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Series / Robin of Sherwood

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The heroes of the first two seasons. From left to right Will, John, Marion, Much (squatting), Robin, Tuck, Nazir
Third season cast. From left to right Much, Nasir, John, Robert of Huntingdon, Will, Tuck (Marion not pictured)
In the days of the Lion spawned of the Devil's Brood, the Hooded Man shall come to the forest. There he will meet Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Trees, and be his son and do his bidding. The Powers of Light and Darkness shall be strong within him. And the guilty shall tremble.

A 1980s television retelling of the Robin Hood legend, with a large dose of Celtic mysticism. In this version, Robin is The Chosen One, the spiritual son of pagan forest-god Herne the Hunter. Notable for being the first version to get away from the green-tights-and-hat-with-a-feather image in favour of something a band of 12th century outlaws might actually wear, for introducing the idea of a Saracen outlaw which was copied by later adaptations, and for portraying King Richard as just as bad as Prince John.

Besides these, perhaps it is most notable for having two different Robins — one a woodsman, the other a nobleman — allowing it to cover the two different versions of Robin found in the various (contradictory) tales. The original, played by Michael Praed, appeared in the first two series; Jason Connery played his replacement in the third and final series. The Maid Marion for both was Judi Trott, playing Marion of Leaford, a former ward of the Sheriff's brother, who in this version is an active member of the Merry Men.


The series spawned the usual 1980s set of Spin-Offs, including a three volume novelisation by the original TV creator Richard Carpenter, which covered the whole series except for the third-season episodes that he didn't write, and a Robin Of Sherwood Text Adventure video game by Adventuresoft for various eight-bit home computers. There were also two Gamebooks - The King's Demon and The Sword of the Templar.

There were plans for a fourth series, but the production company ran out of money; there were several attempts up until 2010 to revive it, including plans for a movie and several attempts to pitch a new series to ITV, none of which came to anything. Robert Addie, who played Guy of Gisburne, died in 2003 and Richard Carpenter died in 2012. Still all of the surviving castnote  were finally able to reunite in 2015 for "The Knights of the Apocalypse", an audio drama based on an unfilmed script of Carpenter's. It was released in 2016.


The series are also known for putting Irish music group Clannad on the map (apart from their theme from Harry's Game).

Robin Of Sherwood provides examples of:

  • Achilles in His Tent: Will leaves the other outlaws briefly after his resentment of Robin comes to a head in "The Children of Israel".
  • Action Girl: Isadora is a pure example, who gets a full-blown You Go, Girl! arc.
  • All Myths Are True: Primarily a weird mix of Celtic Mythology and Christian folklore. There are also episodes drawing from Norse Mythology and Arthurian legend, with another episode featuring another legendary English outlaw named Adam Bell.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Guy of Gisburne warns the de Talmonts of the oncoming pogrom, but it turns out only because he's infatuated with Sarah and intends to kidnap and forcibly marry her.
  • Apple of Discord: At least one apple appears in every episode of the show, and they're used several times to underscore discord.
    • Gisburne stabs one while glaring poisonously at Ralph of Huntingdon in "The Enchantment".
    • The Sheriff tears into one as an unsubtle threat in "The Greatest Enemy".
    • Gisburne punctuates an angry remark in "The Power of Albion" by biting into an apple.
    • Several episodes show a basket of apples being toppled during a fight.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In the episode "The Swords of Wayland", the outlaws scoff at the idea of demons terrorizing a village, even though they had come up against evil spells and diabolical rituals in the past.
  • Arranged Marriage: The arrangement between Robert de Rainault and Mildred de Bracy, a young noblewoman who loves Alan-a-Dale (a minstrel dismissed by her father for courting her).
  • Arc Words: "Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten."
  • Attempted Rape: King John and Marion. It veers into Black Comedy Rape as Marion stalls for time by suggesting a game of "conquest", in which she gets to verbally and physically abuse him as he tries to seduce her.
  • Author Appeal:
    • While Richard Carpenter deserves credit for giving Marion back her street-cred (she was quite the badass in the old ballads, before Hollywood got hold of her and turned her into a Damsel in Distress) by making her a useful and skilled member of the outlaws, she also goes through an awful lot of bondage and brainwashing in his scripts.
    • Most evil villains usually had a sultry concubine in tow.
  • Bad Boss: Both the sheriff and Gisburn treat their men-at-arms appallingly.
  • Bar Brawl: A couple of times.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Said almost word-for-word by King John in regards to Marion.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Played for Laughs in "Alan-a-Dale," when the Sheriff and Gisburne share a bathtub - and yell at each other the whole time.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Used for a brief moment of comic relief as John is being captured in "The Greatest Enemy".
  • Big "NO!": Robin's foster-father when the mill is burnt down. Variations on this when Robin shouts Gisburne's name after Guy kills the miller and when the Sheriff yells after his fleeing nephew.
