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Masterpiece Classic: Sharpe’s Challenge

Airs Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

British soldier-hero Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) comes out of retirement to qu...

Credit: ©Tony Nutley/Sharpe’s Challenge Ltd. For MASTERPIECE

Above: British soldier-hero Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) comes out of retirement to quash a rebellion in British India and rescue an old friend in "Sharpe's Challenge."

War weary and retired, Colonel Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean, "The Lord of the Rings") is summoned by the Duke of Wellington to find a missing agent, but he resolutely declines. When he learns the MIA officer is his old friend Sergeant Major Patrick Harper (Daragh O'Malley), fighter and free spirit Sharpe quickly reconsiders, and begins a perilous adventure amidst rebellious forces in British India.

Sharpe's seemingly impossible mission: storm an impenetrable fortress, rescue the daughter of a British general and quell the rebellion. With the odds stacked against him, Sharpe confronts shifting allegiances, incompetent leadership within the British troops, the conniving seduction of Madhuvanthi (Padma Lakshmi, "Top Chef") and an explosive confrontation with an old foe. Has Sharpe finally found one challenge he won't be able to conquer?

"Sharpe's Challenge" is based on the characters created by novelist Bernard Cornwell.

"Sharpe's Challenge" will be available for online viewing March 29 - April 27, 2010.

Preview: Masterpiece Classic: Sharpe's Challenge

Fresh from the Napoleonic Wars, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Sharpe takes a perilous new mission in British India, in the latest installments of the long-running series based on the bestselling novels by Bernard Cornwell. In "Sharpe's Challenge," Sharpe is appointed to rescue a missing British agent who is investigating a rebellious maharaja. Unbeknownst to the English, the uprising is being fomented by Madhuvanthi (Padma Lakshmi, host of "Top Chef"), the late maharaja's consort, together with her lover, a renegade English officer named William Dodd (Toby Stephens, "Jane Eyre"). Reluctant to take the assignment, Sharpe relents when he learns that the agent is none other than his old comrade-in-arms Sergeant Harper.

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