Things to Know
About The Show: Show Background & Premise // Where to Find the Show
My RoS Experience
About the Website
Robin of Sherwood
Robin of Sherwood is a British television series. It originally aired from 1984-1986. There were 26 episodes in 3 seasons (22 if you count the 2 part episodes as one episode.) It aired in the United States on Showtime in 1991 and on PBS in 1994.
The regular cast members were as follows.
Robin of Loxley - Michael Praed
Robert of Huntington - Jason Connery
Marion of Leaford - Judi Trott
Will Scarlet - Ray Winstone
Little John - Clive Mantle
Nasir - Mark Ryan
Friar Tuck - Phil Rose
Much - Peter Llewellyn Williams
Sir Guy of Gisburne - Robert Addie
Sheriff of Nottingham - Nickolas Grace
The show was based on the legend of Robin Hood, including many familiar elements (Marion, Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck) as well as some new ones (Nasir). It hinged on the concept that Robin Hood was the chosen son of Herne the Hunter, a pre-Christian forest deity. The Hooded Man's destiny was to protect the weak and help the helpless. Robin of Loxley, Herne's first son, gathered a band of outlaws around him and with guidance from Herne, they opposed the tyranny of men like the Sheriff of Nottingham and his steward Sir Guy of Gisburne. After his death, a successor was called, Robert of Huntington. He rebuilt the band and legend continued. The show was filled with magical/fantasy elements and often the challenges the outlaws faced in their battle between good and evil were supernatural in origins, other times they were simply based in human evils.
See the episodes section for more details on the storylines of the series.TOP
Where to Find the Show
Your best bet on getting the whole series right now is to buy the recently released DVDs. All three series are now out, in 4 total sets of 2 DVDs per set. They're only being released in the UK, and they are in PAL format. But they are Region 0, not Region 2 as Network had originally said. This means, if you've got a DVD player and a TV that can switch between NTSC and PAL, you can play them in the US. Just check to make sure you have the capability to play PAL before you buy. Or if you have a multi-region DVD player, which is what I have, you should have no problems.TOP
Cost - The cost per 2 DVD set ranges from about £20/$32 to £30/$50. If you'd like to compare prices at a bunch of sites, you can use kelkoo.
Make sure you pay attention to whether you're looking at the prices for each DVD individually or if you're looking at the 2 disc set. You can buy each DVD separately...8 in all. Although there was a bonus disc that came with buying series 1 as a set which had raw behind the scenes footage (a lot of it without sound, but still cool). Don't forget to factor in postage when you're comparing prices. And if you're in the US, make sure they deliver here, because I've seen some places that only deliver to the UK.
I got mine at amazon.co.uk for about £23/$38 per set.
What are you getting? - Having seen all the DVDs, and all the special features...here's my opinion of them. They're GREAT! Hee. Of course. But seriously...it's not just having all the eps of the show. I've got the first 3 seasons of Buffy on DVD, and I loved the show back in those days so it's great to have them, but the extras aren't impressive. These are.
To be more specific... The DVDs are packed. There are at least two commentaries with each set. In the Series 1 set, there are commentaries with Richard "Kip" Carpenter (creator of the show) and Ian Sharp (director of all of series 1) on Robin Hood and the Sorceror, and The King's Fool. These were interesting, and they talk honestly about the series, including Kip bringing up things he thought he wrote badly. In the Series 2 set, there are commentaries with Paul Knight (producer) and Robert Young (director) on Sword of Wayland. These were not as interesting to me, because they had less to say, but they are still worth watching. Series 3 has the best commentaries. Mark Ryan (Nasir) and Jason Connery (Robert) on Cromm Cruac, Adam Bell, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. And best of all, they are joined by Clive Mantle for The Inheritance and Herne's Son. They have good chemistry together, and keep up an amusing commentary, teasing each other and telling some good behind the scenes stories. Anthony Horowitz (writer) and Nicholas Grace (the Sheriff) also do a commentary on Adam Bell. And Esta Chakram (producer) and Sid Roberson (director) do one on Time of the Wolf. What's really great about them is that you have perspectives from people involved with the show in every different capacity, and it's fun to see the show from each of their perspectives.
