Without any sense of shame I am happy to admit to being a true devotee of Robin Of Sherwood and have managed to get my boy successfully hooked on the show too. Which is great because ITV3 are currently rerunning every episode of this wonderful series on weekday evenings.
They have currently progressed to the Jason Connery era when Michael Praed’s dark looks were shockingly replaced with the dazzlingly bright blondness of Mr C. Sad to report, at the time, I was deeply traumatized by the death of Michael’s Robin and can remember my young burgeoning self being quite resistant to Jason’s attempts to step into the lead hero role.
Even to this day, for me Michael Praed’s character is still THE Robin Hood. He managed to portray a quiet yet strong individual, confident but not arrogant in his leadership who had a natural and unerring sense of right and wrong. His latent psychic abilities were another string, as it were, to his impressive bow. Jason’s Robin on the other hand was far more ordinary: from a privileged background his sense of right and wrong was more politicized and so somehow less personally motivated. I also thought Jason was just too gawky and awkward in his portrayal of The Hooded Man for it to sit comfortably with me. This from a gawky, awkward teenager! What a cheek I had.
Looking at them now, even though Michael Praed is still streets ahead, I have to confess that I think poor Jason Connery suffered unfairly from the inevitable comparison. I recall that even the media didn’t really take to his version of Robin and the series was dropped after his first and only outing. This was greatly unfair because it’s now plainly evident that he was growing into the role and slowly making it his own.
Anyway, it’s no good crying over the demise of a show that occurred 20 years ago... but it is interesting to compare Richard Carpenter’s Robin Of Sherwood (Richard Carpenter wrote the show) with the BBC’s recent Robin Hood adventure series.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I took the Beeb and the makers of Robin Hood to task on many issues on an almost weekly basis. The massive plot holes... The glaring departures from recorded history... The gargantuan anachronisms... All served to undermine what had obviously been a very expensive show to produce. The Beeb had certainly lavished money on the show... onto everything in fact but decent writers.
Robin Of Sherwood on the other hand was very low budget – they only had two cameras for the entire 3 series run! - but Richard Carpenter’s writing was rich beyond price. Every story was carefully crafted. They didn’t rely on gimmicks or lightning fast editing effects. The costumes looked unquestionably of the period and I cannot recall one single anachronism or historical inaccuracy ever blighting the show. Even in 2007 the show is far superior to the BBC’s ill thought foray into Sherwood forest. It is the benchmark that others have still yet to reach.
Huge budgets are great but lead to laziness. Gimmicks date very quickly...
But good writing remains forever so.