LONG JOHN SILVER SCARLET PIMPERNEL THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO ROBIN HOOD SIR LANCELOT
THE BUCCANEERS SWORD of FREEDOM IVANHOE WILLIAM TELL RICHARD THE LIONHEART SIR FRANCIS DRAKE ROBINSON CRUSOE
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See also the missing series: Gay Cavalier (1957), The Highwayman (1958), Dick Turpin (1959).

. . . . . DINOSAUR TV FILMED HISTORICAL SERIES
My favourite of these series must be The Adventures of Robin Hood. This series from Sapphire Films, and eventually distributed by ITC set the standard which other imitations vainly tried to emulate. Next best ITC series was surely The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, with William Russell bidding fair to outshine even the one and only Richard Greene. William Tell was a later addition to the genre, and I'd rate this nearly a success. The Buccaneers, changing horses in mid stream, never quite grabbed me, even though Robert Shaw made a swashbuckling hero. Sword of Freedom and the Count of Monte Cristo were, for me, the weakest, of these ITC series. The last of the line, as it were, Sir Francis Drake, had spirit, as well as a better budget, but exuded little charisma from its star who was always a trifle wooden.
Of the others, Roger Moore made a fine contribution with his Ivanhoe, and Richard the Lionheart was enjoyable, and perhaps the most historically authentic, if that matters.
Though not made in Britain, I have included Long John Silver in this section, because, well, because how can Robert Newton be forgotten?
So why did the genre die, in effect, after Sir Francis Drake? No filmed historical drama series were made after this one for a while, perhaps it was because the settings required bigger budgets than producers could afford. Or perhaps this was combined with the fact that the accent was now on hour long filmed series, and it was felt that the target audience of mainly children wouldn't concentrate for so long. Or was it simply because the formula was past its sell-by date? Surely not. Couldn't we have enjoyed The Vikings, or William The Conqueror, or The Canterbury Tales, or Bonnie Prince Charlie?

Picture Question- identify this series
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THE ADVENTURES of ROBIN HOOD starring Richard Greene
On December 10th 1958 at the High Pine Club, Mr and Mrs Fisher of Sapphire Films and Richard Greene threw a farewell buffet plus an orchestra "for dancing." Among those attending were Sidney Cole, producer, his assistant producers Thelma Connell, Basil Appleby and Jud Kinberg; technicians Ken Hodges (lighting), Noel Rowlands (camera), Pip Pearson (sound); directors included Compton Bennett, Gordon Parry, Terry Bishop, Robert Day, Peter Seabourne and Anthony Squire, along with Frank Holland who was assistant director throughout. Lots of the actors attended including both Sheriffs, Alan Wheatley and John Arnatt, plus Marian, alias Patricia Driscoll with husband Duncan Lamont. Also there was Paul Eddington ("given a big chance in the last serial"), Alexander Gauge, Archie Duncan and stunt man Rupert Evans. The report adds it was "a happy occasion." The picture shows Archie Duncan chatting with Hannah Fisher.
The excellent supporting cast contributed to the series' success. Most memorably Alan Wheatley, who said he received hate mail on account of his on screen villainy. Archie Duncan was Little John- however he was replaced in thirteen early stories, because he broke a leg when mastering a bolting horse on location shooting. He received the Queen's Commendation for bravery, since some children had been in the direct path of this horse. Many of these outdoor scenes were filmed at Foxwarren in Surrey.
The series provided a rare phenomenon, success for a British TV series in America, the Eldorado of all British production companies. In early April 1957, the series came a respectable 17th in the US National TV Nielsen Ratings with a score of 34.9, indicating over 11 million homes watched the programme (by comparison Sir Lancelot came only 86th).

Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Series 4

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Robin Hood Series 1
1 The Coming of Robin Hood
2 The Moneylender
3 Dead or Alive
4 Friar Tuck
5 Maid Marian
6 The Inquisitor
7 The Knight Who Came to Dinner
8 The Challenge
9 Queen Eleanor
10 Checkmate
11 A Guest for the Gallows
12 The Ordeal
13 A Husband for Marian
14 The Highlander
15 The Youngest Outlaw
16 The Betrothal
17 The Alchemist
18 The Jongleur
19 The Brothers
20 The Intruders
21 The Sheriff's Boots
22 Errand of Mercy
23 The Vandals
24 Richard the Lionheart
25 Ladies of Sherwood
26 Will Scarlet
27 The Deserted Castle
28 The Miser
29 Trial by Battle
30 Children of the Greenwood
31 The May Queen
32 The Wanderer
33 The Byzantine Treasure
34 Secret Mission
35 Tables Turned
36 The Traitor
37 The Thorkil Ghost
38 The Wager
39 The Prisoner

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Brief reviews
6 The Inquisitor - "The fat brown friar" is kept out of the way in the priory dungeon since the archbishop is coming to Nottingham. Tuck mustn't be allowed to tell of Robin, who however, rescues the Friar from torture by the Inquisitor. Robin poses as said torturer and takes Tuck into the presence of the archbishop to give his "confession"
8 The Challenge - Giles Black is a champion, and "as one gentleman to another," the Sheriff arranges with Sir Richard an archery contest with the outlaws. Of course Robin is victorious and you can bet the Sheriff's really no gent, and shows his hand when Robin and Little John are attacked as they leave Sir Richard's castle, "you blundering idiots." Robin escapes back into the castle, which the Sheriff besieges, to the despair of Sir Richard, a nice comedy role for Ian Hunter. Friar Tuck doesn't mind the long siege, since he's guzzling Sir Richard's provender, and Robin isn't dissatisfied since Marian is with them. A desperate Sir Richard finds a way for their escape, to the Sheriff's dismay, "that fiend Robin Hood, shall I ever get my hands on him?"
16 The Betrothal - Old Sir Richard has lost, inevitably, in a tourney, but can't raise the cash payment to Sir Miles. To impress Gladys (Jennifer Jayne) and her dad Sir Hugh, to persuade him to marry Richard's effeminate son Claude, Robin & Co pass themselves as nobles, but the scheme backfires when Sir Hugh selects Robin as his future son-in-law. A swordfight sorts out the honours
19 The Brothers - the old identical brothers motif. The serf Guy is in hiding from you know who, Tuck and Robin find a safe place for him at Whitby Abbey. So the nasty sheriff arrests his brother David. But a simple switch of the two in the dungeon, gives the bemused sheriff a wonderful line. His new prisoner, Guy, claims exemption under church law as he's become a monk, and so the poor sheriff is thwarted once more
22 Errand of Mercy - Many of the poor people are down with St Anthony's Fire, so Robin creeps into Nottingham with some herbs for Anselm the Apothecary (Hal Osmond). The sherrif gets wind of Robin's mission and surrounds the area- "what a pleasure it'll be to hang him!" However Robin eludes capture when the sherrif's soldiers, "cowardly dogs," refuse to go near the plague victims. But with Robin injured, it looks like curtains. Indeed, out of the gates he is carried, in the Death Cart.... but then a miraculous recovery!
26 Will Scarlet - The "louts" of Sherwood clash with Will of Winchester (Ronald Howard), whom the Sheriff is after, once he has been discovered under the bed of Olivia, the Sheriff's niece. After the usual treachery from you know who, Will decides to join the band
27 The Deserted Castle - "This is serious, Robin"- is John planning an alliance twixt himself and France? The Queen Mother orders Robin to scupper it. French emissaries are rerouted to an empty castle where Robin poses as the sheriff, insulting his foreign guests who nevertheless agree to his outrageous terms. The real sheriff besieges the castle, but the queen saves the day
28 The Miser- a pleasant fairy tale of Sir William who, facing extra taxes from the Sherrif, demands his peasants pay up. The money is delivered to Nottingham- "I am not amused," declares the sheriff, when he finds only buttons. For Robin has intercepted the payment and redistributed it to the poor peasants. Sir William is persuaded that buttons can be magicked into silver and collects every button he can find in his castle, a nice ruse by Robin to relieve Sir William of his ill gotten fortune
29 Trial by Battle- Sir Gyles has posed as Robin to try and rob the King's Commissioner. Robin saves the day and Marian shadows the loyal servant of King Richard to Nottingham Castle, where he is murdered. Marian has been framed by Sir Gyles and even the bad Sheriff can't really believe her guilty- but the evidence is against her. She elects trial by battle, and her champion is... you can guess!
30 Children of the Greenwood- Young Oswald and Alice are taken in hand by nasty Sir Giles, when Arthur their dad, falsely accused of murder, has to become an outlaw. But they escape and are reunited with dad. However they can't stay with the outlaws. Oswald performs "an exploit" to impress Robin, this is to capture Sir Giles himself. Luckily Arthur is found to be innocent so they can return home. Not that much to do with Robin Hood in all this
31 The May Queen- With Sir Richard Donnington killed in the Crusades, his son Gilbert inherits his castle. It all looks rosy, for he is to marry Genevieve. However her ambitious father (John Longden) is eager for power and tries to break Walter with the aid of the Count de Clifford, and of course the Sheriff. On May Day, on the Field of Honour the Count's Champion will do battle with Walter, it will be a very one sided contest, but wait a minute...
32 The Wanderer - local physicians disagree with Joseph the healer over their diagnosis of Sir Walter's ailment, and persuade the sheriff to ban treatment of any families of the outlaws. When Derwent's son is injured, Robin gets Joseph to help the lad, and Robin is nearly caught (again!) by the sheriff. The pair have a sword fight
33 The Byzantine Treasure - Gold and jewels are the latest rich capture for The Outlaws. But they are in for disappointment, for they belong to Queen Eleanor, so Robin takes the booty to the impoverished castle of Sir Richard of the Lea, where the Archbishop will later collect it. Unwisely Sir Richard shows off his temporary riches, and "Norman vultures," in the shape of the sheriff's deputy are hovering
34 Secret Mission - From France, the irascible Peregrinus (Patrick Barr) has come, and seeks out Robin Hood. So does the sheriff who amazingly offers a free pardon if the outlaws will fight Prince John's cause. No way! Peregrinus comes in useful, intercepting a list of supporters of the prince, being sent to him. Then the stranger reveals his identity...
35 Tables Turned - Suzette and Francois are captured in error by Derwent- they are only children, and they enjoy a whale of a time with the outlaws. When Robin returns them, it is he who is captured. Marian informs the outlaws who ride to the rescue, only to discover the children have already got him free
36 The Traitor- The ransom for imprisoned King Richard has been collected and of course stolen. Robin follows the thief who cunningly arrests Robin for stealing it, and Robin is sentenced to the gallows. Though it's a trick to get the outlaws to rescue him, and be captured themselves, a maid saves Robin who is able to take the treasure to its rightful place
37 The Thorkil Ghost- On Hallowe'en, it's up to Robin to lay the ghost that's frightening Harold, and with a friendly hunchback, bloodcurdling screams and a torture chamber this is not your usual Robin Hood jollity. Why even nice Barbara Mullen is playing a villainness!
38 The Wager - Robin bets Friar Tuck that he can get more gold by begging than the friar can by praying. After gambling his Sherwood Green for a beggar's clothing, Robin robs some dishonest beggars. Tuck bamboozles two rogue Norman monks at a shrine. Of course, Robin repays the beggars' loot to a poor widow and narrowly avoids capture. But Tuck is "not ashamed of his efforts"
39 The Prisoner- Prince John is to be crowned king on the morrow, so Robin and Marian gallop to London to rescue Blondel, King Richard's envoy whom John has imprisoned. He has the proof that Richard yet lives. Donald Pleasence steals the show with his portrayal of John, a demented fop
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The Coming of Robin Hood

