Maid Marian and Her Merry Men

BBC (ended 1994)


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Maid Marian and Her Merry Men Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
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  • It was hilarious as a child. It's even funnier now. The 'true' story of Sherwood Forest, brought to you by Tony Robinson.

    This is quite possibly my favourite children's television programme. It is filled with amusing characters, cheesy songs, wacky plots and has an end theme tune that I've never forgotten. While I am too young to really remember this when it was originally shown, it was unmissable viewing when it was repeated.

    While going through one of my regression into childhood phases I recently ordered the boxset expecting to be mildly disappointed as I often am when revisiting children's shows as an adult. Not this time. Whilst a lot of the slapstick is obviously aimed at children, much of the dialogue is very reminiscent of Blackadder. Obviously Tony Robinson used what he'd learnt on the show when writing Maid Marian. There's plenty of jokes and innuendo that you don't appreciate as a child. It is a show that works on many levels to appeal to all ages. Even the most corny jokes are so packed together that it becomes funny again. This show should appeal to fans of British comedy such as Blackadder and Monty Python, who like to let their inner child out every once in a while. It's just a pity it doesn't get more recognition.

    In this retelling of Robin Hood it is Marian who is the leader while Robin is a yuppie tailor from Kensington and a coward. Her Merry Men consist of: Little Ron (a dwarf), a Rastafarian called Barrington (played by Danny John Jules - the Cat in Red Dwarf) and the incredibly thick Rabies....
    .... oh, and Susan. In fighting oppression on behalf of the stupid peasants of muddy Worksop village, they are up against King John, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Tony Robinson), and a pair of rather dim but lovable guards, Gary and Graeme. The first series is probably the one which most closely resembles the legend as we know it (albeit extremely loosely). It features Little Ron on the bridge, the archery contest and the return of King Richard. The songs are less memorable, although the parody of Robin of Sherwood's Clannad soundtrack in 'The Whiteish Knight' was well done. We find out the origins of the game of snooker and that Robin's horn was originally intended to be used as a bubble blower. Brilliance.

    In the second series we meet Guy of Gisbourne, with the mentality of a spoilt 5yr old and a mother who threatens to do very nasty things with pencils, as well as Marian's best friend and nemesis, Rose Scargill. An amnesic Sheriff confronts the Beast of Bolsover, The Worksop villagers have some very strange ideas about where eggs come from, The Merry Men wear brown noses in aid of Colin's Release, Rabies falls in love and Marian and Robin face the chop. The cast are more settled into their roles this time round and the show just keeps getting stronger.

    While all four series are fantastic, from series 3 onwards the plots get madder and funnier and the songs are more catchy and better choreographed. Life-size jellybabies, Marian's mum and a threat of alien invasion (with slight allusions to Doctor Who and Star Trek) are some of the highlights. Oil is discovered in Worksop, only for it to be deemed totally useless and the Merry Men discuss what their characters would be like if one day their story was shown in moving picture galleries (cue 'Prince of Thieves' references).

    For me my favourite episode has to be 'Tunnel Vision' from series 4 which has the Sheriff planning construction of a cross forest tunnel between Worksop and Scunthorpe and a brilliant spoof of The Crystal Maze with Robin dressed as Richard O'Brien. Also in this excellent final series, High Forks Night celebrations (Remember! Remember! The 27th of April), the Merry Men pretend to be pixies, Robin's lookalike, Clem Costner, causes trouble and Rabies enters a parallel universe.

    There's only drawback with this show that I can think of. I've had the Father Bloopy song going round my head for days.