STEPHEN GALLAGHER

Screenwriter and novelist

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Screenplays

CRUSOE (Power TV/NBC Universal) - 2008

Crusoe image

Thirteen-part action-adventure series made by London-based Power TV for America's NBC network. Starred Philip Winchester as Crusoe and Tongayi Chirisa as Friday, with Anna Walton, Mia Maestro, Sean Bean, and Sam Neill as series bad guy Jeremiah Blackthorn.

SG served as series developer and lead writer on the show, creating the arc and writing all the UK flashback material as well as the feature-length pilot, RUM AND GUNPOWDER, and the two-part series finale THE TRAVELER and THE RETURN.

I grew up on great filmed adventure series that took characters from history and literature, created a world out of the source material, and then revisited that world on a weekly basis - Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, The Last of the Mohicans, Wyatt Earp, Long John Silver. I haven't seen a show like that in years, and I really miss them.
So let's take that slice of the novel between Friday's arrival and Crusoe's escape from the island, and anchor our series arc to its two major incidents - the rescue of an un-named Spanish captain, and the arrival of a shipload of mutineers whose imprisoned crew offer Crusoe his best chance of escape. In amongst those unfolding stories we develop further tales of Crusoe and Friday on their island. For Crusoe's life and loves in England, rather than add to his life with pure invention I looked to Daniel Defoe himself.
As a child, Defoe lived through the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. As a young man he dabbled in dissenter politics, lost fortunes in business, and got swept up in rebellion that had him hiding in fear of his life. It reads like something out of a Rafael Sabatini novel, and it's in a blend of the creator and his creation that I found the engine for our show.