From the Holy Wars, Robin of Locksley returns to his inheritance, via the back way. He greets Martha the cook, and Old Tom, who confirm the rumours Robin had heard, that a certain Sir Roger de Lisle (Leo McKern) has taken possession of his lands, "I stayed away too long."
"You are an imposter," is Sir Roger's retort, and after a fight, Robin has to run from his own home.
After a night in the open, Robin is awoken by a deer poacher (Alfie Bass), who has been caught and about to be cruelly punished- orders of Prince John. Having rescued him, this Edgar has no choice but to join kindred spirits, outlaws in Sherwood Forest.
But Robin appeals to the new sheriff, a Norman lord, who at first is more concerned about the incident of the deer, "a crude attempt" to justify the theft of Robin's property. However, on inspecting Robin's letter from King Richard himself, he agrees that "restitution" be offered to Robin. Sir Roger is privately told to arrange "an unfortunate fatal accident."
Thus when Robin enters his ancestral home, the trap is set. But our hero is alert, spotting the shadow of an archer, and it is Sir Roger who is felled by the arrow intended for Robin. "You'll hang for this," he is told, for the blame for Sir Roger's death is laid at Robin's door.
That night, in the open again, outlaws feebly try to attack Robin. Edgar however recognises him and Robin joins their band. A spirited opening story, darker than many, neatly introducing the legend that was Robin of the Hood. Perhaps what is slightly baffling and not explained, is why Robin does not return to the Holy Land to help King Richard

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The Moneylender
Robin is teaching the Outlaws fighting skills, when Will returns with a small fortune he has stolen. Robin isn't too pleased as the robbed man, Sir Philip, was a friend, "he treats his people well." That arouses Will's ire and the pair fight. Robin realises that he must earn his keep, so sets off with Edgar to rob a passer by.
First to come along is Herbert of Doncaster (Leo McKern), a moneylender, who charges exorbitant interest rates, in collusion with the sheriff- an ideal victim for Robin's "first" robbery. Robin pretends to befriend the man and learns that he hides most of his cash in his boot. Useful information when Edgar holds them up! "Run along," Robin chides him, "and give my compliments to the sheriff."
To prove his inherent goodness, Robin returns the excess interest to the poor swindled peasants, including Hawkins.
Herbert informs the sheriff, who still demands his cut. Lay a trap for Robin is the sheriff's cunning plan.
Old Tom is ferrying a shipment of wine that is held up by Will. Close by are the sheriff's men in ambush, and an arrow fight ensues, in which Will is wounded, "I'm done for."
Hawkins proves a valuable ally to the fleeing Outlaws, and he gives shelter to Robin and Edgar. But the evil sheriff forces Hawkins to burn his house down. Luckily the Outlaws were safe in a cellar- might have been quite hot down there.
As Will expires, he hands over the reins to Robin. Odd that Robin had a conscience about who he robs, but showed no compunction about killing the sheriff's men

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Dead or Alive

John is a seven foot giant who is a serf working for the Earl of Bedford. His Lordship shows his muscles off to a young lady, John obliges by lifting the earl high up onto a window ledge. "I'll have you flayed alive," snarls His Lordship.
But no guard can prevent the burly John running off, and he is now a wanted man. Avoiding the bloodhounds, he is found next day by a lake by a serving maid from The Blue Boar. She takes him there to give him food. But the sheriff's men happen to be dining there and spot the wanted man. Seeing his size, they offer him the chance of freedom if he will but bring them one of the Outlaws.
The giant encounters Robin Hood himself, and they have a fight with poles, all in good spirit, until Robin falls into the lake and is soaked. John askes Robin to direct him to The Blue Boar and Robin obliges by showing him the way. of course it's a trap, Robin is caught, a thousand guineas is the reward for his capture, and Little John is thanked by being trussed up himself. This is a definite error by the sheriff's men, and Little John, realising that The Outlaws are not the villains they are painted, having broken his ropes easily, saves Robin in a fight that makes a mess of the inn.
Thus John has to become one of Robin's men, though I didn't find the story utilised all the inherent possibilities

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Friar Tuck
This introduction to Tuck is done so much better than that of Little John: the script bristles with fun.
A message for Robin is passed to the Outlaws by Joan at the Blue Boar. The sender is Friar Tuck, apparently "a stalwart fellow with a sword," a talent rarely displayed outside this episode. Fearing a trap, Robin calls on the good Friar in disguise, and after some nice badinage, Tuck helps the stranger on his way, across a stream. He dips Robin in the water.
Identities established, Tuck explains why he wants Robin's aid. He is giving sanctuary to young Mildred, daughter of Brian, who desires to marry Harold. However wicked Lord Germain has another suitor in mind, Sir William (Leslie Phillips). Robin promises to help, in return the Friar will say mass for the Outlaws.
Sir Germain shows up with his protege. Mildred refuses to go away with them, so Sir Germnain decides to summon the sheriff ("we're doomed!"), leaving Sir William to make sure his intended doesn't run off. But Tuck and Robin invite him to dine with them, and explain that Mildred really does love another. After a comic swordfight, Sir William is persuaded. Very smartly, Friar Tuck performs the wedding ceremony and Harold and Mildred are declared man and wife.
The sheriff shows up, but what can he do? While, Sir Germain fumes, Robin creat`es a distraction, to draw the sheriff's attention away from Mildred. "After him you men!" cries the sheriff, but of course it's too late. Robin has gone, and so have the newly marrieds

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Maid Marian
Robin "meets his match" after the outlaws snatch jewels bound as tax payments to Prince John. But he recognises that this treasure belongs to Sir William Fitzwalter, "as good a man that lives." He resolves to return the loot.
Lady Marian Fitzwalter has complained to the sheriff about the robbery. She tells him she will catch Robin Hood herself. She dons brother Albert's outfit and heads for Sherwood, "Robin is going to rue this business."
In the woods, she fires an arrow at Robin. She tells him her name is Peter, he says he is called Will Meadows, Though they were childhood friends, apparently neither recognises the other.
She asks him if he knows Robin. "A pleasant fellow," is the response. She wants to meets him. So he takes Peter to the Outlaws, where he reveals his identity. She however remains as Peter. She asks to join the band, and beats Ned at archery, thus winning acceptance as one of them. She cooks them a meal, then does the washing up.
But when all are sleeping, she slips away. Come the morning, her absence is noticed, and Robin goes off in pursuit. It is not clear how he catches up with her so quickly. He should've suspected a trap.
"I returned your money to you yesterday," he informs her. That convinces her, and they are about to kiss when the trap she has pre-arranged kicks in. The sheriff's men surround them, and Robin is bundled away.
A public holiday is declared to mark the hanging of the notorious outlaw. The sheriff looks smug. He thanks Lady Marian for her assistance. But she has realised her error, and begs to question the prisoner about where her jewels have been hidden. Of course this is but a subterfuge to free the prisoner. "They'll never suspect me." She is right there, for Robin kisses her before tying her up and making his getaway

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The Knight Who Came To Dinner

A paying guest is needed for dinner, and a ravenous Tuck and Little John round on Sir Richard of the Lea (Ian Hunter). Frankly however, he doesn't look that presentable, so he is smartened up to suitably impress Robin.
But Sir Richard really is all but broke, and cannot pay, thus Tuck and John are assigned to the stocks. Sir Richard explains to Robin that he had used to fortune to pay for his son's defence after he had been involved in an accident while jousting. Unless he repays the loan to the abbot who has loaned him extra funds, his lands will be forfeit.
Robin lends him the necessary money. Tuck poses as a squire accompanying him. He gives us a few laughs as he is still famished.
Then they meet up with the abbot who is in league with the sheriff. The debt is paid and the abbot left red faced, having excpected to take over the lands. Tuck tricks him further by getting Robin and Little John to rob the abbot, and thus the loan to Sir Richard is recovered

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Queen Eleanor

The Queen Mother (Jill Esmond) is staying at Fitzwalter Hall, collecting funds for the crusade. The sheriff knows, and plans to relieve her of her offerings.
Obsequiously, he approaches Queen Eleanor, bringing his token of loyalty, "in concrete terms" 500 marks. "My only concern is to get you there safely," he promises.
Friar Tuck brings Robin a message that Marian needs to see Robin "alone after dark." The Outlaws, jealous perhaps, give their leader an impromptu bath, then Robin dons the best clothing he can find, and sets off for his date with the fair Marian. His hopes may be slightly dashed when it becomes clear that he is needed to give the queen his best advice.
Robin suggests sending Sir Giles as a decoy on the Highgate Road, while the queen travels only with her trusted adviser Bruno through Sherwood, where Robin can guarantee safe passage.
However the sheriff gets wind of the plan through Bruno no less. Some of the sheriff's men dressed in Lincoln Green, lie in ambush for the queen. Thankfully Friar Tuck spots them and at Robin's prompting goes to the Blue Boar to report these outlaws to the foresters. Thus the ambushers are ambushed, leaving the way through the forest safe for the queen, after the evil traitor is exposed

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Checkmate
Soldiers of Count de Walden are oddly snatching any peasant they can lay hold of, including fourteen year old Henry. His distraught mum tells Lady Marian, who goes straight to the count to complain. He offers her a bargain- Henry's release in return for a dinner date. Marian asks Robin for help.
Robin discovers that the count has placed a large order for armour. Little John helps deliver same, but the cart is seized by The Outlaws, and they deliver the goods themselves. It seems that the count plans to make his new castle "the safest in England."
Under Friar Tuck's watchful eye, Lady Marian dines with the count. This is an ideal part for Leslie Phillips. Once the Friar takes his leave, the count makes his advances, but she turns it into a lesson on chess. While he teaches her, Robin's man overcome the count's men. "I heard a cry," queries the count. But he is distracted by Lady Marian.
Tuck has located the castle keys, and frees the prisoners in the dungeon. Meanwhile the count has found himself in checkmate- in the game of chess. He reveals to Lady Marian that his prisoners are to be used in a plot to appear to attack the garrison of King Richard. "I have three thousand suits of armour," he boasts to her.
But his dubious plan is cut short, and so are his designs on Lady Marian. Robin saves her from a kiss, or worse. He clashes swords with the count, an easy win, before escorting Marian home

