Robin Hood, the BBC’s dog

I’d already written off the BBC’s new production of Robin Hood as a dead dog even before it had started, purely on the basis of the trailers – over-produced and oozing production values that had more to do with some smart marketing executive puting their recently learned Techniques of Persuasion course into practice, than giving a true flavour of the forthcoming series.

I put my instant dislike down to the fact that ITV had just finished a re-run of the excellent Robin of Sherwood, (fan site) filmed in the 1980s, and which combined a gritty, authentic production design with elements of real-life history and pagan myth (and that Clannad soundtrack).

However, I chanced to surf past the BBC’s own Points of View programme this afternoon, and was more than a little surprised to hear my own thoughts being read out as viewer’s comments! The basic criticism was that Robin and his (as yet to be) Merry Men are far too young, and look like a bunch of kids with down for beards – recall that Robin is supposedly a well established and well liked Lord of the Manor, and is also supposed to just be returning from fighting for the King in foreign lands, in the Crusades.

One memorable scene from the first episode involved Robin’s encounter with a maiden, when he has to run from her father’s house after being caught in a passionate embrace. To borrow one comment from PoV, she looked as if she had most of the cosmetic counter at Boot’s plastered on her face – not exactly realistic given that most of the male cast is dressed in rags, unwashed, unshaven, ans supposedly stinking according the script. Marion’s not much better.

Giving Robin a Saracen bow, rather than an English longbow has to be another mistake, and, echoing the PoV comments again, the Sherrif of Nottingham’s portrayal is far from convincing. He speaks the words of ruthless deeds (and as we see later, carries them out), but his persona doesn’t work.

We were introduced to John Little this week, a giant of man in relative terms, and little Robin appeared to fell and subdue the larger man with one blow when they fought.

To be honest, I enjoyed The New Adventures of Robin Hood more than this, it was at least fun, being modelled after the productions of Hercules and Xena, and you knew what the producers were aiming for. With the BBC, it’s still not clear if it laughs or tears, it’s certainly not any sort of authenticity.

Just have to keep watching and hope for the best.

I was going to say it will no doubt go on to be a success. After all, for all its laughs and dialogue, The New Adventures made it.

That said, a look at the BBC’s web site for the programme showed it to have a section for viewer’s comments on the first 2 episodes so far…

So far… no comments… at all… postive or negative.

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3 Responses to “Robin Hood, the BBC’s dog”

  1. You are a fool. The new BBC robin hood kicks ass. Get a life.

  2. Well, need I say any more given the choice of language and immediate descent to personal attack, rather than the adoption of a reasoned argument regarding the subject?

    Case proven, and I didn’t even have to say a word 😉

    Actually, I do have more to say, and note that it wasn’t long before the BBC’s blog on the programme started to fill up with comment, largely negative at the start, and only getting defence towards the latter part of the series, which again probably does the talking without any additional comment.

    What probably did become clear was that they made an effort to re-work the story, and make it appealing to a new audience, and probably forgot that audience was out partying while the programme was on, with the result that the viewers didn’t come from the target group, hence the negative comments.

    They’d simply have been better to have devoted their resources to producing a better quality product, instead of wasting it, and their time, trying to spin it towards a target audience.

    Thanks for the free diagnosis though, I never realised there was a reason the big white microwave always made my tea colder instead of warmer 🙂

  3. The ‘Fool’ has been proven right, again, with the arrival of the BBC’s efforts in the second series, and still has a life too.

    Although Marion at least no longer has the appearance of a ’21st century chick’ that spent about three hours plastering the entire display of Boots No7 counter on her face before shooting started (and doesn’t she look all the more gorgeous for it), Series 2 kicked off with a preposterous reconstruction of a 20th century casino, complete with gaming tables and roulette wheel, in the sheriff’s castle.

    Add to the dopey, impregnable ‘strongroom’. I don’t know if anyone actually paid for thinking up this rubbish (I’d lake a job I could that badly and get paid for), but it was hard not to switch off when the description got to point where the last trap was described. If you didn’t notice, this was the final fate for any would be robber, to be deluged by molten lead if they stayed in the strongroom too long.

    Given that the ‘trap’ would have to be ready to spill its lead 24/7, unless robbery was ‘By Appointment’ back then, then how exactly did the sheriff full the vats that kept the lead molten, and ready to be poured at any time? Where were the fires, how many kept them stoked, where did the smoke go?

    No wonder he had to rob the people, or was it a cunning ploy, intended to clear Sherwood Forest as fuel, and flush out Robin Hood who would eventually have had no cover left to hide in.

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