Robin of Sherwood

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Robin of Sherwood
Abbreviation(s): RoS
Creator: Richard Carpenter
Date(s): 1984 - 1986
Medium: television series
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
External Links: Epguides, IMDb
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
All the main characters on the cover of the zine Sherwood Legacy #2

Robin of Sherwood was a British television series that mixed realistic settings -- 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 Robin of Sherwood

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 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 [1] and The British Red Cross [2]

Robin of Sherwood Fandom

The fandom is still active nearly 30 years after the show went off the air, producing fic, art, icons, and vids.

It has a fan club, Robin of Sherwood Online.

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.



Fandom History Timeline

A fandom history timeline has been compiled by the Spirit of Sherwood fan club and can be found at

Robin of Sherwood Fandom's 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 communicated with each other.

At least one letterzine 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 in Cousins 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 in that letterzine 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:

Thank you so much for the lovely book. The stories are great and a real logical extension to the series. I hope I get Albion 3 and that the sky doesn't fall!... [3]

In the 1992 editorial for Albion #6 (which also included a Robin of Sherwood poem by Carpenter that was a winner of a Major Oak fanwork award), fans expressed their appreciation:

...Richard Carpenter -- what can we say that we haven't said before? Without his inspiration, support and generosity, we wouldn't be here -- or be having so much fun!

Robin of Sherwood Fandom and Slash

from an editorial in the zine Herne's Son
from an editorial in Forbidden Forest

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 basically badly written soft porn. A few fans commented that slash 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. [4]

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. [5]

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. [6]

From a fan in 1993:

I don't find anything to like about RoS, so I don't have to torment myself about my perverted lust, since in this context at least it doesn't exist. However, my response to the dude's demand is this: "Excuse me? What exactly gives you the right to tell me what I can and cannot fantasize about? Believe me, buddy boy, it has nothing to do with you--I just like men with long hair and tights." As for the self-righteous, censorious sycophants who spout off at people who do write or read RoS slash, they can decide what *they* will read, but they will bloody well not decide -- or even comment on, unless they want a swift kick--what *I* can read. [7]

For much more on this topic, see Robin of Sherwood Fandom and Slash Fanworks.



See Category:Robin of Sherwood Zines.




Fan Awards


Mailing Lists

  • Robin Of Sherwood Chat and Fic archive link "Robin Of Sherwood has been a rather obscure fandom so I thought I would shine a light on it....anything, discussion and fiction is welcome. General, hetero and slash fiction is welcome. The stories posted to this list will be posted on WWOMB unless you make a 'DO NOT POST' notation."

Lists & Communities




  1. ^ Sherwood Forest Trust website
  2. ^ The British Red Cross website
  3. ^ from an LoC by Richard Carpenter (Ayot St. Peter, Eng.) in "Albion" #4
  4. ^ see Herne's Stepchildren for some of these comments
  5. ^ from the letterzine, Cousins #6
  6. ^ from the letterzine, Cousins #8
  7. ^ [E B] quoted anonymously on Virgule-L, October 31, 1993
  8. ^ Spirit of Sherwood's "Weekend in Sherwood" page. Includes programming info, contact info, pictures. Accessed August 14, 2009.
  9. ^ Spirit of Sherwood home page, accessed August 14, 2009.