BBC’s Robin Hood Swings Into Action!

Good morning, Nerdy Bloggers!

I’d like to post today about a series I’ve been watching lately.  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of house-sitting for a good friend and her family.  She had the first two seasons of the BBC’s Robin Hood and recommended them to me to watch while staying at her place.  I took her up on the offer and quickly fell in love with the show.

While initially thinking the first episode was a bit cheesy in terms of action sequences and dialogue, the rest of the series greatly improved.  Jonas Armstrong, who plays Robin, fits the part well.  He is dashing, handsome, charming, witty, and plays up the character’s nobility and honor very well.  Maid Marian, played by Lucy Griffiths, is no damsel in distress and does a great deal to add not only more action and a strong female presence, she also is a great compliment to Robin, balancing out his personality.  I really enjoyed her performance in the show.

Robin Hood connoisseurs will be pleased to see old favorites such as Will Scarlett, Allan A Dale, and Little John.  I am no expert on Robin Hood lore, I’m afraid, but with exception of Alan Rickman’s portrayal in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, I’ve never seen a more despicable Sheriff of Nottingham than Keith Allen.  Allen does an excellent job of being a greedy, sniveling, nasty, evil, loathsome, vile cockroach of a Sheriff, killing people all willy nilly, torturing his subjects out of their tax money, and being simply cruel.  I absolutely love to hate his incarnation of the Sheriff.  He is spot on in his performance, and one of the most excellently awful things about the show.

Now, here’s where you come in Nerdy Bloggers.  As stated previously, I am no expert on Robin Hood lore, so I’d appreciate correction if I’m off.  There are a few characters in this show that I can’t recall seeing or hearing about in other places.  Accompanying the Sheriff in his quest to rule Nottingham with an iron fist is Guy of Gisborne, who takes over Robin Hood’s estate in Locksley while he is off fighting with King Richard in the Holy Land.  Guy is played by Richard Armitage, who plays a cruel and ruthless, yet potentially good character.  Armitage makes Guy interesting to watch and simultaneously makes the viewer wonder if he’ll be redeemed.

Other members of the Merry Men who (I think) are new to the legend, are Much, Robin’s servant, and Djaq, a Saracen woman.  Djaq is masquerading as her deceased twin brother in order to fight against the English in the Crusades (and is my personal favorite).  Djaq makes her first appearance in the fifth episode of the first season, entitled “Turk Flu” where she and other Saracen are brought to England as slaves and by the end of the episode, joins the Merry Men.  Much is hilarious with his incessant banter, but is extremely loyal to Robin and the cause of justice for which they fight.  Djaq, played by Indian-English actress, Anjali Jay, is my favorite as a strong female character, in addition to being smart and witty, is able to kick your hiney and make smart remarks all the while.  She also functions as the medic for the Merry Men, taking knowledge she learned from a father who was a physician.  I like to imagine myself as girl who could swing a sword and speak witty remarks over your defeated hiney, so I guess that probably contributes to my affection for Djaq.  🙂

One of the things I have come to appreciate most about the two seasons I’ve watched (there are only three seasons) is the excellent chemistry among the Merry Men.  The characters work well together, making them not only fun to watch, but work well together as a cast.

The show is great for families with older children, as it really has it all: action, adventure, romance, and humor.  There are great themes of fighting for good and for justice and treating all with respect, regardless of race or social class.  There is very little coarse language and no real sexual content.  This makes it a great show for most everyone enjoy.  For these reasons, I give BBC’s Robin Hood, two thumbs up on the Nerdy Blogger scale.


Nerdy Blogger

About The Nerdy Blogger

Ashley Thomas is The Nerdy Blogger. She holds a B. A. in English Literature from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee (c/o 2007) and completed her M. A. in Literature and Language, concentrating in Imaginative Literature at Signum University in Summer 2017. Ashley blogs, reads, writes (for fun and for hire), and spends time with her husband, Ryan, and their two cat-monsters, Luna and Oliver. She and Ryan reside in Charlotte, North Carolina with a large quantity of board games, comic books, and polyhedral dice. She would like to be Brienne of Tarth, Leslie Knope, and Hermione Granger when she grows up.
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14 Responses to BBC’s Robin Hood Swings Into Action!

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi, great review on the show.

    Just wanted to help you out with characters:

    Gisborne tends to be the token bad guy throughout various incarnations of the legend, he is mentioned in the ballads of which the legend was born. He is always the enemy of Robin Hood, at times the enemy of The Sheriff by working only for Prince John or is the lackey of the Sheriff and hunting down Robin Hood.

    Much is known in the legend as ‘Much the Millers son’ not always Robin’s servant but certainly has made appearances in again other incarnations of the legend. This is the first time I’ve seen the character given a large based role. He is in various ballads, known as an outlaw in Robin’s gang. (I’m sure they had a Much in the Errol Flynn movie but it’s been a while since I watched it, and certainly there was a character of Much the Millers son in Costner’s ‘Prince of Thieves’ albeit a very small role. )

    Djaq represents the saracen or ‘moor’ element. If you recall the Kevin Costner movie, Morgan Freeman played the ‘moor’ of the tale. Again, I think in one of the ballads a saracen was mentioned. In this case of the BBC, Djaq is the representation of that and also it brings in the inclusion of a woman element within the gang. It also helped to make it ‘politically correct’ by placing a muslim on the show. The BBC strive to keep things balanced (sometimes at a stretch but Djaq was a great addition to the cast and characters.)

    I love the way the gang works, they have some terrific moments both in the fight scenes, dramatically, emotionally. I hope you enjoy the third as much as the first two. Though it wasn’t my favourite I’ve just started a re-watch over it and it packs a punch, some really good dramatic scenes even in the first episode alone.

