The New Robin Hood (BBC and ABC TV) Review

The New Robin Hood (BBC and ABC TV)

ABC TV is broadcasting the 3rd and final series of Robin Hood on ABC2 digital TV from Sunday May 1st at 7:30pm

Fans can purchase Robin Hood Series 1 and Robin Hood Series 2 from Chaos DVD’s for a competitive price

When it was first shown by the BBC in the UK the series was promoted as:

Fun, modern and intelligent, Robin Hood 2006 sets out to entertain a whole new generation [with] a unique blend of exhilarating action adventure, wit and romance. Robin Hood’s striking new look (no tights), coupled with the sharp scripts, updates the popular legend for a sophisticated contemporary audience.

Full of action, humour and romance, Robin Hood outwits and delights us as he fights the authority of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham with outrageous scams, disguises, tricks and ingenuity, breathtaking archery and incredible swordplay.

This should be a warning to viewers expecting a serious BBC drama, because that’s definitely not what this series offers. Its much closer to being light “comic book” style entertainment similar to the new series of Dr Who whose timeslot it fills when Dr Who is between series.

Some characters including the sheriff are overplayed, others like Marion have been modernised eg: she is as just as good as the men at archery or fighting and there are parallels to the current war in Iraq with Robin and Much suffering from traumatic stress disorder nightmares and questioning whether the king was tricked into going to war on false pretences.

Initially it brought to mind the movie “Robin Hood Men in Tights” but to be fair it’s not that silly and BBC1 shows are usually lightweight entertainment aimed at a broad demographic. One viewer described it to me as: “camp comedy with a bit of blood n guts” which is probably pretty accurate.

The cast list includes:

Good guys: Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong), Marian (Lucy Griffiths), Much (Sam Troughton), Little John (Gordon Kennedy), Will Scarlet (Harry Lloyd) and Allan-a-Dale (Joe Armstrong). Fans of the Robin Hood books will notice that I didn’t mention Friar Tuck, he isn’t mentioned anywhere in series 1 or Series 2.

Bad Guys: Vaysey, Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen), Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) and a host of sheriff’s black clothed men who always get beaten with ease by Robin and his men in fairly bloodless circumstances (possibly done to ensure that children are allowed to watch the show by parents).

The first series was shot in Hungary, standing in for 12th century England with a reported budget of £8 million and as the series was filmed in High Definition (HD) it should be simulcast on digital only ABC HD TV as well as the usual standard definition format on Channel 2 digital and analog.

After the first episode, the Guardian newspaper reviewer said:

The challenge for the new Robin Hood is to appeal to younger viewers while pulling in their parents as well. It will be no easy task. About as difficult, in fact, as simultaneously firing two arrows from the same bow, and both hitting the target. But as Robin showed in the opening episode, it can be done.

In the UK at least, the show succeeded in getting very good ratings (between 6-8 million viewers per episode), and the BBC has subsequently commissioned a 2nd and 3rd series. The ABC will of course be hoping that Robin Hood will provide them with winning ratings on Saturday nights here in Australia.

However I think these reasons will result in the 3rd series being unsuccessful 🙁

  • A major character Maid Marian was killed off at the end of Series 2
  • Very few “merry men” left in the gang after Will Scarlet decided to stay in the Holy Land with Djaq.
  • A lack of plot diversity (too many sheriff vs robin episodes). From memory the Robin Hood books had more varied plots with Robin and his men sometimes venturing away from Sherwood Forest

50 thoughts on “The New Robin Hood (BBC and ABC TV) Review”

  1. hrmmm, I’ve watched about 6 episodes of the first series and I’m not impressed.

    EDITOR: watching repeats on BBC eh? Lucky you to have so much choice of good TV channels

  2. Unfortunately I don’t get the BBC channels here in Thailand which is a pity because, along with the English sausage, the BBC is one of the few things I miss. Have not seen the new Robin Hood but my favourite remains the kiddie series of the 1960s.

  3. Sounds like like I should catch this one. Comcast carries a few BBC channels in the states.

    EDITOR: Robin Hood should be on BBC America because they co-produced it with BBC UK

  4. I’ve always been a fan of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I always loved the movie’s surreal antics and its tounge-in-cheek humor. It is quite refreshing and interesting to see how BBC would give a new take on this iconic legend.

  5. I think the show is brilliant, but i must say i am very disappointed that you didn’t mention the character of Jack in the “good guys” section. She is also one of Robins ‘men’ after all and should be treated with equality.

    shame shame

    EDITOR: For starters her name is “Djaq” not Jack 🙂

    Also I wrote the review before it started broadcast here in Aus so I couldn’t mention any characters who appear part way through the series without giving the story away.

  6. I wasn’t impressed at all by the new Robin Hood but I will give it a few more chances 😀

  7. I’m 73 years young,and have been fascinated by Robin Hood all my life,having been brought up in the area.I’m even more fascinated now,with that dream boat Jonas Armstrong playing the lead role!Stirs the old hormones back into life!

    Marian is a delight and the Sheriff is the absolute best I’ve seen,what a great series,see ya

  8. I watched the entire first series. I loved it, went out and bought the series on DVD.

    It was hard to get, sold out in every shop I went to. Had to order it specially as it is so popular.

    EDITOR: yeah I loved it as well, Robin Hood was a nice and simple fun series to watch on the weekends

  9. I was looking it in UK, and it did not impressed very much. I really enjoyed of previous movies of Robin Hood, but the next remake has departed from former standards of Robin Hood screen version.

  10. Hi
    I watched Robin Hood Series 1 and just looooved it.
    As soon as the DVD Box Set was on sale I bought it and watched the series time and time again. Can’t wait till the next series is on.. Thank you ABC for not letting us Fans wait too long to enjoy the viewing. My favourite Character is Sir Guy of Gisborne. Oh!!! that man is so hot and he just sizzles!!!!!!

    EDITOR: I’m told that Series 2 is just as much family friendly fun as Series 1

  11. First of all, I’m so glad ABC TV has posted the times for Robin Hood series 2 on this website. I had been looking for them since I found out they were making one.

    Secondly, I really enjoyed the series. I’ll admit it was far from historically accurate but I LOVED it all the same. I think the new ‘no tights’ look is great! I really enjoyed the series.

    I also liked the fact that there was no gore in this movie. I, being a teenager don’t mind some blood, but 1) I think it would have wrecked the story and taken the focus off the comical and witty plot and 2) my little sisters could also watch it with me.

    I LOVED the way they put a twist on some of the characters, especially Marian. In most of the Robin Hood stories, she is falling over herself to get Robin Hood to marry her, but I like the way that in this series, even though she still has feelings for Robin, she feels that he has to earn her heart. Also the twist to Allan-a-Dale and I have to say that Djaq was a wonderful character. Keith Allan did a wonderful job and my sister’s favourite was Munch. I feel that Munch was a good comic relief during the more intense scenes. But all in all, I loved it. I’m also curios of Friar Tuck, as mentioned above, whether or not he’ll make an appearance in series 2.

    It was great and I can’t wait ’till the 3rd of February.

    PS I’ve heard that they had to postpone the making of series 2 because Jonas Armstrong broke one of his toes. Is that true?

    (Feel free to cut some of my message down to size, for I did write quite alot)

    This is a fan page for Robin Hood so I wouldn’t cut down anyone’s comments

    I’m told that Series 2 is just as much family friendly fun as Series 1 so you and your sisters should enjoy it

    Friar Tuck will not be in the second series of Robin Hood as the production company didn’t think he fitted into their idea of what a modern robin hood’s team member should be.

    You’re right about the broken foot – Jonas was interviewed by ITV after being injured on set in a fight scene with Richard Armitage (Sir Guy of Gisborne)

  12. i’m english and i think we’ve finished the 2nd serius (season) or possibly third not sure, i think its the 2nd
    i’m just wondering were u r???

    i love harry loyd (will) he was also in Dr.who

    EDITOR: In Australia we’ve just started seeing Series 2

  13. How do you know all this stuff??

    EDITOR: I watch a lot of TV and am an expert at working with search engines so I know how to find information easily

  14. Just LOVE the damn thing!! – in the episode DUCKING AND DIVING where Robin found the spy was ALAN – there was a small print thing at the end of the credits mentioning ‘alan’! – it didn’t give enough time to read it!! was it a reference to the fact that Alan has been banished? just curious!!

    EDITOR: I didn’t notice anything in the credits .. did anyone else?

  15. top marks to the really colourfull sherrif, without him there would be a lot of black holes. he is also coming through as a very competant actor.
    can’t waite to see him in a different role. just to see if he is a god actor or just playing himself.

  16. Thanks for the heads up, and I always love reading the comments! I have always been an archery fan, plus enjoyed the archery shows on t.v. This was one that I could do without, I thought it was pretty “cheesy”.

