One of the most romantic heroes in English legend and a favourite of both the silver and small screen was revived in 1984 by Catweazle creator Richard Carpenter and given a new twist: -that of sword and sorcery. For in this tale, Robin of Loxley was said to have possessed spiritual powers in his bid to fight the good fight and rob the rich to feed the poor.
At the series outset Ailric of Loxley, Guardian of the Silver Arrow, an ancient symbol of pre-Christian England, had led a rebellion against his Anglo-Norman masters. Ailric's home at Loxley Mill was then destroyed by Norman pillagers and he was murdered. His son, Robin (Michael Praed), was adopted by the local miller and swore to one day avenge his father's death. Some years later Robin encountered Herne the Hunter, a forest spirit possessed with the powers of light and goodness, who appeared before him in the form of a man with a stags head. He endowed Robin with Albion, one of the Seven Swords of Wayland, and thus equipped, Robin donned a disguise as Robin in the Hood thereby realising the prophecy of the Silver Arrow.
Along the way Robin met up with his legendary band of merry men including Little John, Maid Marion, Friar Tuck and a delightfully psychopathic Will Scarlet. There was also a Carpenter created character (the Saracen -Nasir). In fact, the series creator also had a track record that included the creation for television such popular shows as Black Beauty, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Dick Turpin and Smuggler. By the end of the second series Michael Praed had decided to answer the call of Broadway where he was being offered the leading role in 'The Three Musketeers' as D'Artagnan. Rather than write the series off or recast the lead character, the producers allowed Robin of Loxley to meet a heroes death in the episode "The Greatest Enemy" before Herne chose another, Robert of Huntingdon (played by Jason Connery, son of screen legend Sean), to lead the outlaws for one more series of noble adventuring.
Combining the various facets of the Robin Hood legend with the mystery of Pagan sorcery, Robin of Sherwood, with its haunting theme tune (courtesy of Irish family group Clannad), was a new twist on an old legend that was well written by its prolific creator -and well loved by it's viewing audience.
Published on January 25th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus (2001) for Television Heaven.