Jonas Armstrong's Last Arrow

The Guardian announced-“Fewer than 2 million viewers tuned in to BBC2 recently to watch Robin Hood meet a violent end, murdered by a sword tipped with poison, after disposing of his old enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Now BBC executives have announced that the show itself has also been killed. BBC executives will not re-commission Robin Hood, which starred Jonas Armstrong as the legendary outlaw and Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, after three series and 39 episodes.”

As I have said quite often on this blog, I think it was an opportunity that was missed by the BBC. In the past they have produced such sumptuous classic productions, but this sorry tale was a lesson in how NOT to treat our literary heritage. The talent was available, but the story-lines ranged from weak to downright poor and in the end the show disintegrated before our very eyes.

Below is a rather harsh but amusing article taken from The Sun newspaper on Friday November
10th 2006. It is written by Ally Ross during the start of the first series:

Robin Steals Poor Viewers’ Will To Live.

Stick a bunch of monkeys in a room with a typewriter and they’ll eventually come up with something Shakespeare could’ve written. Stick a bunch of BBC employees in a room with a typewriter and they’ll immediately come up with something a monkey could’ve written. Robin Hood. Or Ro-Bin Laden as I’ve come to think of the little twerp. A fantastic story that’s thrilled generations and, even in the school playground, is almost impossible to screw up. You’d imagine.
Though, by crikey, Auntie’s tested that theory to the absolute limit with this one. THE best reason for watching The X Factor on Saturday.

A series that always looked and felt wrong. Robin was a weedy student. The Sheriff of Nottingham appeared to be Billy Joel and Marian was wearing full make-up.

But then just to cut off all escape routes, Auntie sealed its fate by saddling a pacifist Robin Hood with an agenda and script that was horribly, unforgivably, comically Left-wing. And absolutely bloody awful.

An unfolding embarrassment it’s been. From episode one and two, when the Sheriff launched his “war on terror” (you get their drift?). Through episodes three and four, when Robin suddenly started spouting chunks of the Koran. To complete meltdown last Saturday.

Robin Hood And The Silver Arrow. A simple heroic tale. Until the Beeb get hold of it and we learn it’s all been sparked by a medieval miners’ strike and the Sheroff’s (get this) had to “introduce new security measures,” because of the arrival of Turkish slave labourers, led by a cross-dressing feminist Muslim healer. As they so often were in those “human trafficking” days of yore.
The silver arrow story was utterly screwed.
However, just about every right-on box was successfully ticked and we had clanky-as-hell Guardian dialogue to match thank you very much. With clankiest of the night award surely going to this corker from Maid Marian.

“I couldn’t go to war. But I decided I could go to war against poverty.”

And you mark my words, the smug bint’ll be handing out “MAKE PEASANTRY HISTORY” bracelets by the end of the series. Unless, that is, Sir Guy of Gisbourne introduces legislation to enforce ID scrolls.

‘Cos seriously, Robin Hood could actually get that nutty. As the shock of this series hasn’t been discovering the BBC is institutionally Left-wing. We knew that. It’s been discovering that the Beeb’s also institutionally arrogant and stupid enough to think it can clamp every little bit of its PC agenda on to a prime-time, family show without some of the audience noticing and getting mightily hacked off.

Still, the facts must speak for themselves. And although over two million people have for whatever reason, already turned Robin Hood off, six million remain. Meaning, there will probably be a second series. So, guess all I can do is hope Auntie tones down the political guff, topical references and trendy haircuts (which will date the show more brutally than Errol Flynn’s version). Or else just suggest a more honest, PC title than the merry men thing. Something like this would do.
Robin Hood And His Non Gender Specific Ethnically Diverse Collective Of Crisis Management Officers. “Working for a fairer Nottingham."

(Ally Ross On TV, The Sun, Friday November 10 2006)


Clement of the Glen said...

Ally Ross On TV, The Sun Friday, November 10 2006

Jonas Armstrong's Last Arrow

BBC's Robin Hood

Robin Hood on TV

Herns son said...

I watched this serise from the start, mainly ,in the end because there was nothing much else on , and of course being a Robin Hood fan i had to see it, but oh god , i aggree with the artical , what a waste , they had it all there but never knew what to do with it. Please Ridly, please dont let us down.i am off now to watch the best ever Robin Hood, Disneys, "The story of Robin Hood" starring Richard Todd.

Clement of the Glen said...

I watched nearly every episode. It could have been so much better.

There was some good actors amongst the cast, but the extremely poor writing let them and the whole series down.

I also feel they showed very little respect to the legend, which after over seven hundred years, has such a vast goldmine of possibilities for any writer.

The best recent adaption of the story was HTV'S Robin of Sherwood, here we had not only a well researched and well written series, but a refreshing angle on the whole myth.

Ridley's Nottingham will hopefully kick-start more interest in Robin Hood. The film look intersting-lets hope an exciting script matches all the exciting action!

WoodsyLadyM said...

No big loss but I'll probably get the DVDs anyway. I'm also praying that Ridley's version doesn't let us down. Crossing my fingers and toes. But how bad could it be with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett?

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