Robin of Sherwood
|Name:||Robin of Sherwood|
|Date(s):||1984 - 1986|
|Country of Origin:||United Kingdom|
|External Links:||Epguides, IMDb|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Robin of Sherwood mixed a realistic setting -- for instance, they filmed in a real medieval castle for castle scenes, putting workmen near the crumbling walls to make it look like the castle was still being built -- with a magical background. In this version of the Robin Hood tale, Robin was called by Herne the Hunter, a local god, to be his "son" and protect the local people. While the setting itself is medieval Christian, down to a local corrupt bishop, Robin himself is clearly pagan once he swears fealty to Herne.
This was the first version to include a Saracen, Nasir, as part of Robin's band.
Their adventures ranged from traditional things like the archery contest where the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert de Rainault, in this version) intended to trap Robin to battling mind-controlling sorcerors.
The Two Robins
The first two series starred Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley, a free Saxon peasant who became Robin Hood to help free his people from tyranny. During the second series, Praed got tapped for an acting gig in America, and wanted to leave the show. The series ended with his death.
Rather than cancel the series, TPTB went for a different actor, Jason Connery, for the third series. Connery played Robert of Huntingdon, the son of a local earl who heard Herne's call and went to the forest to take on the mantle of Robin Hood -- thus neatly accounting for the two different origin stories in the Robin Hood mythos. Robert turns out to the the half-brother of Guy of Gisburne.
The Return of RoS
Robin of Sherwood broke new ground when it was first broadcast in 1984, and thirty years on the series is still many people’s favourite telling of the legend – all thanks to the genius of its creator and writer, Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter. When the series ended, Kip tried for years to revive it, even writing a feature-length script that followed on from the end of the series, called The Knights of the Apocalypse.
Richard Carpenter died in 2012, but his long-cherished project may have been continued. The original cast of the series – including Ray Winstone, Jason Connery, Clive Mantle, Judi Trott, Nikolas Grace, Mark Ryan and Phil Rose – got back together to record a one-off audio adaptation of The Knights of the Apocalypse.
The audio drama was to be released in early 2016, and all profits raised were to have gone to Kip’s favourite charities – The Sherwood Forest Trust (http://www.sherwoodforest.org.uk/ Sherwood Forest Trust website) and The British Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org.uk/ The British Red Cross website).
The fandom is still active nearly 30 years after the show went off the air, producing fic, art, icons, and vids. Visit the fan club, Spirit of Sherwood online on Facebook and at www.robinofsherwood.org. One of the primary online sources for the fanfic is the Robin of Sherwood Fanfic Archive, which hosts fanfic (gen and slash); links to some vids; links to multiple RoS sites, including individual authors; has an "RoS Anachronism Guide"; and in 2009 started up a sister Livejournal community for discussion and fic challenges called RoS Fic Forum.
A Fandom and Its Relationship to TPTB
The show's creator, Richard "Kip" Carpenter was an occasional (though lengthy!) contributor to the letterzine Cousins, something that had to have to been on the minds of fans as they read and wrote the letters. At least one reader backtracked on a previously stated opinion after learning Kip read and responded, writing, "I never thought that my flaky meanderings would be read by the Source Himself! I'm so embarrassed!" There was much mention of "what Kip requests" and that carried over to what kind of fanfic could be written, specifically slash, the big Robin of Sherwood no-no. More than one letter mentioned that the universe of Robin of Sherwood belonged to its creator and that its fans needed to always keep that in mind; many, many letters discussed how to write the characters, in relation to its creator's desires.Fans also sent Carpenter copies of the zines they had created. A 1990 comment from Carpenter:
RoS Fandom and Slash
RoS zine fiction is almost exclusively gen or non-explicit het as the creator of the show, Kip Carpenter, specifically requested people not slash the main characters. Most fans went along with this request.From a submission request for Robin of Sherwood: The Early Years:
The subjects of this zine is the formative years of the Outlaw band, Robin of Loxley, Marion, the Merries, Heme, de RainauIt, and Gisburn. This would include stories similar to the episode format, or stories of one or mere of the characters fantasizing, remembering, or day dreaming. This is a Adult 'zine, and stories may be violent and/or be very sensual. Please try to be lyrical if describing sexual encounters - No same-sex stories, please, though the Sheriff may be free to dream/fantasize to his heart's content, as long as it is not graphic.
