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.