1975 - Legend of Robin Hood
|Title||The Legend of Robin Hood|
|Production||BBC TV/Time-Life Films|
|Duration||c. 50 to 54 min. each|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-07-20. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-03-21.
This 1975 six part BBC television series, first aired in the UK from 23 November to 28 December 1975, is somewhat more realistic in tone, costumes, and décor than earlier productions. Several critics have found Martin Potter's Robin Hood dour, but then perhaps they prefer Hollywood style over-acting. It is, on the other hand, incontrovertible that David Dixon as Prince John has an uncanny similarity to Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees as he looked around the time this TV series was made.
Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine expresses some sympathy for the unhappily betrothed Marion during a brief interview. Her son, Richard I, about to go on crusade, decides to leave his potentially disloyal brother Prince John in England, well provided for with the income from several counties and an exchequer of his own. Later the queen decides to go to her native Aquitaine while her son is on crusade.
Walter, a tenant of the Earl of Huntingdon and father of young Much, has been hanged by the sheriff of Nottingham to prevent him from revealing a plot he has accidentally got wind of. The plot, lead by the sheriff of Nottingham and backed by Sir Guy of Gisborne and the abbot of Grantham, has as its object to have Richard I killed by a monk onbooard his ship enroute to the continent and subsequently put an initially less than enthusiastic Prince John on the throne.
Robin and Marion meet, talk and kiss. Shortly before embarking on the crusade, Robin, made squire to Richard I, receives news about the plot from the outlaws who have been spying on the abbot of Grantham. Dressed as a monk, Robin at the monastery overhears the abbot of Grantham dying from a stab wound reveal the plot to his confessor. Robin is taken prisoner by the sheriff who has had him under surveillance. Producing Robin's signet ring in evidence and in order to further his own marriage plans, Guy of Gisborne tells Richard I that Robin renounces his allegiance and declines to follow his king to the Holy Land as he finds the notion of crusading "misguided". In anger, the king finally grants Sir Guy leave to marry Marion. Robin is immediately dispossessed and outlawed.Set free by his men, Robin reveals to Richard I the details of the plot to kill him. A guard is told to search the intended assassin and kill him should a dagger be found on his person. Rather than reinstate Robin as earl and annul his outlawry, the king, still angry, tells Robin to absent himself, adding crytically (and prophetically) that perhaps he can find a way to serve him in England while he is away on crusade.
In the forest, the outlaws meet Friar Tuck, who invites them to set up their headquarters in his cave. The sheriff's men turn up but are sent scurrying away by Tuck's claim that the pit in front of his cave is full of vipers. Prince John is gaining allies. Two of Robin's men, carrying a poached animal, are attacked and beaten by Little John and Roland, his bloodthirsty companion.
The sheriff and Guy of Gisborne decide Robin must be killed: not only has he made his pursuers look foolish, he also overheard the abbot's confession about the plot against king Richard.
Robin seeks out Little John to warn him to leave the outlaws in peace. The famous staff fight on the river ensues; the two become friends. Little John tells Robin that Marion is about to be married to Sir Guy of Gisborne. Robin turns up at Huntingdon Castle in disguise and with a horse and cart but is caught and thrown into a cell. Sir Guy intends to have him hanged. Robin contrives to signal his presence to Marion, who is in the castle. The two meet in Robin's cell. He tells her he did not desert the king but was kept prisoner. She slips him a knife, with which he later manages to set himself free, aided by his men who shoot the castle guards.
Back in the outlaws' cave, Robin suspects he was betrayed by Little John as there was a price on his head. The outlaws again seek out Little John, who tells them the traitor was in fact not he but Roland, who has been killed for his treason. During confession, the Bishop of Durham advices the distressed Lady Marion to gain time by kaing a vow not to marry until king Richard has conquered the holy city of Jerusalem.The village in which Little John lives is deserted, the houses were burnt down by the sheriff's men. An apparently mad woman living nearby tells the outlaws that all the villagers were forced to migrate to a place called Argentum. Latin for 'silver', Argentum turns out to be a silver mine where prince John and his cronies are forcing the villagers to work. Twenty silver bars is the result for prince John so far. The outlaws attack and kill the guards there. They confiscate enough silver bars from prince John to cover the rebuilding of the slave labourers' village, leaving the remainder for king Richard's crusade.
