Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 26 (list of episodes)
Final episode date 28 June 1986
Number of episodes 26
Created by Richard Carpenter
No. of seasons 3
First episode date 28 April 1984
Number of seasons 3
|Starring Michael Praed
Opening theme "Robin (The Hooded Man)" by Clannad
Cast Michael Praed, Jason Connery, Judi Trott, Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle
Similar Robin Hood, The New Adventures of Robin, The Adventures of Robin, Young Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Her Merry
Robin of Sherwood (retitled Robin Hood in the United States) is a British television series, based on the legend of Robin Hood. Created by Richard Carpenter, it was produced by HTV in association with Goldcrest, and ran from 1984 to 1986 on the ITV network. In America it was retitled Robin Hood and shown on the premium cable TV channel Showtime and, later, on PBS. The show starred Michael Praed and Jason Connery as two different incarnations of the title character. Unlike previous adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood combined a gritty, authentic production design with elements of real-life history, 20th century fiction, and pagan myth. The series is also notable for its musical score by Clannad, which won a BAFTA award.
- Robin of sherwood tribute 1984 2010
- The Merry Men
- Main antagonists
- Other notable characters
- Castles and cities
- DVD and Blu ray releases
- Bonus features
- Audio play The Knights of the Apocalypse
Robin of sherwood tribute 1984 2010
There were three seasons, composed of a two-hour opening episode and 24 one-hour long episodes, although the pilot is sometimes screened as two one-hour episodes. The episodes comprising "The Swords of Wayland" were transmitted as one episode in the UK on their original screening, on a bank holiday weekend in 1985. The show was shot on film and almost entirely on location, mostly in the northeast and southwest of England; HTV West in Bristol was the base of operations, and most of the filming was done in and around Bristol and its surrounding counties. Primary locations were the Blaise Castle Estate in North Bristol and Vassals Park to the south.
Together with Richard Lester's 1976 film Robin and Marian, Robin of Sherwood is one of the most influential treatments of the core Robin Hood legend since The Adventures of Robin Hood, featuring a realistic period setting and introducing the character of a Saracen outlaw.
Michael Praed played Robin of Loxley in the first two seasons. His 'Merry Men' consisted of Will Scarlet (Ray Winstone), Little John (Clive Mantle), Friar Tuck (Phil Rose), Much (Peter Llewellyn Williams), the Saracen Nasir (Mark Ryan) and Lady Marian (Judi Trott). He is also assisted by Herne the Hunter (John Abineri). As in the legend, Robin is opposed by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Nickolas Grace) and Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie), as well as the Sheriff's brother Abbot Hugo (Philip Jackson) (representing all the greedy abbots in the legends).
At the end of the second season, Robin of Loxley is killed, and Robert of Huntingdon (played by Jason Connery) replaces him as Robin Hood. During the course of the third season, the new Robin discovers that he is the half-brother of his nemesis Guy of Gisburne (an idea suggested to Carpenter by the fact that both actors had blond hair). This particular story arc was never resolved, as the show's intended fourth (and final) season was never made. The sudden cancellation also broke off Robin and Marion's intended marriage and left Marion at Halstead Abbey as a novice.
At the conclusion of Season Three, Goldcrest was forced to pull out of the venture, due to a downturn in the fortunes of their film arm. Goldcrest had been responsible for critical and commercial hits such as Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982) earlier in the 1980s, but had hit a lean period with such films as Revolution (1985) and Absolute Beginners (1986). The series was expensive to produce; HTV could not afford to finance it alone, and so Robin of Sherwood came to an unexpected end.
The Merry Men
Born the son of Anglo-Saxon nobleman Ailric of Loxley, Robin was raised by his uncle, the local miller, after Ailric was murdered. As an adult, Robin accepts the charge of Herne the Hunter and becomes the prophesied "Hooded Man," champion of the oppressed. Hiding in Sherwood Forest, he assembles a number of friends and fights for freedom and justice. He is killed at the end of Season Two by Norman crossbowmen, on the orders of the Sheriff of Nottingham - the same manner in which his father died.
Son of the miller who raised Robin, he admires Robin as his big brother. He is dubbed "the half-wit" by Guy of Gisburne, but he is more uneducated and naive than mentally handicapped. He matures more after the first Robin's death.
Originally called Will Scathlock. When his wife, Elena, is raped and trampled to death with horses by mercenaries, he changes his name after slaying several of her killers. Hot-headed and filled with hatred of all things Norman, he is contrasted with the more collected Robin, which frequently leads to conflicts. He has a brother who owns an inn in Lichfield.
Originally John Little from Hathersage, this giant of a man is placed under a spell by the Baron de Belleme. When Robin defeats the Baron and frees John from the spell, John becomes a loyal friend to Robin (and later, to Robert of Huntington). His hulking figure and immense strength is contrasted by his soft heart.
Daughter of a Saxon nobleman believed to be killed in battle, Marion lives as a ward of Abbot Hugo, who is keen on gaining her inheritance. She first enters a nunnery, but when Simon de Belleme desires her as his bride (actually intending to sacrifice her), she escapes into Sherwood Forest, where she falls in love with and marries Robin Hood. She is later rescued from another unwanted marriage, by Robert of Huntingdon.
