Boyz in the hood

Friday, September 8, 2006 by

Last night it was the launch of BBC1′s new Robin Hood adaptation at the Curzon cinema, Mayfair. Peter Fincham did the honours…

“I think there’s something very special about Robin Hood, something unique,” he vouchsafed. “It’s like a folk memory that exists in all of us … One of the themes of Robin Hood is liberty. Although it’s timeless, there’s something oddly modern about it too. The starting point is Robin of Loxley comes back from a controversial war in the Middle East to a country where the government is in trouble. It’s raising taxes, it’s losing touch with the people. These are dark and troubled times.” 

These sentiments were later echoed by Keith Allen – the Sheriff of Nottingham – who described his character as, “A combination of Blackadder and Gordon Brown”. 

And it was all fun and lusty stuff … but why was I the only person walking out at the end of the screening who felt decidedly unimpressed and grumpy come the final quivering arrow? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s just me, but I really didn’t get what this new version of Robin Hood was for. Swashbuckling political allegory for a Saturday night? I dunno.

Perhaps it was the casting. Jonas Armstrong as the titular thief was fine, but physically uncharismatic and flat. Keith Allen was okay – but terribly, terribly Keith Allen (not a single note of his performance surprises). Marian, meanwhile, seemed little more than a Cornish Pasty squeezed into girdle. Her rapport with Robin? Well, maybe that’s for episode two.

And then there was the oddly off-kilter script, which jumped between olde worlde-not-speaking-in-contractions (“I do not make the law, I do not decide”), to chatty modern-day vernacular (“Pop your hand on there”), to toe-curling ’80s buddy cop parlance (“I knew that!” murmured comedy sidekick Much, every time he was re-directed from taking the wrong route).

But … well … like I said, don’t listen to me. Really. Everyone else seemed to think it was pretty good. Lizo off ofNewsround was in attendance, so I daresay if you log onto Outpost Gallifrey in a moment, he’ll be able to fill you in on everything that was good about it. As for me, Saturday nights will once more become the domain of my Thriller DVD boxset.


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