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A Guest for the Gallows
The Sheriff is "a little tired" of the excuses offered to his tax collectors, and decides to make an example of one defaulter, Will Stutely. "He will hang!"
Little John is rightly angry, "I'll strangle every Norman," he declares. But Robin opts for a more subtle approach, purchasing a horse and cart from a bemused butcher (Denis Shaw) amid some jovial banter. Dressed as a butcher, Robin reaches Nottingham, as a fanfare declares Will's hanging will soon be taking place.
In the marketplace, Robin offers cut price beef, but the other traders object to his bargain prices, and Friar Tuck stirs them up into a riot. Robin is taken before the sheriff, who doesn't recognise him thankfully.
Robin admits he is no butcher, but tricks the greedy sheriff into a deal, Robin will 'sell' him a hundred head of catttle for a mere twenty pounds. He takes the sheriff to see these mythical animals. Their route lies through Sherwood.
Though the sheriff boasts he has the outlaws under control, after a one sided swordfight, he is taken prisoner. The penny drops, the sheriff realises too late who is his captor. Blindfold, the sheriff is led to the outlaws hq, and offered the bargain: a hanging for a hanging! Alternatively, freedom for both prisoners. An exchange is arranged, with the sheriff signing a document to effect Will's release: we see this, and it is nicely signed by "A Wheatley." Will's hanging is postposned at the very last minute.
The exchange takes place outside the city gates. Of course, the sheriff's men are made of treachery, "this is the way you keep your word," Robin berates the sheriff. A standoff is avoided by a funeral procession, headed by Friar Tuck

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The Highlander
Duncan is a very canny Scot, overconfident. He carries a keg of wine for which Robin had laid ambush. In return for the cask, he asks for dinner.
The outlaws prepare a feast for him, and he is introduced to Lady Marian. She flirts with him, to Robin's irritation. A round of sports livens up their appetites, Robin and Duncan engage in a swordfight. With a spot of trickery, Duncan comes out on top.
After a very pleasant meal, Robin inquiries Duncan's business in England. Duncan is seeking supporters to help him in his political fight. Robin declines naturally.
Early next morn, Duncan rises to go boar hunting with Lady Marian. Robin discovers them enjoying a happy breakfast together. The playful Duncan laads Robin into a trap that he has prepared for him. While the outlaws rush to his rescue, Duncan helps himself from Robin's store of treasure. But Robin returns in time for another swordfight, a different victor emerging on this occasion.
Duncan has been caught thieving, and is sentenced to be hanged. His dying speech reveals the real reason for his visit. So all is forgiven apparently, and Robin sees him safe on the road north, parting the best of friends.
If you liked the character of Duncan, this is a fair enough story, but I found him irritating, and the storyline not up to the usual standard

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The Youngest Outlaw

Marian's dog is rescued from a bog by a young lad (Peter Asher). Then Robin does have to rescue them both. The lad says he wants to be an outlaw! He says he has run away from his cruel guardian.
He stays with the outlaws, Little John teaching him to chop wood. Arthur is also about to be given a much needed wash, until Little John learns who the lad is.
At the Blue Boar, Robin meets Lord Torrance, who claims that the boy is a political prisoner of Count de Walden. But he is actually Arthur, Duke of Brittany and heir apparent to the English throne.
Friar Tuck learns that his mother is Duchess Constance. Robin takes Arthur to the inn, to be taken away by Torrance, and safety abroad. A lady is with him and Robin is tricked into thinking this is the duchess.
Marian has found the real duchess, so Robin has to chase after the imposter, and he comes upon Arthur who is trying to elude Torrance's clutches. In a swordfight, Robin teaches Torrance a lesson, but then Torrance indulges in some trickery. It's a good job Arthur spots this, and he fires an arrow, using the skills he has learned as the youngest outlaw. "You saved my life"

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The Alchemist
Hold up in the forest. A man runs off carrying a bag, and only eludes Rolf by dropping his bag. Rolf takes this to the outlaws, but he retains one gold plate, which he later gives to his poor dear mother Ethel.
She breaks the plate up and has it taken in stages to a goldsmith. But villagers wonder where this gold has come from. Is she a witch? It is reported to the sheriff, who sees in her a way to trap Robin Hood. Playing on the villagers' superstition, Ethel is arrested.
Friar Tuck attempts to calm the villagers, but it is too late. Ethel is on trial before The Earl and the sheriff. She is found guilty and sentenced. The sheriff waits for Robin to come to her rescue.
A nun calls on Ethel, obviously a suspicious person! However when the sheriff's men stop her, she proves to be merely The Earl's wife, desirous of learning the witch's secrets.
Ethel is tied to the stake. A black cat starts Robin's scheme. A plague of toads scare off the guards, then the coup, some burning kites in the air complete the illusion of witchcraft. "Run for your life!"
Rolf rescues his mum. Robin explains to the villagers all the tricks he has employed. Ethel is no longer a women they fear

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Series 2

40 A Village Wooing
41 The Scientist
42 Blackmail
43 A Year and a Day
44 The Goldmaker
45 The Imposters
46 Ransom
47 Isabella
48 The Hero
49 The Haunted Mill
50 Outlaw Money
51 The Black Patch
52 The Friar's Pilgrimage
53 The Trap
54 Hubert
55 The Dream
56 The Blackbird
57 The Shell Game
58 The Final Tax
59 Ambush
60 The Secret Pool
61 The Bandit of Brittany
62 The Goldmaker's Return
63 Flight from France
64 The Path of True Love
65 Fair Play
66 The Dowry
67 The York Treasure
68 The Borrowed Baby
69 The Black Five
70 Food for Thought
71 Too Many Earls
72 Highland Fling
73 The Mystery of Ireland's Eye
74 The Little People
75 The Infidel
76 The Frightened Tailor
77 The Road in the Air
78 Carlotta

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40 A Village Wooing- Outlaw Wat Longfellow (Leslie Phillips, not at his best) is mooning over Widow Winifred, but has a rival in a swindling bailiff named Baldwin (acually DP who was King John in the last tale!). With Robin & co's help Wat triumphs, though this story promises more than it gives
41 The Scientist- Albertus (Miles Malleson) is a scientist needed by Prnce John to construct the deadly weapon he has invented, to finish off King Richard's ship. Friar Tuck takes the old man to Robin, who in turn escorts him to his friend Roger. The latter however is in league with The Sheriff! So, disguised as John's soldiers, Robin and his men rescue the scientist, who is wounded escaping, and sadly dies, his secret invention dying with him
42 Blackmail- Robin intercepts wine bound for the sheriff, but a blackguard named Lucus discovers Lady Marian and Sir Richard are in league with Robin. The only way is to discredit Lucus, which Robin does so by posing as the sheriff and convincing Lucus that the sheriff is in league with Robin!
43 A Year and a Day - Barber Tom (Shaun O'Riordan) is operating on Little John. He tells Robin he could get his freedom from serfdom on the morrow, though the sheriff is trying to prevent this. Robin poses as Tom, comically leading the exhausted sheriff a merry dance. Since Tom is hidden in the sheriff's own chambers, it has to be a case of Let Justice Be Done
44 The Goldmaker - That "complete and hopeless idiot" Sir Richard is living vastly beyond his means, and all because he thinks this Lepidus (Alfie Bass) can turn pewter into gold. Of course this man's a charlatan, but the greedy sheriff is persuaded to have the secret, in exchange for outlaw Will
45 The Imposters- nicely barbed banter between Robin and Marian, who is a mite jealous of Lady Pomfret, who has employed a man to impersonate her husband in order to prevent her lands being seized. Robin offers to act as her temporary husband since the first imposter has run off scared. The sheriff goes to Pomfret Castle to expose the two imposters, but luckily the real Baron Pomfret has now returned from the Crusade
46 Ransom - 500 crowns demanded from starving vassals to pay for the return of his lordship's son who had kissed a girl betrothed to Sir Guy. When Guy comes to collect his money, a kiss for barmaid Joan enables Robin to demand 500 crowns from Sir Guy. When the sheriff muscles in, as Robin returns the money to the peasants in church, Friar Tuck foils the plot, "we had him at our mercy"
47 Isabella - Princess Avice (Helen Cherry). wife of Prince John, requests Robin come to the Tower of London. For John has "a special arrangement with heaven" to allow him to marry a French princess (Zena Walker). Robin is asked to warn off this "unsuspecting child," though what he actually finds is a "she-wolf" who brings John a fine wedding gift, Robin himself "to be burned at the stake." Avice gets him out of jail and the wedding is stopped single handedly by our hero
48 The Hero - A tax collector is so hated he is killed. Mark a peasant (Bill Owen) witnesses the fell deed and is accused of the crime. He flees to the Outlaws, but becomes so boastful of his deed and such a liability, even robbing Mother Agnes, that Robin has to expose his false heroism, as well as exposing the real murderer
50 Outlaw Money - Master Henry (Sid James) silversmith by royal warrant comes in useful when the outlaws capture a minter's anvil, and lo! Tuck is arrested for distributing such coins. However tables are turned on the outwitted sheriff
51 The Black Patch - this is Prince John's "playmate" whom Marian has to "entertain." She is "the soul of discretion" over all Sir Dunstan's gold, though soon learns that this is mere bait to capture no less than Robin Hood. Marian saves him at cost of suspicion falling on herself. So now "romantic fool" Robin has to rescue her by giving himself up. Marian plays her own trump- she appeals to no less than the Sheriff, whose pride demands that he is the one to capture the outlaw. Thus the Sheriff himself rescues Robin, who conveniently slips away
52 The Friar's Pilgrimage - Robin joins Tuck on his trip to Canterbury. In a Kentish village they witness Edward, consigned to a pillory by the Normans for being engaged to a witch called Alice. Robin saves them, at the cost of being locked up by nasty Count Duprez (Paul Eddington), who is out to discredit Lady Margaret (Greta Gynt), so he can inherit her lands. In turn, Alice rescues Robin, while Tuck offers himself for the pillory. But it is Robin who puts Duprez where he deserves- in the pillory
53 The Trap - "quite simple" is the sheriff's latest scheme to capture Robin Hood, all the idea of Simon (Alfred Burke) who joins The Outlaws and attempts to get Robin discredited. If The Outlaws hand him over, they'll win a free pardon, "I don't believe it!" Little John drags a bound Robin to the sheriff, and someone gets a lesson. To give the sheriff credit, he does generously admit he has some admiration for Robin
54 Hubert - Robin is Sir Hubert's "last hope," if he is to marry Lady Rowena, for her dim dad (William Mervyn) has promised her to de Vere. Robin rescues Hubert from de Vere's dungeon, as well as grabbing the dowry
55 The Dream - Marian's cousin Sir William Fitzwalter (Patrick Troughton) is to take Robin to Queen Eleanor, but Marian's nightmare warns of Robin dying of thirst, thanks to her cousin's treachery. It comes true, "it's London and the gallows" for Robin. But her dream causes Little John and the Outlaws to come to the rescue
56 The Blackbird - After an unlikely argument over a blackbird. Little John storms off, straight into the sheriff's clutches. But where's the hangman prepared to hang him? We can all guess who this masked man is, though neither the sheriff, nor Tuck or Marian can, until Little John steps onto the gallows, the sheriff beaming, though next moment he's snarling, "after them you cowards!"
57 The Shell Game - Robin has to prevent the queen's jewels from falling into bad King John's clutches. So he enlists the help of Pick (Sam Kydd) to break into Hastings House to protect them, but is Pick entirely trustworthy himself?
64 The Path of True Love - Lionel Jeffries playing a baddie! It seems improbable, but he's Sir Charles, usurper of Robin's family home Locksley. He plays it as a dithering incompetent. But underneath he's sly, turfing the tenants off 'his' land. Yet, if they could clean Locksley by Lady Day, in law they'll be entitled to keep their tenancies in perpetuity. Robin helps them get into his old castle to give it a spring clean whilst Lady Marian distracts Sir Charles. No Merry Men in this tale.. had the Sherriff finally captured them?
72 The Mystery of Ireland's Eye - Robin and Tuck have a week off from Sherwood as they help Marian find her uncle who's gone missing on an Irish isle terrorised by Rolf (as this is Ireland. this must be Eddie Byrne)
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The Haunted Mill
After a dull song, Hey Nonny, which Tuck incredibly describes as "cheerful," outlaw conversation turns to food, specifically wild strawberry cake. Friar Tuck finds this so mouthwatering he simply must taste same. So Robin and Tuck set off to see Tom the Miller, but as they approach his mill, they hear weird wailing noises.
Poor Tom the miller (James Hayter) is scared out of his wits. His cats have been poisoned, "rats" are swarming his mill, it's The Little People. Sir William had told him this, and most kindly offered to buy his mill for twenty crowns, but now the river has dried up, the price is down to ten.
Tuck inspects the bill of sale that Sir William has eagerly brought for Tom to sign, and neatly suggests to Sir William that it is he who is being swindled. Replies Sir William, "I want to be swindled!"
"I won't be swindled," Tom moans, and Tuck and the Outlaws set the mill wheel a-turning again by hand.
Tuck enjoys the lovely sight of the strawberry cake, but is unable to taste thereof, as he has to go and see the abbot about the diversion of the stream, and get it put back on its original course. Worse for Sir William, the diverted stream has flooded an angry neighbour's land.
Here's a chance for the sheriff to seize them, "it'll be a pleasure." As it happens, it turns out more like ignominy. For the sheriff is ambushed as he surrounds the mill, and all ends happly, except that poor Tuck learns that Tom had used his strawberry cake to repel the sheriff. However good news, one is left...