Robin and Tuck bring The starved children to the mansion of Lady Marion's uncle, Sir Kenneth Neston, where they will be cared for Marion. On the way back to their cave Robin and his men run into a few of the sheriff's men who are vanquished in the ensuing fight. Back in the cave Robin decides that the outlaws must support themselves by levying a toll on all travellers through the forest. Sir Guy and the Sheriff will be killed should they be intercepted in the forest. The first victim is a merchant of Nittingham town.
When a survivor tells Sir Guy and the Sheriff about the attack on the Sheriff's men, they decide to double the reward for catching Robin Hood. They believe the villages will know where Robin can be found, so they must learn "how hard life can be unless they talk". The villagers are immediately told their taxes will be doubled, and they are harassed and beaten by the sheriff's men. However, the outlaws are on the spot, and the sheriff's men are stripped to their underwear and left tied up dangling from a branch.
In the forest the outlaws relieve the cellarer of St Mary's Abbey of his moeny and the sacks of foodstuffs his horse is carrying. Will Scarlet and Robin bring the food to the starving villagers. The outlaws intercept Sir Richard of the Lea who is brought to the outlaws' cave. He tells the outlaws he was on his way to the abbot of St Mary's, York, to tell him he cannot pay back the 400 marks he borrowed on the surety of his land. Sir Richard is found truthful when he says he cannot pay for the outlaws' food and hospitality. Robin lends the knight the 400 marks and sends Will Scarlet with him to St Mary's to repay the debt. Meanwhile, at the abbey the abbot can hardly wait to acquire the knight's lands, whereas the prior takes a much more merciful attitude. On arrival, the knight pretends he is unable to pay his debt. The abbot shows no mercy. The knight then puts the money on the table, rebusking the abbot for his avarice and heartlessness.
Back with the outlaws Will gives Robin a message from Sir Richard of the Lea. In three days Sir Guy and the sheriff of Nottingham will be in York to discuss some treasonable plan with the abbot of St Mary's. At the meeting the abbot is promised the archbishopric of York in return for his support of a plan to put Prince John on the throne. The abbot's personal fortune is to be brought to Nottingham for safekeeping, Sir Guy, the sheriff and their men are to act as guards during the transport. The abbot agrees to persuade Lady Marion to agree to marry Sir Guy. She is, however, adamant that the wedding cannot take place now but must be postponed until King Richard returns from the crusade.The outlaws attack the money transport passing through the forest and are victorious after a brief fight with the guards. However, Will Scarlet is killed. Sir Guy and the Sheriff escape only to be told by the aboot of St Mary's at Nottingham that he will not support the conspiracy now that they have lost him his wealth. Sir Richard of the Lea takes the abbot's treasure to King Richard's collectors handing it to them in the name of Will Scarlet. Robin will not let Sir Richard pay back his debt. The knight instead presents the outlaws with one hundred bows and an arsenal of arrows with which to arm the villagers.
Two men pretending to be members of Robin Hood's band murder the good and righteous bishop of Durham. As the rumour spreads, Robin's men become unpopular, leading a villager to inform the sheriff's men of the whereabouts of two members of Robin's band, Ralph Gammon and Much, who are promptly caught and hanged. Robin and John learn this from an inn-keeper in Nottingham. Prince John and the Great Council have Longchamp removed from office. He is imprisoned in the Tower by Prince John, who has been made regent. Friar Tuck arrives at the outlaws' cave, seriously ill. Queen Elinor and King Richard return to England, telling Prince John the official line will be that he had fallen under the influence of bad advisers while his brother was away. They will be punished, not the prince.
Friar Tuck dies before berries that could have cured him can be fetched. The false outlaw who killed the bishop of Durham is turned over to Robin Hood who discovers that he acted on the orders of the sheriff of Nottingham. King Richard orders the sheriff to surrender Nottigham castle, but he refuses to do so. Robin Hood and Little John bring the false outlaw to King Richard to tell the king that he acted on the sheriff's orders. The sheriff attempts to makes his escape from Nottingham castle through the secret passage but is caught by the outlaws and King Richard. Sir Guy is sentenced to death.Robin goes back to Huntingdon castle, where he has arranged for Lady Marion to meet him. However, he is soon taken to bed with the illness that killed Friar Tuck. A servant boy is sent to fetch the berries that can cure the illness, but on returning with them he is intercepted by Sir Guy of Gisborne's sister, who instead of a preparation made from the berries administers a strong poison to Robin. He staggers out into the woods, where he dies. A little boy who was the last person to see Robin Hood alive runs to town to tell people Robin Hood is lying ill in the forest. Little John, accompanied by a grief stricken Lady Marion, shoots an arrow: "Where this arrow falls, there he'll lie".
