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Maid Marian and Her Merry Men
Series 1 DVD cover
GenreSituation Comedy
Created byTony Robinson
Directed byDavid Bell
  • David Chilton
  • Nick Russell-Pavier
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes26
ProducerRichard Callanan
CinematographyDavid Gautier
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time25 minutes 1x 50 Minutes
Production companyBBC
Original release
Release16 November 1989 (1989-11-16) –
16 February 1994 (1994-02-16)

Maid Marian and her Merry Men is a British children's television series created and written by Tony Robinson and directed by David Bell. It began in 1989 on BBC1 and ran for four series, with the last episode shown in 1994. The show was a partially musical comedy retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, placing Maid Marian in the role of leader of the Merry Men, and reducing Robin to an 'incompetent' ex-tailor.

The programme has been likened to Blackadder, not only for its historical setting and the presence of Tony Robinson (as well as early, uncredited, script editing work being undertaken by Richard Curtis), but also for its comic style. Many of the show's cast, such as Howard Lew Lewis, Forbes Collins, John Rapley, Ramsay Gilderdale and Patsy Byrne, had previously appeared in various episodes of Blackadder alongside Robinson.

The show's success led to an adaptation produced for the stage and a cartoon strip by Paul Cemmick which was serialised in the Daily Telegraph's children's paper The Young Telegraph (also available as a series of collections), and the programme was repeated on BBC One in 2001. Series 1 was released on video in 1990 and 1993, with three episodes each on four tapes, and all four series are available on DVD. It was repeated in April 2002 on the CBBC Channel and the first series was repeated in June 2007 at 12:30 on the CBBC Channel. During the summer of 2009, Gold repeated the entire 4 series.

Tony Robinson was in discussion about a revival in 2018,[1] 2021[2] and 2022.[3]

Plot elements

Many of the plots featured, included or revolved around spoofing particular things, including films such as Jurassic Park and It Came from Outer Space, and television programmes, including The Crystal Maze and the long-running televised fundraisers Children in Need and Comic Relief. There were also frequent references to other Robin Hood incarnations, most notably ITV's Robin of Sherwood (and in particular that series' theme song by Clannad, "Robin (The Hooded Man)" is lampooned in the episode "The Whitish Knight") and the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The latter actually features Howard Lew Lewis (Rabies) among its cast.

Main characters



Secondary characters


The music and songs for Maid Marian and Her Merry Men were composed by Nick Russell-Pavier and David Chilton. Each episode contained either one or two songs, which were mostly originals but were sometimes parodies. According to commentaries on the DVDs, the actors were frequently dubbed in their singing voices, both by themselves and (more often) by professional singers in post-filming studio sessions. Gary, Graeme, Guy and Barrington almost always sing their own songs, however.

Series One: 1989

  1. How The Band Got Together: "Mud" (sung by Barrington)
  2. Robert The Incredible Chicken: "The Story So Far" (sung by Barrington); "The Sheriff's Excuse" (sung by Barrington)
  3. A Game Called John: "Pancake Day" (sung by Barrington)
  4. The Miracle of St Charlene: "Gotta Get Across" (sung by Barrington, Marian, Robin, Rabies and Little Ron)
  5. The Sharp End of a Cow: "Popular" (sung by the Peasants)
  6. The Whitish Knight: "The White Knight / The Whitish Knight" (a take-off on the theme song to the TV series Robin of Sherwood)

Series Two: 1990

  1. The Beast of Bolsover: "Ambush" (sung by Barrington)
  2. The Worksop Egg Fairy: "What Is Happening Here?" (sung by Barrington); "Bop for an Egg" (sung by Barrington and the Peasants)
  3. Little Brown Noses: "Against The Law" (sung by Barrington); "Colin's Release Song" (a take on Band Aid; sung by Marian, Robin, Barrington and Rabies)
  4. Rabies in Love: "Rabies in Love"; "Wedding Today" (sung by Nettle and the Peasants)
  5. Rotten Rose (Part One): "Robin Hood" (a take-off on Bananarama; sung by Rose, Gladys and Cowpat)
  6. Rotten Rose (Part Two): "Rotten Rose" (sung by Barrington)

Series Three: 1993

  1. The Big Baby: "Father Bloopy" (sung by The Sheriff, Gary, Graeme and the Peasants); "Don't Worry 'Bout The Pain" (sung by Barrington, Marian, Robin and the Peasants)
  2. Driving Ambition: "Boring" (sung by Barrington and the Peasants – note line by Marian "Stop miming"); "Take Action" (sung by Barrington, Robin and Rabies); "A Friend Like Rose" (sung by Marian and Barrington)
  3. Keeping Mum: "Pierced" (sung by The Sheriff and the Peasants); "Call The Dentist" (a take-off on the Ghostbusters theme song; sung by Barrington and the Peasants); "Hurrah for the State of Luxembourg" (sung a cappella by Gary and Graeme)
  4. They Came From Outer Space: "Only Child" (sung by Marian, Barrington, Rabies and Little Ron); "Naked to the Visible Eye" (sung by Barrington and the Peasants)
  5. Robin and the Beansprout: "I Wish They'd Put Their Heads Outside" (sung by Barrington, Marian, Little Ron and Rabies); "Chop Suey" (a take-off on Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto"; sung by Robin and the Peasants)
  6. The Great Mud Harvest: "White Suit" (sung by Robin, Barrington and the Peasants)

Christmas Special: 1993

  1. Maid Marian and Much the Mini-Mart Manager's Son: "Much The Mini-Mart Manager's Son" (sung by Barrington); "Deception" (a take-off on Michael Jackson; sung by Barrington and one of the show's regular session musicians, appearing on-screen for the first time – note the line 'It's not him that's singing...')

Series Four: 1994

  1. Tunnel Vision: "Double Trouble" (sung by Barrington and Robin)
  2. Bouncy Sheriff: "Friends Or Foes?" (sung by Rose, Marian, The Sheriff, Gary, Graeme and the Peasants)
  3. Raining Forks: "Vacation" (sung by The Sheriff, King John, Robin, Barrington, Gary, Graeme and the Peasants); "High Forks Night" (a take-off on the Rolling Stones; sung by Barrington, Robin and Guy)
  4. The Wise Woman of Worksop: "Here Comes Pixie Paul" (a take-off on Paul McCartney; sung by Rabies, Barrington and Little Ron)
  5. Robin The Bad: "Thicky Stupid" (sung by Robin and the Peasants); "A Selection of Amusing Things" (sung by The Sheriff and the Peasants)
  6. The Nice Sumatran: "The King of England Is a Pig" (sung by the coronation choir); "Party People Party" (a take-off on Lionel Richie; sung by Barrington and the Peasants); "Take My Heart" (a take-off on Frank Sinatra; sung by Snooker)
  7. Voyage to the Bottom of the Forest: "You're So Lazy" (sung by Marian, Robin, Barrington and Little Ron); "The Story of Workflop" [sic] (sung by The Sheriff, Gary and Graeme)


Maid Marian and her Merry Men won several awards, including the 1990 BAFTA for "Best Children's Programme (Entertainment/Drama)".[5] It was also nominated for the same award in 1991, losing to Press Gang.[6] The programme also won at least one award from the Royal Television Society, as well as the prestigious "Prix Jeunesse Variety Award" at the International Children's Programme Festival in Munich.[citation needed]


The programme was set in the very real Nottinghamshire town of Worksop, which, along with Mansfield, is one of the two closest modern day towns to the Major Oak, although the whole show was shot in Somerset. The outside scenes were filmed in woods at Porlock, near Minehead, and the castle scenes were filmed in Cleeve Abbey. The beach at Porlock features in some of the episodes including The Whitish Knight.


Main article: List of Maid Marian and Her Merry Men episodes

Video and DVD releases


Subsequent series were not released on video.

DVD (Region 2)

The DVDs were released after much online campaigning and a petition setup by fans c. 2002. Some of the signatures included cast members, although proof of this is now lost.

Comic books

Written (and adapted) by Tony Robinson, illustrated by Paul Cemmick. Published by the BBC and BBC Books Ltd. between 1989 and 1992.

Other materials

The programme was adapted for a stage musical by Tony Robinson, Mark Billingham and David Lloyd. It toured several British theatres. The theatre programme for the production at the Bristol Old Vic featured new artwork by Paul Cemmick, showing Tony Robinson dreaming the production after being hit in the head by a football. The script for this production was later published in book format by Longman literature in 1992, as part of a series of BBC TV (and radio) plays to be used in classrooms at Key Stage 3 level (roughly ages 11–14). The book includes support material and activities for this purpose.

See also