spanish privateers who were ravaging the Caribbean.
Executive Producer: Hannah Weinstein

Producers: C.M. Pennington-Richards, Sidney Cole and Ralph Smart

Written by Terence Moore, Zachary Weiss, Peter C. Hodgking, Peggy Phillips, Thomas A. Stockwell, Neil R. Collins, Basil Dawson, Alan Moreland, Roger MacDougall, John Cousins, Phillis Miller, Marion Myers, Peter Rossano and Albert Ruben

Music by Albert Elms, Edwin Astley and Kenneth V. Jones

Cinematography by Jo Jago, Martin Curtis and Ken Hodges

Edited by Richard Sidwell, David Hawkins and Seymour Logie

Production Design by Peter Proud and Ted Clements

Make-Up by Charles Nash and Jane Seymour

Costumes by Jim Dunlevy, Brenda Dabbs and Charles Guerin

Technical Advisers Peter M. Wood and Rupert Evans


Brian Rawlinson as Gaff Guernsay
Peter Hammond as Lt. Edward Beamish
Paul Hansard as Taffy
Edwin Richfield as Armando
Wilfred Downing as Dickon
Neil Hallett as Bosun Bassett
Willoughby Gray as Pop
Terence Cooper as Costellaux
Alec Mango as Van Brugh
Jane Griffiths as Paula Meadows

Released by Sapphire Films and ITC Entertainment for ITV

Episode Running Time: 25 minutes

Episodes: 39

Transmission Dates: 19th September 1956 - June 12th 1957

Location(s): Falmouth, Cornwall, Nettlefold Studios and Twickenham Studios


media vault




Sid James' Sea Shanty

Bonus Episode

Pilot Episode

Carry On legend Sid James stars as Chantey Jack in this clip from The Buccaneers alongside Robert.

Pilot episode "Blackbeard". Due to scheduling conflicts Robert missed the first two episodes.

The second episode "The Raider". Robert didn't appear until episode 3 onwards.

Talking Pictures Trailer

2023 Trailer from Talking Pictures TV.




Captain Dan Tempest
October 3rd 1956 

 Dan Tempest's war with Spain
October 10th 1956

The Wasp
October 17th 1956

Whale Gold
October 24th 1956 

The Slave Ship
October 31st 1956 

The Ladies
November 14th 1956

The Surgeon of San Rojo
November 21st 1956

Gunpowder Plot
November 7th 1956 

Before the Mast
November 28th 1956

Dan Tempest and the Amazons
December 5th 1956

The Articles of War
December 12th 1956

The Hand of the Hawk
December 19th 1956

December 26th 1956

Gentleman Jack and the Lady
January 2nd 1957

Mr. Beamish and the Hangman's Noose
January 9th 1957

Dead Man's Rock
January 16th 1957

Blood Will Tell
January 23rd 1957

Dangerous Cargo
January 30th 1957

The Return of Calico Jack
February 6th 1957

Ghost Ship
February 13th 1957

February 20th 1957

Mother Doughty's Crew
February 27th 1957

Conquest of New Providence
March 6th 1957

March 13th 1957

Cutlass Wedding
March 20th 1957

The Aztec Treasure
March 27th 1957

Prize of Andalusia
April 3rd 1957

Dan Tempest Holds an Auction
April 10th 1957

The Spy Aboard
April 17th 1957

Flip and Jenny
April 24th 1957

Indian Fighters
May 1st 1957

Mistress Higgins' Treasure
May 8th 1957

To the Rescue
May 15th 1957

The Decoy
May 22nd 1957

Instrument of War
May 29th 1957

Pirate Honour
June 5th 1957

Printers Devil
June 12th 1957

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(1931 - 2000)




(1923 - 2011)




(1922 - 2013)




(1937 - )



(1929 - 1975)




(1921 - 1990)




(1924 - 2004)


Aimed mainly at children, this was Robert's breakthrough as a lead actor on television, though at the time it did little to advance his career.

The stories are entertaining enough and still hold the attention 60 years on and Shaw plays Dan Tempest with full chested bravado. There's nothing subtle about any of this but the ensemble cast are solid and approach the work with energy and fun.

Shaw was in his element with the sword play but found the filming gruelling and not particularly rewarding from an artistic standpoint.

All 39 episodes suffer a bit from being mainly studio-bound but it's interesting to see the galaxy of famous faces crop up in roles of varying sizes in the infancy of their careers. 

The Buccaneers was a 1956 Sapphire Films television drama series for ITC Entertainment, broadcast by CBS in the US and shown on ATV and regional ITV companies as they came on air during the infancy of ITV in the UK.Starring Robert Shaw as Dan Tempest, the series, aimed at children, followed the adventures of Tempest and his crew of former pirates as they made their way across the seven seas in Sultana.


This series was one of several swashbuckling adventure series produced during this period by or for Lew Grade's ITC.The series ran for 39 half-hour black-and-white episodes and was produced by Hannah Weinstein and Sidney Cole for Sapphire Films Limited. The episodes were made at Nettlefold Studios at Walton-on-Thames using two studios with seven or eight standing sets.


A real schooner was based at Falmouth, Cornwall and a faithful reproduction of part of it in a studio corner. Rupert Evans, stunt artist, former army teacher of physical training taught Robert Shaw fencing. The series was set in the Port of Nassau in New Providence in 1722.


Sources report that Robert Shaw was unavailable for the first few episodes, but nevertheless shooting went ahead without him. In the majority of episodes, he is listed as "With" rather than "Starring" in the title sequence, for reasons that are open to speculation.


While The Buccaneers did display some stirring, full-blooded moments in its under-the-skull-and-crossbones saga, the buffoonish behaviour of its would-be cutthroat types often tended to test viewers’ patience.

The series was hailed as “one of the most exciting romantic discoveries of the year”. With its ‘a-roving’ theme song, The Buccaneers was reputedly television’s first pirate series and was also unusual in that its lead character did not appear until the third episode – the first two being devoted to setting the scene. 

The first three episodes of the series were made at Nettlefold Studios in Walton-on-Thames before production moved to eight permanent sets at Twickenham Studios for episode four onward.

The sea sequences were filmed off Falmouth by a second unit and the ship featured was a show-business veteran, having already played the part of the Hispaniola in Disney’s Treasure Island (1950) and the Pequod in John Huston’s Moby Dick (1956).

The small budget meant members of the supporting cast often appeared as two different characters in the same episode.


Available for the first time, the COMPLETE Dan Tempest photo shoot. These rare promotional photos were shot at Nettlefold Studios on November 23rd 1956.