Series / The Adventures of Robin Hood

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Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Riding through the glen!
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!

The Adventures of Robin Hood 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.

Characters include:

  • 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 
  • The Deputy Sheriff of Nottingham, (The Sheriff's replacement in series 4), played by John Arnatt. Has no standards, and shows it on more than one occasion.
  • 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
  • Arrowgram
  • Better the Devil You Know: Robin utters this word for word when The Sheriff leaves and is replaced by the Deputy Sheriff. Robin is proven right as very few of the outlaw tricks work on the new antagonist, and his total lack of standards surprises everyone. The episode is even titled "The Devil You Don't Know"
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Both the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriff have pet dogs that they treat better than their soldiers. The Sheriff also has a complete blind spot for Marian. (Which is taken advantage of numerous times)
  • Evil Twin: Friar Tuck's twin brother Edgar was lost at sea at a young age, and wound up living in Cathay. He is in all ways the opposite of Tuck, eating no meat, drinking only water, and wanting to sell a "Death Tube" to Prince John. Later on the Deputy Sheriff brings him back.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Duncan of Stoneykirk shows up about once a season with them.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Richard the Lionheart, Prince John, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Prince Arthur of Brittany...
  • 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 
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Both the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriff show signs of this. They are perfectly willing to forgo villainy for money, but would prefer to have their villainy AND the money.
  • Oireland: "The Mystery of Ireland's Eye" and "The Little People".
  • Saintly Church: The Church and Friar Tuck provide almost literal solutions to many otherwise insoluble problems. There are very few corrupt churchmen in the series. (Though there are several men who pretend to be Priests for nefarious purposes)
  • 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.
  • A Year and a Day: The episode "A Year and Day" centres around the medieval law that stated a peasant who escapes serfdom and lives in a city for "a year and a day" is a free man, given the man lives openly, not in hiding. Surgeon Calend has nearly completed that duration, and only has to remain 'at large' until sunset that day and he will be free, but the Sheriff closes in on him whilst he is treating Little John.

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