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The Secret Pool
George Benson plays Sir Cedric with his customary panache and humour.
Robin and Marian are a-fishin' some of Sir Cedric's best fish. On the opposite side of the lake, they watch as Henry is caught poaching. Penalty will be the loss of his right hand.
Marian attempts to persuade Sir Cedric to be merciful, but Henry has already been sent into the custody of The Sheriff.
Robin kindly teaches failed angler Sir Cedric how to fish properly, thus he promptly catches "a big 'un." Robin promises to show him where the fattest carp can be caught, but as it's a secret location, he has to blindfold Sir Cedric to escort him there. A long trek leads him, if he did but know it, to another part of his own pool. Robin wants a tit for tat: Henry's pardon. The capture of a giant fish persuades Sir Cedric. He even pays for the privilege.
He goes to The Sheriff saying he is not going to prosecute Henry. The Sheriff is suspicious, and though a surprised Henry is indeed granted his freedom, The Sheriff follows Sir Cedric, "I have an idea that he'll lead us to Robin Hood." He is correct. After Sir Cedric lands one whopper, Robin is alerted to his danger. He leads Sir Cedric away and it is poor Cedric who is pursued like an outlaw.
Thus The Sheriff catches only Sir Cedric, "you old idiot"

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Fair Play
On their way from Bavaria to Nottingham, The Flying Four pass through Sherwood Forest. Robin is in France, but while he's away, the Outlaws break with his orders, and resolve to go to Nottingham, partly to see their families, and partly to enjoy the old fun of the fair.
The Flying Four teach them the rudiments of their art, acrobats, Tom (Paul Eddington) making an effort, but is hardly a master as yet.
Dressed as acrobats, they enjoy the fair. Fortune teller Madame Zsa Zsa is told of the identity of these new acrobats, and sneaks to the Sheriff. Tom sees his son again, Harry gives Alison a lovely kiss, but happiness is short lived, when the Sheriff pounces, "guards, seize those men."
Thus when Robin returns, he finds a depleted gang. His first task is to plan the rescue of the three imprisoned Outlaws and the leader of The Flying Four. He utilises the skills of the real acrobats to climb over the castle wall. He is soon in the dungeon, and very simply rescues his friends. They are spotted, resulting in a shower of arrows at the Sheriff's men, but escape is almost too easy.
Before they depart, the acrobats entertain Robin's men with a final display

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The Dowry

A fat moneybag and "a beautiful girl," Bess, with her father (William Mervyn) are passing through Sherwood. They are on the way to meet Sir Harold to bring him a handsome dowry... and Bess. But the Outlaws have other ideas and surround the group. Dad gallops off with the dowry, promising to get help, leaving behind his daughter who has sprained her ankle.
"What are we going to do with her?" What she doesn't appreciate is that Sir Harold has already had two wives, and is only marrying her for her money. To teach her this, Robin demands a ransom for Bess.
Robin and Little John smarten up Garth, who has been smitten himself by her. He serenades her, or rather mimes to her. Then he impresses her with his archery, though this time it is Robin's skills that he utilises.
Sir Harold complains to the Sheriff, who devises a cunning plan.
Payment of the ransom. Sir Harold shows up, minus any cash. He arranges to meet Robin that night to hand over the ransom. We all know this is a trick, and she soon perceives Harold's true character, "you gave your oath."
Robin has walked into the trap, the Sheriff watches on in anticipation. The scheme is thwarted when the Outlaws show up.
Bess decides to stay with Garth, and that dowry money comes in mighty useful

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The York Treasure

Joseph and Esther are wandering the studio forest in search of "a friend," Robin that is. They need his assistance in transporting 1,000 crowns, which is payment for a shipment of Jewish refugees to come into the country. One snag is that bankrupt adventurer Malbete wants to appropriate this money, so Robin is wanted as a bodyguard on the journey to Grimsby.
Malbete has enlisted the aid of the Sheriff's men, he sounds like an early edition of Nigel Farage, "England for the English," and is well played by Allan Cuthbertson at his bossy, superior best.
The treasure is transported to Lincoln, where they pause, before proceeding on to Ye Raven, where they are given a message to make for St Catherine's Cove. Malbete is watching for the ship also, and on the beach there is a full scale swordfight before the refugees are welcomed into England

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The Borrowed Baby

The Count of Severne is fed up with the Sheriff's feeble efforts to round up Robin Hood. You can hardly blame him. He even suggests that Lady Marian is in league with The Outlaws. "Ridiculous," scoffs the Sheriff.
The Count proposes this scheme to leave a baby in Sherwood, he wagers 100 crowns with the Sheriff that eventually the child will end up in Marian's hands.
Giles is the Sheriff's man at arms, and is required to lend his newly born daughter Molly in the cause. Despite protests from wife Kate, the baby is taken to Sherwood Forest. Little John is soon cuddling the boy, that's what the Outlaws think she is. They all take to him, feed him, bathe him, why Little John even constructs a cradle! However their regular tasks are rather neglected.
After it is perceived that the child is a girl, Marian is called for. She takes the girl away.
Now Friar Tuck happens to have heard of Kate's loss of her baby, and he warns Robin. Just in time they catch up with Lady Marian, who has been stopped by two of the Sheriff's cronies. She is arrested, since she refuses to show the contents of a basket she is carrying. They pause at the Blue Boar, giving Robin time to surreptitiously remove the baby, so that when Marian is ushered into the Sheriff's presence, there is no sign of a baby, only a kitten! "You stupid idiot!"
Marian receives an apology, and the Sheriff wins his wager. An ecstatic Kate tells the Sheriff that her baby had simply "turned up" on her doorstep. Marian claims part of the Sheriff's winnings, and this she hands to Kate

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The Black Five
A typically fine storyline featuring the evil Duke de Moreville (Patrick Cargill) "The Hangman of Leicester" who has designs on taking over Nottingham too. He has ensconced himself in Rookwood Castle and has sent a coded message to Prince John. Robin has intercepted this, and makes an exact copy of this missive and sends it to the Sheriff. The mysterious note refers to the Black Five, which the duke promises to give John in return for the Sheriff of Nottingham's job.
"This is fantastic," cries the sheriff, and thus we reach the unlikely scene where he meets up with Robin himself. He tells Robin that the Five are "the greatest treasure in Christendom," Saladin's pearls. The two men agree to share the spoils. The Sheriff will guard the roads out of Nottingham, Robin the forest roads. Thus they will intercept the pearls which the duke is sending to John.
Sheriff: "I can rely on you?"
Robin: "As much as I can rely on you!"
Robin gets wind of the duke's real scheme. Some pigeons from Prince John are to fly the pearls! Robin grabs these and substitutes some belonging to Lady Marian. Thus when the duke sends the pigeons off, Fitzwalter Hall is their destination. In they fly, carrying the five pearls.
But the evil duke has seen that they flew in the wrong direction and arrives at Lady Marian's for a swordfight. The duke snatches back his pearls, and almost kills the sheriff to complete his scheme. But Robin finishes the duke off, and the unlikely fact is that Robin has saved the sheriff's life. Of course, Robin gets hold of the pearls, which he dutifully sends off to the coffers of King Richard

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Series 3

79 The Salt King
80 A Tuck in Time
81 Pepper
82 The Charter
83 A Change of Heart
84 Brother Battle
85 My Brother's Keeper
86 An Apple for the Archer
87 The Angry Village
88 The Mark
89 The Bride of Robin Hood
90 To Be a Student
91 The Christmas Goose
92 The Challenge of the Black Knight
93 The Rivals
94 The Profiteer
95 Knight Errant
96 The Healing Hand
97 One Man's Meat
98 Too Many Robins
99 The Crusaders
100 Castle in the Air
101 The Double
102 Roman Gold
103 The Ghost That Failed
104 At The Sign Of The Blue Boar
105 Quickness of the Hand
106 Elixir of Youth
107 The Genius
108 The Youthful Menace
109 The Minstrel
110 The Doctor
111 The Lottery
112 The Fire
113 Lincoln Green
114 Women's War
115 Little Mother
116 Marian's Prize
117 Farewell to Tuck

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79 The Salt King - Bad Lord Guthrie is upping the price of salt with connivance from the sheriff. Robin buys fresh supplies from the seaside which Tuck then gives away in Nottingham. However the sheriff impounds Tuck's supply which Robin has to nick back. Dressed as a Salt Diviner, he incredibly finds salt on Lady Marian's land- actually not so surprising as he'd put there in the first place
81 Pepper - Rescuing an impressionable princess blinded by love for King John, Robin comes face to face with John inside The Tower of London
82 The Charter - "Incredible," but King Henry I's lost charter curbing the power of tyrant kings is wanted by the Sheriff - to destroy, of course! Robin plucks it from right under the Sheriff's nose
91 The Christmas Goose - Sir Leon (Jack Watling) presides at the trial of a boy's goose. Improbable, but a nice story with the prosecuting baliff (Paul Eddington) pitted against Friar Tuck. When the goose is sentenced to execution, it's up to Robin to rescue it. In a neat plan, he gets at Sir Leon's Achilles heel, his only daughter (Jane Asher), and it's a happy Christmas Day ending, exit laughing....
103 The Ghost That Failed - A ghost with "moaning and the sound of iron chains" is frightening peasants, But Little J and F Tuck "keep a calm mind" and prove it's only Rupert Davies. Little J dresses as a ghost to teach him a lesson but rain rather spoils the illusion

