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Reflecting on Robin of Sherwood - a weekend of interviews and celebrations


Credit: Neil Jackson


At the Robin of Sherwood event, the main question I was asked when I was chatting to people was how I'd prepared for the interviews, so I thought it might be interesting to give people a behind the scenes peek into what I'd done.


Two years ago I was asked to be part of the interviewing team for the 40th anniversary celebration of Robin of Sherwood. Knowing I would be working alongside Tim, who is an old hand at this kind of event, I eventually plucked up my courage and nervously agreed to take on the role. I'd had my doubts about it - I'm more used to interviewing at small-scale book launches and there are many people in the fandom who know far more about the programme than I do - but I was determined that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it properly. Consequently, I started amassing a collection of resources I thought might be of use in preparing myself and with just over two months to go, I hit the books.




I approached my research for the interviews in the same way I approach my research when I'm writing my books, essentially immersing myself in the world I'm preparing to step into. The main difference is that when I'm researching for my books, it's generally a much more limited field. For Robin of Sherwood, there are so many people involved, who have done such a wide range of work between them, that it's almost impossible to put a limit on the avenues you can travel down. In the end, I turned to the things I love best - books - and decided to start there. I read general background on the show, then took each episode in turn, reading about it and making notes, then watching it, making more notes and noting down possible questions.

Here is my Robin Hood reading list for March, April and May - some I physically read myself, others I listened to on audio as I sewed bags and cross stitched for the stall. Then I moved onto documentaries about Robin Hood to remind myself of the legends.


Books


Hooded Man Volume 1 - Andrew Orton

Ivanhoe - Walter Scott

The Hooded Man Volume 2 - Andrew Orton

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard Pyle

Robin of Sherwood The Complete Look In Comics

Robin of Sherwood - Richard Carpenter

The Hounds of Lucifer - Richard Carpenter

The Hooded Man - Anthony Horowitz

The Time of the Wolf - Richard Carpenter

The Knights of the Apocalypse - Richard Carpenter


Documentaries


Timeline Robin Hood: The Truth Behind The Legend

Unsolved Mysteries - Robin Hood

History's Mysteries - The True Story of Robin Hood

Robin Hood The Outlawed Hero


Films/TV Programmes


Robin of Sherwood Series 1-3 (3 times!)

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

Men In Tights

The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men

Disney's Robin Hood

outtakes of Robin of Sherwood




Once I felt as though I'd got a handle on both the legends and some of the adaptations of them, it was time to turn my attention to other things the cast and crew had been involved in, to start thinking about how I could link what they had done in other areas, to their time on Robin of Sherwood. I read briefly about other parts they'd played/directed where I didn't have time for a detailed watch of programmes/films.


Film/TV


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sharpe

Sherlock

Thomas the Tank Engine Interviews with Jason and Esta

Chariots of Fire

various clips from other programmes

background information about guests (Google was my friend)

Foyle's War

Midsomer Murders

Poirot

Children of the Stones

Much Ado About Nothing


Reading


The Falcon's Malteser - Anthony Horowitz

Groosham Grange - Anthony Horowitz

The Word is Murder - Anthony Horowitz

Forever And A Day - Anthony Horowitz

With A Mind To Kill - Anthony Horowitz

The Sentence is Death - Anthony Horowitz

A Line To Kill - Anthony Horowitz

The Twist of a Knife - Anthony Horowitz

Stormbreaker - Anthony Horowitz

Public Enemy Number Two - Anthony Horowitz

South By South East - Anthony Horowitz

The Blurred Man - Anthony Horowitz

The Devil and His Boy - Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz

Point Blanc - Anthony Horowitz

The French Confection - Anthony Horowitz

Articles about second wave feminism in the 1980s

print interviews with cast and crew

reviews of theatre performances


When the panels were put together, I then started thinking about what the general theme of each panel could be and how to make links not only between the various questions I'd written and the general interview topic, but also between the guests themselves. I also needed to ensure that each guest had ample opportunity to speak and that the questions were evenly distributed amongst them.


I was very lucky that when I'd done my first draft of suggested topics and questions, I was able to phone Tim and talk them through with him - by this point we had learnt I was going to be doing the vast majority of the interviews as Tim was unable to attend, but being the superstar he is, he was continuing to support my preparation. His suggestions for tweaks and changes and things I'd missed off, were invaluable, but the fact he liked most of what I'd put together was a massive confidence boost.


Then it was a case of sending it all off to Jonathan, Della and Tony so that the cast and crew could have advance notice of what I was planning to ask if they wanted it. Once that was done, it was 'simply' a case of trying to stop the nerves settling in. I'll be honest - I didn't sleep very well in the lead up to the event - but everyone, from the cast and crew, to the events team and the attendees, were so incredibly supportive that I ended up loving every minute I was up on stage. For someone who is happiest lurking in the background pretending to be invisible, to be hooked up to a very professional looking microphone set up, with video and stills camera capturing every minute, it says a lot that I was able to enjoy those conversations.


For now though, it's back to the day job - the book and blog writing, the publishing company and the actual job that pays for me to do the rest of it!


My links:


So, the only question now is... when can we do it all again?



Credit: Neil Jackson





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