Do you remember Maid Marian and Her Merry Men? The series ran from 1989 to 1994 on the BBC, and I loved it — it was fun family weekend viewing.
All four series came out on DVD this week in a complete boxset and I took a trip down memory lane and watched a selection of the funny nostalgia-inducing episodes — which have aged surprisingly well.
Each series is either six or seven episodes long and full of the familiar characters — like strong and idealistic Maid Marian, rapping merry man Barrington, angry, red-faced King John, Lawrence Llewyllen Bowen-alike Robin Hood, and creator and writer Tony Robinson as the Sheriff of Nottingham. These over-the-top caricatures (and the presence of Robinson) make it feel like you're watching an even sillier Blackadder-lite, and it's a lot of fun.
It was more than just a kids' show though, Robinson's writing features many sly asides referencing present-day issues and frustrations, which led to parents loving it as much as their children. You can also be sure each episode will have a rap or a song, which work out rather well in the bizarre pseudo-historical narrative structure, as well as simply moving the story along without losing the younger viewers' attention.
To read more of my thoughts, and take a look at one of Barrington's raps (plus vintage Andi Peters in the CBBC broom cupboard), as well as the memorable end credits theme music, just read more.
If you watched Maid Marian when you were younger I would highly recommend taking another look at the show. The box set has been really nicely put together with some fab animated comics inside each series, as well as lots of extras including the Christmas special, audio commentaries, improvised sketches, Maid Marian karaoke, quizzes and lots more. Plus, as I said, the show itself has aged really well.
It's a really fun box set, presented with lots of humour — an excerpt from the back cover reads: "Marvel at the relatively young Tony Robinson's hilarious cavortings in the days before he got boring and started digging holes in the mud"! Remember — Christmas is coming...