Robin Hood arrows in for a second series – starts Saturday 6 October 2007 at 7.30pm on BBC One
Robin Hood arrows in for a second series, starting soon on BBC One. Made by Tiger Aspect Productions, the drama proved a huge hit with viewers last year.
Starring Jonas Armstrong, Lucy Griffiths, Keith Allen and Richard Armitage, the show struck a chord with family audiences and, in one of the most competitive slots on TV, gained average ratings of seven million for the first seven episodes in 2006.
The critics also lined up to praise the series. The Daily Mail called it "rip-roaring, great entertainment for all the family"; the Daily Mirror commented: "the Beeb spoil us with yet another fab adaptation of an old classic"; the Times opined that "new Robin rules the Hood"; while Chris Moyles, on BBC Radio 1, simply said that the series was "absolutely brilliant".
Once again written by co-creator and executive producer Dominic Minghella, the 13-part series features an outstanding, magnetic cast.
The drama centres around the charismatic Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong), who leads his gang of outlaws in Sherwood Forest. Using outrageous scams, disguises, tricks, ingenuity, breathtaking archery and swordplay, the band of brothers attempt to outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen) and his sadistic lieutenant, Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage).
In this series, shot in eye-catching locations near Budapest in Hungary, Robin is aided in his quest by his feisty love interest, Marian (Lucy Griffiths), and his loyal troupe of outlaws, Much (Sam Troughton), Little John (Gordon Kennedy), Allan A Dale (Joe Armstrong), Will Scarlett (Harry Lloyd) and Djaq (Anjali Jay).
Jane Tranter, Controller of BBC Fiction, says: "The cast have engaged and delighted a whole new generation with this fresh and modern retelling of Robin Hood. Keith Allen's captivating portrayal of the menacing Sheriff, coupled with the great performances from our young cast, headed up by Jonas Armstrong, equals compelling drama."
Foz Allan, co-executive producer with Dominic Minghella and Sarah Brandist, adds: "We are delighted to be returning and that audiences seem to have really taken to the series and its characters. What continues to be exciting about Robin Hood is not only Dominic Minghella's scripts but working with such fantastic new young talent."
In this series, which also features such notable guest appearances from Dexter Fletcher, Ralf Little, David Bamber, Josie Lawrence, Denis Lawson, Tony Slattery, Mathew Horne, Charlie Brooks and Lynda Bellingham, Robin is in even greater peril than before as he tries to foil the Sheriff and Guy's evil scheme to hire a mercenary troop of Black Knights to assassinate King Richard and put Prince John on the throne.
Foz explains how Robin has moved on since the last series: "The biggest development is that the stakes have been upped considerably. The Sheriff is involved in what, in modern parlance, would be called 'regime change'. So, when Robin clashes with the Sheriff now, it's as much about the very soul of England as taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
"Robin's relationship with Marian has also taken on an extra dimension. They have declared their love for each other, but she puts herself in genuine danger by spying on the Sheriff at the castle for Robin. That also ups the ante."
Foz also says that, in addition to the magnitude of the prize he is fighting for, the character of Robin has evolved.
"Robin is much more of a leader and decision-maker this year. His choices and dilemmas are that much greater because the stakes are so much higher. If Robin has to kill someone in order to prevent a catastrophe then, with respect, that's what he will do."
Dominic observes that Robin Hood remains a perennially magnetic figure: "He's an eternally popular character because there's a natural sense of justice about him. He's a proper, quintessentially English folk hero, with a heart of oak.
"One of the things about Robin that chimes with audiences today is that he crosses the class divide. He's a noble who champions the poor, and there is something timelessly appealing about that. He is an unquestionable hero and people warm to that."
Foz concludes: "If you liked Robin last year, you will like him even more this time. He was a boy last year, but this year he is very much a man. He has bulked up and is a more imposing, sexy and manly figure now.
"We've cranked up the jeopardy and the tension, and even more than before you're guaranteed fabulous entertainment in your living room every Saturday night for the next 13 weeks."