Doctor Who: Robot Of Sherwood. Television Review. B.B.C.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Colman, Tom Riley, Ben Miller, Roger Ashton, Ian Hallard, Rusty Goffe, Joseph Kennedy, Adam Jones, Sabrina Bartlett, David Benson, David Langham, Tim Baggaley, Richard Elfyn.

We are but stories in the completion of history’s guide book, some will have volumes written about them, some if they are lucky a rip-roaring novel, most a paragraph, for many just a sentence, however as long as we avoid being a footnote in the end then we should be satisfied.

Legends meet in Sherwood Forest as The Doctor is persuaded by Clara to hold true to his word and go wherever she wanted to. The Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, who is fast becoming the most incredible man to play the renegade Time Lord, scoffs at the thought of casually bumping into Robin Hood, “There is no such person”, he explains with a type of mocking sneer that no other incarnation of the Doctor has had before. Robin Hood might not have existed; the romantic in us all would obviously like to believe that he did roam through arrow’s passage but the way he was portrayed by Tom Riley in Mark Gatiss’ script for Robot of Sherwood was as cool and as disarmingly, passionately, eager to impress Clara as the normally unruffled Doctor.

It was the testosterone fuelled bravado that filtered through the screens, the one up-man ship between Robin of Locksley and The Doctor in front of an amused Clara that really caught the attention of the viewer. The almost child-like, my toy is better than your toy attitude banter between the pair led to some great one liners and the line in which The Doctor suggests punching a folklore legend in the face was beyond perfect.

Whilst perhaps playing fast and loose with the man in Lincoln Green’s legend, it should be noted that at least it keeps younger viewers in touch with the stories and exploits of the ideal, to not give into tyranny, to strike a blow time and time again against those who seek to cause misery and despair, or those who seek power by oppression then in whatever shade he is written it can only be good.

Jenna Coleman really shone in this episode and perhaps for the first time since the 50th Anniversary special held her own against the force of nature that is the Doctor. The mad, alien approach of Matt Smith and the more aloof guide and teacher appeal of Peter Capaldi has really stretched the way in which a companion is forced to look upon two different incarnations of the Doctor for the first time since Colin Baker took over the responsibility from Peter Davison. Travelling with the Doctor is not meant to be all fun and games, there has to be an element of risk attached to Time’s arrow, a pay-off for the interference made on Time’s behalf, Clara Oswald shows that relationship off perfectly.

Robin Hood may be a myth, but whilst programmes such as Doctor Who and writers such as the esteemed Mark Gatiss pay homage to him, like The Doctor, he will remain legendary and continue to be a thorn in powerful backsides.

Doctor Who continues next Sunday.

Ian D. Hall