In Crossbow she
lives with a whole group of children in a cave. The children have to steal to
survive. What they find is often taken away by soldiers. Parker, the man who
took care of orphans, was put into darkness (in the rebellion) and gets help
from the girl. She is his right hand and tells him everything she sees.
Roland, 6 episodes,
a champion of the
rebellion. Roland appeared in the first 12 episodes as a rable rousing, tough
talking rebel leader. When he arrives in Clairemont his farm and family had been
destroyed by Gessler's men and he had to flee for striking a soldier and was
thus a wanted man. He is full of hatred for the empire and has now taken to
preaching rebellion. It is from listening to Roland that Matthew's fervour for
rebellion first arises.
the destruction of Claremont, Roland and Blade flee to the hills and spread
are high but his methods are not the wisest. In trying to raise a rebel army
Roland takes Tell's name in order to gain more followers. In doing this he
compiles a following of rebels and outlaws, which ends with him dragging Tell's
name through the mud. The name of William tell becomes the name of a notorious
theif and pillager. A reputation tell himself is none to happy about. Roland's
lust for power and action puts him in way over his head among ruthless
cutthroats who soon betray him.
Valentine Pelka is known for
his roles on television in The Highlander, The Queen of Swords, Ivanhoe, If
Tomorrow Comes, and Life Force. Film roles include First Knight, King David, the
Plant, the last of the Blonde Bombshells, and Sabotage.
Valentine Pelka as
John Lennon in And In the End, The Death and Life of John Lennon, Jermyn Street
Valentine Pelka is an actor and producer, known for The Pianist, First Knight,
Under the Tuscan Sun and Highlander.
Brother of 'Kazia Pelka' (qv)
Fluent in French and Italian.
Supports Leeds United FC.
The son of an Irish mother,
Alma, and a Polish father, Tad.
When he auditioned for the
role of Kronos on Highlander, producer Ken Gord didn't want him to get the
role because he considered Valentine 'too pretty' to play Kronos. A long
scar on the face was added to Kronos' appearance to fix that (photo left
Right photo: Valentine Pelka as Sarak in "The Sheriff of Nottingham", Robin of
After Katrina was
murdered by Gessler and his son ran away from him, Tell seems depressed. During
a black knight disarmament, Tell turns in his weapon and reveals his identity,
but they don't believe him. This woman stands by and gets pity. Tell is looking
for work and she could use him on the farm and the smithy. Her husband is sick
and is not able to do the heavy work anymore. Until her husband starts to see
Tell as a threat and reports him.
the Guard in Handmaiden en The Emperor part 1 and 2
Episodes 23 'The Handmaiden' and 33+34,
'The Emperor' - plays the Captain of the Imperial
Guard who is greatly agitated by the interference of Gessler's men in the
I remember him well, he had his own attitude a bit conceited (in
the series) and that fitted nicely with the role.
was born on April 4, 1957 in Torino, Italy. He is an actor, known for
Xtro (1982), Episode
Demsey and makepeace as Eddie Dean (1986) In Bird of Pray and
The Little Drummer Girl
Due to a dropout in the
theater group, who is going to do a performance for the nobles, they see a good
replacement in Tell.
Polly Jo Pleasence
Polly Pleasence, episode 51, 'Insurrection'
- The daughter of Donald Pleasence and half-sister of Angela plays Gessler's
You can say it's an actor's family! And they are quite similar. I also added a piece
about her sister and father.
Her devotion to Gessler,
leads her to spy on Tell for him.
misguided girl, but she does have very good eyesight.
quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often
peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the
necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course
of his lengthy career, he relished playing the obsessed, the paranoid and the
purely evil. Even the Van Helsing-like psychiatrist Sam Loomis in the
franchise seems only marginally more balanced than his prey. An actor of great
intensity, Pleasence excelled on stage as Shakespearean villains. He was an
unrelenting prosecutor in
Jean Anouilh's "Poor
Bitos" and made his theatrical reputation in the title role of the seedy,
scheming tramp in
Harold Pinter's "The
Caretaker" (1960). On screen, he gave a perfectly plausible interpretation of
the head of the SS,
Heinrich Himmler, in
The Eagle Has Landed
(1976). He was a convincingly devious Thomas Cromwell in
Hendrik VIII and his 6 wifes
(1972), disturbing in his portrayal of the crazed, bloodthirsty preacher Quint
De Bende van Quint
(1967); and as sexually depraved, alcohol-sodden 'Doc' Tydon in the brilliant
Aussie outback drama
Wake in Fright (1971).
And, of course, he was Ernst Stavro Blofeld in
You Only Live Twice
(1967). These are some of the films, for which we may remember Pleasence, but
there was a great deal more to this fabulous, multi-faceted actor.
considered for many guest roles in
Doctor Who (1963) -
General Grugger in "Meglos", Richard Mace in "The Visitation", Griffiths in "Attack
of the Cybermen", Shockeye in "The Two Doctors" and De Flores in "Silver Nemesis".
He was also considered for Borusa in
Doctor Who (1996) before
the character was dropped from the script.
treat all film roles one way - very seriously.
Halloween (1978) There
are parts of the script which I couldn't accept. I believe people are behaving
in a way in which they couldn't possibly in real life behave. And that's always
difficult because if you're one of the people, then you are the one who's going
to look like an idiot.
is the best director I ever worked with. One of the main reasons is his bravery
in the way he's cast me in his films. By casting me as the president in
Escape from New York
(1981) and as the essentially good Dr. Loomis in the original
Halloween (1978), he gave
me the opportunities that might have been missed had I stayed a stereotypical
madman. That casting against type is what made
Prince of Darkness (1987)
such a lovely bit of business for me. People were walking into the theaters
expecting me to be bad, and I ended up representing all the good in the universe.
And Sister Angela
lot like her and is also actress. She is on the photos below.
Symptoms – UK, 1974
The daughters of Donald Pleasence
(born 29 October 1975) is a former British
child actor, most recognised for his role
as Simon in the
Children's BBC show Simon and the Witch (1987–88). He is
also known for playing the role of Hansel, in the movie Hansel and Gretel
the Christ Church C of E School in
North London, before leaving in 1992. He
graduated from the
University of Kent, with a degree in
radio, film and television. Following his role in Simon and the Witch,
Hugh won the role as Hansel in the film Hansel and Gretel (1987).
His role in the film saw him team up with Simon and the Witch co-star
Nicola Stapleton, who played Gretel
Pollard gave up
his acting career, working briefly as a broadcaster for the
BBC before gaining a job as a video tape
operator. This job has taken him across the world, and involves him creating
slow motion replays in sporting events, that include both the
Wimbledon. He married Nicola Skyes in
1999, and has lived on the shore off
Cambridgeshire since August 2001.
The Father of the family
is frustrated. He can no longer do much himself and is strict with his son. As
soon as Tell is working in the smithy, the boy likes to come and have a look at
him. As soon as father realizes that mother is also coming, he wants to get rid
His mother in
Crossbow is Lally Percy
Nicola Stapleton and Hugh
Pollard in Hansel and Gretel Ilan Ostrove,
Hugh Pollard, and David Crane in Simon and the Witch (1987)
(1991) ("Black Mark" ep. 07.044, as Sobbing Boy)
The Bill (1992) ("Well Out of
Order" ep. 08.094, as Allan Greaves)
difficult to say.. there is one name left in the end titles (in episode Amnesty)
that I can link on this man below. This solder is the only actor (with a little text) who can carry
this name. There is no photo to find on the internet
to verify. Perhaps because he died before the internet became big. So if there
is anyone who knows more, pease tell us.
Born in 1950, Jean-Jacques Préau is a translator, director, actor and playwright.
He was first a teacher before being an actor at the Théâtre de l'Aquarium. From
1986, he works with Jacques Nichet as a playwright, translator and assistant
director at the National Center of Languedoc-Roussillon. Among his translations
are La Savatière prodigieuse and Miss Rose de Federico Garcia Lorca, The
prodigious Magician of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, The Bel Habit of the deceased
of Ramón de Valle-Inclán and The Siege of Numbers of Miguel de Cervantes (in
collaboration with Philippe Minyana). He is the co-founder of the Maison Antoine
-Vitez, International Center for Theatrical Translation. He died in 1997 at 47
back after worksvisit. This is the scene the soldier's words make Gessler
realize the Emperor changed course.
Above: Darth Vader in Starwars. Below right: David with Harrison Ford
on the set of The
Empire Strikes Back.
David Prowse was the body
inside that shiny black Vader suit. He was a body builder by profession, and
brought great physicality to the role – throwing around imperial officers by the
throat and whatnot.
As well as his body-building
career Prowse also played the Green Cross Code Man in a British road-safety
campaign that ran from the 1970s to the 1990s. He’s been married since 1963 and
has three children.
Over the past
decade-and-a-half Prowse has suffered severe health issues. In 2001 he was
diagnosed with septic arthritis and became paralysed in both arms. He was also
diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. An
article in 2014 claimed
Prowse (now aged 79)
Last year he
reprised his role as the
Green Cross Code Man to warn adults about the dangers of texting and using a
smartphone when crossing the road, for MoreThan
'The Lost City' - Best known as the man inside the Darth Vader suit, though the
voice was James Earl Jones', in Star Wars. He dawned cape and high-boots again (no
mask or breathing problem this time) to play Cassius the warrior slave and
defender of a Princess Flavia (Karen Tungay), the last ruler of an empire that
fell hundreds of years before.
Below: Ewan Hooper and
David Quilter in Poirot (1989)
remarkable story about his grandfather
The grandson of a survivor of the
Titanic is getting ready to step back in time and relive the notorious night
that the infamous ship sank.
Actor David Quilter’s grandfather,
Lawrence Beesley, was a second class passenger on the giant vessel when it
struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912. He wrote an account of his experience
entitled The Loss of the SS Titanic, while he also advised on the 1958
Kenneth More film A Night to Remember. Mr Quilter, who lives in
Snape, near Aldeburgh, will soon be reading exerts from the book as part of a
fundraising effort for the RNLI. The 69-year-old said: “I will be giving a
reading of his account and what happened to him on the course of the journey.
“Interestingly he never spoke to us about what happened, I think he had a strong
survivor’s guilt about it. He never said a word to any of us.” According to
accounts Mr Beesley was in his cabin when the collision with the iceberg
occurred. He only noticed a slight heave in the engines and the regular dancing
movement of his mattress seemed to stop. A steward informed him that everything
was OK and he went up to the deck where the boats were being loaded before
returning to his cabin, putting on a lifejacket and stuffing some books into
this pocket. When he returned to the deck the list was worse and he found men
were now being allowed to board a lifeboat. He boarded the boat, which had 64
people aboard, and as it descended it came perilously close to an outfall that
was discharging water. Only the shouts of the boats occupants prevented them
from being flooded. Mr Quilter’s reading, which is happening next Saturday at
the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station, coincides with the 100th anniversary of the
disaster. The 69-year-old continued: “My grandfather was 35 when he went on the
Titanic. “I feel like I’m doing it partly for him and partly for the 1,500
people who died. It’s certainly not a commercial enterprise. The aim is to raise
as much money as possible for a very worthy cause and I would encourage everyone
to come along and take a look. It’s a fascinating story and captures the
imagination.” Mr Quilter has also made three 15 minute films based on his
grandfather’s story which he has posted on video sharing website, YouTube,
entitled, Titanic - A Survivor’s Story. His reading is taking place at
7pm and tickets are £3, with all proceeds going to the Aldeburgh Lifeboat
Titanic set off on its maiden voyage on Wednesday, April 10, 1912. It was the
largest passenger ship ever assembled and it claimed that it was “unsinkable”.
The height of luxury and class, the vessel began its journey from Southampton to
New York. In compliance
with the safety standards of the time, the Titanic did not possess enough
lifeboats to accommodate everyone on board.
When the large vessel struck an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, one
of the largest maritime disasters in history took place, claiming 1,500 lives.
Only 700 people survivedSource:
imdb. In episode Seekers of the Soul, 1 episode,
Quinn, episode 38, 'The Soul Seekers' - as
Terence a young man heading for a monastery, whom Tell meets on the road and
later seeks out. Below In
In Crossbow, Tell gets a handmade
flute from Terence, a present for his company. When the path splits they both go their own
Later that evening Tell
got a serious warning about the monastery his friend joined.... Tell decide to
visit his friend but he is kept away from him. Strange things are happening...Will
they succeed in discovering evil in time and eliminating it?
Daniel Quinn is from Milwaukee, where his
father Roger worked for Pabst Brewing Company as a sales manager and his mother
Rosemary owned and operated an employment agency. He was raised in Wisconsin with his two older
sisters, Kathleen and Colleen. He began performing at the age of eight,
appearing as Kurt in The Sound of Music. That same year he formed his first garage
band, on drums. At the age of 10 he appeared as Winthrop in The Music Man and
started marching in a drum and bugle corps, eventually joining the Blue Stars
Drum and Bugle Corps from La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also appeared in commercials,
starring as the "Big Boy" for the hamburger chain's local franchise, Marc's Big
Boy. The stage was set.
Part of the Quinn family owned dairy farms
outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Daniel spent many days as a child. He began riding horses at the age of 6, sparking his
lifelong passion for horses - Daniel would make good use of his equestrian
skills later in his acting career, as he has starred in four western film
At 17, he became a member of the International
Thespian Society and traveled to London to study at the Royal Academy of
Dramatic Art. While in Europe, he also studied at the Royal Shakespeare Company
school at Stratford-upon-Avon. Then he return to London. Look at his IMDB for
much more about his career. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0703809/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
he played one of The Dukes of Zharlingen in episode 8
He started his career in the tv
series 'The guiding Light' (1952 as Spence Jeffer in 1976) and was
still acting in 'Conviction' (tv series in 2006), Path (2008) and
The Blind (in 2009).
Capari invents a canon. It
is a gift to the emperor but Gessler is also interested. The invention
needs some final adjustments to perfection and Gessler is waiting impatiently.
As soon as Caspari suspects that Gessler wants to get away with his invention,
he feels cheated and takes revenge on him.
As One of the
Orphaned scarvengers Children who steel Tell's horse .
"If it's art-related, we do it," Renderer said. "I'm
open to the idea of doing almost anything."
How did this actor from the Pacific Northwest find
his way to Upper Jay? As a child in Olympia, Washington, Renderer's first love
was painting. At around the age of 5, he took an oil painting class "in the back
of a hardware store," and he enjoyed the freedom he found in expressing his
creativity and the positive reaction it brought from the people in his life.
"There is nothing more affirmative than making a drawing or painting as a little
kid and all the grown-ups telling you how amazing it is, whether it is or it
isn't," he said. "That's where it all started. Hopefully, they weren't all lying
When Renderer was a teenager, he began acting in his
high school's plays, but it was a field trip to see a performance of Peter
Shaffer's "Equus" by the Seattle Repertory Theatre that really ignited his
interest in the theater. "It was
such an intense play, and it just sold me on it," Renderer said. "I'll never
forget that moment. People do this, and people pay money to come and see it as
well." Renderer majored in theater at Whitman College in Walla Walla,
Washington. "The head of the department took me to New York, actually physically
bought me a ticket, physically took me to New York and said, 'This is where you
have to come if you want to be a professional actor. Forget about L.A.,'" he
said. "And so I moved to New York right out of college and started what you do
there, working from the ground up."
Over the next 20 years, Renderer lived the life of an
actor in the city. He began performing with the Wooster Group, "a company of
artists who make work for theater, dance and media" that has included celebrated
members such as Spalding Gray, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand and Maura
And then, one day, he had enough. Recovery Lounge.
When Renderer's son was born, he and his wife spent a year raising him in the
city before deciding they needed a change of scenery. "I was ready to retire
from acting," Renderer said. "A year was enough of having him in that
environment. I couldn't relate to it because I grew up in the country, and both
my wife and I decided, 'Maybe we should move.' "We'd always loved the
Adirondacks and thought this would be a great place to raise a kid." Renderer
couldn't stay away for long, though. When he and Byron opened Upper Jay
Upholstery, and the duo, both musicians, began using the venue for musical
events. "We just started hosting
small events here, parties, and it just caught on," Renderer said. "This is a great place to have a concert and to have
people come and listen to music. A friend of mine suggested maybe I should do a
play, which I did, and that became the beginning really of everything we do now."
Renderer said the center's programming quickly expanded. "I became
ambitious and encouraged and realized that it was a pretty great environment
here, not just the building, but the Adirondacks, for audiences," he said. "There
are a lot of people here that like plays and like music and that responded
favorably to the kind of stuff I was doing."Although Renderer has been with the
center since the beginning, he only recently became its sole salaried employee
thanks to a state grant the center received.
"The position is now official, and it's great to
actually be able to sit here and talk to you and be paid for it," he said. And,
in a curious case of symmetry, Renderer has begun acting with the Wooster Group
again, right on cue, playing Bert in Harold Pinter's "The Room."
"I told the Wooster Group that I would be available
in 18 years when my son goes to college, and I might come back down and do a
play with you guys, so don't hesitate to call me," he said. "That's what
happened. "It's really great work that they do, so I'm actually really blessed
to be able to participate with a group at that level."
Just like that production of "Equus" inspired him to
pursue a life in the theater, Renderer hopes to inspire young people today with
his work at the center. "I'm trying to encourage younger people to come here,
too, which is challenging," he said. "In this day and age, it's hard to pull
kids away from their gadgets. "I'd
like to expose as many young people to art, theater and music as possible.
That's really important, especially around here, where they may not get into a
city or something to see really good stuff that might inspire them (or) point
them in a direction. That stuff really does
happen to kids. They see something in that moment and think, 'That's what I want
to do!' That's what happened to me." For more information on the Upper Jay Art
Center and the Recovery Lounge, visit upperjayartcenter.org Source:
The Taking of Castle Tanner' and 59, 'Gorian, the
Spider' - Another two timer, she appeared firstly as a Anna, the
tomboyish daughter of a woodcutter who helps Tell and the young Lord Tanner
defeat Horst. Secondly she plays Mina, an orphaned girl who is admired and
protected from afar by a spiderlike recluse.
Rachel Robertson was born in 1972 in the UK.
She is an actress, known for
Mack the Knife
(1989), Heartbeat tv series as Susan Rawlings in episode: Wall of Silence (1993)
Jungle Book as Rose (1994) and
For Sale by Owner
(2006). She has been married to
since 1994. Touch of Frost tv series (1995) They have two children.
She is married to popular British television
She is married to popular British
They have been married for 25 years since 1994 and have two children.
49 episodes, 1988-1989
Appeared sporadically throughout the second series as the aging Emperor, whose ill health, both physical and
mental, causes him to lose some of his stronge hold over the empire to Gessler.
This continuing his tendency for medieval costume pieces. His career includes
films like Ivanhoe, Young Bess, and Taras Boulba.
was born in Kilburn,
December 1911 – 19 October 2003, aged 91).
Before turning to acting
at the age of 24 he was a professional boxer and racing driver, making his stage
debut in Ireland in 1935. Repertory theatre led to his screen debut in 1937 with
an uncredited appearance in
Knight Without Armour.
He was cast as a British Army major
dying of tuberculosis for the film Trio (1950), but actually contracted the
disease and had to be replaced by Michael Rennie. He recovered his health in
less than a year, but his time away from the screen hurt his career, and he
starred in less prestigious B movies such as Home to Danger (1951) and Operation
Diplomat (1953), as well as the Hammer films Yesterday's Enemy and The
Stranglers of Bombay (both 1959). This period also saw him play a number of
Hollywood roles, such as Prince John in Ivanhoe (1952), Ned Seymour in Young
Bess (1953), Caiaphas in King of Kings (1961) and Prince Grigory in Taras Bulba
One of his most famous parts was the
title role in William Castle's cult horror film Mr. Sardonicus (1961), which
several decades later led director Stuart Gordon to cast him in his horror film
Dolls (1987) (He starred in it with Hilary Mason, in Crossbow Gessler's mother).
The 1990s saw him continue in a similar vein when he appeared in five films of
the Puppet Master series as Andre Toulon.
His television credits include
Thriller, Armchair Theatre, The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions, Department
S, The Troubleshooters, Space: 1999, Secret Army and Kessler.
Personal life: He was married to the
Scottish actress Jane Aird until her death in 1993, and then to Margret
Allworthy until his death in 2003 in Ipswich, Suffolk. He is buried in the
churchyard of St Mary's in Benhall, Suffolk
Below with Georgia Lyman in episode The Emperor
The veils of bagdad 1953
with Hilary Maison (Gessler's mother, in episode Actors)
A chat with Conrad Phillips
- He made his screen debut in 1937 with an
uncredited appearance in
Knight Without Armour. Notable roles include: King John in
Ivanhoe (1952), Ned Seymour in
Young Bess (1953), Caiaphas in
King of Kings (1961), and Prince Grigory in
Taras Bulba (1962). He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Andre
Toulon in the Puppet Master film series, appearing in the third, fourth, fifth,
and seventh movies, with archive footage in the eighth.
- Was once a professional race car driver and
boxer. Although he was married, he never had any children. Gaunt and saturnine
British character actor of stage, screen and television, Guy Rolfe first made his
stage debut in 1936, the same year he had a small uncredited bit part in "Knight
- In 1952 he starred in Ivanhoe with Robert
Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor Rolfe's characters ranged from wealthy businessmen,
to romantic leads, to sinister villians and heroes, starring in the over thirty
motion pictures His important film roles include playing Cauphas in "The King of
Kings, "Taras Bulba" and "Mr. Sardonicus". Although he was always recognized in
such classic pictures, Rolfe became a familiar presence when he took over the
role of toy maker Andre Toulon in the Slasher film franchise "Puppetmaster".
First appearing in the third installment, he made brief appearances in most
Puppet Master movies since then. Guy Rolfe passed away of 'natural causes' at the
British Film Hospital in London, England at the age of 91.
- Was the original choice for the role of
Major Templeton in the segment "Senatorium" of the film Trio (1950). Ironacally,
he was diagnosed with the very disease, tuberculosis, which was the background
to the story and the lost almost a year's work at a critical point in his
- Is most famous for the rol of Andre Toulon
in the Puppetmaster (1989(V) sequels Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge
(1991)(V, Pupper Master 4 (1993)(V), Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)
(V) and Retro Puppet Master (1999) (V). Rolfe also appears in Puppet master: The
legacy (2003)(V) in archive footage taken from previous installments.
- He was a direct descendant of John Rolfe, the
man who married Pocahontas in 1614. Lived in Spain for many years.
As a shephard. He warns Tell not passing the wall,
Here he is calling his dog Bayard
Derek Isaac Rossignol ( born
Rosenberg) 14/03/1923 Kimberley, South Africa.
Died 26/12/2010 Malérargues, France..
I decided to post the whole
story about Rossignol because this is the only story we have and to get to know
the man. It comes from Roy Hearet Theatre
This was a man who lived an
incredibly full and rich life that began beside the diamond mines of Kimberley ,
S. Africa, and ended in a château in the beautiful Cevennes, S. of France. In
the course of his life he touched many people’s hearts in so many different ways.
He was a special man and artist, who, though he took the name of that most
poetic of birds, the nightingale, in 1973, was definitely not flighty. He was
one of the most constant, dignified, open people you could ever hope to meet. He
could be infuriating at times and his peculiar sense of humour with its acid,
grating edge that upset more than a few sensitive souls was not always welcome.
But teasing aside, he was a man of great integrity with no axes to grind. He was
warm , outgoing , and open to everyone and everything. How many times were we
greeted by a smiling Rossignol leaning out of his bedroom window to see who had
just arrived at the château, or hear him calling out ‘hello’ or ‘who’s that?’
from his open sitting room door as we walked up the main staircase in the
château. The students who met him socially over a coffee or at a lunch out the
back were always impressed by his theatrical charm and his easy way of
connecting. And as a teacher right to the end he gave out an incredible energy
and vitality that belied his advancing years. With age he did become less
confrontational and more systematic. What student over the past 20 years has not
played with Boris, Antonio, Delila and Violetta, his version of violin, viola,
cello and double bass? But he still demanded a lot of the pupil with a mixture
of warmth and technical precision. He was known all over the world,
and I love the story told me by a French pupil of his, who whilst travelling in
Italy, got talking with a Dutch nun he had met in the gardens of a monastery.
When he told her that he was going back to the South of France to continue
working on his voice, she replied with a smug look on her face ‘to work with
Rossignol, I bet’. He was understandably taken back by this miraculous
Rossignol was a man of many
parts and many passions. At school he was an excellent athlete who when only 16
set a South African junior record for long jump of over 20 feet ( 6 metres +)
and used to ‘soar over the hurdles with astounding grace ‘ according to one of
his classmates with whom he used to roller skate to school quite frequently. In
his late teens he took up the piano again after a break of many years and taught
himself to play the most complicated of piano pieces by Lizt, Schumann ,
Beethoven and co. His younger cousin Lin Freeman remembers many happy hours
spent with Rossi when she was a teenager, with him playing the piano and she
dancing. By then Rossi himself had discovered dancing and would secretly climb
out of his bedroom window every evening, whilst supposedly revising for his
engineering exams at university, to go and rehearse with the ballet company he
had joined. He rapidly became one of the company’s leading male dancers with the
stage name of Serge Dimitrov and a fantastic leap. Only after he had passed his
exams at the third or fourth attempt was his cousin allowed to take one of the
uncles, who had been paying for his education following the early death of both
his parents, to see a dance performance. When the uncle proclaimed early on in
the evening ‘ but that dancer looks extraordinarily like Derek !’ his cousin
replied ’ It is Derek!’ You can imagine the shock!
Thus dancing became his passion and brought him to London where he dreamed of
becoming a top Ballet dancer. However the competition was much tougher than he
had expected and he never made it to the top but he did dance with many
different companies, notably the Ballet Rambert, run by a tyrannical Mme.
Rambert who often used to exclaim disparagingly ‘ look at those kipper feet’ ( a
reference to his very flat feet, which in later years became so sensitive he
could only wear a certain type of sandal. In that respect he was a true Pisces.)
He also danced with the Sadlers Wells company and eventually went into musicals
where he met Barry Irwin and Robert Harvey. It was because he was required to
sing (he himself later said he had no voice at all) that he and Robert decided
to take lessons with a certain Roy Hart. They both had their first lesson on the
same day in 1955, one after the other. And for both of them it was an encounter
that was to change the direction and the meaning of their lives.
Rossignol was a ‘bon vivant’ who loved good food and good wine, which he ordered
directly by the case from his favourite wine dealers. He was an excellent cook
and generous host. Right up until the last months when he could no longer get
around his kitchen he would make delicious soups from vegetables bought in the
Lasalle Monday market. Garlic, ginger and cardamom were the staple spices with
nutmeg the extra ingredient for his pumpkin soup.
He loved living at Malérargues with its trees, its flowers, its hills, and for
many years he was a keen gardener planting irises, daffodils, forsythia, lilacs
and many other bushes and trees. This autumn for the first time the persimmons
tree that he had planted on the front terrace some years ago bore many golden
fruit much to his immense satisfaction. His favourite tree was of course the
purple flowering jacaranda and the last time he went back to South Africa to
visit his brother in Johannesburg he burst into tears when he saw whole avenues
of them in bloom. His big regret was that it is almost impossible to get them to
Another enormous passion of Rossignol’s in the second half of his life were
stones and sculptures. Many years ago in London he had had a dream in which he
had found some magic stones that if spoken to could turn into human beings. Then
one day in the ‘80’s the dream became reality. And from then on when he wasn’t
teaching, performing or just socializing, he would be busy putting bodies and
faces onto stones, shells and sometimes pieces of wood. Hours would be spent on
visits to beaches around Montpellier collecting stones that spoke to him with
faces already apparent or waiting to be revealed. He would then carry them back
to the car in several very full and heavy plastic bags , usually with help from
friends. Once home they would be added to the pile of stones on his bedroom
floor and at the earliest possible opportunity he would start working on his
next creation, filing , scraping, drilling, plastering and painting. Gradually
his apartment became filled with a rich world of characters, both human and
animal ( and also a lot of dust!) and every birthday that came up was an
occasion for him to choose one to give as a present. I think we must have all
received at least one sculpture over the years!
But most of all Rossi was a wonderful performer with a very expressive
vocabulary of dance and mime movements and gestures, allied to a beautiful deep,
soulful bass baritone voice. Who amongst us can forget his last public
performance at Malérargues in June 2007 when he sang “Old Man River” with such
feeling and depth. The words ‘tired of living and scared of dying’ struck home
in such a poignant and palpable way . Here was this 84 year old man , already
suffering unbeknownst to him self from fibrositis of the lungs, singing his
heart out in a very generous and dignified way about the approaching end to his
life. Totally giving, totally unsentimental. A huge lesson in life. Rossignol
probably performed in more RHT performances than any other RHT member to date.
He was good to work with. But with all his talents and gifts he always remained
utterly humble. There was never a sense of arrogance or ego about him. If
anything rather the opposite. He tended to downplay himself and his gifts both
as a teacher and as a performer. Without doubt his favourite role as a performer
was the role of the hunchback in “Pagliacci”, where he was able to fully use his
gifts for mime and comedy and where his voice could be heard in all its richness
and its rawness. Whenever we showed our 5 week students extracts of the
“Pagliacci” video he would always become tearful watching himself and the others
Rossignol was a dear friend to me for over thirty years and I miss him a lot.
When I think of him now I see the easy smile, and the sparkle in his eyes that
so many others mentioned in their letters of condolence. I see his elegant and
expressive arm and hand gestures and above all I hear his lovely deep bass voice
and his laugh. Right up to the end his voice stayed clear and resonant ,both on
the phone and when ever you knocked on his door. The ‘come in’ would sound firm
and even angry sometimes, especially if you happened to be the fourth person in
a row to knock on the door that morning. Yes, he was a tough old bird, ‘un
rossignol solide’ who fought to the bitter end to maintain his dignity in the
face of overwhelming odds. Only once did he say to me that he felt like giving
He has left us quite a legacy for which I for one am grateful. Today we moved
the piano he was given by the RHT for his 60th birthday out of his apartment and
into Studio 3. May his commitment and his humanity live on in our work.
I wandered the streets of Paris this cold, clear winter day remembering and
remembering those wonderful bright eyes of Rossignol – and how often he would
call down to me from his window when I walked past the front of the château.
That same window that he threw open before singing:
“Si puo, si puo signore et signori…….” some thirty years ago. I once asked him
which was his favourite performance and unequivocally he answered:
“Pagliacci”. I would agree with him because undoubtedly in this performance he
found all the complexity, humanity, humour and tragedy of a dark soul. One of
Sweden’s most famous actors once told me that he had never encountered such
humility in an actor as with Rossignol, in this performance. A deep respectful
complement from one artist to another. There was a humility in Rossignol
sometimes almost a diffidence, a touching, vulnerable nervousness that
constantly seemed to question his abilities, but, he was never diffident in his
teaching and never sentimental. I can remember one lesson when I was thinking:
“If he asks me to give any more I think I am going to die!”
It is hard now to re-imagine the limit of exhaustion he asked for – and yet, now
I understand that he would never ask you for more than he would demand of
himself. This was my teacher – a man who had climbed out of the window in secret
in order that he could follow his passion – “to dance”!
We toured together with “Pagliacci” for five years – years of joyful artistic
His next role – Queequeg in “Moby Dick” – was for me one of his most poignant.
The dignified humanity with which he gathered the fragile Pip into his arms was
a moment pure love – a moment that only an actor with a great soul could
Both Rossignol and I were born white Africans and though he came from South
Africa and I came from Kenya we had a lot in common – not the least the same
extraordinary teacher, Cecil Williams, a white South African who was forced into
exile for his engagement with the Anti-Apartheid movement and a collaborator of
Nelson Mandela. I never spoke about my engagement in the anti-apartheid movement
with Rossignol but I would often think of it in relation to Queequeg, who in a
quiet way is a militant of human rights….. it is one of those questions that I
wish that I had asked him.
In the last years, the last days what strikes me most is the quality and
presence of Rossignol’s voice. I will sadly miss hearing him say, in his
slightly ironical, old fashioned way:
“Well, my dear…….”
My heart is heavy dear Rossignol but your voice will always fly to me from those
windows – and I pray too your soul flies joyfully…….
As Nasir in Robin of Sherwood in the middle. In
Crossbow: He played a barbarbian in episode Lost City 61.
Best known for his
role as Nasir on the popular series 'Robin of Sherwood'. Once again he played a
medieval forest dwelling bandit only this time he steals from the rich and gives
Early life: Ryan was born in
West Riding of Yorkshire,
Coming from a family with a strong military tradition, Ryan combined his career
in the entertainment industry with his work as a member of the British Army's
Intelligence Corps, attached to DSF (Director Special Forces) and later as a
Licensed Private Investigator in the United States.
Above Marc Ryan episode 'Lost
City' and below in 'The Headhunters'
In 2003, Ryan worked as a swordmaster and
fight director on the film
King Arthur directed
Antoine Fuqua. His duties
included consulting with the director and writer regarding designing all aspects
of the knights fighting styles, training all the principal actors including
Clive Owen and
planning and choreographing their action.
Mark Ryan, episode 61,
'The Lost City' - Best known for his role as Nasir on the popular series 'Robin
of Sherwood'. Once again he played a medieval forest dwelling bandit only this
time he steals from the rich and gives to himself.
Stage and screen
in several major musicals in London's West End, spending four
Andrew Lloyd Webber's
in the role of Magaldi and then playing Ché under the direction
He went on to appear in a cameo in the film version of the
musical directed by
He left Evita to play Mac in the
Who Dares Wins
for director Ian Sharp.
Ryan worked as a swordmaster and fight director on the film
His duties included consulting with the director and writer
regarding designing all aspects of the knights fighting styles,
training all the principal actors including
planning and choreographing their action.
Ryan played U.S. theatres with original
performing comedy roles in Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python
at venues including New York's
The team later recorded the show exclusively for the Comedy
Channel. He then went on to play John Dickinson in the Los
Angeles stage production of
directed by Gordon Hunt. Ryan began
working on the 2007 film
during filming as the on-set voice of several different robots.
This work continued throughout filming and into editing, before
the actual casting of voice-over talent. He was then cast as the
voice of the character
Ryan also voices Ironhide and Hoist for the Activision video
game based on the film. When Ryan was in the studio recording
his lines for the actors on set, Michael Bay used the lines Ryan
recorded for Bumblebee in the film. But Ryan didn't know that it
would be used, and if so he said he would have used a different
younger voice. He returned to voice
as well as
for the sequel
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Game based on the film. In early 2009, Ryan continued voice work
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
working directly with
almost right up to the release of the film.
2013 Ryan again joined the
in the fourth installment,
Transformers: Age of Extinction.
In 2014 the film broke worldwide records earning over $1.08
billion in box office receipts. Ryan was nominated in 2015 for
the award for best vocal performance in a supporting role in a
feature film by Behind The Voice Actors. The character of
has resonated widely within the
is easily one of the series’ most memorable and interesting
Transformer characters. A Cybertronian bounty hunter armed
with advanced weaponry and a ship full of otherworldly
beasts, the villain is unimpressed by ongoing Autobot/
Decepticon feuding – adding unique perspective to the
series’ two-sided conflict. After Megatron's repeated
attempts at enslaving Earth, Lockdown's ambivalence toward
humankind is a refreshing change of pace – especially given
the antagonist's unwavering focus on his assigned mission
and unconcerned with the ramifications"
(Screen Rant, 2014).
2008, Ryan launched a musical adaptation of
He composed, sang and produced the tracks with Robb Vallier, who
also worked on
He also directed the video for the song "Women" filmed
especially for the website and featuring Jenn Korbee, Jessica
Keenan Wynn and Katie Boeck.
January 2014 Ryan began playing Mr. Gates in the
production of the pirate show
and appeared in the first eight episodes of the show which broke
all previous viewer records for Starz. The role earned Ryan
critical praise for his portrayal of the loyal and even-handed
credit goes out to Ryan for fully bringing out every quality
in Gates this season, from the attractive natural charisma
of the character to his weary, war-torn demeanor in the
quieter moments when Gates is contemplating his situation.
The second season will surely miss him."(Sound on
is a downside to the episode, it is the absence of Mr.
Gates, the ship's Quartermaster and Flint's oldest friend.
The hardest thing to watch last season was his murder by
Flint, however regrettably it was done. Gates was the soul
of soulless men. Someone who knew exactly who he was and
what he did for a living. If we are lucky, his ghost will
haunt Flint's psyche in the future. One of his last
monologues is often quoted but I will end with it here
because it not only sums up the man, but the future of all
the souls that hit the beach of New Providence, Nassau:
"There are no legacies in this life. No monuments, no
histories. Just the water. It pays us and then it claims us.
Swallows us whole as if we've never been here at all."(Sinful Celluloid, (2015).
mid-2009 Ryan directed the teaser/trailer for Blood Type,
which was written by
and Wil Kinghan of Mythwood Films. The trailer was filmed on
location at the Atlantis Bookshop in London and continued at the
12th century estate of Prebendal,
The promo trailer for the project was accepted into the
Members' Short Film Showcase for March 2010. He was also
featured on the
(song) directed by
In late 2012 he
recorded a cameo appearance in the NBC comedy show
playing Constable Edmund, a new companion to
in an homage to BBC TV show
The show aired in early
In 2015 Ryan
appeared in the third season of Netflix' Cold War drama series
as well as starring in independent films STREET: The Movie
and Any Bullet Will Do. He reprised his role as
live-action stand-in for the robots in the fifth installment of
the Transfomers films,
Transformers: The Last Knight.
also an author and has written for
and Harper Collins as well as writing several screenplays. Ryan
was also the co-creator, along with artist Chesca Potter, of the
Greenwood Tarot- a variation on the standard
deck involving pre-historic European imagery.
November 2008, the online publisher ComicMix began running
Ryan's The Pilgrim, a graphic novel inspired by factual
events during the
Second World War
and concerning modern psychic warfare research and drawn by
It is believed that elements of the story are based on Ryan's
experiences during his service in the
community. In early 2009 ComicMix announced an agreement with
Publishing for hardcopy
publishing rights of its online projects and IDW announced the
publication of The Pilgrim commencing in April 2010.
London Book Fair
in April 2009, specialist publisher Eddison-Sadd presented the
Wildwood Tarot, based on the collector status: Greenwood
Tarot authored by Ryan. The Wildwood Tarot is an updated and
reworked version of Ryan's original tarot concept, co-written
with artwork by illustrator, Will Worthington. Wildwood Tarot
was launched at the Atlantis Bookstore in London in April 2011.
Wildwood Tarot remained as the bestselling Tarot and Hottest
during the spring of 2011 and has now been translated into
The Wildwood Tarot is published in the US by
In 2017, a workbook for The Wildwood Tarot will be released,
under the name Wild Magic: The Wildwood Tarot Workbook.
On 15 June 2015
Mark Ryan's autobiography Hold Fast was published,
detailing his life, in which he has combined his acting career
with a secret existence as an operative of British Military
Intelligence. Source: Wikipedia
In his life he
has been a secret soldier, a West End leading
man, a cult TV icon, a Hollywood actor, a
licensed private investigator and an advisor to
the L.A. Police Department. He has written two
books about the history and psychology of tarot,
taught intelligence officers how to uncover
secrets and actors how to use a sword, as well
as working with actors in Hollywood. Here, in
collaboration with New York Times bestselling
author John Matthews, a long time friend, Mark
tells his amazing story. (Source: TheMarcRyan.com)
His autobiography (2015), 'Hold
For the Robin Hood, Marc Ryan and medieval fans. I found an interview with Marc Ryan about Robin Hood:
Conducted and transcribed
by Allen W. Wright
Mark Ryan played the
role of Nasir in the popular British television
Robin of Sherwood.
Nasir was the first Muslim member of the Merry Men -
a concept that carried over to later productions
Robin Hood: Prince of
TV series. He also co-wrote a Robin Hood comic book
story in DC Comics' Green Arrow, and he has
designed the Greenwood Tarot and Wildwood Tarot
which use some Robin Hood imagery.
As an actor, Mark
Ryan has appeared in many plays, TV shows and movies.
He was in the original production of Evita.
Most recently, he's found fame as the voices of
Bumblebee and Jetfire in the Transformers
movies and as Quartermaster Gates in the 2014 TV
series Black Sails. He has contributed to
the Arthurian legend as an assistant sword
instructor and actor in First Knight. He was
also the swordsmaster on the Canadian TV series
The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and the
2004 King Arthur movie starring Clive Owen.
This interview was
conducted over the phone in March 1998. I'd just
like to add that while Nasir almost never said a
word, Mark Ryan is a delightful conversationalist
whose comments are often punctuated by rich laughter.
(When he was in Toronto in June 2000, I went to
dinner with him and some other Robin of Sherwood
fans. Back when I first did this interview I said
Mark would be the perfect person to meet in a pub --
I was right. He's very friendly and a superb
storyteller.) Allen W Wright.
You can find
out for yourself about his storytelling skills in
his autobiography (with John Matthews) Hold Fast,
published by Mythwood Books in 2015. And he is
returning to the role of Nasir for a special audio
drama Robin of Sherwood: The Knights of the
Apocalypse which you can help fund by visiting
AWW: I guess I'll start at
the very beginning. I understand you grew up in Doncaster.
MR: I was born in Doncaster.
AWW: Which is right near
MR: It is indeed. Just up
the road from Barnsdale, and of course one of the places that was
reputed to be one of the hideouts of Robin Hood, and one of the
villages that Robin Hood is supposed to have visited and Little John
is supposed to have visited and all that kind of stuff.
AWW: So, did you play Robin
Hood at all when you were a kid?
Indeed. In fact, in Sherwood Forest. In fact, in the Major Oak
itself. There is a tree called the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest
which they reckon is about 1200 years old. So, it's an old hollow
oak tree, and they reckon it was one of the hiding place for Robin
Hood. Or he used to hide his money in there. I think in truth the
tree itself wasn't old enough when in reality there was a character
called Robin Hood running around. I think there probably was.
Because the whole thing I discovered about Barnsdale is that there
was a whole tribe of Hoods living in and/or around that part of
Yorkshire at the time, around 1190 all the way to about the 1230s.
And we used to play in Sherwood Forest as kids. We used to go a lot
down to what is now called Clumber Park which part of Sherwood
Forest just north of Nottinghamshire and south of Doncaster.
AWW: I remember when I was
in Sherwood in 1993 and saw the Major Oak, it was fenced off.
MR: That's because some
idiot decided to light a fire inside the tree some years ago. In
fact, I used that very analogy at the beginning of my book The
Greenwood Tarot. On a bench, there's a photograph of all the
work that's been done on the tree and what the tree used to look
like. When I was boy it looked completely different. It had these
big iron rings on other branches further up that were holding up the
lower limbs. And now they've put these wooden things to hold the
limbs up. On that plaque which explains the history of the tree,
there is a photo of the Robin of Sherwood boys. Which is kind
of odd. Kind of nice, but kind of odd.
AWW: So, how did you first
learn about Robin Hood?
MR: It was just very much a
part of the local history, For example, there is a place outside of
Scarborough called Robin Hood's Bay. Wherever you go in Yorkshire,
and obviously in Nottingham but more so in Yorkshire and further
north, there's Robin Hood's Well, Robin Hood's Bay, Robin Hood's
Cave. Wherever you go in Yorkshire, Robin Hood is literally all over
the place. So I grew up with it in my psyche.
AWW: How did you end up
playing a character in the Robin Hood legend?
MR: I was doing a show in
the West End [London's theatre district] 20 years ago. June 21, 1978
we opened a show called Evita. And I played Magaldi in that
show and I went on to play Ché. A director called Ian Sharp came to
see me play Ché. And when I left the show he had me do a movie
called Who Dares Wins. In America, it was called The
Final Option. It was about the Iranian embassy siege. I was
working with another writer called Ranald Graham on an idea. We were
all pals and Ian came over, and he happened to say to me that he was
working on this Robin Hood series. And we talked about and I didn't
think any more about it. Then as he was leaving he said to me "would
you like to do something in it?" And I said, "what?" He said "it's
just a character. It's not a big character; there's no dialogue or
anything. But I need someone who can really look mean." You've got
to have a good bad guy to make your good guy look better. And this
character is called Edmund the Archer. And he said it was being
filmed up in Bamburgh Castle -- another place I spent a lot of time
as a kid -- and various castles and back to Bristol. And I said, "Sure,
Ian, if you want me to do something, no problem." And I forgot all
And they promptly
forgot all about it. About a week before they decided to start
filming, Esta Charkham, the casting lady, rang up my agent and said
"Look, Ian has just told me that Mark's playing this part. And we
haven't got anything in the budget for it, we don't know how we're
going to deal with this, but the reading is at Pinewood Studios
tomorrow, and we start filming on Monday." So, my agent said, do you
want to do this? And I said "yeah, I promised Ian I would do it. No
problem, I'll busk it. I'll go and see what happens."
So, I did the reading
and everyone drove up to Bamburgh on the Monday. The first day on
set, I'd literally just arrived on the set and Ian came up to me and
said "There's been a bit of a change. He's not Edmund the Archer,
he's Nasir the Saracen." And I said okay, fine, that seems
reasonable. And he said, "Oh, by the way, how are you with two
swords? Can you do a two-handed sword fight?" I said "we'll find
I had done a bit of sword work. And Terry Walsh [stunt co-ordinator]
and Michael Praed [who played Robin Hood], God love him to his
ever-lasting credit, went round the back of the tents where everyone
was having their lunch and we worked out these routines. For weeks.
That sword fight in the first episodes.
About halfway the
first couple of weeks filming the producer, Paul Knight, came up to
me in the bar in the hotel and said "Are you enjoying this?" And I
said "Oh yeah, it's cracking, absolutely wonderful." He said, "Good.
Would you like to stay on?" I said "Of course I would. It would be
terrific, wonderful." Ray, Clive and the boys -- we had all by that
time struck up a very strong friendship. [Ray Winstone -- Will
Scarlet, Clive Mantle -- Little John.]
We had been driving
around in my car and I was playing Clannad. We suggested to Paul
Knight that Clannad should do the music for the show. That's how
Clannad got the gig, because everyone was listening to "Harry's
Game" in my car. [A hit song by the Irish band Clannad.]
Anyway, I forgot all
about it [being asked to stay on]. We got to the day to where they
were filming the big sword fight with Michael, and I thought "Oh,
that's it. They've forgotten. They're going to kill me off." They
were just about to stick arrows in me back, and Ian [Sharp, the
director] said "We're not doing this now. We don't want to kill him."
So, I just turned around to the camera and off they went. And that
was it. I was left sort of hanging at the end of the episode.
Once they got me in,
they didn't know what to do with me. Kip [Richard "Kip" Carpenter,
series creator] came to me "I don't know what I'm going to write for
you. Have you got any ideas? Can you go away and do a bit of work?"
So I went away and I
researched. I read Runicman's History of the Crusades which
has got a lot of stuff in it about the assassins, Knights Templar
and all that kind of stuff. I talked to Kip about it and we decided
that was the way to go with it. And we both agreed he shouldn't be
given many lines. I wasn't interested in the lines. I just wanted to
do action stuff, do a lot of running around, killing Normans, that
kind of thing.
And that was it. From
what was going to be a week or two's work and get killed off turned
into a three year job. And adding what can only be said is another
little fractal of the picture of the Robin Hood mythos, namely Nas
or the Saracen or the Stranger from the Strange Land, got added into
the legend. So, as far as I'm concerned, it was wonderful. One of
the best times of my life.
AWW: How do you feel about
being the first new permanent member of the legend since Alan a Dale
was added? In that the Arab character has shown up several times
since you've played him.
MR: Well, I know of a
couple. If you know of any more than the Morgan Freeman and
something else, then tell me because I'm fascinated to know whether
he has become a permanent fixture. If he has, that's extraordinary.
AWW: Well, of course, the
Morgan Freeman one [in Prince of Thieves], I'd class
Barrington the Rastafarian from Maid Marian [a British
comedy] as being in the black/Arab tradition, the one in Men in
Tights [Mel Brook's send up of the Costner film]. And in the new
series, they have a character called Kemal. [historical note:
the new series at the time of the interview was The New
Adventures of Robin Hood although a later TV series also used a
somewhat different take on the Muslim Merry Men.]
MR: You're joking!
AWW: He's a black, martial
artist -- a black, Arab kickboxer.
MR: I haven't seen it. Is
this the one shot in Romania? Never seen it.
AWW: People who have visited
my website were completely amazed that the Arab Merry Man only dates
back to the 1980s.
MR: Well, the interesting thing
is, Allen, that probably the more you delve into this that there is
a tradition, and I only found this out after I had done the show,
that the Crusaders, particularly the Templars, came back from the
Crusades with a lot of Arabic influences. They did all kinds of
deals and trades with the Assassins and the members of the Muslim
sects. And they actually brought back Arabs with them to Britain.
There was actually a small colony of Arabs living in Staffordshire
at one point, and I believe the British people called them Baileys.
They were thought of as being gypsy/Arabic blood lines. They were in
little groups of villages called Baileys. Again there's the
Arab/Jewish influence in Ivanhoe. So, in reality, there probably
was, although it wasn't common, a substantial Arabic influence.
Particularly on the Crusaders and particularly on the Templars. So
all we did really was rediscover it. We brought something out that
probably existed already.
AWW: Did you have to learn
archery for Robin of Sherwood?
MR: I'd already done a bit
before. I did a bit of riding, a bit of archery, a bit of swordplay
before we started. But we all had to go off down to Stephen Dent's
farm. The Dents are probably the most well-known stunt rider, film,
equestrian place in Britain. And we all had to go off and ride and
prove that we could ride, and sit on horses for days on end getting
our arses sore. So, all most had done a little bit before, none of
were experts. By the time we finished, we were pretty good. As with
the swordplay and everything else.
For the archery we had
a guy called Gabe Cronnelly. He was the archery coach on the Costner
movie. And Gabe was an Irish open Olympic archer, I believe. We all
got coached although we had all done a bit before. I actually did
have a bow before I joined the series. We were all made to spend
hours chucking arrows about. It was great preparation. It saved a
lot of money on the set.
AWW: I understand you went
on to teach sword fighting in the Sean Connery Arthurian movie,
MR: Yeah, I assisted a guy
called Bob Anderson who did Highlander and Star Wars. He
choreographed the movie. But for every day for five months I fenced
with Gere [Richard Gere aka Lancelot], Ben Cross and anyone else who
wanted to have a sword fight, including the stunt boys. It was great.
That was one of the nicest jobs. It's interesting that they chose an
actor to assist a stunt guy. And there was some consternation among
the stunt men regarding that. But Bob and I got along so well; he's
such a good guy and we had a lot of fun. I was free to go off and do
other things while I did that. I did an episode of Peak Practice
and a thing called Harry. As long as I came back to the
studio and fenced with everybody, it was okay. But I really enjoyed
it. It was terrific.
AWW: One of the things that
really makes Robin of Sherwood stand out is the chemistry
between all the actors.
It's still there. In fact I spoke to Michael [Praed, the first
Robin] this morning. I spoke to Clive [Mantle, Little John] last
week. I saw Jason [Connery, the second Robin Hood and son of Sean]
last Friday. We are all still very tight. It's almost the same as
going to college or something. We went through so much. It was a
labour of love going through that show. 'Cause it was hard work; it
was gruelling. It's like living as a family cheek by jowl. And you
get up in the morning at half past six and get on the set. Sometimes
the weather wasn't good and we all got wet, and disgruntled and
pissed off. And other times the weather was wonderful and glorious,
and we were riding around and chopping up Normans. It was just three
years of bliss. That's all I can say. And we are still to this day
AWW: I understand you got up
to a lot of mischief. In particular, I remember a story about a bed
MR: Yeah, the bed in the
river. Oh my god. We got famous for what are called the out takes,
and that is all the things that go wrong on the show. At one time we
had one of the best funny reels that had ever been seen. Because the
boys would set things up to pull a stunt on somebody. And sometimes
it would take a week of setting these things up, including adding
pages into the script and stuff like that.
The show became famous
for being fun. And people did it because it was fun. We got the
stars we got to do it, because somebody would come down and it was
our mission to take them out and get them as drunk as possible on
the first night. There were stupid little gags. I mean we used to
have mud ball fights and cream bun fights.
You'd see the guest
stars going "You're completely insane. you people. You're completely
bloody mad." But you could see they were having a ball. They
absolutely had a ball. That bit of mischief on the set really made
the show crack along. Not just on the set, but off the set. We were
even worse off the set than we were on the set.
The story about the
bed, which was one of the occasions when we all got into trouble for
emptying Terry Walsh's [the stunt co-ordinator] hotel room of every
object that could be removed including the light fittings and the
light sockets. We just took everything out of his room and hid it.
Unfortunately one of the things that we removed from his room which
we couldn't really hide very well was a large bed, which we pushed
into the car park. And pushed then over a mound which turned out to
have a canal on the other side. So, the bed was never seen again. We
ended up paying for that. We were doing it all the time. It was
AWW: How did you put extra
things into the script?
MR: Well, Kip was excellent
about that kind of thing. If anybody had an idea or an objection, we
were free to bring up ideas, chuck in ideas, move things around. We
used to go into a huddle with the dialogue. Well, the boys did. I
would just hang around and watch most of the time. If they had
dialogue to do, they'd go into a little huddle, work out what they
were going to do, say the lines. If it didn't work, they'd change
them. That kind of stuff.
Kip again, to his
credit -- this is the sign of a good writer, he came out and
socialized with us a lot, and he got to learn our personalities and
how each of us functioned. And he wrote for us. He said very early
on, he said, "You guys are going to know these characters very
quickly much better than I do. You're going to know these people.
You're going to be doing it. So, you're going to know these people
and I'm willing to listen to anything you've got to say about it."
I think there was only
one occasion when I actually said "You know, I don't think that's
right. I don't think Nasir would do that. Or I don't think this is
working." And that wasn't a Kip Carpenter script. It was when
Anthony Horowitz came on. And Anthony turned into a very, very good
writer -- in fact, one of the most famous TV writers we've got in
Britain right now. But it was complex show to get hold of, and what
he wrote which just was improbable regarding what was happening
within the Merry Men. We all turned around and said "We wouldn't do
this, Anthony." And he said, "Okay" and he rewrote it. (laughs)
AWW: What was he having you
MR: It was "The Pretender".
It sticks out in my mind, where Reece [Dinsdale] came in and was
pretending to be [Arthur of Brittany, Kings Richard and John's
nephew, supposedly murder by King John], basically takes over the
band. You know, he outfights everybody and wins Maid Marion's heart.
And we just said, "it's improbable. These people live in the forest
together. They fight together; they are on the run together. It's
improbable that somebody would turn up and they would just follow
this guy because he's better at everything than Robin. It just
doesn't make any sense. That he would be able to win that." Then he
comes in and does a two-handed sword fight with me. I mean he beats
everybody. He beats up Ray [Will Scarlet], he has a two-handed sword
fight with me and he beats me. He basically bested everybody at
everything. And we all said "This just isn't working. This doesn't
make any sense." So, we worked it out that best thing to do was -- I
think it was our suggestion -- that if we're going along with him to
find out what he's about, that makes more sense than us turning
against Robin, abandoning Robin for this guy. And then Robin then
coming back at the end proving that he is really the good guy after
all, that he really is the best Robin Hood sort of thing. So we had
that kind of input.
AWW: Since the series,
you've done a lot of work on mythic themes. Did that start with
Robin of Sherwood or was it something you were interested in
MR: Mildly. Mildly. I can't
say it was something I knew a great deal about. Growing up, you kind
of. Although I knew a lot about the Arthurian legends, Robin Hood
and all that kind of stuff, it never struck me as being something
that was new to me. It was just something I knew about. But I never
went into it to the depth I did later on. No, my experiences before
that were mainly musical theatre. I'd done two shows in the West End
before that. One being Evita and one being a show called
Dean. And my experience before that was recording and that
kind of thing.
AWW: And how did you get
into the mythic themes from Robin of Sherwood?
Oooh, I guess it was people asking me questions. (laughs) About the
show which I didn't know that much about. I'd done some reading
about the whole thing, but people kept asking me questions at
conventions, like fan conventions in the US, to which I didn't
really know the answers. I started getting intriguing by some of the
images myself in the show. Although we were aware of the show at the
time in terms of some of its themes and some of its imagery. It
wasn't till a few years later when people kept coming up to me and
saying "Have you any idea how symbolic and how important that show
was in terms of the effect it had on the Pagan community?" And about
bringing forward some of the ideas like Herne the Hunter that people
were hungry for. It was extraordinary the power that that image had
for people. And that's when I started to get interested. And you
know I had to go back in a way and backtrack to my childhood
memories and say "Oh, I see, that makes sense. I see where that
fits." So a lot of stuff grew out of Robin of Sherwood. I'm
not saying it's totally responsible for that. But in my own life
what it did do was reawaken stuff I already knew, had it my head and
obviously opened up new things that I was not aware of at all.
AWW: What sorts of mythic
themes do you see in the Robin Hood legend?
MR: Oh god, in the legend
or in the show?
MR: I think the show itself
has touched on so many different complex areas. But I'll bring up
two. One was the Templars, the idea of the Knights Templar. The
other is the whole concept of a man living in the forest who is not
necessarily the only man that takes on the mantle Robin Hood or
Robin i'the Hood, and that he is seen by the people as a
semi-magical character who fighting against Norman, Christian
oppressive class system. I think that probably is near as damnit as
is truthful. That was the situation. I mean you can go from there
where you want. I mean within the Templars and the whole knights'
chivalric orders and the Plantagenets and John's history with the
Lionheart. I mean there is so much. It is rich in history and with
Within the old legend
itself, my personal belief is that there are historically several
real Robin Hood characters who were actually remembered in the pipe
rolls, which are the royal household lists of people who worked the
royal households. And there was actually a Robin Hood who worked for
Edward, I think it was Edward II, who was arrested for stealing wood
from Sherwood Forest. Not for killing a deer, but for stealing
firewood. He was either going to be sent to prison or he could fight
for the king. So he decided to fight for the king and became a very
famous warrior. And the king offered him a place in the household
and he became a gamekeeper. He lived as a gamekeeper for the king
for about a year and then he got bored with that and vanished, and
apparently went back into the forest from whence he came. So there
are several real Robin Hoods dotted around history. I believe
probably people took the mantle of Robin Hood because they were
highwaymen, robbers living on what was called Watling Street or the
Great North Road which runs up the spine of Britain from London to
York. And York was where the Exchequer was kept at that time. London
wasn't where the money was kept. The money was kept in York. And
around York there are nine Knights Templar preceptories; so whatever
they were guarding, they were guarding it seriously.
So, the layers within
the show are multiple. There's all the legend of the Green Man and
nature and nature in man and man in nature and all that stuff.
There's all the stuff to do with bows and the mysticism of archery
and the symbolism of archery. It's so deep, it's so rich, we could
go on about it for hours.
AWW: How did you end up
designing a tarot deck based on various Greenwood legends?
I got interested in tarot some years ago. And I actually bought a
deck for a then girlfriend of mine. She wasn't really that much
interested, but I found the imagery fascinating. And didn't really
think about it anymore. But wherever I went, particularly when I
came to America, I went into a bookstore, somehow they are more
readily available here than they were in Britain. Or I had never
seen a variety in Britain that I've seen here, particularly the
Bodhi Tree. I was just looking, and I got interested in the imagery
and the cultures and what speaks to people in the imagery. And I
bought two or three packs and just played with them, toyed with them,
didn't do any reading with them, per se. I was interested in the
imagery. I found them very pretty, and I was trying to grasp the
psychology of how this works, what these things symbolize. So, I
read a lot about that, and I began to see what it meant: how the
Major Arcana stand for 22 states of personality or the human
condition within a person. And I began to get into the Jungian side
of it. I began to understand the psychology of it, the symbolism and
the history of the symbolism. So I was quite interested in all that
kind of stuff.
And Chesca [Potter,
co-designer and illustrator of Mark Ryan's Greenwood Tarot
Deck] was living in my house at Streatham [in South London] at one
time when she was homeless and she was house-sitting for me. We sat
talking about tarot and Robin Hood and all the Greenwood legends and
stuff like that. She says I said it, and I say she said it, but we
both said at some point it would be very interesting to a Robin
of Sherwood tarot. There already one called Robin Wood or
something which it was interesting but I didn't really think got to
the depths of this stuff, got right down into it. Because there's a
whole, again, mythos to do with animals and shamanism and all kind
of stuff. We were talking about that. I said "Well, I'm fascinated
by that idea. It's an interesting idea. But if you base it on the
Qabalah [Jewish mysticism], which is one of the systems that is
mainly used for tarot, I don't understand it. I don't get it. It's
not a European tradition, Qabalah. It's interesting, but it's too
intellectual for me. It's not instantly assessable."
And she said, "Well,
there is the wheel of the year." We talked about the Wheel of the
Year, which I knew a little about it, but not a lot. We took her
deck, which I believe was the Rider Waite deck and laid it out on my
living room floor in Streatham. In the wheel of the year, using her
cards. And lo and behold, it literally fell onto the floor almost.
We aligned the lovers in balance with Beltane and we put Death and
the Devil with Samhain. We looked at it when we laid it out and went
"Wow, that is very interesting. That must have been done before.
Somebody must have done this before. They must have put these images
and these states at this eight-spoke wheel of the year." Because
it's so obvious it must have been done before.
I ran up a couple of
people we knew and so did Chesca. We talked to John Matthews [writer
of many, many book and designer of tarot decks] about this. We said
"John, can you relate to this?" We explained what we had done and
how it worked, and he went "God, I wish I'd done that." (laughs) And
he said "No, no one's ever done that." So, we rang a couple of
people and somebody put us in touch with a publisher. We had a
publisher that instantly wanted to take it, but they didn't have the
resources to do it the way we wanted to do it. We went to see
HarperCollins. And HarperCollins immediately said well, "Yes, this
is a breakthrough. This is never been done before. We've never seen
it done like this." And it's extraordinary because it's a
rediscovery, it fits it so well. And we grew into the whole thing
about the Shaman and the animals and changing the Minor Arcana a
little bit and changing the Major Arcana a bit. But yes, we got the
nod, and God know, that was about 1991 or 1992. It took three years
then to do the research and put it all into some kind of system that
But it works. I have
used it and people know are using it, and it's a system which is
very easily assessable.
AWW: I found it interesting
that you say it's used more meditative purposes than predicting the
MR: Yes, I don't believe in
predicting the future. There was a whole section in the book about
quantum mechanics and a lot of stuff was chucked out of the book,
because they wanted to get the little book into that cardboard thing.
So, a lot of stuff is missing out of that little book. But one of
the chapter was on quantum mechanics and possibility and probability,
and why I say you cannot tell the future. You know, you cannot say
somebody is going to get hit by a bus. What you do is get a snapshot
of reality, psychologically and physically at the moment you do the
reading. But as soon as you look at the reading, you've changed
everything. You've changed it because you may get a card, and go "Hmmm,
then I won't do that then," or "I'd better look at that." So,
nothing's fixed. It's all a fluctuation. So, I don't believe you can
tell the future and say absolutely this is what's going to happen. I
don't think the universe functions that way.
I think what happens
is that there is an infinite number of possibilities and
probabilities, and what tarot does is reflect your inner state and
the elements in the question you've asked that you should look at.
It does that extraordinarily accurately. And that is because of
synchronicity. Synchronicity means you will always get a meaningful
reading or a meaningful reflection of the situation. I don't like to
read for people I know. I tend to read mainly for people I don't
know, sometimes I don't even want to know their names are and I
don't want to know what their question is. I recently did it at a
con in San Francisco, and people were going "Oooh." I don't want to
know. Because I think sometimes it can muddy the water if you read
for somebody and you know too much about them. You tilt one way or
another. Where I don't like to do that. I like to say "Look, this is
what you've got." And without a shadow of a doubt, it is usually
extraordinarily accurate. I had two people that day who went "That
is bizarre.", and these were both complex questions involving
couples and I read for two couples back to back. Both of them went "that
AWW: What sorts of images
from Robin Hood do you think are helpful to someone, like in the
Wheel of the Year?
Well, it's a journey. I said this in the book, the Greenwood Tarot
is a journey. None of these things are a fixed points. You start in
the centre and you move around. And I believe that the Major Arcana
cards stand for all of the emotions and the people that we as
individuals can be at any given time. You sometimes put the fool
into bat if you're going into a job. You know, that leaping off into
the void. And as an actor, I continually walk into voids. I am
continually joining somewhere, I don't know who's going to be there,
what's going to happen, I don't know what it's about. But I've just
got to take my guts in my hands and walk into the void and see what
happens. And if I put in the fool, the fool loves that playful side
of taking the blind step off the cliff edge. And that's part of my
fool type things. Other times I've got to be Strength. Other times I
get to be the Green Man. I get to be sitting at my table, you know,
with my feast and goblet of wine and all that kind of stuff. We all
are those people, both male and female. They live in our psyche to
one level or another. And it depends on whether those particularly
suit who you are, suit your culturally view of the world. That's why
there are all different kinds of packs. Because people look at a
certain pack and go "I really relate to these pictures. I see. I get
them, I understand it." And depends on where you've been brought up,
what your background is, what you find personally interesting in
tarot. But eventually people who are into tarot find a pack that
accurately represents them. The people in the pack are people they
recognize in themselves. So all those cards are bits of people's
personalities. In the Major Arcana anyway.
I couldn't pick out
one card and say, "These are empowering cards." I could say that the
journey itself is empowering. I use this again as an analogy. If you
find there is a part of your personality that you really have
problems dealing with, like the Hanged Man, or the Blasted Oak as we
put it. If you don't like being in that situation of not knowing, of
being hung upside down and having to wait for fate to move or the
universe to move -- if you don't like that, there's no point in
pushing that part of yourself away and locking it outside the house.
Because it's like a poltergeist. It will sit outside the window,
tapping on the door, saying "Let me in. I'm part of your personality.
You got to deal with me." And eventually you've got to bring this
guy in, and say "Okay, I've got to learn to be patient. I've got to
learn to deal with just waiting." That journey, I think, is the most
complete journey that anyone can take. To realize that they have all
these different facets of their personality, and they can make them
all work positively for them, if they understand them all, not
reject them. That's why I emphasize the whole thing about going on
AWW: Besides designing a
tarot deck around Robin Hood themes, you actually wrote a Robin Hood
story in a Green Arrow annual [about a comic book hero who
uses fights crime with a Robin Hood motif]. And as a comic fan, I'm
on a mission to mention comic books on my website as much as
[This was Green Arrow Annual #4
from 1991, the 50th anniversary of the superhero. In the comic,
Green Arrow and his girlfriend the Black Canary visit Nottingham.
Dinah, the Black Canary, buys an old magical necklace which places
her mind in the body of Maid Marian in a fantasy adventure. The
characters often sound like their Robin of Sherwood counterparts
with one of them being Rassan, a mostly silent Saracen based off
I spoke to Mike Grell [writer and sometimes artist of Green Arrow
when Mark Ryan worked on it in 1991] this afternoon. We've got
another project we're trying to get organized. Mike's a busy man
these days. But yes, Mike Grell -- we'd been pals for two or three
years, and he asked me if I'd be interested in writing this 50th
anniversary comic. And I immediately said yes, obviously.
And that was great fun
because that was based on a book, some of the adventures I had with
a guy called Andy Collins. Andy wrote a book called The Seventh
Sword. He had a group of psychics which did what they call
psychic questing, which was basically finding lost objects by remote
viewing. I went out with these guys several times on some of their
adventures. It was great fun and very interesting. A lot of that
stuff to do with Ellen. Ellen was a real old British goddess, a
guardian goddess of sacred trackways and wells. [In the comic, Ellen
of the Wells is Maid Marian's spiritual mentor.] And a lot of that
was based on Andrew's adventures. One of his books actually is
called the Black Alchemist, and I nicked his title. He was
supposed to get a credit on the comic, and he never did.
AWW: Ellen struck me as a
Herne for Maid Marian, her empowering figure.
MR: Well that is what Ellen
is. Ellen is basically the Greenwood archetype of Herne. [Robin's
mentor in both Robin of Sherwood and the comic book.] She would be
the Greenwoman in the tarot deck. She is the female, polaric deity
AWW: When you were in
Toronto some years ago, you mentioned ---
MR: I love Toronto! Let me
say to all people in Toronto, first of all, that I think Toronto is
one of the nicest cities I've ever been to in my life. And I don't
know why nobody's ever invited me back. I must've upset somebody. (laughs)
AWW: When you were in
Toronto, you were mentioning about doing a comic series with Mike
Grell called The Hooded Man using the Robin Hood legends.
MR: Yeah, that's right. And
unfortunately, DC [Comics, publisher of Green Arrow, Superman,
Batman and other heroes] really messed us about on that. They
decided that Robin Hood had been overdone that year, and they held
off for quite a while. And we never got it off the ground. Which is
a shame because I thought it was a nice idea. But again, we have
another idea which I came up with; so, we're looking at doing
something else. We've just never got round to doing it again. We've
talked about this for six years, about doing something else. We know
have an idea that we both really like.
AWW: Could you please tell
me about some of the things you had planned for the Hooded Man?
MR: It was basically
sort-of Robin of Sherwood with a much darker, more magical
aspect. This figure really was a spirit of the forest. There was a
lot that was not quite human about him. He wasn't Swamp Thing, but
he was the spirit of the animals and the wildlife and the trees
basically. And he was the avenging angel of the forest. That was the
AWW: I think you said there
was going to be a lot of Templar lore in it?
MR: Yes, there was a lot of
Templar stuff, regarding the history of the Templars and
particularly Yorkshire and England. The Templars were going to be
the bad guys on this particular occasion.
I think everybody had
been burned out on Robin Hood. [This was at the time of the Costner
and Bergin movies and Robin Hood-inspired science fiction comic by
DC Comics.] They said "we like the idea", but after about a year
they said "No, we can't do this." And by then, it was too late to
get anybody else interested. We may revisit it. I may go back and
have another go at it.
DC has all changed so
much. I mean our main guy there, Mike Gold has left, Dick Giordano's
left. We everybody we knew that was a player there seems to have
bailed out shortly after this all became rather confusing about what
direction they were taking. So, who knows?
AWW: I've heard that there
might some mystical connection to Robin Hood coming up in Green
Arrow in the near future.
MR: Oooh. I cannot answer.
I don't know about the direction they are taking the character in,
unfortunately. When we speak at the moment, Mike's got a script in
LA. that we talk about. And I've got a script that he's helped me
with that is getting interest here in Hollywood. We haven't talked
about Green Arrow for months.
[Mike Grell's 1980's revamping of Green Arrow] was absolutely
AWW: I saw a lot of Robin
of Sherwood imagery in Mike Grell's run on Green Arrow.
MR: He's a great guy --
Mike. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met as well as being a
very interesting character. We're very good pals. He's a top man.
You were actually a character in one of his comics for one panel if
I'm not mistaken.
MR: In fact, I'm probably
in more than one. In fact, Mike has a habit of putting people in. If
you tell me the one that you think I'm in...
AWW: It's a golf archery
tournament in Green Arrow: The Wonder Year. There was a group of
archers that Green Arrow was with, and one looks a lot like you. [I'll
see about getting this image on this page.]
MR: (laughs) There are
other characters in other of his comic books. He's used not only me,
but various other characters. But I'm not going to tell you which
they are, your readers will have to guess. He puts people in. I
won't tell you who they are because I'm sure some of their
professions in reality reflect what they do in the comic books. I
know a very close friend of mine who is in one of the comic books
who physically not only looks like the guy Mike drew but does
exactly what he does in the comic book. It's kind of like "Oh,
that's bizarre." Unless you know these guys, you wouldn't know. But
if you scour Mike Grell's work you'll see all kinds of characters
that are really people he knows.
AWW: One of my friends just
bought your comic book. She didn't know you had done one.
MR: I pop up all over the
place occasionally. I like that variety. I like being able to keep
writing and acting and singing. All that kind of stuff.
MR: I'm going down in April
to do a play in San Diego at the San Diego Globe. Which I'm very
honoured and very excited about. It's a play called Neville's
Island which ran in the West End of London. It's the first time
it's been done in California. It's a four-hander about four British
blokes who get stuck on an island in the Lake District on an outward
bound course. It's very funny and it's very dark. We start
rehearsals in April. We open at the end of May and we run all the
way through June and into July.
And I'm supposed to go
back to the UK to do a movie called Legionnaires which there's been
a lot of talk about on the Internet, particularly in Britain.
Legionnaires is a big science fiction project with Walter
Koenig [Star Trek's Chekov and Babylon 5's Bester], Jason Connery
[the second Robin on Robin of Sherwood], myself and my wife,
Robin. [Robin Curtis, Saavik from the Star Trek III and IV.]
AWW: I saw you doing a bit
on Frasier a few months ago.
MR: Actually, it's just
been repeated, I believe. I had an e-mail today from somebody in
Upstate New York that it was being repeated again tonight. There's
talk about doing it as a regular spot, the pub spot. But whether
they will or not, we don't know. [Mark played Winston, the bartender
at a British themed pub.]
And I did a Conan
the Adventurer as well which was interesting. There were lots
of swords about, but they didn't give me one. Well, they gave me one,
but I never got the chance to get into it. I was hoping to get a
sword fight with Red Sonja, but we never got around to it. It was
all a bit rushed. It was great fun to do. Great cast, very funny.
Nice guys. How they get through that stuff in a week, I don't know.
It was shot down in Mexico.
AWW: How long did it take to
film an episode of Robin of Sherwood?
MR: Two weeks. We had two
weeks to do an hour.
AWW: When you did the third
series of Robin of Sherwood, did you break it up because it
was twice as long as the others?
MR: We started filming in
February. And we started filming very early. Those early winter
scenes in some of those episodes -- my God, I tell you, the cold
wind whistles through the black leather, there's no doubt about that.
All wearing thermals [long underwear] underneath our stuff, it was
bloody freezing. You know, there's one scene where we walked up a
river. I think it was one of the first episodes. It was the one
where we were being impersonated by a band that look exactly like us.
["The Betrayal"]. We walk up this river after these guys, and there
was ice floating in this water. It was extraordinary. Yes, we
started filming in February and we finished sometime in September.
We were all physically exhausted. Exhausted. Hard work.
AWW: I should let you go,
but I was wondering if you could please talk about the legacy of
Robin Hood. Why has it lasted over 600 years?
MR: I think the legend is
an archetypal legend. We have all got a bit of Robin Hood in us.
This is what it's about, I believe, is that Robin Hood is the part
of us -- and sometimes it's the best part of us -- that doesn't want
to see oppression. That doesn't want to see the big bully beat up
the weak person. Doesn't want to allow greed and avarice to be in
control. And will stand up and say "Whatever risk in myself to this,"
stand up and say "this is a moral stance I have to take, and this
will not do." I think Robin Hood is part of each of our psyches, the
idea of living with a kind of group of people fighting a huge
monstrous machine, like the Norman machine was, against all odds and
for the right reasons.
The human condition
hasn't changed. We may have faxes, we may have the Internet, we may
have cars and jets and God knows what else, but internally
emotionally, we haven't changed a great deal for the last five
thousand years, probably twenty thousand years. We still go through
the same emotional processes that we did 20,000 years ago. So all
these things are still with it. We've got much more stuff now. We've
got more knowledge about the universe. But internally, we're still
on the same emotional journey.
And Robin Hood is
linked deeply to the part of us which is about justice and about
rebellion and about standing up for the weak against the poor. And
that is why it endures. Like the Arthurian legend, it speaks people
to people on deep, core, emotional level that we still don't really
understand today. It's that important.
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