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: There were three memorable female characters in the show: Isadora (blonde), Meg (brunette), and of course, Marion (redhead).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: King Richard.
  • Book-Ends: The first and last episodes of the first season, and the final episode of the show, all involve an important scene among a Circle of Standing Stones. Also, the first episode of season 1 and the last episode of season 2, when Ailric and Robin of Loxley are killed in the same way, by the same man.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows: The series paints a clear moral distinction between the two. Anyone who uses a crossbow is evil, almost without exception (Marian once grabs up a crossbow in a melee to shoot Gisburne with). This is due to the long tradition of the longbow as a symbol of English military might and righteousness, while crossbows are for, eew, French people.
  • Brainwashed: Richard Carpenter seemed to love this trope. It happened to one or all of the outlaws at least once a season.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: This is what happens after Robin's death. The first two episodes of season three deal with Robert of Huntingdon's attempts to reunite the outlaws.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done very, very briefly in "The Swords of Wayland" in which some nuns take off their wimples to reveal their long hair, and one stares defiantly at the camera.
  • Broken Pedestal: Adam Bell, who the other outlaws explain to Robert was an earlier local hero to the oppressed, turns out to have become a ruthless criminal rather than a principled rebel.
  • The Butcher: Philip Mark, the Butcher of Lincolnshire.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Little John has one of these when he dreams of Meg being killed in "Cromm Cruac".
  • Chewing the Scenery: John Rhys-Davies in "The King's Fool", when he reveals his identity to the outlaws and then takes them to task.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: Several important scenes take place around one.
  • Comet of Doom: A shooting star appears over Caerleon Castle on Midsummer's Eve.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After a group of Templars attack and soundly thrash the outlaws (and abduct Much), Tuck refers to them as "Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon". Will replies, "Poor? I'd hate to see the good ones!"
  • Continuity Nod: In "The King's Fool", the Sheriff is in danger of losing his position to the Baron de Bracy, his would-be father-in-law who he screwed over in the previous episode.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Sheriff's nephew Martin is kidnapped at the exact same time as Much is captured, resulting in Robert and the Sheriff agreeing to an exchange of prisoners: "your half-wit for my brat."
  • Cool Sword: Albion.
  • Cryptic Conversation: The treasure of Caerleon is alluded to in several of these.
  • Cue the Sun: Robin of Loxley's death.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not in absolute terms compared to later works, but the series was significantly darker than the average teatime family adventure show and many earlier Robin Hood retellings. It has quite ruthless heroes who clearly kill a lot of people (albeit with Bloodless Carnage), truly depraved and murderous villains, very explicit and intense ethnic and class conflict, Richard I being as bad as most of the other nobles and royals, and strong elements of neo-paganism among the good guys and black magic among the bad ones. This is established right at the start, when the traditional first meeting between Robin and Little John is played in a darker way with John being under black magic mind control and seriously trying to kill Robin.
  • Dated History: The show is heavily influenced by two discredited theories of British history which, however, remained influential on historical fiction in the 1980s.
    • The first is the "Norman Yoke" theory, developed in the seventeenth century by proto-leftists and English nationalists, which held that the Norman Conquest replaced a harmonious and just Anglo-Saxon society with Norman hierarchy and tyranny, and that for many centuries English society was dominated by continuing conscious ethnic conflict between a "Norman" aristocracy and an oppressed "English" people. While feudal Middle Ages society obviously experienced class conflict, there is little evidence of any consciousness of ethnic difference continuing for very long.
    • The second is the "Witch cult" hypothesis, which argues that pre-Christian paganism survived on a large-scale as an underground non-Christian faith for many centuries after the official Christian conversion of Western Europe, only finally being destroyed by the early-modern witch-hunts, which saw the Church exterminating a genuine traditional religion. This was never accepted by specialist medieval historians, but was believed for a time by many other educated people, although even most neo-pagans now recognise it as false.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Robert of Huntingdon fights all four of Tuck, John, Will and Nasir in "Herne's Son".
  • Depraved Dwarf: Skulley, Raven's depraved number two in "The Inheritance", who tries to hamstring Little John.
  • Depraved Homosexual: By very strong innuendo, Philip Mark. A brutal tyrant who dresses from head to foot in black leather, keeps his boy-servants clad in finery while the girls remain in rags, and flirtatiously chin-chucks one of the boys. He also repeatedly hits on Guy in a rather unsubtle manner. He responds to Gisburne's introduction by eyeing Guy head to toe and making the sultry declaration that he'll surely "find a use for" him, and pats Guy's hand while declaring, "you're mine now." Later he tells Guy, "you must show me this tunnel of yours", which results in a startled look from Guy, even though Philip is ostensibly referring to a secret passage in the castle. Robert de Rainault calls Mark a "posturing catamite" to his face, which leads to rage but not an actual denial.
  • Deus ex Machina: Herne a couple of times, most notably when Marion is fatally wounded and Herne heals her, just 'cause he can.
  • Dog Pile of Doom: How Little John gets captured in "The Greatest Enemy", though it takes about seven or so soldiers to hold him down.
  • Doomed Hometown: The series opens with the child Robin barely escaping as soldiers led by the Sheriff burn down the village of Locksley and massacre all its inhabitants, including Robin's father.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Underscores the deaths of Ailric of Loxley and Robin of Loxley.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Almost Once an Episode.
    Sheriff: Well? Where's the villain's head?
    Robin in Gisburne's armour: On the villain's shoulders!
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In "The Time of the Wolf" one of Gulnar's warriors, who worship the mythical Norse wolf Fenris as a god, jokes that the stores of food in the abbey they've seized "should keep the wolf from the door". The other men burst out laughing but stop abruptly when they see the Death Glare Gulnar gives them. Apparently even an evil sorcerer and leader of a murder cult won't tolerate blasphemy.
  • The Dung Ages: Nearly every peasant character is filthy, with Robin of Loxley a notable exception. The nobility isn't that much better off; Sir Guy of Gisburne is shocked when he learns that Prince John takes two baths a week. (The Sheriff, on the other hand, takes a few baths on screen - and on one occasion shares the tub with Gisburne.)
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • In the first episode, the Old Prisoner's phrase "feet first" gives Robin an idea for escaping Nottingham's dungeon.
    • The next episode has a Repeat What You Just Said moment, with Gisburne's remark about a "ferret" moving the Sheriff to use Jennet of Elsdon against the outlaws.
    • At the end of season 2, a messenger's sarcastic salutation ("good hunting") to the Sheriff inspires the Sheriff to lead a hunt in Sherwood Forest, which results in the first Robin's death.
  • Evil Former Friend: Sarek turns out to have been Nasir's best friend before betraying the Hashishim.
  • Evil Knockoff: Gulnar's memorably-fanged golem.
  • Evil Uncle: Edgar to Robert of Huntingdon.
  • Evil Wears Black: Philip Mark.
  • Face Palm: King John does a literal one in "Rutterkin", after Robert saves Sir Richard and the other Merry Men from execution.
  • Fake Defector: Robert of Huntingdon in "The Power of Albion", Marion in "The Betrayal".
  • Fall Guy: In "The Time of the Wolf", the Sheriff blames Guy for the loss of the corn to the outlaws, when a royal envoy demands somebody's head for it.
  • False Flag Operation: In "The Betrayal", Roger de Carnac impersonates Robert and leads a group of fake Merry Men in atrocities against innocent peasants, to destroy Robin Hood's reputation.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The show was not allowed to show any blood, but nevertheless some scenes are quite disturbing by modern family TV standards, such as Baron de Belleme screaming and convulsing while dying after Robin stabs him, and Much falling into a stake-and-pit trap and being shown from above with the tip of a stake sticking out of his back.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The show was a rather eclectic mix of characters that ascribed to Christianity, mysticism, Paganism, Satanism, atheism, or Judaism, all of which had elements of their differing belief systems manifest in the show: golems, spirits, demons, witches, sorcerers, and Pagan gods.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Feet-First Introduction: Will Scarlet's reintroduction in "Herne's Son".
  • First-Name Basis: All of the outlaws with each other. The Sheriff to almost no-one, except his brother - and, oddly, Ralph of Huntingdon, whom the Sheriff pointedly calls "Ralph" (while still addressing Guy as "Gisburne").
  • Flynning: A notable aversion, at least partly because Mark Ryan (Nasir) and Robert Addie (Gisburne) were extremely competent swordsmen.
  • Forceful Kiss: Sir Guy of Gisburne to Sarah de Talmont. Owen of Clun to Marion (she punches him immediately afterwards).
  • Foreshadowing: early in season 1, Robin heads out alone on a task that has heavy potential to become a Suicide Mission. The outlaws express their concern to Robin, who tells them, "Herne prepared me for this. If I die, another will be chosen to replace me - perhaps one of you." Which is exactly what happens when Robin of Loxley is killed and Robert of Huntingdon is called by Herne to carry on his work.
  • Frame-Up: Abbot Hugo and Sir Guy, to Jennet and Thomas of Elsdon. Lord Edgar and Walter Clout, to Mad Mab (also an example of Framingthe Guilty Party).
  • Framing the Guilty Party: of a sort. Robert of Huntington's evil uncle Edgar frames his brother for contracting a witch to cast a spell on the king, picking Mad Mab, a crazy lady who tends pigs out in the woods as someone people would easily believe to be a witch. At the end of the episode, his scheme having been revealed, Lord Edgar flees on horseback and it cuts back to Mab, who casts a spell to kill Edgar, then calmly casts another one to open the locked cell door
  • French Jerk:
    • A mercenary band of them is hired by Guy in "Lord of the Trees"; they smash up a tavern just because they can. Although their leader is from Nivelles, which is in Belgium nowadays.
