Black Arrow was a lone figure of mystery who protected the poor against greedy warrior barons fighting for power and influence throughout the 15th century Wars of the Roses. But an even bigger mystery for viewers of Southern Television's (initial) seven-part adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure was the identity of the actor who wore the Black Arrow's mask. "We are going to keep the secret until the end of the series-and we might not reveal it even then" the actor told TV Times readers in 1972. "I see Black Arrow as the Lone Ranger who rides into town, settles differences and rides out again" said the actor. "He is also a bit of a Robin Hood except that Robin had his gang of merry men whereas Black Arrow is alone. On the "good" side of the story were Richard Shelton, played by 18-year old Robin Langford, Joanna Sedley played by Helen Stronge and Will Lawless played by Eric Flynn.
Principal villain was Sir Daniel Brackley played by William Squire. Suitably successful the series was off screens for less than a year before it returned in December 1973. The part of Richard Shelton (now four years older) was then played by Simon Cuff - very confusing for viewers, as Cuff had appeared in the first series as a completely different character. The Black Arrow actor was still a mystery, though. It wasn't until series three that Shelton was revealed as the Black Arrow - adding even more confusion - as he would have been too young in series one. Viewers were left to make up their own mind.
Published on November 30th, 2018. Written by Adapted from original TV Times article for Television Heaven.