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Further imaginary pirates

It's strangely difficult to write an episode guide for a television show that doesn't exist. The temptation to just write each episode in full is surprisingly powerful. But it's an episode guide, not a full series, and I don't want to be posting too many spoilers - because obviously the show will be airing in the autumn, and I would hate to have anybody think that they know the whole story, and not bother to watch. (!)


New for Autumn 2014, a ten part mini-series from BBC Drama.

Betrayed by those closest to him, Alexander Gray is forced into a fragile alliance with a band of pirates. On the run from the authorities, and with most of his new shipmates ready to stab him in the back, the only thing keeping him alive is a secret he has always wished he didn't have.

In the pirate-infested Caribbean of 1725, Alexander Gray searches for salvageable wrecks, in an effort to retrieve their cargoes for the owners. Engaged to the beautiful Charlotte Wainwright, and friendly with the most powerful members of Jamaica's high society, his future looks good, until he is thrown overboard by his own crew, and left to drown. Rescued by the infamous pirate ship Maleficio, and intended for ransom, he finds his situation ever more precarious when it transpires that the Governor of Jamaica is behind his crew's treachery. Aware that Gray is the grandson of the famously bloodthirsty pirate Alistair Gray, and that he is in possession of a map supposedly leading to his grandfather's legendary treasure, the Governor is eager to be rid of him in order to obtain the map for himself. Learning of Gray's survival, the Governor has him declared an outlaw, ending any chance of a ransom, and leaving him at the mercy of the pirates.

Now that the pirates know who Gray really is, and are aware of the existence of the map, they offer him a deal; his life for his grandfather's hidden treasure. The only person able to read the map's complicated cipher, he is in some position to make his own terms, and agrees to help them find the treasure, if they will help him to rescue Charlotte from the mainland. Afraid of what will become of her now that he knows the Governor cannot be trusted, Gray tries to persuade her to leave with him - only to find that she is in league with his enemy. When the Maleficio only just escapes, its belligerent crew quickly turn upon Gray, and he realises that his survival rests upon the good will of the mercurial Captain Vincent.

Meanwhile, back on land, the Governor and his allies are unable to find the map amongst Gray's belongings, and tempers fray as they realise that they may have been rash in removing him. Disillusioned with Lord Henry's scheme, Sir James and Virginia Ramsey begin to make plans of their own.

Life on a pirate ship is not easy for Gray, a man with no taste for violence. Deeply troubled by his enforced alliance with a band of killers and thieves, he finds sources of friction almost everywhere, and the situation soon becomes explosive. Vincent and his officers have a hard time maintaining the peace, and keeping the fractious crew in hand. Having retrieved the map from safekeeping, they plan to head in search of the treasure, but the Navy proves a dangerous obstacle. Spurred on by an impatient Lord Henry and Sir James, Captain Jamieson is determined to capture the Maleficio, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Also, events on land and at sea lead Fitzpatrick to instruct Gray in a rather less gentlemanly style of fighting, in an effort to help him survive his new life. He is also becoming friendly with the ship's navigator, Billy Jones, but the Maleficio's ongoing pirate raids are an uncomfortable reminder of the ruthlessness behind these awkward overtures. Isolated, he hopes for a chance to escape.

Attempting to spy on the Ramseys and Lord Henry, Barney barely escapes with her life. Meanwhile, aware that Isabella is a friend of Gray's, Charlotte attempts to bribe her with promises of a share in the treasure. Gray becomes increasingly afraid for his friends, and considers surrendering to Lord Henry with the map.

Certain that the alliance with Lord Henry was a mistake, Virginia Ramsey seeks help from fellow former pirate Samuel Ward, and they make their own plans for obtaining the treasure. Aware that events are gathering pace, Vincent sets sail, but Jamieson is never far behind, and now Samuel Ward as well. Unbeknownst to the pirates, meanwhile, Barney has stowed away onboard.

Georgeson and Adams find Barney hiding aboard the Maleficio, and attempt to deal with the stowaway in their own fashion. Inevitably this leads to a fight with Gray, and a line is soon drawn amid the crew. On one side are Vincent and his officers, true to their alliance with Gray, and on the other are Georgeson and his friends, who would rather hunt other ships than a hypothetical treasure.

Back on shore, Lord Henry is aware that he has been betrayed by the Ramseys, and plots with Charlotte in an effort to outmanoeuvre them. Charlotte hopes to pursue the Maleficio, and use her history with Gray to persuade him to join her - or kill him and take the map for herself.

Sir James and Virginia Ramsey set sail with Samuel Ward in an effort to confront the Maleficio. Charlotte also sets sail, aiming to avoid her former allies, and beat them to their goal. On the Maleficio, meanwhile, Gray and Billy work together on the map, but the crew are increasingly mutinous when the treasure hunt seems little more than an aimless voyage, following a heavily coded trail. Gray struggles to keep Barney safe as fights break out on board, and lives are lost amongst the crew. Barriers are coming down now that he is seeing the crew as people rather than pirates, but it seems that time is growing short, and the situation onboard may soon boil over.

A violent storm hits, causing trouble for everybody. The White Rook fares best, and closes in on the Maleficio, whilst the Ramseys and Charlotte catch the worst of the weather. Thanks to the expertise of Deadeye, the Ramseys' ship survives, but is badly damaged and forced to turn back. Charlotte's ship is sunk and, adrift on a lifeboat, she and several others are picked up by the Maleficio. The others are killed, and Georgeson and Adams have their own plans for Charlotte. Fitzpatrick fights them off, but this may be the final straw for Georgeson.

