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Robin Hood (BBC Drama, Jonas Armstrong, Richard Armitage)



Robin Hood BBC Jonas Armstrong

An exciting, modern, whizz bang take on the Robin Hood legend for an audience who have become accustomed to the epic big budget movies of today.

This new version manages to stay pretty much true to most of the Robin Hood legend with Robin (Jonas Armstrong) returning home from the Crusades to find his land taken from him by the thoroughly despicable Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen) and his right hand man Sir Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) as well as learning that the Sheriff has taken control of all of the surrounding villages.

With King Richard still away at the Crusades Robin and his manservant Much (Sam Troughton) head into the woods to become outlaws where they are soon joined by a group of like mionded followers, all of the classic names in fact in the shape of Little John (Gordon Kennedy), Will Scarlet (Harry Lloyd) and Allan A’Dale (Joe Armstrong)(in a neat twist you are never quite sure where Allan’s loyalties lie and more than once he sells Robin down the river!) Robin aims to be a real thorn in the side of the Sheriff and especially for Gisborne who carries a torch for Robin’s girl Marian (Lucy Griffiths).

During the course of the second season Marian and Robin’s relationship deepens leading up to a major finale that leaves Marian dead and Robin heading back off to the Holy Land. Season three offered up quite a few changes not least the death of Marian and a bulked up Robin as well as the arrival of a black Friar Tuck (David Harewood) who manages to get Robin back on course when he is contemplating giving up everything because of Marian’s death. This convinces Robin of his destiny to unite the people of England and free them from the tyranny of Prince John and the Sheriff once and for all.

Always entertaining, perfect for its Saturday evening family viewing slot Robin Hood would probably have lasted for a couple of seasons longer were in not for some production strife at the end of season two and lots of changes which were then made which left the show with quite a different feel. In truth though the third and final season was probably the strongest of the batch of episodes of the whole run and the episodes do bring the series to a nicely satisfying conclusion which sees Gisborne revealed to be Robin’s half brother and the Sheriff finally getting his come uppance, in fact the final episode is truly unforgettable and worthy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, its possibly on a par with the final episode of Blakes 7 which is not something to say lightly.

Filmed in Hungary, the show managed to confirm Jonas Armstrong’s star quality and proved that Richard Armitage liked to overdo the mascara and hair dye as the dastardly Gisborne. Keith Allen was a real treat too in his scenery chewing Robert Newton-esque pomp as the Sheriff. Costume and set design are also worthy of mention, staying with the medieval vibe of course but also managing a surprising modern feel.

One interesting bit of info worth mentioning is the fact that just prior to the start of the series several of the master tapes for the episodes were stolen and held to ransom (for some 1.5 million euros but the kidnappers were only offered 40 grand), eventually the tapes were recovered by the police!

Cast: JONAS ARMSTRONG as Robin Hood; RICHARD ARMITAGE as Guy of Gisborne; KEITH ALLEN as Sheriff of Nottingham; LUCY GRIFFITHS as Marian (seasons one and two); GORDON KENNEDY as Little John; SAM TROUGHTON as Much; JOE ARMSTRONG as Allan A’Dale; HARRY LLOYD as Will Scarlet (seasons 1 and 2); ANJALI JAY as Djaq (seasons 1 and 2); MICHAEL ELWYN as Edward (seasons 1 and 2); DAVID HAREWOOD as Tuck (season 3); JOANNE FROGATT as Kate (season 3); LARA PULVER as Isabella (season 3)

Creators: Dominic Minghella, Foz Allan / Executive Producers: Foz Allan, Greg Brennan / Music: Andy Price / Production Design: Mike Gunn (season one), Stephen Campbell (seasons two and three)

UK / BBC One – Tiger Aspect – BBC America / 39×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 7 October 2006 – 27 June 2009