Bring On The (Not So) Empty Horses, or "Robin Hood - Men In Tucks"
Television and the movies have had a lot of mileage out of the Robin Hood story down the years, from Errol Flynn and Richard Greene through to Mel Brooks and Kevin Costner.
One of the most successful and well-regarded retellings of the legend was Robin Of Sherwood, made by Goldcrest Films and HTV West in the mid-1980s. I remember watching it and thinking that, mysticism apart, this was probably the most gritty (and therefore nearer to the real world) adaptation yet. The characters were more rounded than the 'man in green, unconvincing maiden and cipher crew members' tendency of previous efforts. And it had great music by Clannad.
I can't say that I watched it all; I drifted away by the time Michael Praed (Robin) went off to Broadway and was replaced with Jason Connery. But it was one of the better TV series of the time.
By the magic of teh interwebs, it is now possible to watch those most interesting parts of any dramatic production: the out-takes. Below are two collections of bloopers, cock-ups and pranks from the show's whole run. They're probably the funniest I've ever come across and, if nothing else, they suggest that - however hard location filming can be - the cast and crew were having a great time.
Chuckle as Judi Trott (as Marian) completely fails to get to grips with the fundamentals of archery!
Groan as a stick fight between Clive Mantle (as Little John) and Praed ends up with someone's rod seriously bent out of shape!
Giggle as Nickolas Grace (as Robert de Rainault, Sheriff of Nottingham) camps it up like there's no tomorrow!
And cheer as Praed, Grace and the late, lamented Robert Addie (as de Rainault's sidekick, Guy of Gisburne) fail totally to take seriously the trails they have to make to camera to promote the US network which was to screen the show over there (where they called it Robin Hood because Americans have no sense of geography beyond their own shores)!
And as for the horses...well, just watch...and listen.
Update:The bloody lawyers have been at it again, and the first one has been pulled from YouTube (though not, interestingly, the second one - yet). If I find it again, I''ll update this.