Robin of Sherwood

Robin of Sherwood

Opening title
Created by Richard Carpenter
Starring Michael Praed
Judi Trott
Nickolas Grace
Robert Addie
Jason Connery
Mark Ryan
Opening theme "Robin (The Hooded Man)" by Clannad
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 26 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Paul Knight
Esta Charkham
Patrick Dromgoole
Running time 50 mins (1 hour with adverts)
Production company(s) HTV
Goldcrest Films
Distributor ITV Studios
Original network ITV
Original release 28 April 1984 – 28 June 1986

Robin of Sherwood (retitled Robin Hood in the United States) is a British television series, based on the legend of Robin Hood. Created by Richard Carpenter, it was produced by HTV in association with Goldcrest, and ran from 1984 to 1986 on the ITV network. In America it was retitled Robin Hood and shown on the premium cable TV channel Showtime and, later, on PBS. The show starred Michael Praed and Jason Connery as two different incarnations of the title character. Unlike previous adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood combined a gritty, authentic production design with elements of real-life history, 20th century fiction, and pagan myth. The series is also notable for its musical score by Clannad, which won a BAFTA award.


There were three seasons, composed of a two-hour opening episode and 24 one-hour long episodes, although the pilot is sometimes screened as two one-hour episodes. The episodes comprising "The Swords of Wayland" were transmitted as one episode in the UK on their original screening, on a bank holiday weekend in 1985. The show was shot on film and almost entirely on location, mostly in the northeast and southwest of England; HTV West in Bristol was the base of operations, and most of the filming was done in and around Bristol and its surrounding counties. Primary locations were the Blaise Castle Estate in North Bristol and Vassals Park to the south.

Together with Richard Lester's 1976 film Robin and Marian, Robin of Sherwood is one of the most influential treatments of the core Robin Hood legend since The Adventures of Robin Hood, featuring a realistic period setting and introducing the character of a Saracen outlaw.

Michael Praed played Robin of Loxley in the first two seasons. His 'Merry Men' consisted of Will Scarlet (Ray Winstone), Little John (Clive Mantle), Friar Tuck (Phil Rose), Much (Peter Llewellyn Williams), the Saracen Nasir (Mark Ryan) and Lady Marian (Judi Trott). He is also assisted by Herne the Hunter (John Abineri). As in the legend, Robin is opposed by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Nickolas Grace) and Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie), as well as the Sheriff's brother Abbot Hugo (Philip Jackson) (representing all the greedy abbots in the legends).

At the end of the second season, Robin of Loxley is killed, and Robert of Huntingdon (played by Jason Connery) replaces him as Robin Hood. During the course of the third season, the new Robin discovers that he is the half-brother of his nemesis Guy of Gisburne (an idea suggested to Carpenter by the fact that both actors had blond hair). This particular story arc was never resolved, as the show's intended fourth (and final) season was never made. The sudden cancellation also broke off Robin and Marion's intended marriage and left Marion at Halstead Abbey as a novice.

At the conclusion of Season Three, Goldcrest was forced to pull out of the venture, due to a downturn in the fortunes of their film arm. Goldcrest had been responsible for critical and commercial hits such as Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982) earlier in the 1980s, but had hit a lean period with such films as Revolution (1985) and Absolute Beginners (1986). The series was expensive to produce; HTV could not afford to finance it alone, and so Robin of Sherwood came to an unexpected end.

Cast and characters

The Merry Men

Main antagonists

Other notable characters


# Title Director Writer Original Air Date
Guest cast
1.1 Robin Hood and the Sorcerer (Part 1) Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 28 April 1984
Anthony Valentine as Baron Simon de Belleme, Mark Audley as Dickon, Paul Duggan as Tom
1.2 Robin Hood and the Sorcerer (Part 2) Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 28 April 1984
Anthony Valentine as Baron Simon de Belleme, Mark Audley as Dickon, Paul Duggan as Tom
1.3 The Witch of Elsdon Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 5 May 1984
Angharad Rees as Jennet of Elsdon, Cornelius Garrett as Thomas of Elsdon
1.4 Seven Poor Knights From Acre Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 12 May 1984
Yves Beneyton as Reynald de Villaret, Duncan Preston as Heinrich von Erlichshausen, Simon Rouse as Siward
1.5 Alan A Dale Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 19 May 1984
Peter Hutchinson as Alan a Dale, Stephanie Tague as Mildred
1.6 The King's Fool Ian Sharp Richard Carpenter 26 May 1984
John Rhys-Davies as King Richard the Lionheart, Gary Waldhorn as Hubert Walter
2.1 The Prophecy Robert Young Richard Carpenter 9 March 1985
John Nettles as Peter de Leon, Phil Davis as Prince John, George Baker as Richard of Leaford, Simon Dutton as Mark
2.2 The Children of Israel Alex Kirby Richard Carpenter 16 March 1985
David de Keyser as Joshua de Talmont, Katharine Levy as Sarah de Talmont, Amy Rosenthal as Esther de Talmont, Adam Rosenthal as Samuel de Talmont
2.3 Lord of the Trees James Allen Richard Carpenter 23 March 1985
Oliver Tobias as Bertrand de Nivelle
2.4 The Enchantment James Allen Richard Carpenter 30 March 1985
Gemma Craven as Lilith, Jeremy Bulloch as Edward of Wickham
2.5 The Swords of Wayland (Part 1) Robert Young Richard Carpenter 6 April 1985
Rula Lenska as Morgwyn of Ravenscar, Dallas Adams as Peter Verdelet, Norman Bowler as Adam the Miller, Anthony Steel as Earl Godwin, Nick Brimble as Earl Godwin's captain, Marcus Gilbert as Lucifer, Glen Murphy as Sir William Marshall
2.6 The Swords of Wayland (Part 2) Robert Young Richard Carpenter 6 April 1985
Rula Lenska as Morgwyn of Ravenscar, Dallas Adams as Peter Verdelet, Norman Bowler as Adam the Miller, Anthony Steel as Earl Godwin
2.7 The Greatest Enemy Robert Young Richard Carpenter 13 April 1985
Robert Daws as Hubert de Giscard, Jeremy Bulloch as Edward of Wickham, Robbie Bulloch as Matthew, Steve Dent and Mark Lewis as Arabs, Graeme Crowther as Robin Hood (uncredited)
3.1 Herne's Son (Part 1) Robert Young Richard Carpenter 5 April 1986
George Baker as Richard of Leaford, Michael Craig as Earl of Huntingdon, Oliver Cotton as Lord Owen of Clun, Richard O'Brien as Gulnar, Daniel Peacock as Sergeant Sparrow, James Coombes as Grendel, Wayne Michaels as Man Guarding Signal Fire
3.2 Herne's Son (Part 2) Robert Young Richard Carpenter 12 April 1986
George Baker as Richard of Leaford, Michael Craig as Earl of Huntingdon, Oliver Cotton as Lord Owen of Clun, Richard O'Brien as Gulnar, Daniel Peacock as Sergeant Sparrow, Wayne Michaels as Man Guarding Signal Fire
3.3 The Power of Albion Gerry Mill Richard Carpenter 19 April 1986
George Baker as Richard of Leaford, Max Faulkner as Oliver
3.4 The Inheritance Ben Bolt Anthony Horowitz 26 April 1986
Cathryn Harrison as Isadora, Cyril Cusack as Agrivaine, Jeremy Sinden as Mortimer, Derrick O'Connor as Raven, James Woodard as King Arthur, Hywel Bennett as voice of King Arthur
3.5 The Cross of St. Ciricus Dennis Abbey Richard Carpenter 3 May 1986
Dorothy Tutin as Lady Margaret, Brendan Price as Abbot Martin
3.6 The Sheriff of Nottingham Christopher King Anthony Horowitz 10 May 1986
Lewis Collins as Philip Mark, Valentine Pelka as Sarak, Robert Daws as Hubert de Giscard, Maureen Bennett as Alison
3.7 Cromm Cruac Gerry Mill Anthony Horowitz 17 May 1986
John Horsley as Abbot, Richard O'Brien as Gulnar, Claire Parker as Elena, Ian Redford as Tom the Miller, Graham Weston as William the Blacksmith, Caroline Holdaway as Mary the Miller's wife
3.8 The Betrayal James Allen Andrew McCulloch & John Flanagan 24 May 1986
Matt Frewer as Roger de Carnac, Ian Redford as Tom the Villager
3.9 Adam Bell Gerry Mill Anthony Horowitz 31 May 1986
Bryan Marshall as Adam Bell, Patrick Travis as Matthew, Amanda Hillwood as Lady Isabel, Charlie Condou as Martin, Leo Dolan as Moth, Alan Roberts and Chris Chivers as Outlaws
3.10 The Pretender Robert Young Anthony Horowitz 7 June 1986
Reece Dinsdale as Arthur, Patricia Hodge as Queen Hadwisa, William Russell as The Duke of Gloucester, Cory Pulman as Queen Isabella
3.11 Rutterkin Gerry Mill Richard Carpenter 14 June 1986
Michael Craig as Earl of Huntingdon, Ian Ogilvy as Lord Edgar, Annabel Lee as Mad Mab
3.12 The Time of the Wolf (Part 1) Sid Roberson Richard Carpenter 21 June 1986
Richard O'Brien as Gulnar, John Harding as William Brewer, James Coombes as Grendel, Maureen Bennett as Alison, Iain Armstrong as Villager
3.13 The Time of the Wolf (Part 2) Sid Roberson Richard Carpenter 28 June 1986
Richard O'Brien as Gulnar, John Harding as William Brewer, Maureen Bennett as Alison, Iain Armstrong as Villager

In repeats, episodes have frequently been broadcast out of order, and alternative orders have been suggested. The original running order creates a number of continuity errors, the most notable being Marian's father being referred to as being dead in "The Swords of Wayland" even though he was discovered to be alive in "The Prophecy" and appears in later episodes.

Places of action


Castles and cities



The music for Robin of Sherwood was composed and performed by Clannad, the Irish folk group. The show's original soundtrack, Legend, was released in 1984 and won the BAFTA award for Best Original Television Music.[1]

Three singles and one EP were released from the album: the theme-tune Robin (The Hooded Man); Now is Here; Scarlet Inside; and the remix of Robin (The Hooded Man) as featured in the third series.

While not all of the show's music is found on the Legend album, some additional pieces can be found on Clannad's albums Macalla (released 1986) and Clannad: Live in Concert, 1996 (released 2005). In November 2003, Clannad revealed on their official web site that "there were several other pieces of music recorded for the third series of Robin of Sherwood that were not included on the Legend album. Unfortunately no-one has been able to locate the master tapes of this music. The search is continuing and hopefully one day these recordings will be able to be released."[2]

Such is the longevity of the series that in 2011 the Pagan Metal band Herne released an album called 'Face of the Hunter' inspired by the series,[3] with the album intro describing the famous falling whole tone motif that occurs in each episode.



A review at, written in 2003, opines:

Robin of Sherwood is, for many people, the definitive modern version of the Robin Hood legend. Moody, atmospheric, superbly written and acted, with a haunting soundtrack by Clannad (later released as the album Legend), it was the inspiration for a generation of British fantasy role-players... That Robin of Sherwood succeeded is a tribute to the skill of writer, cast and crew. Somehow, despite its fantasy elements, it produced something earthy and captivating. Not history, nor fantasy, but a kind of "mystic history".[4]

Richard Marcus, writing on, writes in 2008:

While the series is noteworthy for its historical accuracy and for the fact that it associates Robin with pre-Christian English mythology, it was also one of the few series where they managed to kill off the main character one season and successfully continue for another year with a new actor and a new Robin Hood. ...[5]
...There's also a noticeable drop-off in the quality of the scripts from the first two seasons to the third. Part of the problem is just how many variations on the theme of keeping out of the clutches of the Sheriff of Nottingham, embarrassing his lackey Sir Guy of Gisburne, and robbing from the rich to feed the poor can there be?[6]

DVD and Blu-ray releases

In the US and Canada, the first and second series have been released by Acorn Media in a five DVD set. A second set, containing the complete third season was released on 9 October 2007

In October 2010 Network DVD announced[7] the forthcoming release of Series 1 and 2 in a single Region B Blu-ray set, entitled Robin of Sherwood: Michael Praed (the 3-Disc Blu-ray and DVD bonus disc). This was released on 15 November 2010. In the US and Canada, the first and second series were released on 7 June 2011 by Acorn Media as Robin of Sherwood: Set 1.[8]

Network DVD released[9] Blu-ray set, entitled Robin of Sherwood: Jason Connery, on 31 October 2011.

Bonus features

On The Complete Collection DVD set, there are "seventeen hours of special features", including: fourteen commentary tracks, a documentary on the folk group Clannad creating the score for the series, outtakes, bonus footage, a behind the scenes documentary, four documentaries that look back on the making of the show with former cast and crew, and other behind the scenes footage too.[10]

Audio play: The Knights of the Apocalypse

In July 2015, Bafflegab Productions, the producers of the audio play/comic book series The Scarifyers, and co-producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones announced that they were adapting a feature-length script entitled 'Robin of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse', written by Richard Carpenter before his death in 2012. Jason Connery, Judi Trott, Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle, Mark Ryan, Phil Rose, Philip Jackson, and Nickolas Grace (Robert of Huntingdon, Lady Marion, Will Scarlet, Little John, Nasir, Friar Tuck, Abbot Hugo, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, respectively) have all agreed to reprise their roles for the project, with Daniel Abineri taking the role of Herne in place of his father, John Abineri, who died in 2000. In December 2015, Barnaby Eaton-Jones took over as sole producer of the audio play, with Spiteful Puppet (the award-winning audio company who produced 'Hood') as executive producers; as approved by ITV Studios and Richard 'Kip' Carpenter's estate. The audio play is slated for a mid 2016 release, with proceeds going to the Sherwood Forest Trust and the British Red Cross.[11][12] After beginning its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in September 2015, the production set a goal of £10,000 within 30 days to cover production costs; due to enthusiastic fan support, however, the goal was reached in just under 24 hours.[13]



  • Carpenter, Richard (1984). Robin of Sherwood. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031690-6.  Novelisation of the first series (Robin Hood and the Sorcerer, The Witch of Elsdon, Seven Poor Knights from Acre, Alan-A-Dale and The King's Fool) by series creator Richard Carpenter.
  • May, Robin (1985). Robin of Sherwood and the Hounds of Lucifer. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031869-0.  Novelises the second series, but begins with The Swords of Wayland two-parter which actually came towards the end of the second series, not the beginning; it was intended to be shown first, but deferred to show its feature-length episode on the British Bank Holiday weekend. Also novelises Lord of the Trees, The Prophecy, The Children of Israel, The Enchantment, and The Greatest Enemy.
  • Horowitz, Anthony; Carpenter, Richard (1986). Robin of Sherwood: The Hooded Man. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032058-X.  Novelises Herne's Son Parts 1 and 2 and The Power of Albion from the beginning of Series Three, showing how Robert of Huntingdon became 'Robin.'
  • Carpenter, Richard (1988). Robin of Sherwood: The Time of the Wolf. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032660-X.  Novelises the final episodes of Series Three (The Cross of St Ciricus, Rutterkin, and The Time of the Wolf Parts 1 & 2).

[episodes not novelised are The Inheritance, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Cromm Cruac, The Betrayal, Adam Bell, and The Pretender. All of these are the third season episodes that were not written by Richard Carpenter.]

  • Carpenter, Richard (1990). The Complete Adventures of Robin of Sherwood. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-034450-0.  The four Robin of Sherwood novelisations in one volume.
  • Robin of Sherwood Annual 1. Egmont Books Ltd. 1986. ISBN 0-7235-6758-1. 
  • Nicholson, Russ; Staplehurst, Graham (1987). Robin of Sherwood Game Books: The King's Demon No. 1. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032294-9. 
  • Nicholson, Russ; Mason, Paul (1987). Robin of Sherwood Game Books: Sword of the Templar No. 2. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032295-7. 
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