Back on the shore, Lord Henry receives word that Jamieson, suspecting him to be corrupt, has sent a messenger to England. He tries to send a messenger of his own, but no ship will set sail until the weather has improved, and he has no idea how much of a head start Jamieson's envoy has. He realises that he may be on borrowed time.

The Ramseys' ship limps back to port, to Lord Henry's delight. Desperate for the treasure to fund his escape from the authorities, he offers his former allies a new ship in place of the one that they have just lost. Isabella overhears their plans and is captured by Lord Henry's new crew. A protracted fight catches the attention of Deadeye, who rescues her and hears that his allies the Ramseys have cut him out of their plans in order to join back with Lord Henry. He offers his services to Isabella instead, and they chase after the Maleficio.

Already aboard, Charlotte attempts to obtain the map, but it is now in Vincent's possession. She tries to seduce him, but he sees through her, and when she wounds Billy in an attempt to steal the map, Vincent has her put overboard. Picked up by the pursuing White Rook, she plays up the role of wronged lady, and Keyes orders the men to open fire on the pirates.

The White Rook and the Maleficio fight, although thanks to the storm, neither ship nor crew are at their best. In a long, difficult fight, many men are lost on both sides, and Gray fears for Barney's wellbeing. He tries to avoid a fight against innocent Naval officers, but - unaware that Charlotte is aboard - ultimately has no choice but to join in. The White Rook is sunk, and many of the struggling sailors are executed by the crew of the Maleficio. Charlotte is amongst them. Vincent stops the slaughter, and the surviving crew are taken as prisoners.

Furious about the battle, the murders, and the death of Charlotte, Gray refuses to have anything more to do with deciphering the map. Georgeson and Adams, leading an angry crew, come close to killing him, and Vincent has no choice but to step in and get tough. Anxious to help, Barney frees Jamieson, Keyes and their surviving men, who escape on a lifeboat. Shortly afterwards, benefitting from the Maleficio's recent slow progress, Isabella and Deadeye catch up, and warn of Lord Henry's close pursuit. What's left of the Maleficio's crew abandons their damaged ship to join Deadeye aboard the Aventura.

On a new ship, where Vincent is no longer in charge, he and his officers are no longer able to protect Gray, and with Isabella and Barney now under threat as well, he agrees to resume work on the map. The Aventura speeds off on the trail of the treasure, whilst the crew of Lord Henry's ship, the Rorqual, pick up Jamieson and his surviving men. Jamieson has some idea of the Aventura's heading, and they set off in pursuit.

The map's trail ends at a ruined town on the coast, where the treasure is hidden. Inevitably, fighting breaks out, a three way battle between the Aventura crew, the Maleficio crew, and Vincent and his officers, joined by Gray, Isabella, Barney and Deadeye. It's brought to an end by the arrival of the Rorqual, which opens fire on the town. Vincent leads the survivors aboard the Aventura, and they fight the Rorqual. With the treasure at stake, as well as a jumble of rivalries and enmities, there's everything left to fight for as the story reaches its explosive conclusion.


( 13 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Mar. 18th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
Oh, this is very impressive! It feels very believable as a TV series (though, mind, the budget! :loL:). You've plotted everything out really carefully and it's all very intriguing.

I love the little piratey paragraph breaks. :-)
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
It's an American co-production, so there's quite a bit of money. Or more than the BBC usually has, anyway. So we can afford actual stuff, and not cardboard cut-out ships. :)

And thank you. I was trying to make it look like a fansite, with some slightly dodgy graphics. I may have overdone ths skull-and-crossbones just a tad. ;)
Mar. 19th, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
No, no, it's great! It does look exactly like that, and it's a nice touch. It's a lot of fun seeing the different way everybody does their fake shows. :-)

Cardboard cut-out ships can be cute, though, too, even if they tend to sink/go soggy in actual water. But US funding makes full sense for this sort of thing. It looks exciting and a lot of fun, and a show that would - fingers crossed - pay for itself by the end. Possibly. (What do I know about funding TV? :lol:)
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
We don't need to know about funding. That's what accountants are for! We just make awesome television. They should totally let us run the BBC. I see no possible way that it could fail.
Mar. 19th, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
:lol: Also we would totally invent time travel while we were there and go back in time and rescue episodes of TV and stuff. And possibly force them to make 1970s TV serieses too. *cough*
Mar. 18th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
Of course, if you want a season 2 you need them to find that someone has already been and taken the treasure.
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've been trying to think of hooks for a second season. I think I should probably be realistic, and keep it just as a one-off mini series though. Otherwise it will only end up being axed mid-plot!
Mar. 18th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
You can always film two different endings.
Mar. 19th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
That's true. You're good at this!
Mar. 18th, 2014 04:17 pm (UTC)
Blimey, I didn't expect that in episode 9. I like the idea of multiple ships and gangs, rather than just two, bring on the CGI!
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Actually, I may ban CGI, and make them all do it for real, like in the good old days. Real ships, real sailing. But probably not real deaths, because pesky laws.
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
I don't know if they'd have the money these days. To the bath and the models!
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
That would be the other option, yes. Saves hiring actors, and it would be a jolly good excuse for buying all the Playmobil pirate stuff.

Excellent. Now all I need is a camera, and a BAFTA will be mine!
( 13 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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