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The Doctor
Little John is attacked by two soldiers, and though he gets away from them, he slips down a hill. When he fails to return, the Outlaws search for him. They find Little John with a broken leg. He is carried back to camp.
Sir George Woodley has an eminent surgeon staying with him, Benvolio, so Little John is taken to him. "Extremely serious," is the obvious diagnosis. But the doctor will save him.
Howard informs the sheriff, and the doctor is arrested along with Little John. The doctor insists that he still be allowed to treat his patient, but the sheriff refuses. After branding the sheriff "a scoundrel," no wonder the doctor is thrown into jail.
At the subsequent trial, Robin causes a diversion starting a fire, enabling Friar Tuck to spirit the doctor away. Robin gets away only after a swordfight with the sheriff, who is wounded.
Little John still needs to be rescued. The sheriff needs medical attention himself, and a messenger brings his plea to Robin to send the doctor to him. Robin refuses, but the doctor is more honourable and reminds Robin of his noble duty. Thus the doctor goes to Nottingham, and tells the sheriff he will only treat him, if he is allowed to treat Little John first. That request meets with a refusal, so the doctor hardens his own heart.
The sheriff is sweating, in a fever, and has to accede. Little John is treated and sent back to Sherwood, before the sheriff is saved. An obvious plot, but quite enjoyable
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The Lottery
Will Sharpe (Alfred Burke) has started a lottery which he holds in public, winner is... Number 15. Friar Tuck is watching proceedings and is suspicious when he notices the winner later join up with Will. The friar demands the losers are recompensed, but is brushed aside since Will is off to make big money in Nottingham.
Once again, the winning number 15 is drawn. But this time the sheriff's men pounce, dragging Will into the sheriff's presence. "I'll help you run it," declares the sheriff, knowing the whole operation is a swindle. He might as well have told Will that he'd be annexing most or all the profits. Instead he tells Will, "I want this lottery to be a great success."
Friar Tuck has informed Robin, who suggests that Marian attends the lottery draw, while he will arrange for a replacement barrel with new lottery tokens to be made.
Realsing he is not going to do well out of all this, Will grabs 100 marks of the takings and does a bunk. But he is captured, "lock 'em up."
Robin smuggles his barrel into the sheriff's castle, and also kindly releases Will.
Lady Marian makes the draw, Friar Tuck a witness. The sheriff looks on in expectation. The token she draws is a blank. Blank faces. She draws another.... also blank. In fact all the tokens are blank. "A deliberate attempt to humiliate you," Tuck quickly suggests to the sheriff.
Despite this embarrassment, the sheriff is forced to announce to the good people that this lottery is null and void, and, he concedes, all money will be returned
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Lincoln Green
Master draper Simon Shanks brings his Lincoln Green cloth to The Outlaws, saying he has split with his former partner David, offering Robin his wares at half price. But a tip off from Lady Marian alerts Robin to the doubtful quality of some of this cloth, and there is no sale.
Simon goes straight to the sheriff, and tips him off that Robin is about to go to David's shop in Lincoln to buy more Lincoln Green, which is supplied exclusively to The Outlaws.
So the sheriff's men search David's shop, but only find a set of weavers, Robin and Little John in disguise, the latter finding the job "not as easy as it looks."
However they are finally rumbled, and taken as prisoners to Lincoln Tower, the sheriff gloating. Simon is granted possession of David's shop, since David is now in disgrace.
"This time you'll hang," the sheriff promises Robin. But inspired by the story of David and Goliath, Lady Marian gets David to sling a roll of twine up into the tower where Robin is imprisoned. With the aid of the string, scissors are passed up, to release their bonds, then a roll of strong Lincoln Green cloth, by which our heroes can climb down to freedom.
What happens to Simon we never discover, but it seems David has now become an outlaw

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Little Mother

Two of the Duke of Retford's men-at-arms attack a defenceless old woman, the appalling scene sitnessed by Friar Tuck and Lady Marian.
The victim is none other than Little John's mother, and he wants to go and help her, but is it a trap? "The oaf" annoyed the duke, insulting him, making him look "foolish," and for this misdeed he had been declared an outlaw (see #1.3).
The duke visits the old lady, and promises to take care of her and grant amnesty to her son. This is a palpable trick. Mum sends word to Little John that it is safe to visit her, and he does so, against advice from Tuck.
In her little hut, mum welcoems her wandering son, but also tells him off for opposing the duke. But soon she perceives the treachery of the duke when a posse of his villains seize John. Luckily Robin and his outlaws have also surrounded the hut, where inside the duke sentences Little John to be flogged and the hut confiscated. After that he'll be hung.
A short siege is ended when Little John does a Samson, and pulls down the hut. All the duke's men scurry away, and Lady Marian kindly provides Little John's mother with a new cottage

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Series 4
118
Goodbye Little John
119 The Oath
120 A Race Against Time
121 The Edge and the Point
122 The Champion
123 The Debt
124 The Parting Guest
125 The Bagpiper
126 The Pharoah Stones
127 A Touch of Fever
128 Six Strings to his Bow
129 The Devil You Don't Know
130 The Lady-Killer
131 A Bushel of Apples
132 Tuck's Love Day
133 The Loaf
134 Sybella
135 The Flying Sorcerer
136 Bride for an Outlaw
137 Double Trouble
138 The Truce
139 The Charm Pedlar
140 The Reluctant Rebel
141 Hostage for a Hangman
142 Hue and Cry
143 Trapped
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Goodbye Little John
This story belongs with the final group since the Deputy Sheriff is now in charge, if you see what I mean.

Little John is "glum," as "they don't want me here any more." Will Scarlett, he feels, has usurped his rightful position. The pair scrap, and Little John stomps off in a huff. He picks on a stranger, who in turn, tells the Deputy all about Little John's spat. The deputy is pleased that the Outlaws have broken ranks.
To the Blue Boar Inn, where Little John is "partial" to Joan, the Deputy sends a letter, which Friar Tuck reads out to Little John- it is a promise of his freedom. It must be a trap, insists Friar Tuck. Robin is told, and concurs. He keeps watch on the inn. To here, the deputy rides, alone as he has promised. He's a brilliantly devious character. Friar Tuck reads out the document proclaiming Little John's pardon- what's the catch? The deputy signs it, and Tuck witnesses same. Little John walks away a free man. But though thinking may not be his long suit, he reflects and walks back to the inn. "You want to break up Robin Hood's band!"
He takes to the deputy with a pikestaff, "you'll hang for this Little John"

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The Debt

As so often, Tuck is taking a short rest, in the forest, when he is robbed by a man claiming to be from Robin Hood. Naturally Robin wants to meet the man who steals alms for the poor.
This man Martin is now robbing poor peasant John, but accidentally he shoots him with his arrow. He relieves Lady Marian of her brooch, and her horse. But Robin thankfully catches up with him. "I've come to join you," Martin tells Robin, and since he had saved Robin's life in the Holy Land, Robin has to agree even though Martin seems to have no scruples about robbing even poor people.
Robin has to tread carefully, for Martin is aware Lady Marian is in with the outlaws. Robin invites Martin to join him on a raid, as a way of making sure he is discredited in the eyes of the sheriff. Very unwisely, Martin holds up the deputy Sheriff himself, and he falls into one of the sheriff's cunning traps. Now he is rescued by Robin so that his debt is paid.
Robin and Martin fight over the stolen money. Some cheating by the incorrigible Martin sees Robin wounded in his arm, though Robin naturally has the final word. Since John has sadly died, the money is kindly donated to his daughter

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The Bagpiper

A mediocre story about a Scotsman that Little John and Will meet- with the usual jokes about kilts. He is Duncan (Hugh McDermott), an old friend of Robin's, who gets Marian to repair the bagpipes that the outlaws had shot at- in mistake for a deer. He takes a fancy to her.
Next morn he reveals he's here in repsonse to a challenge from Tam The Piper. Robin is asked to accompany Duncan to the contest, and despite his protests, he has to wear a kilt.
At the castle of Sir Fulke, they meet Tam. Robin dances while Duncan plays. Robin realises that Duncan is here for revenge on Tam. The pair have a skirmish with Duncan victorious, however Sir Fulke has seen through Robin's disguise and has them arrested by the sheriff's men. But with some assistance from Will and Little John, Robin escapes, Duncan being slightly wounded.
Slight is the operative word

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A Touch of Fever

Derwent leads an ambush on three tavellers, who, after a fierce fight, tell Robin that they have returned from the Holy Land, with a "few trinkets." Their leader is Sir Nigel (John Carson) who is on his way to see his cousin, Lady Marian. "We can't very well rob a relative of yours," Robin tells her.
Sir Nigel succeeds in getting away from the Outlaws, and pursues one of the robbers, as he believes, to Fitzwalter Hall, not realising Marian is the one he was chasing. He tells her he wants to settle down and why not marry her? Is it "a touch of fever?" Marian offers him no encouragement.
She and he have a race on horseback, and having eluded him, she makes for her assignation with Robin. But Nigel has spotted them, and now, if she won't marry him, he threatens to tell about her meeting Robin... to the sheriff. She gives him short shrift.
The two indulge in a spot of archery. She is clearly better. In anger Nigel informs the sheriff of what he knows, but the sheriff is blind to Marian, and Nigel angrily accuses him of being in league with her.
He falls out with his men over the treasure they have brought from the crusade, and it ends up with the sheriff offering him the services of a good doctor. Somehow the story never quite finds the comedy to which it evidently aspires

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Six Strings to His Bow
Sir Alan A Dale sings with his harp, but who is firing an arrow at him? Is his singing that poor?
Robin Hood, no less, offers him protection, but all the thanks Robin receives is getting knocked out. Actually Sir Alan is wanted, though he knows it not, for murder. Another shot at him, but this time it is Lady Marian who is wounded, though only a graze to her arm.
Then Alan scraps with the Sheriff, both hurt. Marian persuades Robin that he help Alan.
This is a muddle of a tale, as Lady Marian having helped Alan, is felled from her horse, scattering fragments of her cloak for any Sherlock Sheriff to find, just catch this woman the detective gasps, and Sir Alan's chivalry will make him give himself up. The Sheriff has almost tracked down Alan's female accomplice when Sir Alan chucks a harp at him. Anyway it was only Robin the sheriff had been chasing, in disguise.
His head between his tails, the sheriff yields and Sir Alan joins Robin's band

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The Devil You Don't Know
A poignant moment as the Sheriff bows out, giving his new deputy Ralph a last lesson in how not to catch Robin Hood.

Alan-a-Dale has been taken prisoner.
The outlaws hold up four horsemen, escorting a prisoner. "Cut that man loose," orders Robin. The prisoner, Ralph, wildly kills one of his captors, who is allegedly a replacement for the currently useless Sheriff of Nottingham, who is leaving for London for three months (re-education, I would guess).
The plan is that Ralph will pose as the replacement sheriff, and so Ralph fixes a time when he will be inside Nottingham Castle, and able to get Alan released.
However this is all part of Ralph's cunning plan to trap Robin, since this Ralph is indeed the cunning new deputy Sheriff himself.
The Deputy gets Alan to play on the harp, so as to lure Robin into the inner sanctum of the castle. The trap is set.
The deputy is also convinced that Lady Marian is in league with Robin. That our dim old Sheriff cannot accept, "are you sure you're not being too clever?" For Ralph hopes to get Marian to betray her loyalties.
The old sheriff watches on as Robin climbs the rope left by Ralph, into the room where Alan is playing. "You're trapped!"
The deputy sinks so low as to put a sword close to Lady Marian's neck. Such unscrupulous behaviour brings out the gentleman in the retiring Sheriff, even at the cost of losing his prized outlaw. Lady Marian's honour is intact too.