There are also several long documentaries that are a collection of interviews with the cast in the present day. As well as a few shorter ones that were made back when the show was being produced. There are even present day documentaries on Clannad and the stunt fighting of Robin of Sherwood. The current day interview docs are especially fabulous. There are some really wonderful stories told, and everyone from the cast, as well as some actors who weren't regulars and people on the other side of the camera (like Kip, Paul and Esta) participate.
Best of all there are bloopers for each season, which I just love :)
Problems and complaints? Well, I don't have any with the content of the DVDs. They're wonderful. I did have some problems with my series 2 DVDs, which some others on RoS lists have also noticed. During the "making of" documentary with the present day cast interviews, the sound on the interviews is so low it's almost inaudible. And the clips from the show that are inserted to demonstrate people's points are at normal volume. So if you put the volume WAY up so you can just manage to hear the interviews, it's blasting painfully during the clips. What I've heard about this from the Robin of Sherwood mailing list is that the sound was mixed on the wrong amount of channels, so whether you can hear it or not depends on what sort of sound system it's playing on. It's the same on all the discs, so returning it won't help. I was able to get the gist of most of the doc by putting the sound up high, so if you can't hear it on your sound system, it's a pain but it's not a complete waste. You just have to fiddle with the sound so you don't go deaf letting the clips play at SUPER high volume.
Also on the series 3 disc during the commentary for Sheriff of Nottingham, the sound gets totally disjointed from the action so you hear things before they are actually happening. I didn't mind this so much, although it is a bit distracting, because it's mostly spoken over anyway with the commentary. And when I played the episode without commentary, there were no problems with the synch.
Basically, I highly recommend the DVDs, and if you've got the equiptment to play them, they're worth buying.
Where You Can Find VHS Tapes
The videos were just re-released in 2000 as two boxed sets (one Praed set, one Connery set) and there were NTSC versions of the sets, but lately the NTSC versions have become very hard to find. It seems the new sets are sold out almost everywhere. I've included the websites where I found the videos available earlier in the year, but most of them no longer have the NTSC versions. The prices were correct (though I rounded them) as of 9/19/01 but are subject to change. I'm not associated with any of the stores so I can't give any more detailed information than what's here. If you live in the UK, and have PAL video equiptment, you should be able to find RoS on video although you might have to settle for the older versions instead of the sets.
Blackstar :Straight to RoS videos
This is where I got mine and I highly recommend their service. The last time I checked the both boxed sets were available in NTSC, but that probably won't last long. In PAL, they have some older versions (individually packaged versions of the tapes) but the PAL are sold out I believe. The boxed sets come with 32 color postcards, and Blackstar pays for shipping anywhere in the world. My tapes arrived in 6 days, and in good condition. They also answered my e-mailed question very quickly.
Cost: £34 for the boxed sets in NTSC.
Individual tapes £13/$20. Postage is free.
How to Order NTSC: Make sure you pick the version that has NTSC in the title. The site says all their videos are only available in PAL and when you put it in your shopping basket it will say both NTSC and PAL, don't worry the tapes WILL come to you in NTSC format.
Network: Straight to RoS videos
The boxed sets were originally released by Network and were available earlier in the year, but their website says that the videos were a limited edition and have sold out. Individual tapes are available only in PAL.
Cost: Individual tapes are £13/$20 each. Postage (£3.50/$5.30 per order).
Boxed sets no longer available. Has the individual videos in PAL. Price is good but postage would add up outside the UK.
Cost: £11/$16 for individual videos. (In UK, postage is free. Outside UK it's £1.50/$2.55 per video.)
Says they have the boxed sets, but in PAL format only.
Cost: £52/$83.50 for each boxed set. £14/$21 per video. Postage - 10% of total, £2 minimum within the UK. 15% of total, £3 minimum to Europe. 20% of total, $5 minimum to the US and Canada.