    • The more French a character is, the more likely they are to be a Jerkass: most of the villains are Norman nobles, and so therefore of French descent.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Will doesn't take too kindly to Little John's girlfriend when he decides to elope with her.
  • Fur and Loathing: Some of de Rainault's clothes are fur-trimmed, and Philip Mark wears an entire robe of fur.
  • Gladiator Games: The "blood games" that Owen of Clun indulges in with his fellow Marcher Lords.
  • Glass Eye: Raven in "The Inheritance".
  • Glory Days: Adam Bell tries to recapture them with Robert.
  • Got Volunteered:
    • The Sheriff shoves two of his soldiers forward to be picked off in "The Greatest Enemy".
    • Gisburne is volunteered to accompany (and betray) Sir Richard in "Herne's Son".
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The titular Swords of Wayland provide a rare villainous example.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: King Richard
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Philip Mark and Robert de Rainault. The actors actually tried to out-camp each other throughout the episode.
  • The Hashshashin: They show up a couple of times. Nasir used to be one.
  • Historical Fantasy: Had a notable element of this, despite also trying to be a fairly realistic depiction of the real Middle Ages.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Richard the Lionheart is as corrupt a figure as his brother Prince John.
    • Ironically, also a Historical Hero Upgrade, as Prince John is still played as nasty, but arguably has more dignity and intelligence than he had in real life.
      • In double irony, Richard was a pompous warrior, who couldn't speak a word of English, despised England itself (but appreciated the income from its taxes), and was the reason for John having to tax the place dry, in order to pay for his wars and his ransom when he got captured on return from Crusade. John was an awful warrior, but an excellent administrator, and it was probably largely due to his skill with money that England didn't go bankrupt thanks to his brother. Alas for history, romantic thugs were, and are, far more popular than competent administrators.
  • History Repeats: At the end of the final episode, Marion finds the dead body of Gulnar's golem copy of Robert and thinks it's Robert, which is played very seriously as a trauma. Then immediately after she leaves the Sheriff and Gisburne also arrive and find the body, and the same mistake is played for laughs.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Sheriff ropes in Robert and the outlaws to rescue his kidnapped nephew Martin (in whom he's only interested because of his lands and fortune), only to find that a few days with the outlaws is enough to destroy Martin's adulation of his Evil Uncle and decide that he's never going to see him again.
  • Holy Burns Evil:
    • Joshua de Talmont's Qabala text drives the Sheriff temporarily insane when it shows him his own evil nature.
    • In "Cromm Cruac", Marion pouring holy water into the evil magic pool breaks the spell and destroys the demon. Immediately afterwards, Gulnar appears to be burned, or at least suffer intense pain, when Marion throws more of the holy water in his face.
  • Homage: The lengthy fight between Robert and Will in "Herne's Son" is a homage to the famous fist-fight sequence in The Quiet Man.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Gulnar does this to Marion in "Herne's Son".
  • I Die Free
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: in the two-part final episode "The Time of the Wolf", Gisburne, captured by the murderous wolf cultists, accepts their invitation to join them because he's finally fed up with being the Sheriff's flunky (the last straw was when the Sheriff tried to blame Gisburne for a failure of his own, which would get him executed). Later they capture the Sheriff as well, and eventually tell Gisburne to kill him. He fails the test not because he's unwilling to kill the Sheriff but because he insists on doing it cleanly with a sword rather than butchering him with an axe. In the end they both escape and are reconciled.
  • I'll Kill You!: Shouted by Gisburne to the Sheriff in the final episode.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Isadora is considered this by her father on account of her being a girl. Though he calls in Robert to be his Spiritual Successor as the guardian of Caerleon, Robert declines and points out Isadora as a much better option.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Gisburne is reluctantly subjected to one by the Sons of Fenris.
  • Insult to Rocks: Roger de Carnac calls the outlaws pigs. Robert calls de Carnac a pig. Will states that that's an insult to pigs.
  • Ironic Name: The elderly protector of Caerleon and the Round Table is a man called Lord Agrivaine, said to be the latest in a long line of Agrivaines dating back to the time of Camelot. Anyone who knows their Arthurian mythology will know that the original Agrivaine would have been the last person willing to guard the Round Table.
  • Kick the Dog: Moth kicks a dog aside as he stalks through Nottingham town's main square.
  • Kill the God: In "Lord of the Trees", Gisburne orders a hired mercenary to shoot Herne.
  • King Arthur: Pops in for a brief cameo at the end of "The Inheritance", which centres around his original Round Table.