The Sheriff of Nottingham's chaplain, he helps Lady Marion escape into Sherwood and joins the Merry Men, forming a fast friendship with Little John.
A Saracen assassin, he was captured in Palestine by the Baron de Belleme and brought back to England to work as his henchman. After the Baron is killed by Robin, Nasir - having found respect for Robin during a crucial sword fight - decides to join the Merry Men. Throughout the series, he speaks very little.
Chosen as Robin's successor by Herne, Robert frees the Merry Men, but thinks himself inadequate to take up the mantle of the Hooded Man, despite his sympathies towards the downtrodden. He changes his mind after Lady Marion is taken by Lord Owen of Clun, and sets out to rescue her, reassembling the scattered Merry Men in the process. Though slightly insecure about taking over, in light of his predecessor, Robert proves to be an excellent leader. He later discovers that he is the half-brother of Guy of Gisburne.
A shamanic figure who often incarnates a forest spirit representing the powers of light and goodness, inspiring and protecting the Hooded Man.
The king's chief representative in Nottingham and Sherwood, he is mainly interested in increasing his own power and wealth, competing with his younger brother, the Abbot. He considers his serfs mere chattels and hates women. He frequently relies on the brawn of Guy of Gisburne, whom he nonetheless disrespects and ridicules for his failures. His ambition results in strained relations with fellow noblemen (who consider him a "dreadful little man"), and with a succession of kings.
The sheriff's younger brother and highest-ranking church man in Nottingham, his main interest lies in acquiring land, especially that of his temporary ward, Lady Marion, and her father.
Steward over the abbot's lands and "gamekeeper" of Sherwood, he is the chief military commander in the area. Self-identifying "a warrior and not a courtier", he is prone to disregard diplomacy and tact in favour of brute force but he is sometimes also able to use cunning. He resents the Sheriff for frequently taunting him and Robin for being the cause of these taunts. After a rocky start he gained the (limited) respect of Prince John. Later, it is revealed that he is the Earl of Huntingdon's illegitimate son and thus the second Robin's half-brother.
A nobleman and also a devil worshipper. As master of the black arts, he controlled both Little John and Nasir, having captured the latter during the Crusades. He desires Lady Marion to sacrifice her to his demons. He is killed by Robin in Season One but his remaining disciples still work towards and actually succeed in his resurrection in Season Two. However he is not heard of or seen in Season Three.
A pagan sorcerer in the entourage of Lord Owen of Clun, he bewitches Lady Marion. After Owen is killed, he sets out to avenge Owen's death - and his own disgrace - on Robin and the Merry Men.
Other notable characters
First encountered by Robin's band in Sherwood while returning to Nottingham from the Crusades in disguise. He initially appears to be an ally, removing de Rainault from the Sheriff's office and pardoning the outlaws. A warrior by nature and not inclined to remain in and properly govern England, Richard tries to get Robin to join his army, but when Robin, realising what sort of man Richard really is, publicly refuses, he orders Robin killed (unsuccessfully). He subsequently returns to Normandy and is killed by an enemy arrow; the news of his death reaches Nottingham while Prince John is visiting, and Gisburne is the first to declare John the new king.
The mainstay of the Nottingham dungeon, he repeatedly refuses to flee, as he will not part with his pet rat Arthur, and advises all prisoners that the only way out is "feet first".
The headman of the village of Wickham, he and all of the villagers are sympathetic to Robin Hood's band and assist them occasionally.
The father of Lady Marion, important Anglo-Saxon landowner and loyal follower of King Richard, he was captured during the Crusades and presumed dead. Later released by Saladin, he is captured and secretly brought to Nottingham by Prince John, but freed by Robin. Later, he is reconciled to King John (by paying a large sum of money, which also bought a pardon for Marion) and returns to his estates, which are still coveted by the de Rainault brothers.
An important nobleman and a careful politician, he is father to the second Robin Hood and (unknown to him) also to Guy of Gisburne. When Robert becomes the new Robin Hood, the Earl disinherits him; the two later reconcile emotionally.
A half-Welsh nobleman holding strategically important lands on the Welsh border, he is courted by the Earl of Huntingdon on behalf of King John. Desiring Lady Marion as his wife, he has her kidnapped and bewitched, but he is outsmarted by the Merry Men and killed during their escape.
Little John's girlfriend who lives in the outlaw-friendly village of Wickham.
The former minstrel (and not a very good one!) to the Baron de Bracy, he is in love with the Baron's daughter Mildred.
The object of an arranged marriage to the Sheriff of Nottingham (who is after her dowry money), but in love with Alan-a-Dale.
Outwardly the Abbess in charge of Ravenscar Abbey near the village of Uffcombe-on-the-Rock, she is secretly an evil witch and the leader of the Cauldron of Lucifer, a powerful coven dedicated to the raising of Lucifer. She seeks the Seven Swords of Wayland to use their power, but one of them (Albion) is in Robin Hood's possession. She succeeds in bewitching the Merry Men and turning them against Robin and Marion for a time, but Robin foils her plans, and she is ultimately destroyed by her own demon riders.
