Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Riding through the glen! The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! With his band of men!
Feared by the bad! Loved by the good!
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!
He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green!
They vowed to help the people of the king!
They handled all the trouble on the English country scene!
And still found plenty of time to sing!
is a British television series that ran for 143 episodes from 1955 to 1959
, starring Richard Greene in the title role
. Produced in the very early days of commercial television in the UK, The Adventures of Robin Hood was the brainchild of Hannah Weinstein (an American producer living in the UK having been blacklisted
for her leftwing views) and was commissioned by the Russian-born media mogul Lew Grade. Grade hoped to profit by selling the series to the United States, and so Robin Hood became the first of many big-budget British series to be produced with the American market in mind.note
Episodes were based both on existing legends and original stories, often written by blacklisted Americans screenwriters, who had to used pseudonyms to avoided problems when the series was sold in the US.note
The first three seasons are currently available on Hulu
Not to be confused with the Errol Flynn film
of the same name.
- Robin Hood (Richard Greene): The Hero, naturally. A crusader who returns to his ancestral home to find it's been taken over by a Norman nobleman. Framed for his murder, he becomes an outlaw.
- Little John (Archie Duncan): A servant who escaped his cruel master and subsequently becomes Robinís loyal second-in-command.
- Maid Marian (Bernadette O'Farrell (series 1-2), Patricia Driscoll (series 3-4)).
- Friar Tuck (Alexander Gauge).
- The Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Wheatley): The Affably Evil Big Bad. Occasionally shows that Even Evil Has Standards.note
- Joan (Simone Lovell): Barmaid at the Blue Boar in and an ally of the outlaws.
- Derwent (Victor Woolf): Possibly counts as Ascended Extra, since he appears in more episodes than anyone except Robin Hood himself.
The series provided examples of:
- Affably Evil: The Sheriff of Nottingham
- The Crusades: Robin Hood is an ex-crusader. It occasionally becomes a plot-point.
- The Dung Ages: Largely averted.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Sheriff will occasionally draw the line at acts he considered despicable, such as persecuting a boatload of Jewish refugees.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Oh so many of the guest stars, especially if you happen to be British. Hereís a few: Thora Hird, Paul Eddington, Nicholas Parsons, Patrick Troughton, Leo McKern, Wilfred Brambell... Not all were famous at the time.
- Historical-Domain Character: Richard the Lionheart, Prince John, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Prince Arthur of Brittany...
- Hollywood Homely: In the episode, "A Husband For Marian", Marian's servant is described as "the homeliest woman in Britain". While certainly no Marian, the woman is rather nice looking in a plain sort of way.
- The Movie: Sort of. Hammer made a Robin Hood film with Richard Greene in 1960, just after the series ended, but none of the other cast members appeared.
- Mythology Gag: Referencing the original ballads. One such example is the occasional character of Sir Richard of the Lea.note
- Oireland: "The Mystery of Ireland's Eye" and "The Little People".
- The Other Darrin: As noted above, Marian was played by two different actresses over the show's run.
- Also Little John: Archie Duncan was replaced for several episodes in the first series after suffering injuries saving some of the child actors from falling scenery.
- Prince John was played by a total three different actors.
- The Sheriff's lieutenant, Howard, was very prone to this: he was seldom played by the same actor two weeks running.
- Ronald Howard played Will Scarlet when the character was an occasional guest; when he was promoted to regular, Paul Eddington took over the role in a striking case of You Look Familiar - Eddington had played dozens of minor parts in earlier seasons, including several appearances as Howard.
- Shown Their Work: The writers clearly researched period politics and feudal life, making the series one of the more realistic, if a little rose-tinted, depictions of life in medieval England.
- Take That: As noted above, some of the writers were blacklisted Americans. Is it any wonder that many episodes dealt with government witchhunts and abuses of power, and the fear of being betrayed by those close to you?
- Title Theme Tune: One of the most memorable.