  • King Incognito: King Richard does this in "The King's Fool".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Edward of Wickham curses Gisburne after the Blessing is desecrated; the resultant divine retribution is swift and quite apt.
  • Left Hanging:
    • In "The Enchantment", one of Baron de Belleme's concubines is successful in resurrecting his dead body. The Baron is last seen in his castle, planning his next scheme, and that's the last we ever see or hear of him.
    • In the finale of the entire series, Marion opts to reject Robert's marriage proposal and become a nun. Richard Carpenter was relying on a fourth series in order to resolve these issues, but he never got the chance.
    • In a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, our final shot of the Sheriff and Gisburne is them merrily taking Robert's dead body to Newark in a cart, unaware that the corpse is actually just a golem that is already crumbling away. King John's inevitable reaction to this is tantalizingly left up to the imagination.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Robert's fights with Tuck and Nasir in "Herne's Son" both start with at least one person unaware of who the other is.
  • Lightning Reveal: Guy's face in "The Cross of St. Ciricus".
  • Love Confessor: The Abbot of Thornton Abbey, to Marion.
  • Love Potion: Gulnar administers one to Marion.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: In different episodes, Albion burns Guy's and Grendel's hands when they try to use it to kill Robert.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: In "The Swords of Wayland". There are even seven outlaws exactly!
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Sarak.
  • Men of Sherwood: The outlaws, naturally.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: The outlaws get blank whited-out eyes while under Morgwyn's mind-control spell.
  • Mob-Boss Suit Fitting: The Sheriff in "Herne's Son", looking over new robes from his tailor while extorting gold from Sir Richard.
  • The Mole: Henry of Skipton.
  • Mooks: The Sheriff's guards.
  • Moral Guardians:
    • Richard Carpenter got into trouble with this lot in his use of Herne, who was misinterpreted as a Satanic figure.
    • Mary Whitehouse and her organisation also complained bitterly about Carpenter conducting Satanic masses in a real abbey ("The Swords of Wayland"). When, at an archery meet, this was mentioned to him, Carpenter wryly concluded, "These people don't know how TV is made. They just don't realise that just because we walk through the front door of a location, it doesn't mean in the next scene we're in its actual crypt and not a studio set."
  • Mythology Gag: On the DVD, one blooper real ends with the cast and crew singing the famous "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen" theme song from The Adventures of Robin Hood.
  • Naked People Are Funny: After Will and Much think they've been infected by leprosy, they tear their clothes off and jump in the river. The other outlaws find it amusing until they learn what happened.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Sons of Fenris are a (relatively) subtle Middle Ages example. They greet Gulnar by shouting "Hail Gulnar" and punching the air, they use a sun cross as their symbol (which is not necessarily Nazi in nature, but is a banned Nazi emblem in Germany when used in an overt right-wing political context), and Adolf Hitler had a personal near-totemic fascination with wolves.
  • Neck Lift: Gulnar is lifted off the ground and strangled to death one-handed by his golem. Justified since the golem is meant to be superhumanly strong.
  • Neutral Female:
    • Deconstructed with Queen Isabella. During an assassination attempt she flees in terror, and watches as Robert and her attacker fight, actively following them through the church just so she can watch them go at it. Finally Robert has the assassin unarmed and at his mercy, at which point Isabella shoots him in the back with a crossbow.
    • Sarak's woman, shown in the Flash Back during which Nasir and Sarak fight.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: The "insane" Welshman who frees Robin from the mind-controlled Merry Men in "The Swords of Wayland", and turns out to be an agent for Herne.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Gisburne gets increasingly frustrated by them in Lichfield.
  • On Patrol Montage: Used at the beginning of "The Power of Albion" to show the outlaws getting back to normal business under Robert of Huntingdon.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Subverted in "The Betrayal": there's a sequence which is designed to make the audience worry that Marion and Much might really think the other outlaws have turned evil due to a partially-overheard conversation between Will and Tuck, but it turns out that they never believed it.
  • Overlord Jr.: The Sheriff's influence is turning his nephew Martin into this, to the horror of Martin's mother.
  • Playing Possum: Robert does this in "The Inheritance" to trick Raven and his men.
  • Prisoner Exchange: A variation when the Sheriff exchanges Much for his nephew Martin - it isn't the outlaws who have captured Martin but a different outlaw, who Robert and the usual crew have to rescue Martin from first.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Roger de Carnac's band of outlaw impersonators.
  • Psycho Sidekick: The utterly evil Moth to the morally-grey Adam Bell.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Robert of Huntingdon has to persuade all the outlaws to get back together when Marion is kidnapped.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Happens to Wickham at the hands of Bertrand of Nivelles and his gang, and Caerlon at the hands of Raven and his gang.