    Enjoy and hope this has helped a little.


    • Thanks so much for your input! I did find out about Much a little while after writing this post. Unfortunately my Robin Hood knowledge is limited to the Disney version, Men in Tights (which I didn’t enjoy very much), Prince of Thieves, and the BBC series. I’ve not seen the famed Errol Flynn version or any of the other incarnations. I think I may have to go the library and see what I can dig up in the original legends. That would certainly be food for thought.


  2. ladykate63 says:

    Great write-up! 🙂 It’s great to see new people coming into the fandom, I hope you’re here to stay!


    • I hope so, too! I really am fascinated with the show. I think I am more fascinated now as I realized yesterday that my fiancé looks a bit like Will Scarlett. Slim, dark hair and eyes, beard, and simply dashing. 🙂 I told him we should dress up as Will and Djaq for Halloween. He laughed and said no one would know who we were. XD


  3. MM says:

    I agree with Ladykate63, it’s always nice to see people discover the show. 🙂 One little correction about the appearance of a Saracen outlaw — this is the invention of Richard Carpenter, who conceived and wrote Robin of Sherwood for ITV in the 1980’s, predating the Costner film (they nicked the idea from RoS). Carpenter created the character of Nasir, who was an enchanted henchman of the evil Simon de Bellame — who also had John Little/Little John under his spell. Robin broke LJ’s enchantment by knocking him off the bridge in That Fight 😉 and by removing the pentagram painted on his chest. Once de Bellame was killed by Robin, Nasir’s enchantment was also broken and he chose to join Robin’s outlaws rather than return to the Middle East. And ever since RoS, the band of outlaws has included a Saracen. It’s just that BBC’s RH deserves special mention for making that character such a powerhouse of a woman.

    Hope that helped some. 🙂
    xx mm


    • Oh, that’s fascinating to know! I didn’t realize how recent of a development that was. And yes, kudos to BBC for creating such a fascinating character in Djaq. There is so much more of her story to be told! She is definitely one of the most interesting people in the series. Thanks for your input! 🙂


  4. juditanne says:

    Much the Miller’s son was featured in the Erroll Flynn version played by a much older man than Much of the recent BBC Series, Sam Troughton to Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood. The entire ensemble cast were brilliant and the chemistry exhibited throughout just proved to be perfectly choreographed. The Sheriff was deliciously evil and his henchman, Gisborne, far too brutal than was necessary but the show came together beautifully for the promised family entertainment. Sure, we needed to suspend belief but the messages put out for peace were excellent. I too, liked the fact that while the Good versus Bad element was there, there was no foul language, no explicit sex and no blood and guts evident other than the swashbuckling. This was a class show in that it had everything we grew up used to – that being Action, Adventure, Comedy and best of all. Romance which should have been the best Love Story of all but unhappily, that was the shock element that spoiled the show to some extent, leaving Season 3 floundering and that was a damn shame because while Robin himself was brilliant throughout, Marian should not have been written out. We were robbed on that score! What was left was the result of fast, panicked storylines with only 13 remaining episodes to cover the error in judgement by Marian’s exit from the show. Otherwise, it should have ranked with the best re-telling of the legend ever.


    • My feelings, exactly. I’ve shed a tear or two over a TV show, but never like I did at the end of Season 2. I was totally shocked that they would even consider removing her from the show…how can you have Robin without Marian? Doesn’t make sense. It might (emphasis on the might) have been a recoverable error if they hadn’t left Djaq and Will in the Holy Land, too. Tearing out half the gang was the clincher. (Plus I just adore Djaq and Will so I was particularly heartbroken about that, too). It’s really quite unfortunate that it ended that way. I’ve not seen S3 yet, so I’ll hold my judgement on it until I’ve watched. Thanks for your input!


  5. From what I remember from reading the 19th Century Robin Hood novel, Gisborne is a mercenary who is either hired to kill Robin (he ambushes him in the forest) or attempts to get the reward money on his head. This next part is stretching my memory a bit, but I think he actually beats Robin in am ensuing swordfight, but Robin through some trickery manages to get away/buy him off. Gisborne is one of the minor villains in the old Robin Hood short stories but is usually independent from John or the Sheriff.


  6. It was a fun write up…makes me want to see the show. Even though I have seen Errol Flynn’s version, and I like him, the sequins on his tunic just hit me wrong. You aren’t missing that much. For movie versions, the Patrick Bergen/Uma Thurman version, or the latest with Russell Crowe/Cate Blanchett are much more believeable in their look. The RC version is very revisionist, however, and though I liked it, I can see how purists wouldn’t. Did you see that one? It would be interesting to see what you thought. Keep up the good work!


    • Thanks for the positive feedback, Jenny. I haven’t gotten to see the Russell Crowe version yet, as I wasn’t sure I’d like it. I’m planning on catching it at the dollar theater here in the next couple weeks. 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying my blog! If you have a Netflix subscription, the first two seasons of the BBC Robin Hood are available to watch instantly online.


  7. catsmeow says:

    I just landed on this blog. I “accidentally” found the BBC RH last year when the first one was free on iTunes. I quickly fell in love and downloaded the whole 3 seasons. I love Robin Hood in every way, and though some of the BBC one was a bit cheesy, I am addicted! I have seen the whole 3 seasons 3 times and just keep watching! Regarding the Russel Crow version, though I am a purest, I really enjoyed it. It gave a whole new spin on how Robin Hood became Robin Hood. I would like to see a sequel made with his adventures and those of his Marry men!


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