Doctor Who : Robots of Sherwood
In Robots of Sherwood we have the most light-hearted episode of the new series so far, and there was a lot to like about this episode. After the intensity of the previous episode this was a nice change of pace with a firm accent on humour and fun. The story is a good old fashioned romp, which is quite nice every so often. We had a brief mention of the series story arc with the promised land appeared on the computer screens in the castle, but didn’t have an appearance by Missy in this episode, which was quite nice actually, even though quite a lot of people died in this story, and you did sort of expect it to happen.
Given the episodes title it wasn’t really a surprise when robots did actually appear in the story but I did wonder if Robin Hood and the Merry Men were not the robots of Sherwood, as that would have made good sense, and would have fitted in with one of the Doctor’s theories that they might have landed in some sort of giant theme park in the future rather than in actual 12th century England.
The robots just being the Sherriff’s men were ok but it would have been more interesting I think if it had been Robin himself. It would be true to say that having it that way would play into the Doctor’s hands with him proclaiming that there is no such person as Robin Hood, which made it even more interesting when the Doctor finally find out that Robin was not the robot that he assumed that he was.
We would have been robbed of that moment if they had gone with Robin as a robot idea so we can be thankful for that as that was a good moment for Capaldi’s Doctor and you can see it clearly on his face when he realised that he has been wrong all of this time.
There was a lovely little moment when the Doctor and Robin came across the spaceship and all that information about Robin Hood appeared on the screen including a picture of Patrick Troughton as Robin Hood from the very first BBC television series featuring the character.
I liked the Doctor’s insistence that there cannot actually be a real Robin Hood as he knew that it was a legend but this episode alluded to the theory that the legend of Robin Hood was based upon an actual person from the twelfth century, which I have always considered as possibility given in that most versions of the legend there isn’t much in the way of things that weren’t likely to happen during that time which makes me even more convinced that he was based on a real person.
Robin Hood and his friends were very much based on the Errol Flynn films version of the characters rather than say Robin of Sherwood, or the recent version of the show, which is more often than not the general version of the characters. In that case a theme park, or even a miniscope, would not have been out of the question.
I really enjoyed Capaldi’s Doctor in this episode even if he was a bit grumpy. However as a grumpy old git myself I like it when the Doctor is a bit grumpy and the banter between him and Robin Hood was also very good with both Capadli and Tom Riley having a whale of a time in those scenes.
Jenna Coleman continued to impress in this story and didn’t she look lovely in her frock. She also had a good scene with Ben Miller’s Sherriff where she really held her own against a strong performance by Miller. I am sure that this is first time that they have said that Clara is from Blackpool, which is where Jenna is from but in this story in particular her northern accent was quite prominent.
Talking of Ben Miller he gave a great performance as the Sherriff of Nottingham and proves that he would make a really good Master to Capaldi’s Doctor. Indeed it wouldn’t have been surprising that near the end of the story he proclaimed himself to be The Master. He didn’t but it would have fitted quite well if they were going to go for that, which they certainly weren’t, at least not in this particular story anyway.
Tom Riley played Robin with a nod and a wink, and managed to just about get away with the very arch way that he portrayed the character. True his constant guffawing did get very old very quickly but he managed to stay just on the right side of avoiding going totally OTT with his portrayal.
You couldn’t get away with this sort of story very often but it works every now and again and I would say that it worked very well in this case and Gattis bought us a fine story, if indeed totally unoriginal but as they say imitation is the most sincerely form of flattery then Mr Gattis is being very flattering to the legend of Robin Hood.