    EDITOR : It’s true it is kind of cheesy, but it is light entertainment after all. It doesn’t pretend to be serious drama

  17. Ok, hi, and firstly, no offence, people on this website can’t spell.

    Secondly, yes Robin Hood:Men in Tights is a brilliant movie.

    Thirdly, since I started watching bbc, well, abc, (I live in Australia), the 7 :30 to 8:15 time slot on a Saturday became my absolute favourite time in the World. I mean, I fell in love with Robin Hood, and got seriously annoyed when it stopped, and then I discovered Doctor Who when it finished, which is also a brilliant show, although I like Robin Hood better, but don’t tell my Whovian friend Taylor that because she’ll slaughter me.

    Fourthly, my favourite character is Will. Harry Lloyd is awesome. Or Gisbourne, because I like Richard Armitage in Vicar of Dibbley,(not sure how to say, or spell that, but I watch the show). But Much and Robin come close.

    Fifthly, sorry this is so long.

    EDITOR: No need to say sorry, all comments are appreciated 🙂

  18. G’day

    I guess my favourite aspect is the combination of high camp and G rating. Not an easy one to pull off.

    Can somebody please tell me a couple of things about Producer Domenic Minghella. Firstly, is he related to the late super-soaper Anthony Minghella? Secondly, has he been with Robin Hood from the off? I ask this because, to me, the was a vast improvement between Series One and Season Two of the sort that usually follows the importation of a superior script-doctor.

    I’m writing this about three hours before the final episode of Series Two, “We are Robin Hood” airs in Australia. Combining our Editor’s reassurance that there will be a Series Three with the episode promo from ABC, it seems that one or more characters with contract conflicts will be killed off, but the cornerstone characters will remain healthy — and, no doubt, wealthy. Happy viewing, Hoodies!

    EDITOR: Domenic Minghella has been executive producer of Robin Hood from the beginning of Series 1

    He is one of five children including his brother the recently deceased Anthony Minghella

  19. hi
    firstly: when is series 3 gonna be aired in australia?
    secondly: i think that robin hood is an awesome show, but i cant believe how they ended the second series, well part of it i can, but the death, wats with that?!?!
    thirdly: i really really really hope that the 3rd series is gonna be aired in aus soon 🙂

    EDITOR: Series 3 hasn’t started in the UK yet so it’s unlikely to be on ABC TV until next year 2009

    To read discussions about the last episode of Season 2 have a look at “They’ve killed Maid Marian”

  20. Like most viewers, I was very disappointed at the killing of Marian, and can’t see how the show will remain a “classic” Robin Hood story in future series. Very disappointing, and would have been nice to have ended with a better-feeling ending than it did. It’s nice to feel good about an ending to a series, but that one was the opposite, and therefore feel it let us all down a bit. Really loved the series up to then, but could see that Marian’s character was being put in a no-win situation which I believe should have been avoided. Won’t be as good for me as the classic RH involved main characters Robin AND Marian amongst others. Big mistake it seems to me anyway.

    EDITOR: My guess is that Lucy Griffiths who played Maid Marian wanted to do other work.

  21. I recently bought the DVD’s as I’d not watched RH on ABC (Australia) while it aired. I came to it purely for the Richard Armitage (Guy of Gisborn) drool factor – but really enjoyed both series.

    Don’t knock the Sheriff – he’s superb. Perhaps you’ve just got to have the right sense of humor to appreciate it.

    The whole Marian death thing was a bit tragic (and coming late to the show, unfortunately I knew it was coming). Season 3 could be quite dark if Robin is out for Guy’s blood (figuatively of course, as you never see any) – I just hope the writers don’t go weak on that point. Marian’s death could change both characters greatly I think. Bring it on.

  22. Marian has signed on for the third series, there are a lot of rumours as to why she is not really dead ie. plot against sheriff or mirage and there is a fair bit of evidence to back this up like lack of blood etc.. wont bore you with the details but its on the net if your looking to find it. Anyway she was on the cover of FHM and it definately states that she has signed on. Sorry cant remember the link.

  23. Loved both series, have them both on DVD and am still rewatching them. Don’t know how they would work a “not dead” Marian – but even more concerned about another series without her. We can only wait and see!!!

  24. I know that series 3 is being filmed now, and will probably be on TV in 2009 sometime, but what MONTH it will be aired in Australia? I love Jonas to pieces, he is the hottest guy on this PLANET!! I have to know when the next series comes out so I can count down the days!! Thanks!!

    EDITOR: Glad to see you’re a keen fan.

