Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Robin of Sherwood (1984-86)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment Ltd

Main image of Robin of Sherwood (1984-86)
Goldcrest/HTV for ITV, tx. 28/4/1984 - 28/6/1986
3 series of 24 x 55 min episodes total (first episode 2 hours), colour
CreatorRichard Carpenter
Production CompaniesHTV
 Goldcrest Films and Television
ProducersPaul Knight
  Esta Charkham
Writers Richard Carpenter, John Flanagan, Anthony Horowitz, Andrew McCullock
Music Clannad

Cast: Michael Praed (Robin of Loxley); Jason Connery (Robert of Huntingdon); Judi Trott (Marion); Clive Mantle (Little John); Ray Winstone (Will Scarlet); Phil Rose (Brother Tuck); Mark Ryan (Nasir); Peter Llewellyn Williams (Much); Nickolas Grace (Sheriff of Nottingham); Robert Addie (Guy of Gisburne); Philip Jackson (Abbot Hugo); John Abineri (Herne the Hunter); Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wickham)

Show full cast and credits

The adventures of Robin Hood, who leads a rebellion against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham under the guidance of the mystical Herne the Hunter.

Show full synopsis

After their success with Dick Turpin (ITV, 1978-81), producer Paul Knight and writer Richard Carpenter retraced the basic template - thieves outwit the decadent rich and powerful - back to its source in their vivid re-imagining of the Robin Hood ballads, enriching the familiar folk myth for a new TV generation.

If the escapism of The Adventures of Robin Hood (ITV, 1955-59) seemed to reflect the basically optimistic outlook of its era, and the dour The Legend of Robin Hood (BBC, 1975) fitted in with the social and economic unrest of 1970s Britain, then Robin of Sherwood was quite definitely of its time. It cannily exploited a growing dissatisfaction with the money-grabbing materialism of Thatcher's Britain, tapping into the burgeoning environmental movement and a growing interest in paganism, alternative lifestyles and a rejection of authority and the moneyed classes.

The commingling of traditional thrills with sword and sorcery helped make the show hugely popular, as did the chart-topping music by Irish band Clannad and the star-making central performance by Michael Praed. He brought a striking innocence and youthful exuberance to his portrayal of a heroic yet fallible Robin of Loxley, anointed by 'Herne the Hunter' to be the 'Hooded Man' and free the people of Nottingham in a clear parallel of the Merlin and King Arthur legend. In most episodes Robin's idealism is contrasted with the bloodlust of a cynical Will Scarlet (a scene-stealing Ray Winstone) and tempered by the soulful Marion and Little John. A late addition to the cast, Nasir the Saracen, broadened the racial canvas of the show in a way that would influence subsequent film and TV versions of the story.

Another asset was the show's striking visual design, established by first series director Ian Sharp, with ravishing 'chocolate box' cinematography making heavy use of filters and coloured gels, while elaborate camerawork and action sequences provided viewers with the a look and feel of a movie rather than a weekly television series. When Praed left at the end of the second series, Carpenter killed off Loxley in 'The Greatest Enemy' (tx. 13/4/1985), enabling him to use the alternate version of the myth, in which Robin Hood was actually nobleman Robert of Huntingdon (Jason Connery), in the next series. Despite many excellent episodes, the extended third series proved to be the last after production company Goldcrest found itself in financial difficulties.

Sergio Angelini

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Forest fight (2:39)
2. Dining with the King (3:58)
3. Archery contest (1:53)
4. Trial by fire (2:44)
Complete episode: 'The King's Fool' (52:00)
Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1955-59)
Carpenter, Richard (1929-2012)
Davis, Philip (1953-)
Winstone, Ray (1957-)