  • Really Dead Montage: Plays during the flaming arrows fired for Tom and Dickon at the end of the first episode. The first Robin also gets one of these, as the remaining outlaws shoot fiery arrows into the sky and recall significant moments with him.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme got a more upbeat and percussive rerecording for the third season.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Generally averted, as just about every character with any social power will be evil.
    • The closest is Earl Godwin in "The Swords of Wayland" - it's strongly hinted that he agrees with Robin that there's something dodgy about Morgwyn, and deliberately lets Robin and Marion escape.
    • The Abbot of Thornton is also fairly helpful, once he's finished insulting Tuck.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Adam Bell.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Morgwyn of Ravenscar and the Hounds of Lucifer.
  • Red Filter of Doom: The beginning and ending of "The Swords of Wayland".
  • Religion of Evil: The Sons of Fenris.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In one of the third season episodes, we are introduced to the Sheriff's nephew Martin. Though he's never been seen or mentioned before, he's apparently been living in Nottingham Castle for the past two years.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Robert of Huntingdon at the end of the series, due to him leaving the dead body of Gulnar's golem copy of him lying around right in the open where people could see it.
  • Richard The Lion Heart: As played by John Rhys-Davies.
  • Rightful King Returns: Deconstructed mercilessly when King Richard comes back from the Crusades - and all Richard Carpenter had to do was accurately depict the historical events surrounding his return.
  • Royal "We": King Richard.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Tom and Dickon. Introduced to us as if they are going to be series regulars, with the requisite backstory and inferred character arcs that go with that, but both are dead and buried by the time the third episode rolls around.
  • Satan: The two-part episode "The Swords of Wayland" involves a group of evil nuns trying to release Lucifer out of hell. Seriously.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Cauldron of Lucifer.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The outlaws use the Sheriff's to break into the castle in "The Sheriff of Nottingham".
  • Shameful Strip: Philip Mark commands that de Rainault be dressed in rags as a prelude to exile from Nottingham Castle.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The depraved bandit Raven, in "The Inheritance", has a speech about how he used to be an idealistic Christian until he found out what going on a crusade was actually like.
  • Shirtless Captives: The Sons of Fenris force Gisburne to join them and don their shirtless "uniform" of wolfskins, collar, and harness, while Robert is ordered to remove his tunic before being chained to a pillar.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Will in "The Inheritance".
    • Nasir and Sarak when fighting in "The Sheriff of Nottingham".
    • Parodied with the Sheriff, whose on-screen baths are played for comedic effect.
  • Shout-Out: The Watch in Litchfield in "Herne's Son" have a strong resemblance to the Watch characters in Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The writers not only knew the name of the late 12th c. Earl of Huntingdon but that he was a member of the Scottish royal family. David of Huntingdon's eldest son WAS named Robert, though he is supposed to have died young - or been disinherited?
    • According to the DVD Commentary, one left-handed extra whose scene required her to write in a ledger was asked to write with her right hand, considering the stigma against left-handed people in those days.
    • They also demonstrated a surprisingly accurate view of England in the Middle Ages (save for the obviously fantastic bits), up to and including the incorporation of historical ephemera (like the fact that King Richard once forced his noblemen to bid on their titles at an auction in Nottingham). Most of their take upon the Robin Hood legend is also well-rooted in oft-times obscure earlier versions.
    • Phil Rose, who played Friar Tuck, also expressed his admiration for the attention to detail, noting that one particular director would refuse to film a forest scene if the location included any species of tree that wasn't around in the Middle Ages.
    • When The Knights Templar showed up, one of them spoke only German (although he clearly understood his leader's French). He addressed the leader not with any of the ordinary German words for leader or commander, but as "Komtur" — a word that refers only to a commander in a knightly order such as the Templars.
    • Most writers who failed to do their research would have had Marion riding sidesaddle, as the 1938 film does; it's "common knowledge" that 'proper' women didn't ride astride until less than a century ago. In fact, a sidesaddle that allows a woman to control her own horse at a gallop (as seen in the film) wasn't invented until the time of Queen Victoria. Marion riding astride is not only historically accurate, but impressively researched.
    • How many people know Prince John had a first wife named Hadwisa that he divorced on grounds of barrenness? He was actually right about that. Hadwisa was a wealthy heiress and married twice after John but never had any children.
    • The description of the evil pagan god Cromm Cruac in the episode of the same name comes from a genuine Irish legend, whose main source really is a manuscript called the Book of Leinster.
    • Sir Philip Marc (note spelling) was a real person who was Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and later Lincolnshire under King John, and made himself so unpopular that one clause of Magna Carta specifically included him and his relatives in a list of people to be stripped of all royal offices.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: In this version, the silver arrow won at the tournament is a relic sacred to Herne. Richard Carpenter was actually the first writer to change it from gold to silver in order to better embody occult values. Robin uses it to stab Baron de Belleme to death, with the implication being that it was a specially effective weapon against a black magician.
