Doctor Who – Robot of Sherwood

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

With a title like that, and the little matter of the episode being written by the excellent Mark Gatiss, I was expecting some enjoyable silliness, and that’s what I got. It starts when the Doctor offers to take Clara to a time and place of her choosing. She tells him that she wants to meet Robin Hood, which is of course impossible, what with Robin Hood not being real, and all that. But eventually, he agrees, and heads for Sherwood Forest in the late twelfth century. Where quite naturally, they immediately meet Robin Hood. And quite naturally they have a sword fight. Well, I say sword fight, but only Robin had a sword. The Doctor had a spoon. As he would…

Much merriment follows, as the Doctor tries to work out what Robin and his annoyingly merrie (if not actually Merrie) men are. They can’t possibly be real, so maybe they’re robots or something equally odd.

More silliness follows with the traditional archery contest, where after Robin splits the Sheriff’s arrow, the Doctor splits his. And so on…

It all gets a bit less amusing when the Sheriff’s guards turn out to be alien robots. And the castle turns out to be a disguised spaceship.

Clara really comes into her own in this episode – after her uncertainty in Deep Breath, she’s now got a better idea of how to deal with the new Doctor, which generally involves telling him how to behave when he’s being especially rude (and he is quite delightfully rude to most people).

There’s some ridiculous bickering between Robin and the Doctor, evil plotting from the Sheriff, and err, well, let’s draw a kindly veil over Alan a-Dale’s signing.

Ben Miller makes an excellent Sheriff – perhaps not quite as much fun as Keith Allen in the BBC Robin Hood series that ran from 2006 to 2009[1], but Tom Riley’s annoyingly merry Robin Hood makes up for this.

All is, of course, sorted out quite nicely at the end, which involves some cooperative archery. And the Doctor learns the truth about Robin Hood[2].

All great fun – a pleasing change of tone after last week’s Dalek carnage. But don’t get too relaxed – things look like getting a lot darker next week.

Once again, the Doctor Who Extra episode offers some behind the scenes material, and you can see it here:

 

[1] Episode reviews start here, or type Robin Hood into the search box at the bottom of the page.
[2] Which I’m not revealing here, so there :tongue: