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The original French title The Flashing Blade

The Flashing Blade The Flashing Blade

The Flashing Blade The Flashing Blade

Click to listen to the start music (189Kb wav)

Little Gems - The Flashing Blade

Before we start - click on the music as this is a real blast from the past. Remember in the early 70s coming downstairs on a Saturday morning and switching on the television set (then waiting an age for it to come on). Tuning in (with those huge chunky buttons) to the BBC's morning children's selection would often result in this classic program being in front of you. The music and lyrics will start to drive you mad though as it is one of those pieces that you cannot get out of your head. The Flashing Blade - who in the right mind thought this would be of interest to children on a Saturday morning. Well whoever you were, you deserve a gold medal as it worked for me and my sister. Both of us were glued to the box watching this dubbed French epic drama (although I fully admit that neither of use really knew much about what was going on - still it had cannon, castles, horses, swords, fights and of course heroes). Strange to some extent since around this time the BBC had a program which was trying to get us all to switch off the television set and go and do something less boring instead (glad that program never worked for me). The Flashing Blade was in some respects similar to "Belle and Sebastien" in that I never ever got to see the last episode as some Aunt or Great Granny would appear and whisk my sister and I off to some holiday destination for the day (even now, that bugs the hell out of me). Originally broadcast in 1969 (Episode 6 was shown on Monday 1st May 1969 at 17:20-17:44 on BBC1), "The Flashing Blade" was shown well into the 1970s and was a different but nevertheless superb show to be screened on a Saturday morning (certainly beats the rubbish today's children have to put up with on a Saturday morning). The original French "Le Chevalier Tempete" was made in 1967 and may have lasted a lot longer than the version that arrived in the UK.

This is probably my number two in top four children's programs which have been made abroad and imported. The number one is of course "White Horses" (still hoping this will be restored and released as I only have a clip or two on video) and the other two are "Robinson Crusoe" and "Belle and Sebastien." Yes I know you'll all be jumping up and down shouting what about the others like "Moonacre", "The Singing Ringing Tree", "The Tinderbox" and Heidi" but for some reason the other four hold something very different for me.

The UK version of The Flashing Blade was a twelve part adventure drama centering around the war between France and Spain. It was set at a place called Casal during the year of 1630 and a Castle on the border between France and Spain is under siege from Spanish forces. Two Frenchmen (the heroes of the story) with a wicked sense of humour appear and make merry hell for the Spaniards. Francois de Chevalier and his servant Guillot are the story's main characters. The Spanish hear of a possible truce between France and Spain but some of the Spanish elite do not want a truce until the fort of Casal is taken. Hence they begin a bombardment of the battlements and try everything they can to prevent any form of truce being signed.

The Flashing Blade set around the fort at Casal in 1630

Lyrics to the theme music

You've got to fight for what you want

For all that you believe

It's right to fight for what we want

To live the way we please

------------

As long as we have done our best

Then no one can do more

And life and love and happiness

Are well worth fighting for

------------

And we should never count the cost

Or worry that we'll fall

It's better to have fought and lost

Than not have fought at all

------------

Let's always take whatever comes

And never try to hide

Face everything and anyone

Together side by side

------------

You've got to fight for what you want

For all that you believe

It's right to fight for what we want

To live the way we please

------------

As long as we have done our best

Then no one can do more

And life and love and happiness

Are well worth fighting for

They're well worth fighting for

Characters

Francois de Recci
Francois (Chevalier de Recci)
Guillot
Guillot
Isabelle
Isabelle De Sospel
Thoiras
General Thoiras
Don Alonso
Don Alonso
Mireille
Mireille
Marzarin
Monsignor Julio Mazarin
Bodinelli
Carlos Bodinelli
The Count De Sospel
Count De Sospel
Flins
Henri Flins
Kleist
Captain Kleist
Ricardo
Don Ricardo
The Ambassador
Neutral Ambassador
Castellan
General Castellan
Pinwis
Pinwis
Geronimo
Geronimo
Lisette
Lisette
The Duchess
The Duchess De Chevalier
The leader of the Briggands
Briggand leader
Coralie
Coralie (left)
Zerbinette
Zerbinette
Mother superior of St Lucie
Mother Superior
The traitor
The Woodcutter
Spanish Envoy at Casal
Spanish Representative
Partisan farm hand
Partisan
Father of Leper column
Monk
Simone - briggand leader's aid
Simone (left)
Main Spanish guard
Spanish Guard
Robiro
Robiro
Arsene
Arsene (far right)

If anyone recognises themselves or was part of the production team and would like to add to the file, I would love to hear from you.