Many comments regarding slash in letterzines were along the lines that slash was boring, disrespectful, stupid, and bascially badly-badly written soft porn. A few fans commented that it was a matter of reality in other fandoms, but thankfully not Robin of Sherwood. A few fans spoke up, saying it was fine for other people, just not themselves and that if you didn't like it, don't read it. 
A fan wrote: "The only true no-no in our fandom is slash (this comes from Kip himself), otherwise you are free to wander wherever the muse leads you." 
Another fan wrote: "You may or may not be aware that Richard Carpenter has requested that fan writers not create homosexual situations using characters who are heterosexual in the TV stories. I feel that we are fortunate to have the series creator so actively involved in the fandom, and don't think it's unreasonable to honor this one request he's made. He also mentioned that homosexual relationships involving characters such as the sheriff, Philip Mark, Tom and Dickon - or your own original gay and lesbian characters - are fine by him." 
There is much comment about slash in the letterzine Herne's Stepchildren #5. One comment: "I just don't read that crap. If other fen get off on it— that's their personal problem. I just ignore it and hope it will go away. There is very little, if any, of it in RoS fan-fic." 
Another comment: "Your comment on genres sounds precariously like a vote for censorship. And the comment on slash seems gratuitous, as I know of only two slash stories, one of which was written for another fandom. In this fandom, I think we respect Mr. Carpenter's wish for no slash, but I also think that Philip Mark is presented as gay, so slash does exist in the ROS universe. As for the men and women who like slash, again: if you don't, don't read it. Many fans loathe it, many love it. Most of both sides are nice people, and can't each be allowed to write or to read what they choose? I think it's fine if you personally find slash revolting, but I also think it's fine if adult people want to read it. Again, if you don't like it, don't read it." 
Fandom History Timeline
Lists & Communities
- RoS Fic Forum (LJ comm; discussion and fic challenges)
- Green Man of Sherwood (LJ comm; news, fic, art, vids)
- Heart of Sherwood (Yahoo group; ongoing storytelling RPG)
- Robin of Sherwood (Yahoo group; active discussion list with over 800 members)
- Tales of Sherwood Forest, the online version of the original paper zine. On Yahoo groups.
- Robin of Sherwood PL Polish-langauge Yahoo group for discussing RoS.
-  Spirit of Sherwood Fan Club page on Facebook
- Hooded Man Events (Hooded Man Events page on Facebook)
- The Knights Of The Apocalypse ('Robin of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse' page on Facebook)
- Robin of Sherwood Fanfic Archive
- Robin of Sherwood Fanfiction by Leiasky (Geocities link; this is the Wayback version). Warning: site plays music automatically when it loads (even on the Wayback version). Scroll down to stop the player.
- Major Oak Awards, run by the Spirit of Sherwood fanclub, for excellence in fanfic and fanart, focusing on zines.
- Spirit of Sherwood yearly grants the Major Oak Awards, honouring Excellence in Robin of Sherwood Zine (stories, poems, filks and artwork) Achievement. Club members get a vote in the ballot. The Awards (popularly called "Oakies") are presented to the winners during a hilarious ceremony at the Weekend in Sherwood convention. 
- Scorpio - Robin of Sherwood actors, along with actors from Blake's 7 in Chicago, ILL (1983-1989)
- Silver Arrow, an annual U.K. convention held till the show's 20th anniversary in 2003
- Legend (Robin of Sherwood convention), the successor annual con to Silver Arrow, also in the U.K. (con homepage). The con is possibly defunct after 2008.
- Weekend in Sherwood, put on by the Spirit of Sherwood fanclub, held irregularly. There have been 9 weekends to date: the first was in 1992, the most recent in 2005.
- The Hooded Man - the biggest UK convention there has been, the largest attendance and the most guests from cast and crew of the show. It was a celebration of the 30th anniversary in 2014 and is now running bi-annually. It is run by Hooded Man Events and had the distinction of being the first time ever that both Robins (Michael Pread and Jason Connery) were on stage together. -- The Hooded Man Events
- from an LoC by Richard Carpenter (Ayot St. Peter, Eng.) in "Albion" #4
- see Herne's Stepchildren for some of these comments
- from the letterzine, Cousins #6
- from the letterzine, Cousins #8
- from Herne's Stepchildren #4
- from Herne's Stepchildren #4
- Spirit of Sherwood home page, accessed August 14, 2009.
- Spirit of Sherwood's Major Oak Awards page, accessed August 14, 2009.
- Spirit of Sherwood's "Weekend in Sherwood" page. Includes programming info, contact info, pictures. Accessed August 14, 2009.