Thus Alan Wheatley bows out of the series with some dignity, "there he goes- the old fox"
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The Lady-Killer
This story reintroduces Will Scarlett, first seen in series 1, but now played by Paul Eddington.

After spotting some tasty venison, Robin is thwarted when a stranger shoots his quarry first. But the man is arrested for killing the king's deer. Robin and Derwent rescue him.
He is Will of Winchester, who introduces Robin to Maud, with whose father Will is currently staying. But they have strayed far from home, "Will wanted to show me his crossbow."
So they stay the night with the outlaws, and Will shows off his new type of crossbow, superior, he claims, to Robin's longbow. Of course Robin can't resist a challenge, and discovers the crossbow certainly is effective.
Maud's dad has got the sheriff on the track of Will, who, while kissing Maud, is arrested. "You are to be hanged," the sheriff coldly informs him.
Will attempts to bargain: he will supply crossbows like the one he boasts of. The sheriff sees a demonstration of the new crossbow.
Marian warns Robin that the "popinjay" is in trouble and needs rescuing again. Will has proudly shown off the abilities of his new bow, but of course the sheriff has a trick up his sleeve. Will is to be the target of the crossbow. He makes a run for it.
"Drop your sword," Robin, riding in, shouts to the sheriff. The latter is held prisoner while Robin bravely recovers the crossbow, and the sheriff becomes the new target for it. Of course when Robin fires, he misses on purpose. Will rides off in triumph with Robin
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Tuck's Love Day
A rather different story, with some dialogue shot on location.

Sir Geoffrey (Basil Dignam) has returned from the Holy Land. The sheriff's men catch him eating blackberries on what they claim is the sheriff's land. It is my land, protests Sir Geoffrey.
Robin soon discovers that the stream used for marking the boundary between Sir Geoffrey's land and the sheriff's has been diverted.
Friar Tuck is on the carpet for not collecting alms for the poor. His abbot is impressed when he promises to "spare no effort" to raise the money from the rich. He proposes to hold a Love Day, apparently an annual event enabling the church to decide on matters of law. Thus he can decide on Sir Geoffrey's claim, and since the sheriff is too mean to pay for a lawyer, he agrees that Friar Tuck can decide on the dispute. Of course, he is ready to ensure the verdict goes in his favour.
While Tuck's unusual court is in session, at the scene of the disputed territory, Robin's men divert the stream back to its former course. Though the sheriff's men spot the manoeuvre, a brief swordfight ensures they are pressganged into unblocking the dam.
"The boundary is the stream," declares Tuck at long last. Of course, just then, the newly rediverted stream decides the issue, the sheriff all but washed away in the flowing waters
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The Loaf
The bad old Sheriff, not his deputy, is in this.

A boy and girl nick a loaf from two soldiers. Friar Tuck stops the pursuit, gicving the lad sanctuary in his church. The fact is that The Sheriff has pushed the price of bread so high that stealing is the only option left. The lad's sister throws mud at the soldiers to boot.
The Sheriff is all for breaking into the church and grabbing the child. But since that is impossible, he loudly pronounces that the boy "will be hanged." Alternatively, five husdred freshly baked loaves will secure his release. Since all flour is being held by the Sheriff, to push up the price of flour even further, this is an impossible demand. He even ensures a strong guard is kept at The Old Granary, where all flour is stored.
Will poses as one of the Sheriff's men, but is unable to persuade the guards that the flour must be moved, despite the forged order that Robin has written. So Robin himself poses as The Sheriff, and creates a fake battle in front of the Granary ostensibly chasing away the outlaws who have apparently come to steal the flour. As it is dark, the guards are fooled easily enough, and the pretend sheriff decrees that the flour must be moved to Nottingham. It is done, only the flour is used for the purpose of baking the required loaves.
The Sheriff awaits "the loaves of mercy" in confident expectation that they will not materialise. But one by one, the bread is donated as the sheriff despairs- more could have been made of his thwarting. As it is, he angrily snaps, "keep your bread," and stomps away.
The lad is allowed home. The bread is happily taken away by hungry peasants
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Sybella
Bound for the Holy Land, The Earl of Staines is attacked and killed by Lord Onslow, one of John's supporters. Onslow takes the Earl's place.
Marian is attending the sheriff's ball, though very few guests are in evidence. They are entertained by a magician assisted by The Dancing Girl Who Never Forgets. This is Sybella, and she remembers the answer to any question the magician puts to her. The latter happens to overhear that Onslow has taken the Earl's place. Once spotted, he tries his vanishing trick but is shot dead. Sybella however escapes and is rescued by Robin Though frightened, she needs to pass on the news, but ironically is unable to do so.
Marian rides to meet the Earl, finding him at the Falcon Inn. It is too late to warn her that Sybella has got out the news that the Earl is dead and that Baron Onslow is masquerading as the Earl. He intends to ride to the Holy Land to assassinate King Richard.
Naturally, Robin rides to Marian's rescue, fighting a duel with Onslow, with a little assistance from Marian herself. The plot has been thwarted

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The Truce
Robin and Little John hold up a stranger, who challenges Robin that he will beat him with a bow and arrow. Even though this Mark Crispin claims to be The Champion Bowman in England, of course Robin beats him.
Crispin leaves them, and makes for Lord Repton (Richard Caldicott), who has wagered 500 marks with the Deputy Sheriff that he can find an archer who can beat any that the Deputy can produce. The only candidate that the Deputy can think of, might be Robin himself. Thus the outlaw is offered a truce, though will the deputy honour it?
On the day of the contest, with both men confident, the wager is increased. Lord Repton becomes suspicious why the Deputy is quite so confident of winning. Once he has realised that his opponent is Robin, albeit in disguise, he tries to persuade the Deputy to throw the contest, on pain of being exposed as shielding an outlaw.
But Robin wins round 1. Round 2 the moving target, same victor. The Deputy claims the wager. Robin gets in first to accuse Crispin of being Robin Hood! That takes the wind out of opposition sails!
It's a neat turn, in this generally feeble tale in which the Deputy seems extraordinarily upright, even with that magnificent purse of 1,200 marks
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The Charm Pedlar
Hugo (Victor Maddern) is selling his numerous dubious powders at a village fair. When Robin later holds him up, the fellow has no cash about his person, and even offers Robin an ancient fragment from Noah's Ark. But Robin is unimpressed with this gentle "rogue," and lets him go.
Marian however wants the deputy Sheriff to run Hugo out of town, for she has seen poor peasants being swindled. Friar Tuck wants Robin to do much the same, so Robin shows up as a rival to Hugo, taking away his trade. First item he offers for sale is Caesar's skull, a shrunken relic, and a bargain at twopence.
Enter the deputy, following Marian's request, to arrest Hugo, as well as the disguised Robin. They are thrown in prison, where Hugo reveals his confidence that he will soon be released, for the deputy is given half his takings. But Hugo is in for a nasty shock, he and Robin are to be hanged. >br>Trading on the greed of the guards, Robin escapes, taking Hugo with him. Posing as members of their own excecution party, they exit the city via the main gate.
Here The Outlaws are waiting, planning to spring them from prison, and seize the moment by attacking the group. They soon realise their error.
"Stay away," is Robin's sage counsel to Hugo, and he departs, without any of his profits

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The Reluctant Rebel
Sir Geoffrey Claire (John Carson) and his man Herbert (Leslie Phillips) pose as dangerous outlaws, Tom of Tadworth and Jim Stark, as research for a book Geoffrey is to write. Leslie Phillips puts plenty of fun into his role, indeed he is pro tem the equal of his master.
They come on Robin Hood who gives them a test in archery, and by lucky chance 'Jim' scores a bullseye. But 'Jim' is less adept at wrestling Little John until Robin gives him a tip. However Robin has seen through the pair.
He decides to give them a chance in a raid to release a prisoner of the sheriff. 'Tom' wants to inform the sheriff of such lawlessness, but 'Jim' is has more scruples about betraying his new friends. The two of them clash swords, the winner takes his ex-master back to camp.
The raid is successful and the notorious outlaw Jim Stark is freed, to come face to face with the fake Jim. Herbert talks himself and his master out of a hole very neatly

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THE BUCCANEERS starring Robert Shaw

1 Blackbeard
2 The Raider
3 Captain Dan Tempest
4 Dan Tempest's War with Spain
5 The Wasp
6 Whale Gold
7 The Slave Ship
8 Gunpowder Plot
9 The Ladies
10 The Surgeon Of Sangre Rojo
11 Before The Mast
12 Dan Tempest and the Amazons
13 Articles Of War
14 The Hand of the Hawk
15 Marooned
16 Gentleman Jack and the Lady
17 Mr. Beamish And The Hangman's Noose
18 Dead Man's Rock
19 Blood Will Tell
20 Dangerous Cargo
21 The Return Of Calico Jack
22 Ghost Ship
23 Conquistador
24 Mother Doughty's Crew
25 Conquest Of New Providence
26 Hurricane
27 Cutlass Wedding
28 Aztec Treasure
29 Prize Of Andalusia
30 Dan Tempest Holds An Auction
31 The Spy Aboard
32 Flip And Jenny
33 Indian Fighters
34 Mistress Higgins' Treasure
35 To The Rescue
36 The Decoy
37 Instrument Of War
38 Pirate Honour
39 Printer's Devil
A series of 39 stories made at Walton and Twickenham Studios cashing in on the success of the Robin Hood series.
No one has adequately explained why Alec Clunes disappears after the first stories. Clunes certainly seems to have been the intended star, for prints exist of the opening titles which announce him as the star. Publicity in Spring 1956 stated he was the "main character," a reformed pirate now a governor, and that "every episode will show one more pirate being 'put down.'"
But, having said that, it's fair to say Robert Shaw makes a fine swashbuckler, everyone's idea of a jolly pirate. For the outdoor scenes, directed by Robert Day, the ship from the film Moby Dick was used, moored at Falmouth, and several scenes were shot on the river there. But although the indoor sets were well constructed, they look terribly stagey, providing awkward transitions from the filmed material to 'live' shots, and somehow the wide open spaces are never quite conveyed in the claustrophobic studios.
In fact Robert Shaw admitted, "I have never been outside the studio," as his double shot all the exterior scenes in Cornwall. He was paid £10,000 for the series, under a seven year contract, pay rising annually. Shaw explained, "I started on what is regarded as a comparatively low rate, because I was absolutely no-one."