    As you realise no one knows when Robin Hood series 3 will be on TV in Aus next year as it hasn’t even finished filming yet

  25. Their is no Robin Hood without a Marion. That is so stupid to enen do a robin hood story without a Marion in it. The show will flop big time without her. If she doesn’t want to come back then get a replacement. Hope she doe want to come back. Otherwise I love the show. The sheriff is great.

  26. Gee, thanks for publishing Marian’s death spoiler in bold blue underlined font. I’ve just started to get into this series, and was just looking for a little review. All I did was skim over your review and within 2 seconds I caught that blinding spoiler; thanks a lot! However, from what I read from a couple of posters’ replies, all things may not be what they seem? I guess we’ll find out in season/series 3.

    Tip for the author: Read reviews from professional journalists; they are normally careful about what they reveal regarding plotlines, and maybe next time you won’t print spoilers, especially not in bold blue underlined font!


  27. Robin Hood is 1 of the best series i have ever watched. I got the box set of s1 as soon as it came out and i still watch it regularly. the characters are great and the storylines too. Although i didn’t see all of the episodes in s2 i saw the end and the writers obviously know that it is the right decision taking marian out of it. im sure series 3 is still goin 2 be really good. To all the fans out there waiting for s3 it’s hopefully goin to be aired in the U.K. in JANUARY 2009!!! CANT WAIT!!! Allan A Dale

  28. Their is no Robin Hood without a Marion. That is so stupid to enen do a robin hood story without a Marion in it. The show will flop big time without her. If she doesn’t want to come back then get a replacement. Hope she doe want to come back. Otherwise I love the show. The sheriff is great.

  29. I really love this show. I saw it first on a visit to England and loved it so much I ordered both Series 1 and 2 on DVD. Jonas and Lucy are brilliant actors. I was devastated when they killed off Marion and I don’t think I will be able to watch Series 3. There is no legend without Robin and his Marian and I think it was a big mistake getting rid of her. In defense of Lucy Griffiths, if I was told I was going to be killed off in Series 2, I would definitely be looking for work elsewhere. I am sure she will go far in her acting career as she is a natural. But, I hope and pray, the writers will find a way to bring her back in Series 3,or even though I think Jonas is fabulous and the best Robin Hood I have ever seen ( I am 60 years old and have seen a lot of Robin Hoods in my lifetime, as Robin Hood has been my hero since childhood) I won’t be able to watch Series 3.

  30. I really enjoyed all the comments….we started watching RH in think in Season 2, and now ABC (Australia) is running repeats which I presume is in the lead up to Season 3. I’m not sure, but I think they must be Season 1 (yay!) because all the eps are ones we haven’t seen and seem to be early days, Djac joining the band, the Sherif not having the false jewelled tooth etc. I have to say my husband and I love the Sheriff’s one liners which he comes out with occasionally. How about “Stop that pidgeon, stop that pidgeon,stop that pidgeon….now!” You have to be a certain age to appreciate that one. Hilarious! Will be glad if Marian resurrects too. The end was way too sad, and I agree with most of you………wrong!

  31. Hi, love the show, watched series 1 and 2 a few times over. Info on series 3 airing dates seems hard to come by but the imdb website suggests that it will begin airing in England in January 2009, see the website:
    How accurate this is i dont know but hopefully it is true =)
    From memory i think series 1 and 2 aired in Australia about 6 months after it did in the UK so with any luck you wont have to wait too long.

  32. Hi guys my family and I have loved the two series and hope like crazy the third is as exciting. My son and I have loved the duels, the emotional twists, and underlying tension between Marion Sir Guy and Robin. You have done a great job in casting a yester year adventure for the people of today who don’t really understand the tale. I have been glued to my seat with my son and enjoyed the swashbuckling adventures and hope more will come thank you for a worthy interpretation and season of excitement. Brian and Asher of Australia

  33. I loved the Robin Hood Series, i have both Series 1 & 2 on DVD. I am awaiting for Robin Hood Series 3 to come onto our television screens in Australia. Bit of a shame that Marion died, but i am hoping it was just a ploy to keep Guy of Gisborn away from Robin Hood etc…

  34. @Mitch – season 3 has just finished airing in the UK this past weekend. The DVD was released yesterday, as far as I know. Hopefully we in Aus won’t have to wait too long. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the DVDs are released here before the ABC decide to air it. That’s what happened with Spooks s6 and s7…

  35. so Robin Hood started out pretty well. The first series was successfull and it was a fun thing to watch on a saturday evening, a comical yet sometimes stirring programme that appealled to almost everyone. I would agree that some of the episodes towards the end of the first series and the first half of the second series got a bit monotonous, predictable and in some ways boring. Fortunantly there were often twists and turns thrown in which kept me watching.

