Co-founder of Picture Palace, the television production company behind the swashbuckling adventure series Sharpe (1993-2008) and the Bafta-nominated documentary A Life for a Life (1998), about the miscarriage of justice that saw Stefan Kiszko jailed for 16 years for a crime that he did not commit.
Malcolm’s first venture into mainstream television came after producing TV commercials for 14 years.
When an offer came from the celebrated director Jon Amiel to produce Tandoori Nights (1985-87) for Channel 4, Malcolm leapt at the chance. Written initially by Farrukh Dhondy and later by Meera Syal, the comedy about the rivalry between two Indian restaurateurs went on for two series over two years and spawned a chain of curry houses of the same name.
The task of producing Sharpe, in partnership with Muir Sutherland, was considerably more challenging. Based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels and largely set in the Napoleonic wars, it ran for five series with two extra films – 16 episodes in all, each two hours long.
“It was mainly shot in Ukraine,” Malcolm told me. “Our hosts were very helpful and supplied all the things that we wanted, including the Ukrainian army.
It was a long slog, mind you. We were away for 16 weeks at a stretch, working six days a week and staying in sanatoriums.”
Sharpe starred Sean Beand and also featured Daniel Craig, Brian Cox, Pete Postlethwaite and Elizabeth Hurley, with whom Malcolm had also worked on The Orchid House for Channel 4, in the Caribbean.
“Liz was a real trouper in Sharpe,” he recalled. Bean was “a producer’s dream as a leading actor because he was always ready to go and didn’t keep everybody waiting”.