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IVANHOE (1957)
Thankfully most of the 39 stories have survived. These are:

1 Freeing The Serfs
2 The Gentle Giant
3 Slave Traders
4 The German Knight
5 Rinaldo
6 The Whipping Boy
7 The Witness
9 Wedding Cake
10 Lyman The Pieman
11 Face To Face
12 Black Boar
13 Freelance
14 The Masked Bandits
15 The Weavers
16 The Masons
17 Arms And The Woman
18 The Circus
19 The Escape
20 Murder At The Inn
21 Prisoner in the Tower
22 The Cattle Killers
23 By Hook Or By Crook
24 >Treasure From Cathay
25 Brothers In Arms
26 The Double-Edged Sword
27 The Kidnapping
28 Widow Of Woodcote
29 The Princess
30 The Gentle Jester
31 Counterfeit
32 Search For Gold
33 The Devil's Dungeon
34 Three Days to Worcester
35 The Night Raiders
36 The Raven
38 The Swindler

You can see why Hollywood wanted Roger Moore. Spot embryonic elements of his most famous creation, The Saint, in Ivanhoe! "We've tried to make it authentic throughout," said Roger Moore in an interview. "Our master-at-arms and swordsman, Peter Diamond, has some 40-50 swords, 12 crossbows, and 50-60 lances. We have bought five horses and have had the use of 30 more." In one fight Moore was knocked unconscious with the head with a battleaxe, and at first his realistic acting was highly praised, until the truth dawned! "I wish he'd have a double for dangerous scenes," argued producer Bernard Coote, "but he refuses and does everything himself."

The executive producer was Peter Rogers. The series made by Sydney Box Productions at Beaconsfield Studios and at AB Studios Elstree. Screen Gems announced in May 1957 that the series of 26 would be made in colour, and the pilot was indeed in colour, confirmed in Roger Moore's autobiography, but although the title sequences look as though they were once in colour, the main series finished in standard b/w.

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Freeing the Serfs

”Brave warrior” returning from Holy Land ambushed by three soldiers of Sir Maurice (Anthony Dawson). They “invite” Sir Ivanhoe to meet Sir Maurice, who is one backing Prince John for the throne. Ivanhoe however is resolute in his support for King Richard. “He will return,” promises Ivanhoe.
He departs on the worst of terms. For Ivanhoe takes exception to the treatment of one serf and his son, Gurth and Bart, and challenges Maurice to combat. Even though there’s dirty work from Maurice in nobbling Ivanhoe’s white steed, the victor is never in doubt. Ivanhoe rides off with the grateful pair, chased, just as in a Western movie, by the evil Sir Maurice’s men.
But Ivanhoe and his new friends reach home, Rotherwood, safely. There’s disappointment, for Ivanhoe’s father Sir Cedric has just left, with the fair Rowena, to attend a meeting of nobles, assmebled to determine whether John should be proclaimed king.
”Many of us fear Richard may be lost for ever,” Prince John (Andrew Keir) is declaring. But Sir Cedric is expressing his faith that Richard will indeed return. To silence him, John plots with Sir Maurice to capture Cedric and Rowena, and hold them prisoner in his castle.
Ivanhoe gets wind of their scheme and against the odds, but with superior strategy, intercepts Sir Maurice and his train. In the general melee, the climax is Ivanhoe’s swordfight with Maurice. The latter’s men are forced to flee, the laughing of Ivanhoe’s men ringing in their ears.
At last Ivanhoe can receive a proper welcome home from the crusade by his father. But the noble Ivanhoe has realised that he cannot sit at home, as in solemn tones, he pledges himself to fight King Richard’s corner, until he return

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The Gentle Giant (aka Ragan's Forge)

"Finest blacksmith in the country," Ragan is thrilled to be engaged to Danella (Ann Sears), who has "spirit and looks." He's a contrast, "a great ox of a man," but they are in love.
But there's a fly in the ointment, in the shape of Bruno, son of Sir William of Belford. He has eyes on Danella for himself.
Sir William has ways of making Ragan see sense- first Athel, Danella's father is thrown into a dungeon, followed by a protesting Ragan: "The moment I am free I shall tear you into little bits!"
Ivanhoe's rescue mission is slightly foiled when Bruno pentrates Ivanhoe's disguise as a minstrel, and "hopelessly outnumbered" Gurth and Bart are added to the contents of the dungeon. Ivanhoe is brought before Sir William but evades his captors and rescues all the prisoners.
Friar Henry has arrived to perform the marriage ceremony for Danella and Bruno. But, at sword point, Ivanhoe forces the scurrilous William to bless the union of Ragan and Danella, and even throw in a manor house for them, which he'd purloined illegally.
Ivanhoe kisses the bride amid jolly laughter

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Slave Traders
The drawbridge is lowered for Sir Ivanhoe of Rotherwood, who is flanked by Gurth and Bart. Sir Thomas (John Stuart) needs Ivanhoe's aid. For nine young men have disappeared recently, locals believe it's the work of witches. Kidnapped, suspects Ivanhoe.
Bravely, Bart volunteers to act as a decoy. And that night, in the dark woods he is snatched. Ivanhoe and Gurth pounce, but too late, the lad has gone. But one thing is certain, the kidnappers are human, for part of a gauntlet is torn, and it comes from a sailor's uniform. The nearest sea is only three miles away at Port Tregall. There is a sailor, and he wears the crest of Sir William of Belford (Martin Wyldeck). Now he is no friend of Sir Thomas, who brands him a "brutal selfish" fellow. For he keeps his ward, Lady Agnes, as a prisoner. And Prince John is due to be entertained at his castle shortly.
Ivanhoe borrows a lute in order to get into Belford. Gurth and Sir Thomas' men lie in waiting nearby.
At the feast celebrating William's engagement to the relucatant Agnes, Ivanhoe sings (not Roger Moore himself) The Swine and the Sheep. William perceives it is sung against himself and orders the minstrel to the dungeon. But Agnes is inspired to come in secret and release him. She says William is only marrying her for her land and her money.
Deep in the underground caverns, Ivanhoe searches for Bart. He finds him about to be sold with others to merchants who are to transport them to Cordoba, there to be sold as slaves. A swordfight puts the merchants to rout, the potential slaves chipping in as they are able.
Now it's upstairs to Sir William, just as Prince John is arriving. Another single handed battle, Ivanhoe versus William plus his henchmen. The rotund William is no match and yields. Prince John is not amused. He promises that Sir William will be tried at Westminster for slave trading. Privately to William he shouts, "you bungling fool!"

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The German Knight
Christopher Lee is the imposing Otto of the Rhine, a champion knight, unbeaten, surely a match for Sir Ivanhoe?

A serf called Ralph (Richard Martin) had escaped nearly a year ago from Sir Waldemar and had improved himself by being apprenticed to a London physician. However he has had to return home to tend his dying mother.
Sir Waldemar's men try to recapture him but first Gurth and Barth delay them in their pursuit, then Ivanhoe swaps places with Ralph, embarrassing the soldiers when they finally catch up with him. Ivanhoe teaches them a history lesson: "this is still King Richard's realm."
This arouses Waldemar's wrath. But Otto his guest is the ideal man to punish Ivanhoe, and force Ralph to return to serfdom. However a girl in Waldemar's castle (Jennifer Jayne) overhears the plot and runs to warn Ralph. On the way she is attacked by a boar, and Ralph has to put into practice his new found medical knowledge. She cannot be moved, leaving Ralph a sitting duck for Waldemar's retribution.
Thus the scene is set. Otto challenges Sir Ivanhoe. On horseback they charge and charge again. As Waldemar watches in anticipation, and Gurth with a slight concern, down falls Otto off his steed. "I want no unfair advantage," says noble Ivanhoe, and the fight is now with swords. It looks all over when Ivanhoe's sword snaps, yet still the slogging match continues until it's Otto who has to yield. The noble Otto congratulates the victor. "I don't surrender," shouts the infuriated Waldemar, in the true style of the rotter.
A year has now passed since Ralph's escape, and by law he is now a free man. So it's all good news. "Your freedom was hard won," Ivanhoe tells him, "use it well."
Otto and Ivanhoe shake hands in farewell

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Rinaldo

Royal bailiff Dunstan is collecting taxes for Prince John with the help of Sir Alistair's cronies. Sir Alistair would like to get hold of his rival's lands, the lands belonging to Sir Robert of Thornton, and Alistair seizes his chance by putting a dagger into Dunstan's back, and then accusing his rival.
Ivanhoe knows a stich-up when he sees it, and vows to prove Sir Robert's innocence. But with Prince John judging the case, it's a hard task. "Sir Robert is outlawed," declares the Prince, "it must have been Sir Robert," agrees the rascally Alistair.
The trial is set for noon the next day.
What evidence can be found to prove Sir Robert's innocence? Alistair and John are confident there is none. The murder weapon, however, is a clue for Ivanhoe, for it is uncommonly powerful, of a type manufactured by the Moors. The monogram R is the name of the smith, and Gurth is sent to track down this craftsman.
But the wily John has a trick up his sleeve, for Alistair is going to prevent Ivanhoe from testifying at the trial. A group of soldiers pursue Ivanhoe, and after a chase he is chained in the dungeon. Luckily, Gurth has traced the smith, one Rinaldo, who actually works in Alisatir's castle. Gurth spies Ivanhoe being incarcerated, and is easily able to release him. The pair dash to the trial, taking their trump card Rinaldo.
When Alistair sees Ivanhoe, rather against the spirit of the law courts, he starts a swordfight after Ivanhoe taunts him with the charge, "Murderer!" At swordpoint, Ivanhoe shows that Alistair's sword is the matching pair of the dagger that killed Dunstan. So what can Prince John do, but justice, for once? Sir Richard is a free man

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The Whipping Boy

Is this the chance for Gurth's son Bart to prove himself to Sir Ivanhoe?
A young lad is being pursued by the soldiers of Sir Waldemar (Terence Longdon). The poor boy is trapped afore Ivanhoe intervenes, and with Gurth's help the swordsmen are scattered, though it is Bart who rescues the lad by polevaulting on top of one of the nasties.
Barbaric are the beatings this boy has suffered, as a 'whipping boy' at the hands of two young nobles, so Ivanhoe rides to Wecksford Castle to find out what is going on. Wecksford is home of Sir Baldwin, a loyal supporter of King Richard, and Ivanhoe is puzzled why he has allowed his grandson Philip to be placed in the custody of Waldemar, an ally of Prince John. It seems the aged and feeble Baldwin wants peace in our time, at almost any price. To stave off Waldemar grabbing his lands, Baldwin has agreed to allow Philip to be a companion to Waldemar's son Harold.
Bart offers to replace the whipping boy at Waldemar's castle: "it is the only way," admits Ivanhoe. Thus Bart becomes the new "companion and playmate" for two boys older than himself, Harold and Philip. Harold is unpleasantly "mischievous," taking pleasure in misbehaving and then seeing his whipping boy take the punishment for him. "You're low and vile," Philip tells him- the pair clearly despise each other, and have a fight behind the bike sheds, sorry the smithy. Ivanhoe and Gurth enter the castle to rescue Philip, but are trapped inside when the drawbridge is raised. "Forward men, seize them!"
By leaping from the battlements into the moat, the boys escape, whilst Ivanhoe and Gurth fend off their attackers. Rather soaked, they are all rescued by Sir Baldwin and his merry men, who have united to stand up from now on against the evil Waldemar. Ivanhoe gives him a stern lecture, as Philip is restored to his grandfather

