There are fandoms, and then there are fandoms that change lives. Thirty-plus years ago “Robin of Sherwood” debuted in America on Showtime, garnishing a large and devoted following. The magic created by Richard “Kip” Carpenter touched many hearts, and built a lifelong relationship between fans and cast alike. I owe friendships to so many dear people to “Robin of Sherwood.” News of the radio play, “Robin of Sherwood: Knights of the Apocalypse” with all of the surviving original cast members – Jason Connery, Judi Trott, Mark Ryan, Ray Winstone, Nickolas Grace, Clive Mantle, and more – sent an arrow straight into my heart.
Now, Robin of Sherwood has added some big names in addition to the beloved cast. Leading the villains are Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and King Uther in BBC’s Merlin), and Colin Baker, best known as the quirky Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who. Sadly there was one role that needed to be re-cast, the much beloved Robert Addie, who played fan favorite Guy of Gisbourne. The actor passed away in 2003 at the age of 43. Re-casting an icon is not an easy task, as recently fans managed to secure a plaque in his honor in his birthplace of Cirencester in Gloucestershire. The project has been fortunate to secure Freddie Fox (of the famous Fox dynasty of actors, brother to Emilia Fox and son of Edward Fox) to step into the role of Gisbourne, to give the role his own unique spin and create a new double-act with the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, Nickolas Grace.
The radio play has also been fortunate to use original Clannad theme tune, which is such an integral part of the series. “Robin (The Hooded Man)” was twice released as a vinyl 7” single in its own right in the 1990’s when the series first aired. The album “Legend’ is still widely available on CD, MP3 streaming, vinyl and even cassette.
This one-off audio adventure is adapted from an unproduced script by the late creator of “Robin of Sherwood,” Richard “Kip” Carpenter, who passed away in 2012. All profits from “Knights of the Apocalypse” will go to Carpenter’s favorite charities, including the preservation of a part of Sherwood Forest, known as “Kip’s Woods.” The crowdfunding page at Indiegogo continues to stay “live,” so many fans can purchase the perks on offer. As a testimony to the love the series generated, the initial goal of 10,000 BGP, was met within 24 hours, causing a sensation. There’s still time left to get in on all of the goodies offered here.
Jason Connery (Robert of Huntingdon) said: “I’ve checked the hood, and it still fits. It’s finally time to bring Robin of Sherwood back, and I’m thrilled that our fans have raised so much money for me to get into the recording studio and reunite with the old gang.”
Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter’s daughter, Harriet, said: “Dad would have been overwhelmed by the response from the fans who have stuck by Robin of Sherwood for all these years. To be remembered like this is something quite remarkable and it’s going to be a great success.”
Clive Mantle (Little John) said: “I always knew the show had an incredible and loyal following. This mass show of support is testament to that.”
Mark Ryan (Nasir) added: “It’s very humbling to know that something you were involved in and enjoyed so much 30+ years ago is still cherished by the fans and relevant today.” In creating Nasir the Saracen, Ryan and Carpenter opened the door for other Robin Hood series to add a Muslim character.
Producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones commented: “It’s been a difficult road to get to the recording studio but I’m delighted that I’ve managed to gather a really strong cast to make sure this is a rollicking, epic tale; set just after the end of the original series.” One thing fans are dying to know: will Maid Marion get her happy ending?
The feature-length story is now being solely produced by Barnaby Eaton-Jones and a new audio company will oversee its release. That audio company is Spiteful Puppet Entertainment, whose own Hood series has won a fair few audio awards and is currently being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at this moment.
The expected release date is June 2016. In the meantime, fans can re-watch the original series on DVD and Blu-Ray. It’s the perfect time to share the forest and the magic with new fans, as we older fans rejoice. It is true: Nothing is Forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.