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Emmy award winning actor Eddie Izzard is to star in a sailing remake of "Treasure Island" which will feature the 145-foot tall-ship 'Earl of Pembroke' which arrived into Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The British comedian, voice-over artist and actor will play in the role of the iconic one-legged pirate, Long John Silver in the classic Robert Louis Stevenson 18th century tale of adventure and treasure. Also starring is Rupert Penry-Jones, best known for his spy role in the BBC TV series Spooks.

Shooting is scheduled for a five-week period, starting late November in Dublin and Cork. The Earl of Pembroke is currently berthed at Dun Laoghaire's Carlisle Pier, where SquareSail crew are adapting the vessel in preparation for shooting which includes the use of the East Pier Battery. Also assisting the shoot will be the Irish National Sailing School (INSS) based in Dun Laoghaire, which for over twenty years has provided marine co-ordination services for film and TV work.

The two-part, 120 minute drama was commissioned for the Sky 1 HD TV channel. The director is Steve Barron (Arabian Nights, Merlin, England Manager) and the producer is Laurie Borg (Made in Dagenham, Little Voice, Sense and Sensibility). Also coming on-board the film-team are Irish costume designer, Lorna Marie Mugan (Killing Bono) and line producer Des Martin (Tara Road).

In the New Year the production moves to the Caribbean island nation of Puerto Rico. It is expected that the drama be released on Sky 1 HD TV in Christmas 2012.

The Earl of Pembroke is owned by Cornwall based SquareSail which specialises in providing tall-ships for film productions. The Swedish built vessel was launched as Orion in 1948 and worked bringing timber from Scandinavia to the UK. In 1974 the vessel was laid-up for several years until SquareSail purchased her in 1979. She underwent an extensive restoration programme to emerge in 1994 in the appearance of an 18th century barque.

Setting 9,500 square foot of sails, the tall-ship has 14 sails. Should the winds be slack, the 174 ton vessel has a MAN 6 –cylinder, 300hp engine which drives a three-bladed propeller. As for her silver-screen credits, they include Cutthroat Island, Frenchman's Creek, Hornblower Series III and Longitude.

Treasure Island follows the recent filming of Neverland which included shooting locations in Dalkey and Killiney in Co. Dublin and neighbouring Co. Wicklow. Both productions are part of a multi-million pound investment by Sky for their high-definition (HD) drama department.

Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:

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Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season


Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?

Published in Tall Ships
Page 11 of 11

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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