Gueststars 5    P Q R


Martha Parsey

Martha Parsey was born on November 8, 1973 in England. She is an actress, known for Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), Supergirl (1984) and Behind the Bike Sheds.

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.



Valentine Pelka

Roland, 6 episodes, 1987

Valentine Pelka as Roland 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.

Following the destruction of Claremont, Roland and Blade flee to the hills and spread sedition.

His ideals 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.        

                                      as Sarak in sheriff of Nottinham Robin of Sherwood, Ivan Hoe 1997   

Valentine Pelka as John Lennon in And In the End, The Death and Life of John Lennon, Jermyn Street Theatre



Valentine Pelka is an actor and producer, known for The Pianist, First Knight, Under the Tuscan Sun and Highlander.





                                                                                                                  Right photo: Valentine Pelka as Sarak in "The Sheriff of Nottingham", Robin of Sherwood.


                            Ivanhoe (1997)                              'Kronos' in Highlander   


                                             'Kronos' in Highlander




Lally Percy

Lally Percy is an actress, known for Mum's List (2016), The Rose Medallion (1981) and Juliet Bravo (1980). She is married to David Schofield. They have two children.

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.




Robert Pereno

Captain of 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 Emperor's affairs.


I remember him well, he had his own attitude a bit conceited (in the series) and that fitted nicely with the role.




Robert Pereno was born on April 4, 1957 in Torino, Italy. He is an actor, known for Crossbow (1987), Xtro (1982), Episode Demsey and makepeace as Eddie Dean (1986) In Bird of Pray and The Little Drummer Girl (1984)


Dorothea Phillips

Episode Actors

Dorothea Phillips was born in 1928 in Penygraig, Rhondda, Glamorgan, Wales. She is an actress, known for 102 Dalmatians (2000), Under Milk Wood (1971) and Jane Eyre (1983).


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 mistress. 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. Poor misguided girl, but she does have very good eyesight.

Gessler's Mistress, 1 episode, 1989






Balding, 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 Halloween (1978) 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 in 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.

was an English actor. His best known film roles include psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis in Halloween (1978) and four of its sequels, the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe in The Great Escape (1963), SEN 5241 in THX 1138 (1971), Clarence "Doc" Tydon in Wake in Fright (1971), and the President of the United States in Escape from New York (1981). Pleasence was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his services to the acting profession by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994

Pleasence married four times and had five daughters from his first three marriages. The names of his daugthers: Angela Pleasence, Jean Pleasence, Polly Jo Pleasence, Lucy Pleasence (1962) and Miranda Pleasence. He had Angela and Jean with Miriam Raymond (m. 1941–1958); Lucy and Polly with Josephine Martin Crombie (m. 1959–1970); and Miranda with Meira Shore (m. 1970–1988). His last marriage was to Linda Kentwood (m. 1988–1995; his death)  the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967)

Much more to read about him at the

Trade Mark: Bald head and pierching blue eyes. Dr. Sam Loomis from the Halloween films. Intense performances

His portrayal of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967) will always be an influence of the Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Both Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) and Pleasence's Blofeld have a large facial scar.


Shortly before his death in 1995, he was scheduled to star in a production of "King Lear" that would have featured daughters Angela Pleasence, Polly Jo Pleasence and Miranda Pleasence.

He was 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.

Quete: I treat all film roles one way - very seriously.

On 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.

John Carpenter 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.

in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, France  (complications from heart valve replacement surgery)

And Sister Angela looks a lot like her and is also actress. She is on the photos below.

                                                              Symptoms – UK, 1974                                                                                         The daughters of Donald Pleasence                     




Hugh Pollard

Hugh Pollard (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 (1987).

Pollard attended the Christ Church C of E School in Finchley, 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 Olympics and Wimbledon. He married Nicola Skyes in 1999, and has lived on the shore off Grafham Water, 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 of Tell. 


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)


Guest Appearances: The Bill (1991) ("Black Mark" ep. 07.044, as Sobbing Boy)

The Bill (1992) ("Well Out of Order" ep. 08.094, as Allan Greaves)



Jean-Jacques Preau

It's 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.

Jean-Jacques Preau is an actor, known for Train d'enfer (1985) and Black Mic Mac (1986). No photos can be found.

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 years.


Gessler comes back after worksvisit. This is the scene the soldier's words make Gessler realize the Emperor changed course.


David Prowse

Cassius 1 episode, 1989


                                       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




Episode 61, '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.


David Quilter

David Quilter was born on June 11, 1942 in Northwood, London, England. He is an actor, known for The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1982), War & Peace (2016) and Doctor Who (2005)


Below: Ewan Hooper and David Quilter in Poirot (1989)


Below: the 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 Station. The 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:


Daniel Quinn

Terence in imdb. In episode Seekers of the Soul, 1 episode, 1988

Daniel 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

X files


In Crossbow, Tell gets a handmade flute from Terence, a present for his company. When the path splits they both go their own way.

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 productions.

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.


Andre Raffard

In Crossbow he played one of The Dukes of Zharlingen in episode 8

André Raffard is an actor, known for Les visiteurs (1993), Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1998) and Le retour de Casanova (1992



John Ramsey

1 episode, 1988 Caspari, episode 36, 'Exit the Dragon

John Ramsey is an actor, known for 'Crocodile' Dundee II (1988), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Law & Order (1991-2001 Tv series) He got role in Batman tv series as tv announcer (The Unkindest Tut of All (1967) ... TV Announcer)

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.


Ben Robb

As One of the Orphaned scarvengers Children who steel Tell's horse .

Ben Robb is an actor, known for Brand meester (1988), Crossbow (1987) and The Firm (2009)

1 episode and in episode 4 The Scarvengers, 1987


Scott Renderer

The inguisitor as a lawyer

Scott Renderer is an actor, known for Poison (1991), The Fertilichrome Cheerleader Massacre (1989) and Last Song (1987) Is a drummer for the band Monsterbuck.


"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 to me." 

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 Tierney. 

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 Source:


Rachel Robertson

She was in two episodes:

- Gorian the Spider (1989) ... Mina

- The Taking of Castle Tanner (1988) ... Anna

Episodes 31,' 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) The Jungle Book as Rose (1994) and For Sale by Owner (2006). She has been married to Nick Berry since 1994. Touch of Frost tv series (1995) They have two children.

She is married to popular British television actor Nick Berry


Raul Julia and Rachel Robertson in Mack the Knife (1989)


In The Taking of Castle Tanner. Anna, second season                       In The Spider, third season                     





Robertson's largest singing role was playing Polly in Mack the Knife, the film adaptation of The Threepenny Opera. She also appeared in the revue Spread a Little Happiness.

Film: Mack the Knife (1989)

Love Song (duet)

Perpendicular Song (Barbara Song)(duet)

Uncertainity of Human Condition (contains solo lines)

Polly's Song (contains solo lines)

Jealousy Duet (duet)


Spread a Little Happiness (1992)

Me and My Dog (solo)


She is married to popular British television actor Nick Berry. They have been married for 25 years since 1994 and have two children.



Guy Rolfe

The Emperor

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.


Edwin Arthur Rolfe - Guy Rolfe was born in Kilburn, London (27 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.

Yesterday's Enemy 1959


Tony Curtis and Guy Rolfe in Taras Bulba (1962)

Years active: 1937–1999

After the Second World War he re-appeared in a number of bit parts throughout 1947 in films like Hungry Hill and Odd Man Out, which in turn led to larger roles in movies such as Uncle Silas (1947), Easy Money (1948) and in particular Ken Annakin's Broken Journey (1948), where he played the pilot of an aeroplane that crashes in the Alps. He then graduated to leading man status in Terence Fisher's Portrait from Life (1948), as a British army officer who helps an Austrian professor track down his missing daughter. 1949 saw perhaps his best role, that of safe cracker turned spy Philippe Lodocq in Robert Hamer's The Spider and the Fly.

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 (1962).

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


Dolls 1987 with Hilary Maison (Gessler's mother, in episode Actors)


The Emperor promotional shot                      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.

- His television credits include: The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions, Department S, The Troubleshooters, Space: 1999, Secret Army, and Kessler.

- 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 Without Armour".

- 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 career.

- 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.


Derek Rossignol

As a shephard. He warns Tell not passing the wall, nobody returned.                                  Here he is calling his dog Bayard

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor derek rossignol actor       

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 intuition!

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 grow here.
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 perform.
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 up.
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.

Linda Wise
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 pleasure.
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 understand.
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…….

 source:  Roy Hearet Theatre



Marc Ryan

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 to himself.

          Gerelateerde afbeelding

Early life: Ryan was born in Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. 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 by 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 Keira Knightley, Clive Owen and Stellan Skarsgård, planning and choreographing their action.

In Crossbow episode Lost City                                                                                                                 


In 2015 Ryan was nominated for the award for best vocal performance in a supporting role in a feature film by Behind The Voice Actors for voicing Lockdown in Transformers: Age of Extinction. The award eventually went to Stanley Tucci for his work in Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Ryan at the New York premiere of Transformers: Age of Extinction

He worked at the Transformers franchise, for which he has voiced Bumblebee, Jetfire and Lockdown. In 2017, he reprised his role as live-action stand-in for the robots in the fifth installment of the Transformers films, Transformers: The Last Knight.

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 1978-2000

Ryan appeared in several major musicals in London's West End, spending four years in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita in the role of Magaldi and then playing Ché under the direction of Hal Prince. He went on to appear in a cameo in the film version of the musical directed by Alan Parker. He left Evita to play Mac in the SAS action film Who Dares Wins for director Ian Sharp.

Ryan played the character of Nasir for the British TV series Robin of Sherwood on which he worked for three years. Nasir was the first Muslim member of the Merry Men - a concept that carried over to later productions such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the 2006 Robin Hood TV series.

In 1986, Ryan appeared in the title role in the musical Elmer Gantry at London's Gate Theatre and followed that with a national tour of the hit show Guys and Dolls, playing the part of Sky Masterson. He returned to the West End to play Neville Landless in the Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the same year recorded a duet with singer Tom Jones on his album Matador. He also appeared in the video to the Gary Moore single Over the Hills and Far Away from the Wild Frontier album.

In 1993, Ryan toured Europe and Britain playing Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro and Leporello in Don Giovanni, both for Music Theatre, London directed by Nick Broadhurst, followed by a series of open-air concert performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

In 1994, Ryan was picked by swordmaster Bob Anderson to assist as sword coach to Richard Gere and Ben Cross in the film First Knight. Director Jerry Zucker also asked him to play John Challenger during the filming.

Before moving to Los Angeles in 1997 Ryan guest starred in many British TV shows including The Bill, Harry, Dempsey and Makepeace, Casualty and Peak Practice. He also appeared in films such as Doomsday Gun and Nil By Mouth. While establishing himself in the US he guest-starred in such TV shows as Frasier, General Hospital, Conan the Adventurer, Passions, Nuremberg and The Young and the Restless. He also worked as Fight Coordinator and Swordmaster on The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and played Gordon in San Diego's Globe Theatre production of Neville's Island.

2000s - 2010s

In 2003, Ryan worked as a swordmaster and fight director on the film King Arthur directed by 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 Keira Knightley, Clive Owen and Stellan Skarsgård, planning and choreographing their action.

In 2000, Ryan played U.S. theatres with original Monty Python member Eric Idle, performing comedy roles in Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python at venues including New York's Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. 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 1776 directed by Gordon Hunt. Ryan began working on the 2007 film Transformers 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 Bumblebee. 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 Bumblebee as well as Jetfire for the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the Activision Game based on the film. In early 2009, Ryan continued voice work on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen working directly with Michael Bay and Alex Kurtzman almost right up to the release of the film.

2010s - present

In May 2010 Ryan returned to work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, once again as the onset voice of the Autobots. Work on this third Michael Bay Blockbuster continued at locations across the US and also at Kennedy Space Center - Cape Canaveral, Florida. The film was shot in 3D with post production voice-work carrying on into the spring of 2011. Ryan contributed several military lines to the final cut of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and was credited as "Military Drone Operator" on the DVD. Ryan also completed Bumblebee lines for the Universal Studios theme park ride based on the films in the autumn of 2011.

In July 2013 Ryan again joined the Transformers franchise, voicing Lockdown 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 Lockdown has resonated widely within the Transformers community:

"Lockdown 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).

In late 2008, Ryan launched a musical adaptation of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, narrated by Ray Winstone. He composed, sang and produced the tracks with Robb Vallier, who also worked on Spamalot. He also directed the video for the song "Women" filmed especially for the website and featuring Jenn Korbee, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Katie Boeck.

In January 2014 Ryan began playing Mr. Gates in the Michael Bay/Starz production of the pirate show Black Sails 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 pirate quartermaster:

"Massive 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 Sight,(2014).

"If there 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).

He has guest-starred in such TV shows as JAG, Real Time with Bill Maher and Alias and appeared in films such as Charlie's Angel, Convicted, The Thirst and The Prestige.

In mid-2009 Ryan directed the teaser/trailer for Blood Type, which was written by John Matthews 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, Thame, Oxfordshire. The promo trailer for the project was accepted into the BAFTA Members' Short Film Showcase for March 2010. He was also featured on the LCD Soundsystem video Pow Pow (song) directed by David Ayer.

In late 2012 he recorded a cameo appearance in the NBC comedy show Community playing Constable Edmund, a new companion to Inspector Spacetime in an homage to BBC TV show Doctor Who. The show aired in early 2013.

In 2015 Ryan appeared in the third season of Netflix' Cold War drama series Granite Flats, 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.

Literary work

Ryan is also an author and has written for DC Comics 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 tarot deck involving pre-historic European imagery.

In 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 comic artist Mike Grell. It is believed that elements of the story are based on Ryan's experiences during his service in the Intelligence Corps and Special Forces community. In early 2009 ComicMix announced an agreement with IDW Publishing for hardcopy publishing rights of its online projects and IDW announced the publication of The Pilgrim commencing in April 2010.

During 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 John Matthews 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 Bestseller on during the spring of 2011 and has now been translated into German, Dutch, Italian and French. The Wildwood Tarot is published in the US by Sterling Publishing. 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:

His autobiography (2015), 'Hold Fast'.



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 as Nasir, the first Arab Merry Man

Mark Ryan played the role of Nasir in the popular British television series Robin of Sherwood. Nasir was the first Muslim member of the Merry Men - a concept that carried over to later productions such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the 2006 Robin Hood 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 their Indiegogo

AWW:    I guess I'll start at the very beginning. I understand you grew up in Doncaster.

MR:        I was born in Doncaster. [Yorkshire]

AWW:    Which is right near Barnsdale.

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?

The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.MR:        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 about it.

            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 out."

Michael Praed was Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood's first two series.            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, First Knight.

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.

Mark Ryan and the Merry Men from the third series. Jason Connery is Robin.MR:        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 very tight.

AWW:    I understand you got up to a lot of mischief. In particular, I remember a story about a bed or something.

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 great fun.

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 do?

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 before?

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?

Herne's costume from Robin of Sherwood on display in NottinghamMR:        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?

AWW:    Both.

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 symbolism.

            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?

A card from the Greenwood Tarot. (c) Mark Ryan and Chesca Potter, 1996MR:        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 works.

            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 future.

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 is extraordinary."

AWW:    What sorts of images from Robin Hood do you think are helpful to someone, like in the Wheel of the Year?

The Green Man (c) Chesca Potter and Mark Ryan, 1996MR:        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 the meditation.

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 possible.

[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 Nasir.]

Rassan, the Nasir-like character in Mark Ryan's comic book. Art by Shea Anton Pensa. (C) DC Comics, 1991MR:        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 to Herne.

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 original concept.

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.

            Longbow Hunters [Mike Grell's 1980's revamping of Green Arrow] was absolutely terrific.

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.

Green Arrow: The Wonder Year. (c) DC Comics. Cover art by Mike GrellAWW:    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.Mark Ryan as Nasir, the first Arab Merry Man

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. Source:, also for more information about Robin of sherwood.