Welcome to Sherwood!
Welcome to True History of Robin Hood! This is a place free from any colour other than green and slightly-brown-green, where I'll be posting regularly about (one guess, go on) Nottingham's most famous son, the prince of thieves and lord of Sherwood. Whether swinging from ropes hoisted high above a Pasadena sound stage or in the forgotten fields of Yorkshire, stories of Robin Hood have reached the ears and hearts of young and
old for nearly 800 years. These stories have inspired revolution, charity, art, music and, of course, more storytelling. Here, you'll learn about the first whispers of the legend, the evolution of the stories and characters over time, the embellishments and the pinches of truth, right up to the most recent adaptations on the big screen. I'll discuss the common threads, the variations, the deviations, the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as looking more closely at my own collection of Robin Hood goodies hoarded over the last 25 years.
As for me, my first encounter was almost a cliche for my generation; Disney's classic 1973 animated film. Since then, my obsession with Robin Hood and his Merry Men hasn't faded. I've nearly worn out a beautiful book by Margaret Early, received on my seventh birthday, marvelling at the story of Robin and his gang robbing evil monks, fighting the Sheriff and his guards, courting the brave Maid Marian and dying in the arms of Little John, firing his last arrow from the window of Kirklees Abbey. Over the years, my modest collection has ballooned from a single VHS and hardback picture book to over 30 filmed versions of the legend, books, toys, games and props, and more! Favourites over the years are Douglas Fairbanks' stellar 1922 film, Jonas Armstrong's BBC series from 2006-2009, and the classic 1883 children's book by American illustrator Howard Pyle. Since then, I've seen (but not necessarily owned) every filmed version that hasn't been lost to time, and am working my way towards collecting the more interesting written versions (of which there are thousands!), currently [and slowly] working my way through Angus Donald's fantastic Outlaw series. In fact, my first tattoo was taken from a Robin Hood series, so while I wouldn't say I bleed Robin Hood, I definitely have for a 90-minute period.
I started this blog mainly to share slash document my collection, but also to have a space for me to gush about history, to explore different versions of the legend in all its forms, and examine how they relate to or differ from each other. On the page, you'll find a mix of these posts;
At The Movies - talking about the numerous film adaptations of the legend, either theatrical or made for TV, as well as the music, the actors, the costumes, and more!
On The TV - as with the movies, we'll look at the various television series, whether drama, children's or comedy, as well as their respective behind-the-scenes elements;
Literature - written versions of the legend, spanning from novels, to poems, to the original ballads;
The Real Robin Hood - exploring the story behind the legend, from the earliest traces of the tale, the growth of the stories over time, as well as the historical backdrop for the world of Robin Hood - the politics, the culture, the fashion! I'll be gathering information from a huge range of sources, but primarily my bible, James's Holt's wonderful detective work (see below!)
Collection - talking about pieces in my own collection, everything from prop replicas and tie-in merchandise, to obscure items only found in the back corners of antique stores - and maybe one or two wish-list items!
Editorial - general notes and updates when needed.
For our first day up and running, we have this editorial, a little introduction to the historical Robin Hood, and a highlight from the collection. I plan to post every Monday and Friday, starting off with a mix of themes until I find a comfortable rotation ('Merch Friday' is already at the front of my mind!). In a few weeks' time, this will [hopefully] be a page bristling with stories, trivia, and maybe one more shade of green.
Thanks for dropping by!
What would you like to see discussed? A big movie, an obscure show, a weird knick-knack from a forgotten decade? Let me know in the comments or send a message!