Robin Hood (2006 TV series)

Robin Hood (2006 TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Robin Hood

caption = Current "Robin Hood" title sequence
format = Drama, adventure, folklore
picture_format = 1080p / originated Panasonic Varicam 720p(HDTV)
runtime = 45 minutes
creator = Dominic Minghella and Foz Allan, based on traditional legends
starring = Jonas Armstrong
Lucy Griffiths
Keith Allen
Richard Armitage
Gordon Kennedy
Sam Troughton
Harry Lloyd
Joe Armstrong
Anjali Jay

country = UK
channel = BBC One
producer = Tiger Aspect Productions
first_aired = 7 October 2006
last_aired = Present
num_series = 2
num_episodes = 26
list_episodes = List of Robin Hood (2006 TV series) episodes
website =
production_website =
imdb_id = 0787985
tv_com_id = 64043

"Robin Hood" is a British television programme, produced by independent production company Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC One, with co-funding from the BBC America cable television channel in the United States.cite web|url=|title=Robin Hood returns to British TV|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2006-04-03|accessdate=2006-09-01] Based on the traditional stories of legendary English folk hero Robin Hood, the programme started on 7 October 2006. Series 2 commenced broadcasting on 6 October 2007 with the final two episodes on 29 December 2007. Series 3 is currently in production, and is scheduled to air sometime in 2009.


Comprising thirteen 45-minute episodes, "Robin Hood" was created by Dominic Minghella and Foz Allan, who serve as executive producers on the series, with Minghella the chief writer. Minghella was previously responsible for the successful ITV network comedy-drama series "Doc Martin". Richard Burrell is the producer, and the other writers involved on the first series were Paul Cornell, Mark Wadlow, Debbie Oates, Kurti & Doyle and Joe Turner. [cite web|url=|title=Robin Hood|publisher=Tiger Aspect|accessdate=2006-04-06]

The first series had a reported budget of £8 million. The programme was specifically designed to run in the same Saturday evening family drama slot as the successful revival of "Doctor Who", filling the slot in "Doctor Who"'s absence between series. Shot in the high definition format, the programme also airs on the BBC's BBC HD service.

"Robin Hood" was announced as a possible commission by BBC One Controller Peter Fincham in July 2005, [cite news|last=Thomas|first=Liz|url=|title=Hood the new Who?|publisher=The Stage|date=2005-07-14|accessdate=2006-07-19] but not officially confirmed by Head of Drama Jane Tranter until 24 October that year. [cite news|last=Deans|first=Jason|url=,,1598036,00.html|title=BBC starts search for a new Robin Hood (subscription link)|publisher=The Guardian|date=2005-10-24|accessdate=2006-07-19] On 18 February 2006, the "Daily Mirror" newspaper announced that actor Jonas Armstrong had been cast in the lead role in the series. [cite news|last=Robertson|first=Cameron|url= |title=ROBIN WHO? EXCLUSIVE — BBC picks unknown for £8 million Robin Hood series|publisher=The Stage|date=2005-07-14|accessdate=2006-07-19] This was confirmed by the BBC in a press release on 3 April 2006, which announced that filming on the series had begun in Hungary and also announced further casting. [cite web|url=|title=Robin Hood revealed||date=2006-04-03|accessdate=2006-07-19]

On Thursday 23 November 2006, the BBC confirmed that the programme had been renewed for a second series, to be shown in 2007.cite web|url=|title=Robin returns for second series|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2006-11-23|accessdate=2006-11-23cite web|url=|title=Robin Hood returns for second series in 2007||date=2006-11-23|accessdate=2007-04-30] Filming began in March 2007, and the first episode of the second series aired at 7:30pm on Saturday 6 October 2007. Lucy Griffiths, who played Maid Marian, left at the end of the show's second season. [cite news | url= | title=They've killed Maid Marian | date=2007-12-31 | publisher=BBC Nottingham | accessdate=2008-01-10]

A third series of the show has been confirmed [ BBC Robin Hood Homepage - Back in 2008] ] . Joining the cast for season 3 are Joanne Froggatt, as a character named "Kate", a Locksley villager [cite web|url=|title=Joanne Froggatt to star in Robin Hood|publisher=Whitby Gazette|accessdate=2008-08-01] , Lara Pulver, as Guy of Gisborne's sister Isabella. [cite web|url=|Title = - Bits and Bobs (Vol. 5 1/2)|publisher=Entertainment Weekly|accessdate=2008-08-01] , and Toby Stephens as King John [cite web|url=|title=Toby Stephens to play King John in new Robin Hood||accessdate=2008-06-26] . On 7 August 2008, it was announced that Jonas Armstrong would be leaving the programme at the conclusion of the third series, in "an explosive and nail-biting finale." [cite web|url=|title= Robin Hood star quits BBC remake|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2008-08-06|accessdate=2008-08-07]

Tape theft

On Monday 28 August 2006, it was reported in various British tabloid newspapers that several master tapes for the programme had been stolen from the production base in Hungary, possibly by an extra working on the series. "Now TV executives are deciding whether to pay off the crooks or reshoot large chunks of the show. At worst the series, due to replace "Dr Who" on Saturday nights from October, could be shelved", reported the "Daily Mirror". [cite news|url=|title=Robin Hood Kidnapped|first=Nicola|last=Methven|publisher=Daily Mirror|date=2006-08-28|accessdate=2006-08-28]

