Your Favourite Friar Tuck

James Hayter  as Friar Tuck on the set of Disney's Story of Robin Hood

In last week's post I explained how Friar Tuck has been an integral part of Robin Hood's men since Anthony Munday's two Elizabethan plays, 'The Downfall' and 'The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington' (1598). This jovial character has been interpreted thousands of times. But which actor in your opinion portrayed him the best?

As regular readers of this blog will know, I have run a couple of surveys to find your all-time favourite Robin Hood and Maid Marian. It was Michael Praed of TV's Robin of Sherwood who achieved the most votes for the outlaw hero and the results of that poll can be seen here

Michael Praed as Robin Hood

Joan Rice (1930-1997) gained the most votes for her portrayal of Maid Marian in Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). The rest of that chart is here.

Joan Rice as Maid Marian

So who was your favourite Friar Tuck? I can now reveal that out of a poll of 134 it was James Hayter (1907-1983) who came out on top with 49 votes.

James Hayter as Friar Tuck

In The Story of Robin Hood, Hayter played one of the most memorable Friar Tucks of all time and went on to re-create his famous role for Hammer Films A Challenge for Robin Hood in 1967. But in his long acting career he starred in countless film, stage and television productions.  He is probably best remembered for being the voice of Mr Kipling Cakes and James Onedin’s father-in-law in the costume drama, The Onedin Line.
But towards the end of his long and illustrious acting career, Hayter was chosen by comedy writer and producer, David Croft, to appear as a new assistant in his successful TV series Are You Being Served

Alexander Gauge (1914-1960) gained second place in the poll with 27 votes. His Friar Tuck appeared in 91 of the 143 episodes of the much-loved television series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1959). 

Alexander Gauge

Eugene Pallete's gravel-voiced, sword wielding Friar Tuck was your choice for third place with 20 votes. This legendary Hollywood character actor appeared alongside Errol Flynn in the classic Technicolor screen version, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

Eugene Pallete

Once again we return to TV's memorable Robin of Sherwood for your fourth Friar Tuck. It was Phil Rose who gained 14 votes. Rose is a very popular British actor both on stage and television. 

Phil Rose

Next with 5 votes is Eastenders star Tony Caunter who appeared as the friar in the BBC mini series The Legend of Robin Hood in 1975. This for me was a pleasant surprise. Because, although it was a fine version (nominated for a BAFTA TV award) which included Martin Potter as Robin Hood and Diane Keen as Maid Marian, the series was almost forgotten until a viewers' petition finally made the BBC release it on DVD. Tony's friar made it to number five in our chart.

Tony Caunter

A more recent Friar Tuck reaches number six. This is Mark Addy from York in England, who donned the robes in Ridley Scott's recent version of Robin Hood (2010). As a souvenir collecting bee keeper, Addy's priest is seen brewing mead for profit.

Mark Addy

The late Ronnie Barker is at joint number eight with 3 votes. Barker, famous for his roles in hugely popular tv series like The Two Ronnies and Porridge appeared as Friar Tuck in Richard Lester's Robin and Marian in 1976. Although his appearance in the movie was short and understated it was certainly memorable.

Ronnie Barker

And alongside Ronnie Barker at number eight is Michael McShane who appeared as the chunky, quick-tempered, drunken priest in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991.

Michael McShane

At number nine, sharing 2 votes each are four 'friars'. Mel Brooks in his hilarious spoof Robin Hood:Men In Tights (1993) as Rabbi Tuckman, with David Harewood's Tuck, the disillusioned priest from Fountains Abbey in BBC TV's Robin Hood (2006-2009). Alongside those, also with 2 votes are Bill Dow as Friar Tuck in the first internet version of Robin Hood, Beyond Sherwood Forest (2009) and the Welsh actor Martyn Ellis who appeared in 52 episodes of The New Adventures of Robin Hood as the friar (1997-1999).

Niall McGinnis gained 1 vote for his Friar Tuck in Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960).

So, the best Robin Hood production of all-time would have Michael Praed as Robin Hood, Joan Rice as Maid Marian and James Hayter as Friar Tuck. Who would be Little John?

I would like to thank all those readers who took part and helped produce this interesting result. Don't forget to vote for your favourite Little John in the task bar.

To see the all the votes for your favourite Robin Hood and Maid Marian please click on the link Favourites.


Clement Glen said...

Your favourite Friar Tuck.

Don't forget to see the results for your favourite Robin Hood and Maid Marian. There are a few surprises!

Carole E said...

When did you do this poll?
I'm sure if it was advertised now, it would get a different result.