Home | Features | Music | Fashion | Interviews | Archive | Contact Us
It Be Magic?
was looking forward to the new Robin Hood series on the Beeb with the kind
of expectation that really shouldn’t be associated with Saturday evening
telly. Nothing brings out the
childish glee in me like the Lincoln green legend.
But I also had several concerns.
Would the new production be an attempt to bring Dr Who into a
Medieval forest, all pretty and young and knowing?
Maybe it would be even worse; like Hollyoaks in camouflage, with
the robbing from the rich and giving to the poor replaced by angsty blokes
in tights emoting under oak trees.
I was unrealistically hoping for was somewhere between Errol Flynn,
Ivanhoe and Maid Marian and her Merry Men; funny, camp and swashbuckling
without jettisoning those aspects that make the legend resonate through
the ages. If it seems like a
tall order to combine all that with mass appeal, it should be remembered
that this has been done before. The
Adventures of Robin Hood, the iconic Technicolor interpretation that made
Flynn a household name, was
written by Norman Reilly Raine and Seton I. Miller to not only swash some
buckles but to rally American sentiment against the Nazi menace.
Leftist scriptwriters blacklisted in the States by the House of
UnAmerican Activities found work writing for the British Robin Hood series
that ran in the ‘50s with the famous theme tune, incorporating themes of
racism and social injustice. Myths
that survive for so long can only do so if contemporary themes are
projected on to them.
it is thought that the original template for the Robin Hood legend emerged
from folk tales related to resistance to the Norman invasion, the first
ballads tell of, alternately, a bloodthirsty and selfish bastard, and a
happy go lucky trickster. In
more modern retellings he has been portrayed as a Saxon rebel against the
foreign overlords, a noble fighter for the legitimate authority supposedly
embodied by King Richard and a fey dandy, but more or less prominent, and
most evocatively, has been the idea that Robin Hood ‘robbed from the
rich to give to the poor.’
far as I’m concerned, the new series has potential but could go either
way at this stage. Robin is
portrayed as a young noble returning from the Crusades to find his manor
being brutally mismanaged by the new Sherriff of Nottingham.
The Crusades provide a background for references to
Allen plays the Sherriff as a slightly less bonkers John Reid, all
‘detention without trial’ this and ‘law and order’ that.
It’s pretty funny but drawing out parallels between
this Robin Hood still gives to the poor.
The ending of the second episode, in which the villagers of Loxley
return to find food and money tacked to their doors, was really well done
and gave the climactic battle scene a sense of context.
Other nice touches include the character of Much, an apparent
homage to the Robin character in Maid Marian and her Merry Men, whose
campness is in keeping with a pre-watershed version of the blatant
homoeroticism of the early balladry. There’s
room for improvement but it’s early days, so hopefully they’ll sack
off the annoying arrows that flash across the screen with the scene’s
location, introduce Friar Tuck, and get Robin kitted out with a proper
longbow; the silly toy he uses to fire out arrows as if it was automated
looks like something he got free with his cornflakes.
anyway with all these pros and cons skittering around my head I decided to
write a script myself and send it to the BBC.
My idea was to base a story on last year’s arrest of the two
apparent British undercover operatives by Iraqi police that prompted an
armed assault on a police station in
In the event it was also very similar to a plot from the HTV Robin of Sherwood series. Turns out ‘my idea’ for an episode was about as ‘original’ as going in a heavy direction for the second album. Which makes me more inclined to forgive the unnecessary complications added for the BBC version and the continued infuriating pacifism of our heroes. So if you’re planning on studying for a Masters in Robin Hood studies here’s what to say about the new series: it’s ok like, but let’s hope it goes in a heavy direction for the second series.
| Features | Music
| Fashion | Interviews |
| Contact Us
Copyright © 2006 Swine Magazine. All rights reserved.