Narrator: Three weeks after Jim Hawkins escapes the pirate gang with Billy Bones’ treasure map, he arrives in Bristol on a hot Sunday morning. What a city. The gateway to the oceans of the world. Tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, slaves – aye, slaves – fill the streets and the docks. The great masts of a dozen fleets tower over the quays. Sailors, travellers, the rich and the poor throng the busy streets all of them hungry for money or food - or adventure...
Jim has a note – he must find a Mr Silver who will show him to the Squire’s ship. Jim finds him all right down on the quayside – and there’s a shock, for as he comes up behind the man, he sees he has only one leg. Could this be the pirate, so feared by Billy Bones?
Silver: Silver? Long John Silver you be intending to say, I’m sure, and who may you be?
Narrator: Jim stares up. Tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham, intelligent and smiling, Long John Silver winks down at him. Jim relaxes – this man’s no pirate.
Jim: Jim Hawkins, sir. Cabin boy to the new ship.
Silver: Is that so?
Jim: Squire Trelawney’s ship. Sir.
Silver: Well, pleased I am to see you my boy. I’m ship’s cook – and now you’re come, we must go aboard. Hop in now.
Narrator: With a graceful turn and a jump, Silver’s down into a little boat, untying the rope and preparing to row. Jim joins him – and off they go into the teeming waters of the docks. Silver rows strongly, the oars biting at the choppy sea, till at last they tie up to a ship – as pretty a schooner as you could ever want to sail the world in.
Silver: There she is boy. Your home for the next year – if we’re lucky.
Jim: What’s she called?
Silver: The Hispaniola. Does she please you?
Silver: First voyage?
Jim: First time on a boat, sir!
Squire: Ahoy, Silver!
Silver: I'll soon make you a pirate, sailor.
Squire: Bravo, young Jim. Welcome aboard! The ship’s company’s complete!
Jim: When do we sail, Mister Trelawney?
Squire: Tonight, my boy, on the midnight tide!
Sailor: Heave, heave ho.
Silver: Up you go...
Sailor: Put yer backs into it, ya bunch of milk-sops!
Narrator: Jim scrambles aboard, finds his hammock and stows his stuff.
Sailor: Mind yer heads you idle dogs!
Narrator: Then he climbs up the rigging to watch the ship being readied.
Sailor: Black powder twenty barrels!
Narrator: Barrels, crates, boxes, chickens...
Sailor: Watch what you're doing with that goat yer scrawny no good landlubber!
Narrator: ...goats – the crew stow everything frantically below decks as the sun sets.
Sailor: Pull lads pull!
Narrator: And what a crew they are: men, women, pigtails, shaven heads, terrifying tattoos, pierced ears and tongues, hooks for hands, wooden arms – the whole lot representing every race, every nation, every colour in the known world.
Narrator: Squire Trelawney appears at his side.
Squire: What charming chaps they are, don’t you think, young Jim?
Jim: Hello, Sir. They look rather frightening to me.
Captain Smollet: Aye, my thoughts entirely.
Squire: Captain Smollet - I don't care for him. He does go on...
Captain: I wouldn't take a single one of those blackguards on a trip like this.
Squire: Told you.
Captain: But then - I’m just the captain...my voice doesn't seem to count for very much on this matter.
Squire: Now, now, Smollet. Beggars can’t be choosers as you well know. Every one of these fine sailors has been hand-picked by Long John Silver himself. And as far as I’m concerned the man’s an absolute gem.
Narrator: As if on cue, Long John Silver appears in the hatchway below, grinning. On his shoulder sits a large green parrot, its button eye staring coldly. Silver takes off his hat in an extravagant salute.
Silver: If it please you good gentlemen, the provisions is stored and we be all ship-shape and ready to cast off. Sir.
Captain Smollet: Thank you, Silver. Prepare to cast off – forward and aft! All ashore who’s going ashore!
Sailor: Steady, steady, let her be.
Narrator: Jim breathes deep with excitement, the salt-wind blowing his hair. Behind him Long John Silver leans against a mast and nods to himself, smiling. His parrot calls out: "Pieces of Eight! Pieces of Eight!" That parrot’s cry would echo in Jim’s dreams for many years to come...