    In response to the editor’s comments:

    “However I think these reasons will result in the 3rd series being unsuccessful”

    How wrong you were!! I found that the third series was different in many ways to it’s predecessors. It was hardly ever predictable, the plot was forever changing, there were huge revelations about the characters each week . The best series yet!! 🙂

    I have just finshed watching the final episode, it has been a fantastic programme. It has highs and lows, humour and action. I would thouroughly reccommend catching up on Robin Hood to anyone, anywhere! It’s well worth your while!

    EDITOR: well im happy to be wrong if the 3rd season is as good as you say it is James 🙂

  36. Series 3 has just finished here (UK) and I have watched every episode of all 3 series. It is camp and sometimes black humour but without giving anything away series 3 turns everything on its head. The storylines are very differant but just as, if not more, gripping. The ending leaves a big question mark over whether there will be a series 4. It seems the door has been left open but I wonder if the Editor knows what is happening.
    I would just like to say that, being in my fifties, I remember the first tv Robin, (riding through the glen), the films including Men in Tights, (hilarious) and of course Kevin Costners’ Prince of Thieves. Lets not forget also the ITV series Robin of Sherwood (1984-86) where Robin (played by Michael Praed) died at the end of series 2 and was “replaced” by Jason Connery in S3.
    I can honestly say that of all the Robin Hood I have seen this latest venture is by far the best.
    PS. For those that say it is not historically accurate.. SORRY THERE NEVER WAS A REAL ROBIN HOOD!!!!!

  37. I love Robin Hood!!!!!
    It is my favourite TV show. I don’t watch TV much, but what I do watch is usually RH, MASH or the news and I can tell you I never miss an episode of Robin (even if we are out on the land or camping, I’ll find some ones TV).
    I only found out there was a series three this afternoon!!
    That’s so awesome!!!!!
    Has it aired in Australia yet or did I like totally miss it??
    If it aired in Australia was it on some pay channel or was it just on ordinary ABC (because that’s all I got).
    Robin Hood is the coolest ever (and all the other people in the show are also totally awesome).

  38. I was in England when they were airing season 3 and I absolutely loved it, particularly the second half of it.
    So for anyone who is in doubt about whether or not to watch it, WATCH IT.

    Unfortunately, I missed the last episode (episode 13) and so I’m wondering whether the show will air in Australia, and if so, when it will.

  39. I love Robin Hood, being a 14 yr girl. Me and my friends crave it! 🙂 They’re all pretty well done. Shame Marian has to die, though.
    I have only seen the full series 1 and borrowed out series 2 today. They all go for so long, they keep you very occupied, lol. 🙂
    Richard Armitage, who stars in North and South (great movie) I think, did extremely well in the Robin Hood movie. With his attraction to Marian, theres always that ‘gentler’ side of him.
    Oh and the sherrif- who doesn’t like him? Seriously? I am a huge fan of Keith Allen, who stars in Chuzelwit (Charles dickens movies) and I think he played a very funny role in the BBC’s Robin Hood.
    But I don’t know if series 3 is out- or is there a 4? I’m not very good internet wise, and can’t find any information on this. If anybody could comment a reply for me, telling me the answers to these- much appreciated! Me and my friends love them so much. 🙂

  40. Robin Hood Rocks!!! It is awesome and I love it! My favourite character is Will Scarlet. My friends and I used to play Robin Hood in the school playground and I was Robin Hood. We even had Robin Hood tags!

    One of my friends didn’t have a clue what we were talking about because she watched ugly Betty instead. Ugly Betty is a good show-a clue: NO!

  41. For some unknown reason, Season 3 has not aired in Australia yet, and I, for one, would like to know WHY THE HELL NOT?!
    That is all.

  42. Robin Hood Series 3 is starting on ABC2 on May 1st at 7.30. I’ll be interested in seeing a review and what Australians think of it 🙂

  43. i love the series but the third one let it down by introducing the ever annoying character kate my fave character is will but he leaves in the second season the sheriff is hilarious harry lloyd rules!

  44. At the time of the Robin Hood (Robin the hood?) setting,would the vernacular have included such today expressions and words as “pants”,”naff off”,or “absolutely”. (The latter appears to be the common substitute for “yes”.)

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