A BBC spokeswoman would not confirm reports of a £1m ransom being demanded for their safe return or that the tapes were the only copies of the footage. She added: "All reasonable steps are being taken to recover the tapes." The BBC further said that the series would still be shown as planned, despite the theft. [cite web|url=|title=Tapes for BBC's Robin Hood stolen|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2006-08-28|2006-08-28]

Given the irony of a "Robin Hood" series falling victim to theft, and the fact that the crime came to light as the BBC was beginning to publicise the show in preparation for its launch, there was some suggestion in sections of the media that the story was actually a publicity stunt. Guardian Unlimited columnist Mark Borkowski, for example, wrote that: "OK, so I might be a cynical old publicist, but has anybody checked the crime scene on the set of "Robin Hood" in Hungary? ... expect a miracle in Budapest and don't try getting money on at the bookies for the lost footage turning up, saving the odd red face and gloating PR exec." [cite web|url=,,1861304,00.html|title=Hungary for publicity?|format=subscription link|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|date=2006-08-30|accessdate=2006-09-01]

The Controller of BBC One, Peter Fincham, denied that the story had been a publicity stunt at the programme's press launch in London on 6 September. The cast and crew confirmed at the same launch that they had been forced to re-shoot some scenes in order to cover the material lost on the stolen tapes. [cite web |url= |title=Robin Hood overcomes theft drama |publisher=BBC News Online |date=2006-09-07 |accessdate=2006-09-07]

The day after the press launch, the BBC News Online website reported that the tapes had been successfully recovered, and two men arrested for their theft.cite web |url= |title=Stolen Robin Hood tapes recovered |date=2006-09-08 |accessdate=2007-11-20 |publisher=BBC News Online ]


The majority of the main characters in "Robin Hood" are based on the English folk tale of the same name. The show's main character is Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong), who has returned to England after five years fighting in the Third Crusade as part of the King's Guard. He is shocked to find out how the sheriff is running Nottingham upon his return. Robin is made an outlaw, and takes it upon himself to steal from the rich, to feed the poor along with his gang (also called his Merry Men), which consists of his best friend Much (Sam Troughton); two young men he saved from a hanging, Will (Harry Lloyd) and Allan (Joe Armstrong); the ex-leader of another gang, Little John (Gordon Kennedy); and another young man named Roy (William Beck), who is replaced in episode 4 by Djaq (Anjali Jay), a Saracen girl hiding under the alias of her dead brother. He is pleased that Lady Marian (Lucy Griffiths) is still unmarried. Their relationship becomes romantic on several occasions, however she is trapped by the hold that Sir Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) has over her. Guy is the sheriff's second-in-command, and is in love with Marian. He often puts her in difficult situations where she has to be with him to help the people she loves. The primary villain is the Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen), who plots to kill King Richard along with the help of Gisborne and the black knights. He is constantly trying to capture Robin and the rest of the outlaws, for continuously stopping his scheme to take over England.

Episode guide

Publicity and reception

Media coverage

On Saturday 8 July 2006, the BBC showed the first teaser trailer for the series — a shot of a flaming arrow flying into the BBC One logo in the corner of the screen as the "Robin Hood" logo and "Coming Soon" were displayed above. This teaser ran either side of the "Doctor Who" series finale on BBC One, and was shown on several other occasions on various BBC channels over the following weeks. A longer trailer with actual dialogue from many of the characters was previewed in the Video Room of the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre during the first week of August 2006, as part of the community's Robin Hood Festival.

The BBC's "Radio Times" listings magazine ran a short preview article for the series, as part of a feature showcasing the best of the autumn series television line-up, in its 2–8 September 2006 edition, published on 29 August 2006, the day after the tape theft story was publicised in the press (see above). Wrote the magazine's correspondent Benji Wilson: "Why watch it? You can't beat a good ruckus — Armstrong and his merry co-stars all enrolled at a specially-commissioned 'Hood academy' before filming in Hungary, where they were drilled in horse riding, sword skills and archery." [cite journal|last=Wilson|first=Benji|title=Stories to Stay in For|journal=Radio Times|volume=330|issue=4300|pages=12|publisher=BBC Worldwide|date=2006-09-02–2006-09-08] The article was accompanied by a large publicity photo of Armstrong in costume.

