Robin Hood

Season 1 Episode 11

Dead Man Walking

Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Dec 16, 2006 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
95 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Little John's son is arrested in Locksley, John moves to protect his son from the Sheriff's law - and is quickly thrown in Nottingham's dungeon. Alice is surprised to find her husband is still alive.

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  • one of my favorites...

    This is one of my all-time favorite Robin Hood episodes because it really had a lot of wonderful character development and really tugged at the heart. First off, Little John is my favorite characters and I love when they put him in the spot light. at the beginning, his son is taken by soldiers and he tries to save him, failing though. Then they are put in the dungeons together and they talk. Eventually, the mother is placed with them and she wants nothing to do with him. Little John was crushed. It's nice to see that he's not just a giant wild man, but that he has a heart and he loves. It was a really great story...moreless
  • The sheriff has prepared "a festival of pain"

    Even if this episode does not focus on Robin it is nevertheless a good episode to watch. Little John tries to save his boy but ends up in prison with him. Alice recognizes Little John and tells the boy the truth about his father. As usual, Robin comes to the rescue and they are freed. Alice and Little Little John leave Loxley to start a new life elsewhere but Little John remains behind with Robin's gang.

    The sheriff is hilarious as usual while revealing his torture devices and Robin "goes undercover".moreless
  • The Festival Of Pain (spoilers)

    The slow improvement of the series continues with this interesting and, in places, quite thrilling episode. As Gisborne collects taxes in Locksley, he finds the cooper is collaborating with Robin by making bows for the Outlaws. Furious, Gisborne has the cooper and his apprentice locked up. The only trouble is, the cooper’s apprentice is Little John’s son. When he realises this, Little John tries to rescue the boy, only to end up being captured himself. As the Sheriff plans his ‘Festival Of Pain’ to teach non-taxpayers a lesson, and the King’s annual levy is being collected, can Robin save his friend, rescue the other prisoners and make off with the tax money? A typically strong performance from Gordon Kennedy makes this a very enjoyable episode.

    Little John has always been a man of action, strong and principled (if a touch taciturn), so it’s always nice to see a different side to a character we know relatively little about. The desire to save his son is all-consuming; he is even willing to take on a squad of soldiers single-handedly for the boy. When locked in the dungeons, he and his son form a little bond- of course, the boy doesn’t know this man is his father. It is only when John’s former wife Alice (a nice performance by Juliet Seal) is thrown into the dungeons too that the truth comes out. The scenes where Alice confronts John are very well written and beautifully acted. It would be very easy for this to tip into uneasy soap-operaesque melodrama but it just about stays believable, until the end where it does get a little too saccharine for my liking.

    And if the family reunion isn’t to your liking, how about tax intrigues and a festival of pain? The King’s annual levy is being kept at Nottingham Castle, to be taken to London. This proves to be the distraction that Robin needs to prevent the Sheriff’s sick festival. Surely, you’d think they’d learn by now that money is not safe there! The crooked taxman and the dodgy Abbess turned the place over once before, surely the security would be a touch tighter. As for the festival of pain, it is a twisted idea from the Sheriff (who, as the series has progressed, has become a bit less boo-hiss thankfully) to teach a lesson. Marian, as always, intercedes with a plea against barbarity. Modern-day parallels with human rights abuses, perhaps? It’s slightly subtler than some of the other allusions that have been made, I’ll give them that. The other performances are as usual, solid and adequate enough, but this one belongs to Gordon Kennedy.moreless
  • The festival of pain, mwhahahaha!

    This episode delved into the story of Little John, Little Little John and Alice. After the preperation was made for this episode earlier in the series it is about time that the issue was addressed.

    Little Little John finally found out who his father was and even though he had to go away to escape the sheriff at least there will be some closure in the family.

    Robin and Marian seem to be finding her betrothal to Guy hilariously funny, well at least Robin does, I think he only laughs at it because it hurts him too much to show how he really feels.

    The sheriff being tied to the torture devise at the end of the episode was definitely a highlightmoreless
  • One of the best

    I think this is one of the best episodes so far. The interaction between Little John and his family was excellent - it's lovely to see a softer side of Little John, and seeing Little Little John again was great! Alice Little was played really well - her reaction to Little John being alive was excellently done. I also loved the whole scene with Guy, Marian and Robin; can't help feeling Marian's getting herself into more and more trouble with Guy as time goes on....

    The rest of the gang were brilliant as well; pity we didn't see as much of Much (no pun intended) and Djaq, but the little times they had together were excellent. Alan and Will were really great in this episode - loved Alan's showing off at the beginning in front of the crowd, and Will trying to 'help everyone' when they were walking through Nottingham. The exchange between the two when Alan was shoving Will around as a prisoner was hilarious as well, although he seemed to be having too much fun.