Has only a few of the episodes available (the two part episodes). They're all in NTSC.
Episodes available: Robin Hood & the Sorcerer
The Swords of Wayland
Cost: about $11 per video + shipping ($4.95 up to 1 lb; $0.95 each additional lb.)
I've seen all the videos go on sale here, but the two part episodes are the ones most often available in NTSC. There's also been other RoS merchandise like books and magazines for sale. When you do a search you may want to try a few different varations. "Robin of Sherwood" doesn't bring up all the RoS stuff. You can also try episode titles, actor names, or just Robin Hood (but you'll get a huge amount of stuff to go through if you use that one).
Unless the NTSC versions become more widely available again, or a DVD is released, this may be your best bet in the US. (Unless your VCR or DVD player is compatible with PAL). But still, be aware of the fixed prices in other places before you bid.
How I Became a Fan
I've always been interested in Robin Hood, so when I first saw "Adventures of Robin Hood" in the tv guide in 1994 I was interested. It was on PBS at midnight on Saturday night. Unfortunately it was playing opposite Saturday Night Live, so it was a while before I actually started watching it. The first episode I saw was "Alan-a-Dale" I think. I kept flipping back and forth between SNL and RoS. Overall, I wasn't that impressed. The next episode I caught was "The Greatest Enemy." I saw only the last 15 minutes or so, but I was immediately hooked. I was in 9th or 10th grade at the time, so I wasn't supposed to be up that late since we had church every Sunday. I used to sneak out to the den in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep. One night my dad also stayed up late and I ended up hiding behind the couch for about 45 minutes waiting for him to leave. The worst part was I ended up missing most of the episode that night (The Pretender) :)
I saw all of season 3, except for an episode or two I missed because of not being able to get the tv. The only 1st or 2nd series episodes I had seen were parts of Alan-a-Dale and The Greatest Enemy, so I was (and still am) a big Huntington fan. Time of the Wolf aired, parts one and two were both aired the same night back to back. I was devastated; I cried in my bed for a couple hours that night. I checked the tv guide hoping it wasn't really going to end like that, but the show was gone from the schedule. I wrote in to the station and found out that they no longer had the rights to air RoS. Sigh. I didn't get on the internet until a couple years later so I had no idea how to get any information on the show, and no one I knew had heard of it.
I only had two episodes on tape, "The Power of Albion" and "Adam Bell" (and Adam Bell had the end cut off). Once I did find out about RoS fandom, I got involved in chats for a while, but not having seen all the episodes I felt out of my depth. So I let other interests take over.
Then this year (2000) I was updating the links page on the Buffy website and I ended up doing some RoS searching since my old links were dead. I discovered that the tapes had been re-released a couple months earlier in two boxed sets. And they were availbale in NTSC. This was something I'd been waiting on for a very long time. Six years after I was first introduced to the show I bought the tapes and finally was able to see all the episodes. I think it takes an amazing show to hold a person like that for that many years. I never forgot the show, and now that I have had the chance to see the whole run it in its entirety I decided to share my joy in discovering and re-discovering Robin of Sherwood. TOP
An Index to the Content of This Site
RoS logo - Clicking on the RoS logo brings you back to the home page.
Episodes - An episode guide with summaries of all the episodes in the form of limericks. It also includes complete, detailed descriptions of each of my favorite episodes.
Drinking Game - RoS drinking game. Takes a hopefully humorous look at some of the patterns that pop up over the course of the show. (How many times did you notice pottery being tipped over?)
Opinions - My reviews of Robin Hood related entertainment (books, movies, tv shows). Rated on a 4 arrow scale.
Profiles - Brief, kinda silly character profiles.
Top Five - RoS Top Five lists (ex. The Top Five Herne Riddles)
Fanfic - Very small section. Just my own fanfic.
Links - Annotated links; a guide to what I think are the best RoS/Robin Hood sites on the web.
Contact - E-mail me.