Cast and crew
All credits from the film unless otherwise indicated in footnotes.
|Role||Actor||Ep. 1||Ep. 2||Ep. 3||Ep. 4||Ep. 5||Ep. 6|
|Abbot of Grantham||David Ryall||✓||✓|
|Abbot of St. Mary||Kevin Stoney||✓|
|Bishop of Durham||Malcolm Rogers||✓||✓|
|Brother Bertram||Roy Spencer||✓|
|Castle Guard||Micholas McArdle||✓|
|Earl of Huntingdon||Anthony Garner||✓|
|Father Ambrose||David King||✓|
|Friar Tuck||Tony Caunter||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|John Hood||Trevor Griffiths||✓|
|Lady Marion||Diane Keen||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Little John||Conrad Asquith||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Mad Woman||Pamela Binns||✓|
|Mad Woman||Pamela Binns||✓|
|Military Prior||Roy Marsden||✓|
|Monk of Peterborough||Anthony Heaton||✓|
|Monk of Peterborough||William Ridoutt||✓|
|Norman Sergeant||Tony Doyle||✓|
|Norman Soldier||John Caesar||✓|
|Norman Soldier||Geoffrey Greenhill||✓|
|Norman Soldier||Roy Pattison||✓|
|Old Woman||Sheelah Wilcocks||✓|
|Prince John||David Dixon||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Queen Eleanor||Yvonne Mitchell||✓||✓||✓|
|Ralph Gammon||Stephen Whittaker||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Richard I||Michael-John Jackson||✓||✓||✓|
|Robber Chief||Robert Russell||✓|
|Robin Hood||Martin Potter||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Serving Girl||Brigid Erin Bates||✓|
|Sheriff of Nottingham||Paul Darrow||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Sir Brian de Champfleur||Tony Steeedman||✓|
|Sir Cedric Usher||Michael Fleming||✓|
|Sir Guy of Gisborne||William Marlowe||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Sir Kenneth Neston||John Abineri||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Sir Richard of the Lea||Bernard Archard||✓|
|Waiting Woman||Joyce Windsor||✓|
|Will Scarlet||Miles Anderson||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Function||Name||Ep. 1||Ep. 2||Ep. 3||Ep. 4||Ep. 5||Ep. 6|
|Fight Director||William Hobbs||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Film Cameraman||Elmer Cossey||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Film Editor||Peter Evans||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Film Sound||Stan Nightingale||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Music composed by||Stanley Myers||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Production Assistant||Margot Hayhoe||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Production Assistant||Nick John||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Script Editor||Alistair Bell||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Scriptwriter||Robert Banks Stewart||✓||✓||✓|
|Studio Lighting||Brian Clemett||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Studio Sound||John Delany||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Technical data and formats
|Country||TV station||Title||Start date||End date||Weekday|
|UK||BBC||The Legend of Robin Hood||1975-11-23||1975-12-28||Sunday|
- [Davidson, Eric, direct.] The Legend of Robin Hood (Classic TV) ([s.l.]; London: BBC World Ltd.; 2 Entertain Video Ltd., © 2006) (2xDVD)
- Wikipedia: Andy Secombe
- Wikipedia: David Dixon
- Wikipedia: David King (actor)
- Wikipedia: David Ryall
- Wikipedia: Diane Keen
- Wikipedia: Geoffrey Russell
- Wikipedia: George Gallacio
- Wikipedia: Gordon Reid (actor)
- Wikipedia: John Abineri
- Wikipedia: Martin Potter
- Wikipedia: Miles Anderson
- Wikipedia: Paul Darrow
- Wikipedia: Robert Banks Stewart
- Wikipedia: Robert Russell (English actor)
- Wikipedia: Stanley Myers
- Wikipedia: Stephen Whittaker
- Wikipedia: Tony Caunter
- Wikipedia: Tony Doyle
- Wikipedia: Trevor Griffiths
- Wikipedia: Yvonne Mitchell
- Wikipedia: William Marlowe
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