Even as they forged their own path, though, Armstrong found the legend difficult to live up to at first. “I had a picture in my head of what Robin Hood looked like: six foot two, muscular, all these images came to my head,” explains Armstrong. “I felt a bit underconfident, because people have an idea of what Robin Hood should look like, or I had anyway. I think I was very self-conscious about that.”
“At the table read, in the Sheriff’s Great Hall – with all the executives from the BBC and BBC Worldwide, there were over 100 people – I convinced myself I was gonna get replaced. I was that nervous! But once the cameras started rolling, and I was surrounded by my fellow cast members, and especially the stunt team as well, I felt safe.
“After the first episode some critics were quite cruel, saying physically, I didn’t look like how Robin Hood ‘should’ look like. But that’s their opinion, so excuse my language but f**k them,” says Armstrong, explaining how “in the break between series, I worked with a trainer and put on about a stone and a half of muscle. I came back looking physically different, and I felt more at ease with myself.”
Really enjoyed writing this one – it’s a similar style of article to the Primeval piece that published recently, and between them (and the as-yet-unannounced one I’m working on still) I’m really getting into this sort of production history, behind the scenes look, oral history type thing.
Obviously I’m fascinated by television and how it’s made anyway, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this, but it’s a huge amount of fun to get to interview people about their experiences on shows I used to really love. Big fan of Robin Hood, back in the day.
Credit also to A Different Kind of Hood, the fansite dedicated to this show – really stunning resource if you’re interested in learning more about the show, I used it to check a lot of different details while I was doing my research for this piece (and found the HD version of the picture above there too).