The first full reviews for the programme began appearing on 7 September 2006, after a preview of the opening episode had been shown at the press launch the previous evening. The website of "The Guardian" said that: "The challenge for the new Robin Hood is to appeal to younger viewers while pulling in their parents as well. It will be no easy task. About as difficult, in fact, as simultaneously firing two arrows from the same bow, and both hitting the target. But as Robin showed in the opening episode, it can be done." [cite web|url=|title=First review: Robin Hood|first=John|last=Plunkett|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|date=2006-09-07|accessdate=2006-09-07] In "The Times", critic Paul Hoggart backed the series to be a success: "Armstrong as the rather understated Robin Hood should still be moodily cheeky enough to find his way on to the bedroom walls of a few hundred thousand pubertal girls, and Lucy Griffiths as Marian is inevitably feisty. But the villains steal the show, with Richard Armitage's Guy of Gisborne off-setting Keith Allen's gags as the mocking, heavily sarcastic Sheriff. The audience including cast, crew and their friends cheered at the end but this remake should go down well with families at home, too." [cite news|url=,,23569-2348506,00.html|title=Old villains steal new show|first=Paul|last=Hoggart|author=Paul Hoggart|publisher=The Times|date=2006-09-07|accessdate=2006-09-07]

The BBC began running longer trailers for the programme on Saturday 16 September 2006, with the first being shown following the final episode of "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" on BBC One. Trailers were also shown in cinemas, and billboard advertisements were taken out by the BBC. The "Radio Times" devoted the cover of its 7–13 October 2006 edition, published on 3 October, to the series, with a photo of Armstrong and Armitage in character.

Reviewers have had mixed opinions as to the effectiveness of the show's use of modern styles and current political references. [cite news|url=|title=Robin Hood given modern makeover|first=Michael|last=Osborn|author=Michael Osborn|publisher=BBC News|date=2006-09-08|accessdate=2007-12-09] [cite news|url=|title=the BBC goes WB with ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘Hex’|first=MaryAnn|last=Johanson|author=MaryAnn Johanson|publisher=The Flick Filosopher|date=2007-06-04|accessdate=2007-12-09] Several episodes of "Dead Ringers" broadcast in February and March 2007 have mocked "Robin Hood" for its anachronistic approach.


The opening episode won its timeslot in the unofficial overnight ratings, with an average viewing figure of 8.2 million, peaking at 8.5 million. This compared to an average of 7 million for its nearest opposition, "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway" on ITV1. [cite web|url=|title=Robin Hood debut watched by 8.2 m|publisher=BBC News Online|date=2006-10-08|accessdate=2006-10-08] According to the Guardian Unlimited overnight ratings report the following Monday, this equated to a 37% share of the total viewing audience available for "Robin Hood" in its timeslot, as against 31.1% for "Ant and Dec". [cite web|url=,,1891170,00.html|title=ITV all-of-a-quiver as Robin rides in|format=requires free registration|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|first=Julia|last=Day|date=2006-10-09|accessdate=2006-10-09]

The second episode of the series lost 1.5 million viewers compared to the debut, with an average of 6.7 million in the overnight figures and a 30% audience share. This put it second in its slot, behind "The X-Factor" on ITV1, which average 7.3 million and a 35% audience share. [cite web|url=,,1923600,00.html|title=Robin's audience swiped|format=requires free registration|first=Julia|last=Day|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|date=2006-10-16|accessdate=2006-10-16]

By the time of the second series' confirmation at the end of November, the programme had averaged an audience of 6.6 million viewers for its seven episodes then broadcast. The first series averaged 6.19 million viewers [Exact figure: 6.187692308, calculated from BARB figures for week ending 8/10/06 and all subsequent weeks until 31/12/06 which can be found [ here] ] and the second series averaged 5.83 million. [Exact figure: 5.826153846, calculated from BARB figures for week ending 7/10/07 and all subsequent weeks until 30/12/07 which can be found [ here] ]

Overseas sales

As a co-producer on the series, BBC America owns the United States broadcast rights to the programme, [cite news |url= |title=Merry men Ant and Dec bow to latest incarnation of Robin Hood |first=Fergus |last=Sheppard |publisher=The Scotsman |date=2006-10-09 |accessdate=2006-10-13 ] which debuted on the channel on Saturday, 3 March 2007. In Australia, the programme began playing mid 2007 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 7.30pm Sunday slot. From April 2008 it was broadcast in Serbia on channel B92 [ [ Serije na TV B92 ] ] . In Spain the programme started the 4th of January 2008 on La Sexta, in the 21.00 slot. In Hong Kong, the programme started 16 June 2008 on ATV World in Monday 8.00pm slot. The Sales have also been agreed with broadcasters in Denmark, France, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Israel, Canada, Czech Republic and Latin America.cite web |url= |title=BBC's Robin Hood rides into action |first=Gün |last=Akyuz |publisher=C21 Media |date=2006-10-11 |accessdate=2006-10-13 ]

Season one became available on iTunes in May 2008. However, since the second season was just beginning in the US, the Season two episodes are released on iTunes on a weekly basis, corresponding with the public releases.



* Cornell, Paul. [ "Robin Hood and business ongoing"] . "Paul Cornell's House of Awkwardness". URL retrieved Thursday 9 February 2006.
* Deans, Jason. [,,1528476,00.html "Robin Hood set for Saturday night revival"] (subscription link). "The Guardian". Thursday 14 July 2005.
* [ "BBC series needs new Robin Hood"] . BBC News Online. Monday 24 October 2005.

External links

* [ "Robin Hood"] at Tiger Aspect Productions
* [ "Robin Hood"] at
* [ "Robin Hood"] at the British Film Institute
* [ "Robin Hood Charity T-shirts"] for [ "The Sherwood Forest Trust"] ------

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