This has got to be by far the best television interpretation of the Robin Hood story since the origin Richard Greene series of the 1950's and 1960s which are classics and stand on their own without comparison.
I am and have been since a boy an avid collector of anything 'Robin Hood' and so I purchased the VHS complete set when they were released and they were one of the first that I upgraded to DVD. I have watched these episodes several times but this was the first time I have revisited them from beginning to end for several years over several consecutive nights.
There were three seasons, composed of 26 one-hour long episodes transmitted from 1984 until 1986. The show was shot almost entirely on location, mostly in the northeast and southwest of England in and around Bristol and its surrounding counties. Primary locations were the Blaise Castle Estate in North Bristol and Vassals Park to the south.
Robin of Sherwood is one of the best treatments of the core Robin Hood legend since The Adventures of Robin Hood, featuring a realistic period setting and costumes and introducing the character of a Saracen outlaw and was given a slightly mythical feel by the occasional mystical episode and the appearance of a Herne the hunter character who may or may not be real but gives Robin guidance and encouragement.
Michael Praed played Robin of Loxley in the first two seasons but the character was killed off at the end of season two and replaced with another 'Man in the Hood' played by Jason Connery. The outlaw band featured Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle, Mark Ryan and Phil Rose,with Judy Trott as Maid Marion. The Sheriff of Nottingham was excellently presented by Nickolas Grace and Guy of Gisburne by Robert Addie.
The third season end with a cliff hanger episode which was sadly never to be resolved as Goldcrest the shows financial backers ran out of capital and the fourth season was cancelled; HTV could not afford to finance it alone, and so Robin of Sherwood came to an unexpected and abrupt end.
Never-the-less this is probably the best 'Robin Hood' (with the exception of the movie Robin and Marion) made since the early 1980s and has stood the test of time both in the quality of production and the filming.
Hmm, Praed or Connery, well that is the question that is always asked isn't it! Much like other reviewers I seem to recall from the time when this was on the TV that Praed was my favourite and Connery was no where near as good as the replacement.
How surprised was I then when I watched this DVD and the second part and absolutely loved it. Connery's Robin [Robert] is somewhat different to Praed but watching this again he plays it very well and I really think he is as good as MP in the role. The series itself is entertaining. I didn't think the storylines had quite the same punch for me as the first two series but they are still very entertaining none the less and it still warrants five stars in my opinion. Good casting with the originals back in it, lovely scenery, well shot and as usual the haunting Clannad tunes will keep you glued to the TV.
Not convinced by Jason Connery's acting which lacks a real depth of expression.That said, the idea of introducing Robert of Huntingdon is a good one and is refreshingly different from the firebrand yeoman in Michael Praed. The episodes in the first part of this series are quite good ( two of them are written by Antony Horowitz), but some of the Arthurian stuff is plain nonsense and looks it. The episode entitled the "Sheriff of Nottingham" is particularly good and entertaining. For those of you who dislike the seemingly anti-Christian ,pro-pagan element that Carpenter has introduced, the "Cross of st Ciricus" confounds that completely. In this series, also, Much the Miller's son comes of age which is nice to see.
Great stuff - although Jason Connery was a little wooden, would have been good to see how Michael Praed would've continued this role. Definitely worth a watch though - the wolf teeth being a highlight.
After a superb two seasons with Michael Praed at the helm as Robin of Loxley, how do you continue the story when that character is dead? Easy, you do this...
At the end of Season 2, with the outlaws captured and Robin trapped and killed on the hillside, who then is the mysterious hooded man who frees the merry men and appears at the finale to fire his own arrow of tribute into the lake?
We find out. This mysterious figure is revealed to be Robert of Huntingdon, played by Jason Connery, and he can seamlessly fit into the alternative legend of Robin Hood, that of the son of the Earl of Huntingdon, a nobleman.
Connery's blond hair contrasting with the dark hair of Michael Praed tells you that there is a new Hooded Man in Sherwood, and the Sheriff of Nottigham, and Guy of Gisburne are both fearful and angry at the news. So the series begins with the outlaws disbanded, and distrusting of this pretender who tries to rally them together again. Robin of Loxley may be dead, but Herne's Son lives again...
Fans of the first two series may be dubious about the replacement of Michael Praed (Robin of Loxley) with Jason Connery (Robert of Huntingdon). The Merry Men were certainly dubious about it in the opening episode :-) and it's fair to say that Connery struggles to match the intensity that Praed brought to the role, coming across more as a goofy nice-guy than a fiery outlaw leader. However, once you get over Praed's departure, there are ample compensations... Series three sees the production team finally getting the resources the series deserved. The first two series were inspired in terms of Richard Carpenter's vision, but there was always the feeling of constraint: not enough time to really polish the scripts, not enough money for the highest production values (remember the woollen chain mail in series 1?). Here, we see what can be achieved when you spend 100s of thousands per episode and hire specialist, skilled script writers -- the attention they were able to lavish on the dialogue and story lines shows, because this is gripping stuff. The odd thing is, I never really took to series three back when it was first shown on TV -- I guess I was too committed to the Praed version and never accepted Connery. Now, from the vantage point of a couple more decades, I can see how good this final series really was. And that's the sad bit: Goldcrest went bust and there was no one in a position to pick up the financing of series 4, which (having read what Carpenter had in mind) might well have been awesome. The extras in series three are excellent -- including some of the funniest outtakes I've ever seen! and something that comes across in the cast interviews is that all of them enjoyed this, all of them had the time of their lives. And that shows on the screen, too.