  • Sinister Minister: Morgwyn in "The Swords of Weyland", an abbess who is secretly the leader of one of England's nastiest black magic covens.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Bertrand of Nivelles, Guy's old army buddy now a leader of a gang of mercenaries, is a hair-trigger sociopath ready to rape, vandalise, or simply murder whenever he feels like it.
  • Sound-Only Death: Meg being killed by soldiers in John's nightmare and later vision in "Cromm Cruac".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The bizarre clucking sounds that accompany Marion when she enters Sherwood for the first time.
  • Spit Take: The Sheriff's reaction to Gisburne's suggestion that Robert of Huntingdon is the new Hooded Man.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Robin of Loxley to Marion, in the second episode.
    • Robert of Huntingdon to Isadora, when he insists she stay out of the fight to protect Caerleon Castle.
    • Robert of Huntingdon in the final episode, telling Alison of Wickham "no women!" despite Marion being one of the outlaws.
  • Supernatural Aid: The Silver Arrow, which Herne calls Robin's "protection."
  • Surroundedby Idiots: The sheriff is hindered in his attempts to capture the outlaws by both Gisburn's incompetence and the poor quality of his soldiers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Sermon: Abbot Martin gives some subversive homilies about justice and the people - mentioning Robin Hood by name - in "The Cross of St. Ciricus".
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Isadora, though she's fooling no one.
  • Talkative Loon: Mad Mab has a tendency to babble.
  • Tarot Troubles: "The Inheritance" begins with Agrivaine instructing his daughter Isadora in a Tarot reading that predicts the entire episode. Bonus points for three of the four cards being Death, The Hanged Man, and The Tower.
  • That Man Is Dead: Will's backstory, related in the first episode; he changed his name after catching up with the mercenaries who'd raped and murdered his wife.
    "My name was Will Scathlock. It's Scarlet now."
  • The Dog Bites Back: Gisburne is absolutely terrible to his soldiers, having them routinely whipped for minor infractions. When King John has Gisburne removed for incompetence, and thrown in the dungeons in The Prophecy. His soldiers take the opportunity to empty their latrine bucket on his head.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Martin recognises how evil his uncle is and rejects him when the Sheriff tries to ambush Robert when he brings Martin back to him, after rescuing him from Adam Bell.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Baron de Belleme has two girlfriends, who do little more than look hot in his first episode, but do a bit more in "The Enchantment". In his first appearance, Prince John is seen to retire to his bedroom with two women. In "The Time of the Wolf", Gulnar is accompanied by two witchy barbarian babes who are identified in the credits as "Maidens", although their appearance and manners don't suggest that. On the good side, Nasir is seen to be rather suggestively welcomed by two women when the outlaws arrive at the Blessing festivities. Maybe he can do it and still stay moral because of Islamic polygamy...
  • Title Theme Tune: Almost: "Robin... Robin... The hooded man." Repeat. Endlessly.
  • Too Happy to Live: A non-fatal variation, though it's played straight in almost every other respect: Robert and Marion confess their love and prepare to marry, the outlaws and the villagers steal back the grain that was taken from them by the Sheriff, everyone is getting ready for the celebrations that night... and then, on returning to Wickham, they discover that all the women and children have been taken, the rescued grain has been burnt, and the wedding has to be postponed and eventually cancelled, after Marion is led to believe that Robert has died.
  • Torture Technician: "The King's Devil" in "The Power of Albion", although he never gets to torture anyone on-screen.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot:
    • A partial solar eclipse appears over the defeated Morgwyn as she flees. (This was a real solar eclipse that occurred during filming.)
    • A total lunar eclipse is shown when Isadora takes the oath of fealty.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Cromm Cruac (also an example of a Vanishing Village).
  • Tracking Device: A medieval-tech version in "Adam Bell", when Nasir damages one of the shoes of Adam's horse so that its footprints can be tracked. Adam notices and is ready for them.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: The villagers in "The Swords of Wayland" against the Hounds of Lucifer. The villagers of Wickham in "The Time of the Wolf" against the Sons of Fenris.
  • Trash the Set: The outdoor set used for the village of Wickham in the third season was redressed to play the village of Cromm Cruac in the episode of the same name, and then actually burned down for the episode's fiery ending.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Most episodes in which the heroes leave Nottinghamshire.
  • Trust Password: In a sense. The new Robin is trying to muster the group again, but Will Scarlet says gloomily that they've lost the fire that they had with the old:
    Robert of Huntingdon: No, Scarlet. Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.
    (Scarlet looks thoroughly spooked)
    Scarlet: What did you say?
    Robert: You heard me.
    Scarlet: No ... it wasn't you I heard.
  • *Twang* Hello
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • The serfs on more than one occasion.
    • Little John calls Robin this (half jokingly), when the outlaws turn up at Baron de Belleme's castle in order to save him and are told, "I thought I told you to stay in Sherwood!"
  • The Unsmile: The barber in the Sheriff's nightmare. Terrifying.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: Arthur of Brittany's real identity from "The Pretender".
    • Mad Mab's real identity (as well as who her husband, the person she saw Edgar murder was) in "Rutterkin"
  • Unwilling Suspension:
    • When Abbot Hugo is captured in "The Prophecy", his guardsmen are kept overnight with their wrists bound to trees.
    • "The Sheriff of Nottingham" restrains the Sheriff in the same fashion.
    • Marion, Isadora, and Much are shackled with their arms over their heads in "The Inheritance."
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Martin de Rainault.
  • The Vamp: Lilith.
  • Villain of the Week: Despite the prominence of various recurring villains, the story did have these. Often they appeared in episodes where the outlaws leave Sherwood, but in other episodes they were usually one-off Psychos For Hire or Sociopathic Soldiers who the Sheriff or King John set on the outlaws.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The Abbot of Thornton constantly insults Tuck, but actually likes and respects him.
  • Voodoo Doll: Lilith makes two (one of herself and one of Robin), in order to make a Love Potion.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction:
    • Marion's dress flies up as she jumps from the loft in "The King's Fool."
    • Will Scarlet in a short, wet robe in "The Cross of St. Ciricus", climbing up a sheer rock face with no underwear. It perhaps wouldn't have been so bad if the camera hadn't been positioned low, pointing directly up. In the same episode, Guy of Gisburne wears wet beige clothing with black underwear beneath.
  • We Can Rule Together: Adam Bell tries this on Robert and is rejected. In the very next episode, Arthur of Brittany tells Robert that he'll give him wealth and security, only for Queen Isabella to shoot him in the back midway through his speech.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens in the third season, after King John appoints a new, even worse, Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • We Were Your Team: Happens between the second and third seasons - the merry men disbanded after the death of the original Robin and it takes the coming of the new one to pull them back together.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Robin of Loxley's refusal to kill Guy while killing huge numbers of soldiers.
    • Averted in "The Betrayal", where the outlaws kill Roger de Carnac but let his followers off with a beating. Even though they had quite unambiguously murdered innocents in cold blood, unlike many mooks who the outlaws casually kill.
  • Whole Plot Reference: It may be a coincidence, but "Cromm Cruac" has suspicious similarities of concept to the Doctor Who story "Castrovalva", from a couple of years before: an apparently idyllic community and place of healing turns out to be a doomed trap set for the protagonists by a recurring villain.
  • Win-Win Ending: The ending of "Alan-a-Dale". Alan and Mildred get to marry; the "dowry" the outlaws stole turns out out to be worthless rocks, but Mildred gives them a valuable necklace to compensate; the Sheriff gets to keep the dowry that he claimed the outlaws stole, and doesn't have to marry a woman he despises. The only unhappy person is Mildred's father, who doesn't even appear on screen.
  • Woman Scorned: Queen Hadwisa.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: In "Adam Bell" the Sheriff nearly strikes Martin after the latter's Surprise Checkmate, but stops and ruffles the boy's hair instead; later in the same episode, Adam Bell harshly scolds his band of ruffians for mistreating Martin.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Marion plays one of these on the other outlaws after she's fed up with being left out. She jumps on Robin's back and begins to pummel him, only for the others to gather around and cheer her on. Robin throws her off, she fakes an injury, and when the others help her to her feet, all gentleness and concern, she begins to beat them with a switch.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When John is attacked and left for dead by Gulnar's copy of Robert, he and all the other Merries assume that the real Robert is under Gulnar's mind control, given the several times something similar has happened in the past.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Sheriff pulls off a simple but impressive one in "Alan-a-Dale" by replacing his fiancée's dowry of silver coins with rocks, so that when Robin, et al. inevitably break in and steal the money-chest, they get nothing but a box of stones. Since the bride's father believes that Robin's gang has the money, he can't ask for it back, and the Sheriff can keep the silver without having to marry "that stupid girl".
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Used often with the sword Albion.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: The initial band of Merry Men consists of most of the guys who are imprisoned with Robin, after he and Much are arrested for poaching.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Tried to invoke it with Arthur, the rat an old mad man keeps in the cell. But he's just too darn cute!
  • You Go, Girl!: The plot of "The Inheritance" is sparked off by the elderly Lord Agravaine believing that his daughter Isadora is unsuitable to succeed him as guardian of the Round Table because she's a girl. Robert persuades him otherwise, with the ghostly King Arthur's approval.
  • You Got Spunk: Owen of Clun does the creepy version of this to Marion after he forcibly kisses her and she punches him (not a slap, a full punch) in the face.
  • You Have Failed Me: Morgwyn is killed by her demon-possessed followers when her attempt to release Lucifer is defeated.


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