British actor Nick Frost is set to play classic British children’s character “Captain Pugwash” in a John Hay-directed live-action movie from Atticus Pictures, Carnaby International and China’s Costar Culture & Media. Frost will play the bumbling and cowardly pirate, created by John Ryan, who has been a British children’s favorite since first appearing as a comic strip in 1950. In the film he’s on a mission to rescue cabin boy Tom’s father, who has been marooned on a volcanic island with a hoard of treasure protected by an army of angry ghosts. Jason Flemyng also stars. Captain Pugwash is a fictional pirate in a series of British children's comic strips and books created by John Ryan. The character's adventures were adapted into a TV series, using cardboard cut-outs filmed in live-action (the first series was performed and broadcast live), also called Captain Pugwash, first shown on the BBC in 1957, a later colour series, first shown in 1974–75, and a traditional animation series, The Adventures of Captain Pugwash, first aired in 1998. The eponymous hero – Captain Horatio Pugwash – sails the high seas in his ship called the Black Pig, ably assisted by cabin boy Tom, pirates Willy and Barnabas, and Master Mate. His mortal enemy is Cut-Throat Jake, captain of the Flying Dustman. History Captain Horatio Pugwash made his debut in a comic-strip format in the first issue of The Eagle in 1950, then appeared regularly as a strip in Radio Times. In 1957 the BBC commissioned a series of short cartoon films produced by Gordon Murray. Ryan produced a total of 86 five-minute-long episodes for the BBC, shot in black-and-white film, but later transferring to colour. Ryan used a real-time technique of animation in which cardboard cutouts of the characters were laid on painted backgrounds and moved with levers. The characters' voices were provided by Peter Hawkins. The last series of Pugwash shorts by Ryan was produced in 1975. Although there are many anachronisms in the series, the book The Battle of Bunkum Bay gives some useful clues as to the era in which the stories are set. In this book, the King of Great Britain strongly resembles George I and the King of France resembles Louis XIV, suggesting that this story took place in 1714–15. However, one of the few direct references to a date is in the original TV series is the episode 'Pirate of the Year' where Pugwash enters the "Pirate of the Year contest 1775" A number of spin-off books were written by John Ryan, who in the 1980s drew three new Pugwash comic-strip storybooks: The Secret of the San Fiasco, The Battle of Bunkum Bay and The Quest for the Golden Handshake. A related book by John Ryan was Admiral Fatso Fitzpugwash, in which it is revealed that Pugwash had a medieval ancestor who was First Sea Lord, but who was terrified of water. Theme The series had a memorable signature tune The Trumpet Hornpipe which was played by accordionist Tom Edmundson and arranged by Philip Lane. He had learned the tune from Jimmy Shand. The tune appears to have been popular from the mid-19th century, but its composer and country of origin are unknown. In the United States it is known as the Thunder Hornpipe. Other background music was provided by BBC music arranger and pianist Johnny Pearson. Libel case regarding double entendres There is a persistent urban legend, repeated by the now defunct UK newspaper the Sunday Correspondent, that ascribes sexually suggestive names – such as Master Bates, Seaman Staines, and Roger (meaning "have sex with") the Cabin Boy – to Captain Pugwash's characters, and indicating that the captain's name was a slang Australian term for oral sex. The origin of this myth is likely due to student rag mags from the 1970sand the character Master Mate, whose name when spoken by Pugwash occasionally sounded something like "Master Bate". However none of the other characters ever featured in the show. Interestingly, although there was a real character called Willy, which is an inoffensive British slang term for penis, this character is never cited as an example of the double entendres. John Ryan successfully sued both the Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian newspapers in 1991 for printing this legend as fact.