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Robin Hood Series 3

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne in BBC Robin HoodThe third and final series of Robin Hood was broadcast on BBC One in spring 2009, and will be shown around the world in the coming months.

Richard Armitage once again played the villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne. And Jonas Armstrong returned as Robin Hood, bent on revenge against Gisborne for the death of Marian.

However, the BBC had already announced that Jonas would be leaving Robin Hood at the end of the series. Executive producer Foz Allan promised that "Robin's exit will be unmissable!" [1]

The beginning of filming in summer 2008 overlapped with the end of filming on Spooks's seventh series. So to allow Richard Armitage to continue saving London from the Russians as MI5 officer Lucas North, Gisborne was neatly written out of the third and fourth episodes of Robin Hood. But in spite of this the series provided a strong character arc for Gisborne, taking him from a guilt-ridden henchman of the Sheriff in the opening episode, to something suprisingly different by the last of the 13 episodes.


New characters

After the departure of some of the main characters at the end of the last series, several new ones arrived to take their place in Nottinghamshire. Chief among them was Prince John, played by Toby Stephens (formerly a Bond villain in Die Another Day, but also known for his portrayal of Mr Rochester in the BBC's recent adaptation of Jane Eyre).

Another new arrival was Gisborne's sister Isabella, played by newcomer Lara Pulver. Her experience is mostly in the theatre and she received a nomination for 'Best Actress in a Musical' at the 2007 Olivier Awards, London's premiere theatre awards. Richard Armitage explained that Guy's sister is "a bit of a chip off the Gisborne block. She's cunning and she's devious." [2] As he pointed out, Lara even looks like him, with similar colouring and similar eye colour. "She's incredibly beautiful and very sexy. She's going to be a really interesting ingredient on the show, I think." [2]

Friar Tuck (called Brother Tuck in this show) finally arrived in Sherwood Forest. He was played by David Harewood, seen recently on British TV in The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North. And also joining Robin's gang was Kate, a young woman from Locksley village, played by Joanne Froggatt, who was seen in BBC Three's new Spooks spin-off, Spooks: Code 9.


Guy of Gisborne hits rock bottom

The shocking ending to the second series left Gisborne "on a downward spiral," according to Richard Armitage. "He's a bit of a car crash at the beginning when you find him. He's off the leash and he's turned to alcohol. He's a real mess." [2] He's also involved in a revenge storyline with Robin, with each man blaming the other for Marian's death. But Gisborne "finds a way back through the character of Prince John and finds a new energy, a new force." [2]

The introduction of Gisborne's sister meant some rethinking of his history. "I plotted my character biography at the beginning of the show," said Richard, "and it's had to change for series 3 because Gisborne's sister arrives in the story and she brings the truth of their history with her. So I've had to slightly change my biography for Gisborne because it was my creation and now the actual truth is going to be explored." [2] He's anxious that the relationship between brother and sister should be well-written. "It's a very volatile relationship, but I'm striving to make it truthful and I want them to be at loggerheads with each other, but I also want there to be some kind of affinity between them." [2]

For two series, Gisborne was the Sheriff's right-hand man, doing his dirty work with increasing distaste. "[When he looks at the Sheriff] I think he sees a poisoned dwarf whom he absolutely despises but simply cannot live without." But that's about to change. "In series 3, the relationship becomes severed and we're pitted against each other. And it's very, very difficult for Guy to function without that man. I don't know if that's reciprocated. That's the only way I can describe it: he absolutely despises him but cannot live without him."[2]


New costumes

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood series 3

A new costume designer was brought in for series 3 and the whole show was redesigned - and that included Gisborne's head-to-toe black leather outfit. "It’s getting dirtied and reshaped so it’s not quite so 80's rock singer looking," Richard explained. [3] "It's not quite so much leather, but there's a bit more weight to the costume, so it's proved to be as hot as the last couple of years." [2] (right)

And what of the old costume? "At this moment Keith Allen, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is trying to buy my costume. And we're in a little bit of a bidding war as to who's going to get my costume. He wants Gisborne's costume so that he can sell it. But I think I'll try and get it just for myself as a bit of nostalgia. It's weird, because you know, I spent two years putting that costume on: it's part of my process and it helps me become the character. I'd find it very strange to think that it could be in someone else's hands. I think it would be very weird. My blood and sweat is fused into the leather as well!" [2]


The ratings for the third series when it was shown on BBC One in spring 2009 were disappointing, and this, combined with the departure of several cast members at the end of the series, led to the BBC announcing that the show would not be returning.



BBC Robin Hood website, which includes interviews with the cast.
Tiger Aspect, the production company for Robin Hood.
BBC America Robin Hood website for series 3
BBC France Robin des Bois website (includes a French translation of an interview with Richard Armitage)
Interview with Richard Armitage in the BBC Press Pack for Robin Hood series 3


[1] BBC Press release, 7th August 2008
[2] Entertainment Weekly, 1st August 2008
[3] Red Eye 'Show Patrol' blog, 23rd May 2008

For information about the first series, see the Robin Hood Series 1 section.

For information about the second series, see the Robin Hood Series 2 section.


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