Jack Holborn is 13-year-old orphan in the 1800's that wants to get a job on a sailship to avoid foster homes. He is hired by Captain Sharingham, and they set sail. Jack was found on the ... See full summary »
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1982  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Patrick Bach ...
 Jack Holborn (6 episodes, 1982)
Matthias Habich ...
 Captain & Lord Sharingham / ... (6 episodes, 1982)
Andreas Mannkopff ...
 Vronsky (5 episodes, 1982)
...
 Trumpet (4 episodes, 1982)
Terence Cooper ...
 Morris (4 episodes, 1982)
Patrick Smyth ...
 Admiral (3 episodes, 1982)
...
 Hafenmeister / ... (3 episodes, 1982)
Patricia James ...
 Lady Myra (3 episodes, 1982)
Jeremy Stephens ...
 Pobjoy (3 episodes, 1982)
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Storyline

Jack Holborn is 13-year-old orphan in the 1800's that wants to get a job on a sailship to avoid foster homes. He is hired by Captain Sharingham, and they set sail. Jack was found on the steps of the Holborn catholic church in London, when he was a baby. He was wearing a leather arm band with the name "Jack" on it. The nuns therefore called him Jack Holborn. At the sight of Jack's arm band, the captain reveals that the band looks familiar, but he won't tell Jack what he knows. The captain is now reluctant to keep him. Jack is desperately seeking answers, and is not about to let the Captain off the hook. The Captain also has a twin brother who works as a judge. The two brothers hate each other, mostly because of the captain's piracy side business. Jack sneaks onboard the Captain's ship "Charming Molly", and the journey begins. A journey that consists of piracy, traveling through swamps, and slavery in Bombay. Jack will find his answers, but the road there is long. Written by Annie Gravdal

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tv mini series | pirate | See All (2) »

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Adventure

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21 December 1982 (Switzerland)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Ein Abend für...: Ein Abend für die Kinderstars (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The very best of the ZDF Christmas Specials - nothing since has come close
12 March 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It's easy to forget just how old this series is. I remember watching this on TV in 1984, being the same age then as the principal character. Back then I concentrated on Patrick Bach's extraordinary performance as Jack, to this day it's impossible to see anyone else achieving what he did.

Viewing the DVD 30 years later on a wide screen TV there is so much more there that I missed first time round. Anyone who thinks being an actor is glamorous should watch the shipboard scenes. You can literally smell the dirt, grime and salt water. Contrast with the Hornblower films where everything is implausibly clean. Glorious performances by the adults, Monte Markam as Solomon Trumpet being the best of a great cast. Plus of course a superb music score by Christian Bruhn.

Even back as a 13 year old I appreciated the intelligent way the film makers treated the audience. For example, they didn't shrink from showing us close-ups of Judge Sheringham's injuries. Patrick Bach looks as if he really did want to be sick in that scene, rather than it being just an act. Not surprising - back in the day I felt queasy watching it.

At its heart Jack Holborn is a morality tale, the message being keep your humanity whatever the situation. Jack has his life threatened at every turn yet never speaks roughly to anyone else, or acts in a morally questionable way. Unrealistic you might think, but intentional. The stress of doing this while surrounded by pirates finally snaps in a very powerful scene where out of earshot Jack screams "I'm not a criminal !!" while smashing everything he can find.

All the episodes are great but the final one packs a series of emotional punches so powerful it is still hard work to watch.


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