Click on the images below to view the remarkable story of "The Flashing Blade."

The Flashing Blade
The Flashing Blade Main Page
The Flashing Blade episode 1-2 The Flashing Blade episode 3-4 The Flashing Blade episode 5-6
Episodes 1-2 Episodes 3-4 Episodes 5-6
The Flashing Blade episode 7-8 The Flashing Blade episode 9-10 The Flashing Blade episode 11-12
Episodes 7-8 Episodes 9-10 Episodes 11-12

Synopsis taken from the Ratio Times - Many thanks to John Archbold.

Flashing Blade (12-part) Synopsis Episode 1 – Francois arrives at the beleagured fort of Casal when the Spainiards are going all in their power to destroy it before a truce can be called.

Episode 2 - The Chevalier de Recci disappears from Casal with unexpected consequences.

Episode 3 – Francois de Recci and Guillot meet a man who is destined to become one of the great figures in the history of France.

Episode 4 – Francois and Guillot are taken prisoner by bandits and meet the beautiful Isabelle and her father, the Duc de Sospel.

Episode 5 – Isabelle suspects that the merchant who rescued her is not all that he seem to be.

Episode 6 – Francois on his quest for the agent who will help him to get his message through to the French, fall in with a group of strolling players.

Episode 7 – The Chevalier de Recci receives his orders from the Cardinal’s agent.

Episode 8 – The Spanish Commander holds the Duke responsible for Recci’s escape.

Episode 9 – Mireille faces execution for aiding the Chevalier de Recci to escape.

Episode 10 – The Chevalier makes a final effort to reach the French army in a desperate attempt to save the besieged French troops in Casal.

Episode 11 – Francois de Recci has almost completed his task but Alonso stands in his path.

Episode 12 – The Chevalier de Recci returns home with the faithful Guillot after a long absence.

Credits

Cast:
The Chevalier de Recci (Francois) Robert Etcheverry
Guillot Jacques Balutin
La Comtesse - the Duchess Denise Grey
Isabelle de Sospel Genevieve Casile
Duke de Sospel Jean Martinelli
Don Alonso Mario Pilar
Thoiras Gilles Pellitier
Kleist Gerard Buhr
Le Moine Gerard Douking
Mazarin Gianna Esposito
Mireille Claude Gensac
Bodinelli Angelo Bardi
Don Ricardo Frank Estange
Flins Hubert Noel
Castellan Jose Luis De Villalonga
Geronimo Rene-Louis Afforgue
Coralie Dora Doll
Lisette Eva Damien
Arsene Jacques Echantillon
Robiro Christian Leguillocher
Suzanne Monique Morisi
Zerbinette Michele Varnier
Credits
Original Story by Andre Paul Antoine
Adaptation by Andre Paul Antoine & P.A. Breal
Original Dialogue by P.A. Breal
Director of Photography Pierre Petit
Production Designer Lucien Aguettand
Editor Charlotte Fournier
Sound Editor Rob Deverell
Sound Recordist Dave Maiden
Sound Mixer Doug Turner
Script Janine Martin
Cameraman Noel Martin
Costumes Marie Gromtseff
Chief Makeup Artist Cherry Koubesserian
Director of Production Andre Deroual & George Herel
Directed by Yannick Andrei
Recorded at De-Lane Lea, London
Dialogue Director Louis Elman
Presented for the BBC TV by Peggy Miller
Made by Societe Nouvelle Pathe-Cinema
In association with Office de Radiodiffusion Television Francais
Societe Radio-Canada
Radiodiffusion Television Belge (R.T.B.)
Societe Suisse De Radiodiffusion et Television S.S.R.

The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits

The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits

The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits The Flashing Blade credits


Now I can truly put my hand on my heart and say "They don't make 'em like that anymore." Absolute classic little gem of an adventure. Very much missed and loved, we will definitely never see the like of this again.

Thoughts, suggestions, corrections etc. to the usual address and I'll do my best to make the necessary changes but please don't condemn me too harshly if I have made a mistake. This adventure was very complex with difficult names and at times shear guess work.