The leader of a band of mercenaries called in by Guy of Gisburne to destroy Robin Hood and his men.
A young captain who briefly becomes the Sheriff's new favourite. He is killed by Guy of Gisburne at Castle Belleme.
The daughter of Lord Agravaine and privy to the secret of Caerleon.
Robert of Huntington's godfather and guardian of a secret treasure in the castle of Caerleon.
The brutal former Head Forester of Lincolnshire who is appointed by King John to take Robert de Rainault's place as Sheriff of Nottingham; his tenure as Sheriff is extremely brief.
A Saracen with a scarred face hidden by a mask, he is the right-hand man of Philip Mark and a former hashashin who betrayed the brotherhood's secrets for money. He bears a grudge against Nasir, who was sent after him to kill him, but only scarred him.
On King John's orders, he and his men impersonate the second Robin and the Merry Men in a plan to discredit them with the people.
King John's first wife who is unceremoniously cast aside when King John chooses the 11-year-old Isabella as his new wife and who hatches a complex plot to depose John.
A famous outlaw who returns to Nottingham from the North after many years.
The second Robin's uncle, who has a hidden agenda against his brother, the Earl.
A madwoman accused of witchcraft, and defended by the Merry Men. Ultimately it is revealed that she is indeed a witch.
Gulnar's right-hand man under Owen of Clun, he later becomes the fanatical leader of the Sons of Fenris.
In repeats, episodes have frequently been broadcast out of order, and alternative orders have been suggested. The original running order creates a number of continuity errors, the most notable being Marian's father being referred to as being dead in "The Swords of Wayland" even though he was discovered to be alive in "The Prophecy" and appears in later episodes.
Castles and cities
The music for Robin of Sherwood was composed and performed by Clannad, the Irish folk group. The show's original soundtrack, Legend, was released in 1984 and won the BAFTA award for Best Original Television Music.
Three singles and one EP were released from the album: the theme-tune Robin (The Hooded Man); Now is Here; Scarlet Inside; and the remix of Robin (The Hooded Man) as featured in the third series.
While not all of the show's music is found on the Legend album, some additional pieces can be found on Clannad's albums Macalla (released 1986) and Clannad: Live in Concert, 1996 (released 2005). In November 2003, Clannad revealed on their official web site that "there were several other pieces of music recorded for the third series of Robin of Sherwood that were not included on the Legend album. Unfortunately no-one has been able to locate the master tapes of this music. The search is continuing and hopefully one day these recordings will be able to be released."
Such is the longevity of the series that in 2011 the Pagan Metal band Herne released an album called 'Face of the Hunter' inspired by the series, with the album intro describing the famous falling whole tone motif that occurs in each episode.
A review at rpg.net, written in 2003, opines:
Richard Marcus, writing on blogcritics.org, writes in 2008:
DVD and Blu-ray releases
In the US and Canada, the first and second series have been released by Acorn Media in a five DVD set. A second set, containing the complete third season was released on 9 October 2007
In October 2010 Network DVD announced the forthcoming release of Series 1 and 2 in a single Region B Blu-ray set, entitled Robin of Sherwood: Michael Praed (the 3-Disc Blu-ray and DVD bonus disc). This was released on 15 November 2010. In the US and Canada, the first and second series were released on 7 June 2011 by Acorn Media as Robin of Sherwood: Set 1.
Network DVD released Blu-ray set, entitled Robin of Sherwood: Jason Connery, on 31 October 2011.
On The Complete Collection DVD set, there are "seventeen hours of special features", including: fourteen commentary tracks, a documentary on the folk group Clannad creating the score for the series, outtakes, bonus footage, a behind the scenes documentary, four documentaries that look back on the making of the show with former cast and crew, and other behind the scenes footage too.
Audio play: The Knights of the Apocalypse
In July 2015, Bafflegab Productions, the producers of the audio play/comic book series The Scarifyers, and co-producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones announced that they were adapting a feature-length script entitled 'Robin of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse', written by Richard Carpenter before his death in 2012. Jason Connery, Judi Trott, Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle, Mark Ryan, Phil Rose, Philip Jackson, and Nickolas Grace (Robert of Huntingdon, Lady Marion, Will Scarlet, Little John, Nasir, Friar Tuck, Abbot Hugo, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, respectively) all agreed to reprise their roles for the project, with Daniel Abineri taking the role of Herne in place of his father, John Abineri, who died in 2000. In December 2015, Barnaby Eaton-Jones took over as sole producer of the audio play, with Spiteful Puppet (the award-winning audio company who produced 'Hood') as executive producers; as approved by ITV Studios and Richard 'Kip' Carpenter's estate. After beginning its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in September 2015, the production set a goal of £10,000 within 30 days to cover production costs; due to enthusiastic fan support, however, the goal was reached in just under 24 hours.The audio play was released in 2016, with proceeds going to the Sherwood Forest Trust and the British Red Cross.
The success of the play led to Spiteful Puppet announcing four more 'Robin of Sherwood' plays for 2017, two to star Jason Connery and two to star Michael Praed.