Hey Baby... Outlander is back.

Hey Baby… Outlander is back.

It’s a very good time to be a fan of historical romance – with two huge television series, Outlander and Poldark, capturing the imagination (and the hearts!) of viewers around the world.

The second season of Outlander is about to start screening for lucky people with access to pay television, while the second season of Poldark will be a second half of the year treat.
So I thought now would be a good time to take a look at other television historical romances – some of which have been long forgotten or miscategorised as adventure or children’s stories.
Some episodes of the series I’ll review are in the public domain and are available to legitimately and freely download from the likes of Archive.org, others will have an episode or two loaded onto YouTube.
Last week, we looked at Smuggler.

We go back more than 60 years for this week’s Outlander Alternative.

(I was asked last week, why it should be an Outlander ‘alternative’ and when people would enjoy both. My only defense is that my sleepy Saturday morning brain latched on to the alliteration and wouldn’t let go).

 This week it is: The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Story below the break

Award-winning medieval romance…

A secret from their past could destroy their future

Warrior’s Surrender

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This series is delightful on so many levels from its production values, scripting and ensemble cast of players including many names who would become significant stars in the 1960s and beyond including a dashing Paul Eddington, Edward Mulhare, Patrick Troughton, Donald Pleasance, Leslie Phillips, Leo McKern, Gordon Jackson.
Because of the age of the series, it has now fallen into the public domain which means it is free to download and watch, which you can do from Archive.org and it only when you binge watch instead of watching it as a weekly series as it was originally intended, you get to see a strong cast of supporting players in multiple roles – a villain in one episode, a peasant in other, and there he is again as a nobleman.
The Plot
We’re all familiar with the plot of Robin Hood, so I won’t repeat it here but I will point out that this series is no paint by numbers affair.

Like Smuggler before it, The Adventures of Robin Hood was billed as a ‘family’ series but don’t make the mistake of thinking of cardboard cut out characters.

Friar Tuck (Alexander Gauge) may love his food but he’s not a rolly poly clown. He is respected as a clergyman and is truly wily when it matters, but never at the expense of his principles.

Little John uses his brains as well as his brawn. Archie Duncan also played Lestrade in the mid 1950s Sherlock Holmes TV series starring Ronald Howard, the son of the late Leslie Howard (and boy is the man the spitting image of his father!).

Now we get to the main characters Robin Hood and Maid Marion.
The Hero
Played by Richard Greene 015-the-adventures-of-robin-hood-theredlistwith Errol Flynn like panache, Robin of Loxley owns Sherwood Forest along with his band of Merry Men. He’s a dashing hero, one with a ready smile and a quick wit, but under-estimate him at your peril. He is driven by a strong sense of justice, not only towards his rag tag band of miscreants but also to the villagers around Nottingham.
The Heroine
tve13042-19570624-497Played by two actresses Bernadette O’Farrell and Patricia Driscoll during the five run, Maid Marion is no passive participant in Robin’s adventures. She is a skilled rider and an archer in her own right. She is the only person other than Friar Tuck who can move between the world of the law and the ‘lawless’ with impugnity and the two often work in concert on the ‘outside’.

What makes it a romance
Two lovers separated by circumstances have a clandestine affair aware that danger lurks if they’re uncovered. That’s a trope I’m looking forward to exploring in one of my stories one day, but back to Robin and Marion.

Their relationship is friendly and familiar. This is not the flush of new romance but one which simmers.

Is there a HEA?
We don’t get to see a HEA for these two – at least not in the conventional sense. They are ‘together’ even when they’re apart and there is no doubting the devotion these two have for each other.
Don’t wait, download the series now and get your kids to binge watch this over the school holidays.

Romance: 3 Hearts
Adventure: 4 Hearts
Next week: North and South (1985-1994)