The series is probably best described as a farcical semi-musical retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, where Marian is the leader of the Merry Men and Robin's role is reduced to that of a slightly camp tailor. Along with Robin, Marian's sidekicks also include a Rastafarian (played by Red Dwarf's Danny John-Jules), a lumbering simpleton called Rabies, and a hairy beardy little person called Little Ron who has a knack for facing the wrong way at the most inopportune times. On the bad guy side, we have the Sheriff Of Nottingham (Tony Robinson), King John with his taste for torture and all things evil, and Gary and Graham, a pair of buffoons who somehow got themselves a job as the Sheriff's private guardsmen. Each episode tells a self-contained story and features at least one original song, displaying a huge amount of creativity across the four series.
It's fair to say that the years have been rather kind to the Merry Men. We're all familiar with that crushing feeling of excitedly revisiting things from our childhood only to discover that they really haven't aged well at all, but Maid Marian is one of those rare shows that works just as well today as it did when it was originally broadcast. Kids will enjoy the songs, the jokes about pants, the slapstick prat falls, and general playground humour, while older viewers are sure to get a kick of the huge amounts of double entendres that will have gone way over our heads when we were youngsters, as well as the countless references to the popular culture of the time.
With some fantastic set design, witty lines and humorous asides flying around like they're going out of style, and a cast who are clearly having the time of their lives, everything fits into place to form one of the most unique and fondly-remembered kids TV shows of all time. Oh, and yes, you can sing along with the theme tune. There's even a karaoke version! Twenty-seven years later and we can still remember all the words without having to look them up...
Extras: Cast Audio Commentaries, Maid Marian karaoke, Interactive Quiz, Improvised sketches, Photo Gallery, Easter Eggs, Trailers, Compendium booklet by original Maid Marian artist Paul Cemmic
MAID MARIAN AND HER MERRY MEN / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: DAVID BELL / SCREENPLAY: TONY ROBINSON / STARRING: KATE LONERGAN, TONY ROBINSON, DANNY JOHN-JULES / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 21ST