    The clincher was Little John's last line about his son: "Him, I am proud to know. You, I am stuck with'. All in all, a great episode!moreless
Anjali Jay

Anjali Jay

Djaq (Episodes 5+)

Gordon Kennedy

Gordon Kennedy

Little John

Harry Lloyd

Harry Lloyd

Will Scarlett

Joe Armstrong

Joe Armstrong


Jonas Armstrong

Jonas Armstrong

Robin Hood

Keith Allen

Keith Allen

Vasney, Sheriff of Nottingham

Juliet Seal

Juliet Seal

Alice Little

Guest Star

Clem Tibber

Clem Tibber

Little Little John

Guest Star

Steven Elder

Steven Elder


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Sheriff: Now, I'd like to sit on the right-hand side of Marian, so I can actually see what a bleeding heart looks like.

    • Alice: (stopping Little John from stabbing the Sheriff) You said you weren't a murderer.
      Little John: Not a man. This is the devil!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Good answer!

    • Luke: (as he, Little Little John and Alice are about to be tortured) Please, they had nothing to do with this. It is my doing.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Oh, gallantry. You see, Marian. It's not dead. Well, not yet.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: These prisoners do not pay their way. They help those that seek to undermine my authority. Therefore, they must all be punished. Now, do you think that they're the only ones to suffer? Do you? (reveals a table full of torture instruments; the assembled crowds gasp) No. Because they do not pay their dues, we- the good citizens- well, we have to pay more. And how on earth are we supposed to support our King's glorious Crusade? If they were to pay their taxes, then we in the community would pay less. So, you see, what I'm actually trying to do is lower taxes.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: Morning everybody, and welcome to my Festival of Pain. I want to talk to you about community taxes. Taxes are a fact, the cost of living in a free country. Now, if you do not pay you taxes, then you sacrifice that freedom and must be punished accordingly. I am sick and tired of your sob stories. Can't pay, too old, too sick. Is this going to help our beloved King in Acre? Hmm? A clue: no. Those that understand this… will survive. Those who defy me, well… (reveals a torture device) the Chair of Delights.

    • Alice: While you rob and murder, and do what you do…
      Luke: Alice, leave him.
      Little John: I have never killed, except to defend myself. I robbed, to survive. But now I rob to help others.
      Little Little John: What? Like Robin Hood?
      Little John: Yes. I am one of Robin Hood's men.
      Little Little John: But you don't wear a tag. Luke told me that all of Robin's men wear tags.
      Little John: I lost them.
      Alice: You expect us to believe you?
      Little John: It's the truth, Alice.
      Alice: One lie was enough, John. Perhaps it's better for us all if you just stay dead. In fact, I wish you were dead. Then we won't hear your lies.

    • Alice: Where were you those winters your baby son was sick with hunger? Or the first summer he had to work alongside me in the field so we could earn enough to buy a loaf of bread? Where were you when the Sheriff's guard did that to his leg? (to Little Little John) When you were younger, before they told me your father was dead, I used to tell you he would come home to us one day, because I wanted to believe it myself. And then, every time you heard a horse pass through the village, you'd run out to see who it was, just in case. (to Little John) The Sheriff's mounted guard would not stop for a peasant boy standing in the road.
      Little John: You would have been outlawed too. It was better just to… to die.
      Alice: We could have started again somewhere else, a new name. I would have followed you anywhere, John. (pause) Not that it matters. We're all outlaws here, and tomorrow we shall suffer for it.

    • Alice: My son! You have imprisoned him!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Get that woman out of here!
      Alice: He was arrested in Locksley this morning. He's just a boy!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: What's she saying?
      Guy of Gisborne: The business of the bowmaker and his boy. The outlaw collaborators.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Oh. And this is the mother of the child? Oh, come, have some compassion, Gisborne. Surely she should be allowed to see her son. Such insistent maternal concern, it should stir pity. Such a pretty face should inspire our respect. (grabbing Alice by the hair) But this one, however, conceals deceit, disloyalty. So, take her away, have her put in the cell with her son and the cooper. One bad apple in the family and we punish the whole barrel.

    • Marian: You are mad to be here at all. Extra guards have been laid on; the place is full of prisoners. You know about the Sheriff's plans for tomorrow? The punishments?
      Robin: Yes, and I intend to stop it.
      Marian: With what? You are few against many.
      Robin: We few have proved quite effective in the past. We will rescue them, all of them. I have a plan. Well, half a plan. I think.

    • Little Little John: I thought they would kill him, but still he would not tell them what they wanted.
      Little John: Brave man.
      Little Little John: Him I like. Did you know my mother? (pause) I don't remember you. Unless… Mother said I dreamt it. There was a man once, he came to our house, lived in the forest.
      Little John: That was real. That was me.
      Little Little John: What's your name?
      Little John: I did know your mother once.
      Little Little John: My father, he was big, a giant, bigger than you even, but… I never knew him.
      Little John: John. We will get out of here. I promise you.

    • Marian: You cannot seriously countenance such cruelty!
      Guy of Gisborne: Marian…
      Marian: It is not punishment, it is barbaric!
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Delicious, is it not? There is… an air of poetry about it. The poetry of pain. (laughs) Oh, our peasants' advocate seems rather upset with me, Gisborne. Sh, drip, drip, drip. I can hear her heart bleed from her. Fear humbles even the most rebellious spirit, my dear. Robin Hood himself will come to fear me one day, in time. Don't doubt it.

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: Who is the one who took out the squad of soldiers single-handed?
      Soldier: (indicating Little John) This one, sir.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Ugly brute. And yet, I feel I've seen him somewhere before. (pause) Do you think he looks like one of Robin Hood's men, Marian?
      Marian: Outlaws all look the same to me.
      Soldier: No necklace, sir.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Obviously just a common brute. Certainly looks wild enough though. Not so tough now, are we, eh, wildman? Certainly beat some civilization into you. Roll on tomorrow's entertainments.
      Marian: Entertainments?
      Sheriff of Nottingham: The Festival of Pain. And throw that brute into the dungeons, soften him up.

    • Marian: It seems the Sheriff is determined to arrest half of Nottingham.
      Guy of Gisborne: Just reminding them of their obligations to the Sheriff and the King, and of their loyalty to their betters.
      Marian: Well, if their obligations are higher and higher taxes, is it any wonder they need reminding of their loyalty? They have nothing to give and yet they are being punished!

    • (Gisborne shows the Sheriff the Saracen bow made by Luke the Cooper)
      Sheriff of Nottingham: I've had one of these pointed in my face before. Very pretty. What does this have to do with the King's annual duty?
      Guy of Gisborne: We found this whilst collecting in Locksley. The man that made it has been supplying Robin Hood.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: And you have him here in the dungeons? Ah, well, now you interest me. (Gisborne hands him the bow; the Sheriff studies it) Our troops could benefit from this bowmaker's skill. We must learn from him.
      Guy of Gisborne: Learn? We should execute him.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Do I detect a note of sourness in your tone, Gisborne? Hm? Disillusioned with life as Lord of Locksley Manor? Hm? Peasants don't like you very much, wish Robin Hood would come back? Oh, what a shame.
      Guy of Gisborne: If a peasant defies us, we must punish him. Hard. We must make an example of him in front of the rest. We must make an event of it.
      Sheriff of Nottingham: An event? Why not? I'll invite all the leaders of the local community, attendance compulsory. We should be very creative in our use of punishments. The scourge- I love a good lashing. Mutilation, of course. Torture. But right here, right here in the Great Hall. The Festival of Pain!

    • Robin: I will not let you do this. It is too reckless.
      Little John: They have my son!
      Robin: I value your life too highly.
      Little John: Him I value more!
      (John punches Robin, knocking him out)

    • Robin Hood: I never give up. On anyone.
      Marian: You may discover that it is too late for some.
      (Robin turns and looks at Marian sadly)
      Marian: I mean, the way the prisoners have been treated...most of them are beyond help. The bowmaker of Locksley has already been tortured. Guy wanted a special example made of him. He is the first to be punished.
      Robin Hood: Yet he plays the gallant gentleman! And he does so want to know you...
      Marian: You should be glad. It is because I know him I am able to tell you the revenue wagon leaves tomorrow for London, with the King's annual duty.
      Robin Hood: And?
      Marian: And the Sheriff thinks you will try to save your friend, the bowmaker of Locksley, whilst the wagon leaves unchallenged.
      (Robin nods)
      Robin Hood: Right. I have a plan.

    • Will Scarlett: So are you gonna leave me locked up here all night?
      Robin Hood: Yes
      Will Scarlett: You're meant to say no! 'We're here to free you,' stuff like that!

    • (As he prepares to throw some of the Sheriff's taxes to the people gathered in the Sheriff's hall)
      Robin Hood: Charity begins at home, Vasney
      Sheriff of Nottingham: Not in my home!

    • (Shouting as he runs away from the Sheriff's guards)
      Much: And you know where you can stick your pike too!

    • Little John: Him, I am proud to know! You lot, I am stuck with!

    • Sheriff of Nottingham: Ah Marian, I thought I heard your voice. Charming as ever, even in dissent.

    • (Shouting as he leaves with his mother)
      Little Little John: I shall never forget my father is a comrade of Robin Hood!

  • NOTES (1)


    • The episode title Dead Man Walking is an American phrase used in prisons, when prisoners who are on Death Row are taken out from their cells for any reason. As these people are due to be executed, they are already seen as "dead". This was also the title of a 1993 non-fiction book by Sister Helen Prejean (which was later made into a film, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn).