Sharpe's Challenge
Richard Sharpe Patrick Harper William Dodd Madhuvanthi Khande Rao Gudin Henry Simmerson Bickerstaff Celia Burroughs

Meet the characters and cast
of Sharpe's Challenge

Step onto the battlefield and meet the heroes and villains of Sharpe's Challenge. Click on any of the major characters to learn how they fit into the story, and also about the careers of the actors who portray them.

Richard Sharpe

A retired colonel and a celebrated veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, Richard Sharpe is asked by the Duke of Wellington to return to India to find a missing British agent.

Played by:
Sean Bean

Sean Bean left school to work in his father's factory, and after considering careers as a soccer player and mime, decided to pursue acting. Bean received a scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he studied alongside the likes of Kenneth Branagh.

Bean appeared on Masterpiece in Henry VIII. He is recognized for his role as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings films. Known for playing villains in films such as GoldenEye, and Patriot Games, he sports a scar over his eye from a fight scene in the latter film when Harrison Ford accidentally clubbed him with a boat hook.

Bean was not the first choice for the role of Richard Sharpe. He stepped in when actor Paul McGann was sidelined due to an injury.

Patrick Harper

Patrick Harper is an old comrade-in-arms of Richard Sharpe. After declining the Duke of Wellington's request to return to India to find a missing British agent, Sharpe reconsiders when he learns the agent is his friend Harper.

Played by:
Daragh O'Malley

A native of Ireland, Daragh O'Malley attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Along with Sean Bean, O'Malley has appeared in all the Sharpe films. After having endured injuries and harsh conditions in filming the Sharpe series, O'Malley didn't imagine he'd be back for more, but has said that filming in India was by far the greatest of all places the cast and crew had worked.

William Dodd

A renegade English officer, William Dodd is a turncoat and self-styled general allied with the Raja of Ferraghur, an Indian potentate who commands an impregnable fortress.

Played by:
Toby Stephens

Known to Masterpiece fans as the inscrutable Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre, Toby Stephens is the son of actress Maggie Smith and the late Shakespearean actor Robert Stephens. After studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Stephens had his theatrical breakthrough in 1994 in Coriolanus at England's Royal Shakespeare Company. Stephens has had a varied theatrical career since, in productions ranging from Hamlet to Ibsen's A Doll's House. On film, Stephens has been seen in the James Bond film Die Another Day, Possession and Twelfth Night among others. Asked what he enjoyed most about playing his character William Dodd, Stephens cited the sword fights.


Ruling as regent for Khande Rao is Madhuvanthi, the favorite consort to the late raja.

Played by:
Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi is known for her work as host of Top Chef. Born in Southern India, model, writer, and actor Lakshmi grew up in India and New York City. Lakshmi started modeling while studying for her degree in Theater Arts at Clark University. After modeling, she turned her attention to food and wrote a number of cookbooks. Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America to raise awareness of the condition.

Khande Rao

Khande Rao is a young Indian prince seeking to expel the British, though he is not yet old enough to assume the throne of his deceased father.

Played by:
Karan Panthaky

A relative newcomer to the screen, Karan Panthaky made his acting debut in an Indian film in 2005.


A French mercenary, Colonel Gudin is working for Khande Rao, the young Indian prince seeking to expel the British.

Played by:
Aurelien Recoing

Aurelien Recoing was born in Paris, France. Recoing has appeared in a variety of French film, television and stage productions. He was nominated for the National Society of Film Critics Best Actor award for the 2002 film Time Out.

Henry Simmerson

The British troops are under the incompetent command of General Sir Henry Simmerson, who has replaced the gravely ill General Burroughs.

Played by:
Michael Cochrane

Michael Cochrane has appeared in five Sharpe films as Henry Simmerson. A veteran television and stage actor, Cochrane has been seen in a number of Masterpiece productions including Innocents, The Citadel, Love in a Cold Climate, Fortunes of War and A Murder of Quality among others.


The sadistic Sergeant Bickerstaff, who comes to blows with Sharpe, seems certain to make more trouble.

Played by:
Peter Hugo-Daly

This is not Peter-Hugo Daly's first role in a Sharpe film. In 1995, he appeared in Sharpe's Gold. On Masterpiece, Hugo-Daly has been seen in a number of programs related to Charles Dickens — Little Dorrit, Dickens of London, Bleak House and Martin Chuzzlewit.

Celia Burroughs

Celia Burroughs is the daughter of the commanding British general, and is taken hostage by William Dodd's forces.

Played by:
Lucy Brown

Lucy Brown, who attended London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, may be best known for her roles as Claudia Brown and Jenny Lewis in the British science fiction television series Primeval. Other television credits include North & South and Masterpiece's Malice Aforethought.

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