Robin of Sherwood is no doubt the best TV series ever made of the legend of Robin Hood. It was made in England 1983-85 and originally aired in UK 1984-86. The series was created by Richard Carpenter and produced by Paul Knight.
The main character, played by Michael Praed, is Robin of Locksley (also spelled as Loxley), son of Ailric of Locksley, a guardian of the Silver Arrow who has led a rebellion against and was murdered by his Anglo-Norman masters. Before his death, Ailric predicts that "A hooded man" will come to fight the tyranny. The tale begins when Robin catches his young step-brother Much (Peter Llewellyn Williams) killing a deer in the lands of Sheriff of Nottingham (Nickolas Grace). Before they can get away, they are being arrested by Sir Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie) and are imprisoned to the Castle of Nottingham. However, Robin and Much escape from imprisonment with a fellow prisoner Will Scarlet (Ray Winstone). They escape to the safety of Sherwood Forest and encounter a 7 feet tall man who's name is John Little (Clive Mantle). He's been bewitched by the evil Baron de Belleme (Anthony Valentine). Robin releases him from the curse and so John Little, renamed by Robin as Little John, joins them.
In the Sherwood Forest Robin also meets Herne the Hunter (John Abineri), the antler-headed forest spirit who possesses the powers of light and goodness. He gives Robin a task of getting the Silver Arrow from the Sheriff. Robin succeeds and when returning to Sherwood forest, he comes across Friar Tuck (Phil Rose), who's been assigned to look after Lady Marion (Judi Trott). He tells Robin that Marion has been kidnapped by Baron de Belleme and that she's been
taken to Belleme's castle. Robin goes to rescue her and comes across the Baron, about to sacrifice Lady Marion. The Baron bewitches Robin in order for him to sacrifice Marion, but at the last moment the knife in Robin's hand turns into the Silver Arrow which Robin stabs the Baron with, killing him. Friar Tuck and Lady Marion, who Robin falls in love with, join the group. Nasir (Mark Ryan), a mysterious saracen who was working for the Baron, also joins them.
That's how the legend begins. In the end of season two of the series, Robert of Locksley is killed by the Sheriff's men. (It isn't shown that Robin actually dies, maybe they left an option for Michael Praed's returning to the series). A new man, reluctantly at first, takes his place as The Hooded Man. He is Robert of Huntington (Jason Connery, son of Sean Connery), an heir of a wealthy and respected man, Earl of Huntington. Robert doesn't have an easy start; first he has to gather all the outlaws who have fled all over country, and then go and rescue Lady Marion, who has been kidnapped (again). Eventually he becomes the new Robin Hood, and the legend goes on.
This series was one of my childhood favourites. I haven't seen it for about 12 years, but I don't think it would be any less good if I saw it now. It really was that good! The casting was very well done, achieving a true feeling of a medieval atmosphere, and the great Irish-sounding music, made by Clannad, strenghtens it even more. The theme song "Robin (The Hooded Man)" is one of the best tv-themes ever made, IMHO. The soundtrack of the series is titled as Legend.
Finally, some great news: The first season of Robin of Sherwood was being released on DVD in March of 2002, and the other two seasons later that year!
Nothing's forgotten... Nothing's ever forgotten