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Face to Face
A justified tax revolt against King John is being used by Sir Humphrey (Derek Aylward) to try and get Ivanhoe into hot water.
His scheme is this: Trumper the minstrel, "impersonator extraordinary," is the split image of Ivanhoe, hardly surprising as he is played by Roger Moore, albeit with a Welsh accent. This Ivanhoe lookalike is going to be caught robbing a church.
The plan works a treat, for villagers and their priest catch him red handed: "sacrilege." Luckily Gurth also happens to be on hand, and he denounces Trumper as an imposter. But with Trumper well briefed, Ivanhoe's guilt is established.
Later Trumper wants his reward, but he finds Sir Humphrey is a double dealer for he has Trumper locked in a prison, guarded by Red Gordon (Danny Green).
Now word gets around that he has escaped. 50 silver pieces, alive or dead, for Sir Ivanhoe! The peasants are eager to claim the reward.
Fortunately, Trumper tricks Gordon, and by impersonating Sir Humphrey, escapes just in time. For Sir Humphrey has intercepted Ivanhoe, demanding he gives himself up. Of course this ends in a fight, Ivanhoe the victor. Trumper gallops up and admits to all and sundry his deception, thus clearing "the brave and merciful" Ivanhoe.
Sir Humphrey is left with the unenvious choice of repealing these unjust taxes, or face a peasants' revolt

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Black Boar

"A prize fit for a king" is this wild boar, and Prince John's hounds give it chase.
Ned the ploughman (Edwin Richfield) is nearly run over by it afore an arrow from Sir Ivanhoe kills the beast. "Sir William" will have your hide," Ned warns Ivanhoe, for the boar was his. Ivanhoe knows the law, and his action in protecting Ned was quite legal, and now they've clipped off the boar's ears, there's no sign that the brute ever belonged to William. There's a glorious feast at Ned's before Ivanhoe returns home to Calderwood.
But two eyewitnesses report to Sir William that Ivanhoe is but "a common poacher." The story is conveniently emended to "Sir Ivanhoe killed my animal on my domain."
So Ivanhoe is arrested on his journey home. But he breaks free, hiding up a tree. As compensation, William's soldiers grab Ned and his wife Martha with the remainder of the cooked boar. "Where are the boar's ears?" demands Sir William. He needs proof!
They refuse to talk, but eventually Martha is made to go to summon Ivanhoe to "a dark spot in the forest" for reasons we can readily surmise. Martha has to obey, otherwise she knows her husband will be killed.
The trap is set, but Ivanhoe is ready for it. Slowly he walks towards the ambush. But he has sent Gurth to create a diversion, and it's some diversion, for he is poking burning straw down the chimney of the hut where William and his men are hiding. The soldiers, suffocating, emerge in surrender. Sir William however at least has the guts to engage in a sword fight with Ivanhoe, but of course he's hardly a match for Ivanhoe.
Thus slinketh away Sir William, a beaten man

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Freelance
Four soldiers of Sir Oliver attack a lone horseman, Simon, a veteran of the crusades. He refuses to fight them in combat and gallops away. They give chase.
As so often, Ivanhoe and Gurth are in the vicinity when they help even up the odds.
Sir Oliver's men are driven off, but Simon's arm is wounded. Whilst he is treated in a nearby glade, he tells how he had left Sir Oliver's service, sickened by the prevalent attitude there that war was mere sport. Sir Oliver's men are scouring the woods for SImon, so Ivanhoe volunteers to escort him to their destination, Sir Aubrey's castle. The only route to avoid Sir Oliver's land is over a lake, according to a poacher, so that's what Ivanhoe does. However the poacher is captured and forced to reveal the way Ivanhoe is travelling.
In disguise, Gurth has gone on ahead, to fetch help from Sir Aubrey.
Ivanhoe and Simon manage to swim across the lake, but there on the far side, is waiting the crippled Sir Oliver, with his bodyguard. Ivanhoe is outnumbered.
Simon must be returned, demands Sir Oliver. A duel will decide the issue. Ivanhoe against Oliver's champion, Edgar. It's an easy victory for Ivanhoe, so Oliver attempts one last piece of treachery, an arrow in Ivanhoe's back. But even this is thwarted as Gurth returns with reinforcements led by Sir Aubrey

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The Weavers
Ivanhoe and Gurth ride to the aid of the villagers of Quincey, who are being terrorised by brigands. One is captured, Maltravers, but before he can be questioned, one of his fellow robbers shoots him dead with an arrow.
At the mercy of these "black brigands" are Will (Leslie Dwyer) and his family, and Abel (Reginald Beckwith), and Ivanhoe resolves to find out the identity of the leader of the thieves.
The trail of the brigands' horses leads to Gilbert Castle, home of Sir William. Talking to this lord, it dawns on Ivanhoe that he really is behind the raids on Quincey. After a fierce swordfight, Ivanhoe is locked in the dungeon, prior to being hanged for the alleged murder of Maltravers.
Sir William now offers the villagers of Quincey protection if they accept serfdom in his service. There seems little choice, and only Will refuses to "grovel."
Gurth has 'borrowed' the cart of Hugo the woodcutter as a way of entering Gilbert Castle. "Where've you been?" quips Ivanhoe as Gurth overpowers a guard and releases him. But they are just too late to stop the ceremony where the villagers pledge themselves to Sir William, in return for his protection.
Ivanhoe tells them that it's Sir William who is organising the brigands, and encourages them to revolt.
Posing as Lord Quincey, leader of their rebellion is Ivanhoe. Sir William vows to teach them "a lesson they'll never forget," as he and his men don their brigand uniforms once again. But Ivanhoe and his men ambush Sir William's men and there's a fight, with Ivanhoe matched against William: "you have betrayed your knighthood." Sir William is beaten and forced to agree to leave the villagers in peace.
A speech on freedom is delivered by our hero, and Will thanks Ivanhoe for all his help. Concludes Sir Ivanhoe importantly: "maybe one day such partnerships will build a nation"

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The Masons

William of Albion, master mason, sends for help urgently to Ivanhoe. Lord Blackheath is demanding William's presence in the name of the King, John that is. Such an order William is refusing to acknowledge. Just before William's home is torched, Ivanhoe rides up to intervene.
William is required to build a castle on Eaglestone Cliffs, which will provide a veritable stronghold for Prince John in a key location. Ivanhoe counters the plan by proposing that the bishop builds an extension to his cathedral in the same place, a college and a library instead of Blackheath's fortification. Thus when the tyrannical Blackheath asks the other local masons to build the castle, they are all "too busy." This is "most remarkable," notes Blackheath.
It's high time Ivanhoe informs the bishop of his plan! The trouble is, the church is broke (unusual for those days!) and Ivanhoe launches an appeal for gold and silver.
One mason named Cronyn (Michael Ripper) sees he can make a fortune building the castle and so is employed by Blackheath as a spy. When the shipment of gold is brought into town, his men will hijack it. So confident of success is Blackheath, that he boasts he'll parade through the streets in a fool's cap, if the cash for the cathedral extension is actually raised.
Ivanhoe is to hide the gold in a shipment of stone, but Cronyn reveals the plan to Blackheath, who now rather rashly discards his spy: "in chess as in war, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice a pawn." But though this pawn is shot in the back by an arrow, it is still able to warn Ivanhoe of an ambush.
So while Ivanhoe brings in the cart with stone, Gurth takes the gold in another cart. A triumphant Blackheath surrounds Ivanhoe, but his smile evaporates as the stone is smashed revealing nothing but a fool's cap. Frustrated he fights Ivanhoe who naturally wins, leaving the enjoyable spectacle of Blackheath having to don that cap

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Arms and the Woman
Sir Geoffrey of Bilton (Alex Scott) arrests Nigel of Rainham (Robert Raikes) for trying to murder Prince John. On the testimony of Hob (Hal Osmond), Nigel is taken away for trial.
Nigel's father, Sir Robert of Rainham, is a staunch supporter of King Richard, and this move is part of a scheme to force Rainham to change allegiance. "Rainham Castle is the key to the North," and if Rainham changes sides, others will follow. At an important conference Ivanhoe is with Sir Robert to rally waverers to the King's cause. On hearing the bad news, Sir Robert has to gallop off to his son's aid, leaving Ivanhoe to argue for the king. It's a tough job with a traitor Sir Ranulf (John Gatrell) in their midst: "for the good of the realm," he argues, "it will shortly be delivered into my hands." It being Rainham Castle.
The mood turns against Ivanhoe and he's forced to remain a "guest" of Ranulf in a dungeon.
But one of the knights, Sir Jocelyn, sets Ivanhoe free and he rushes with Gurth to Rainham Castle, which Ranulf is about to attack. There are no soldiers left to guard the place, so Ivanhoe dresses up the kitchen staff in armour to defend the castle as best they can. "Your women make a brave show."
Outside the castle, shouts Sir Ranulf, "yield Rainham to me." Lady Ursula, Sir Robert's wife, defies him, but when it is realised the defenders are only women, Ranulf's men have a good laugh. Lady Ursula agrees to "come to terms," and a meeting is held in the great hall. But by terms she means a duel! By the laws of chivalry, she's permitted to nominate a champion to fight Ranulf. "What shall we use?" jokes a grinning Ranulf, "cooking pots or needle and threads!" But his smile is less sure when Ivanhoe announces himself. He summons his men to attack whilst he fights Ivanhoe.
Then Sir Robert returns in triumph having freed his son, and Ranulf is defeated. Rainham is secure for the King!

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The Escape
Sir Rufus of Salisbury has returned from the crusade with news of King Richard, that will foil Prince John's plot to accede the throne. So John orders Rufus to be found: "if you bring me news of this man's death, you may name your own reward."
One ambush Rufus succeeds in overcoming, and he rushes to Ivanhoe's castle. But Ivanhoe is away at Sir Guilbert's banquet. "I dare not waste another moment," cries the exhausted Rufus, as he dashes off.
Sir Guilbert is announcing King Richard's death, with a sailor as eyewitness to the fact that the king had been washed overboard in a storm. Then Rufus produces his counter claim, backed up by proof of Richard's talisman. The king is held prisoner, "somewhere in Europe." His message to all is: "I shall return."
He's rambling, declares Sir Guilbert, for he's exhausted after his long journey. Kindly Guilbert puts him up for the night, though as Ivanhoe comments to Gurth: "I fear his bedchamber may turn out to be a dungeon." Of course his fears are well founded, for even now instruments of torture are being prepared, so it's Ivanhoe to the rescue!
Cloaks are swapped, Sir Guilbert's for Rufus' as Ivanhoe and Gurth accompany the weary disguised Rufus away, pretending they are all drunk. "There's something funny going on."
"You blundering fool," shouts Sir Guilbert when the guard is found locked in the dungeon. "Stop them."
Rufus is taken to the sanctuary of a church where Prior Fulmer acts the Good Samaritan. Rufus is granted the sanctuary of the church if he travels direct to Hull and takes a boat overseas.
Rather foolishly, he accepts a lift in a cart, which is part of Sir Guilbert's wily scheme to ambush him. Yet Ivanhoe and Gurth are wisely tailing Rufus and foil the plan. Sir Guilbert, at knifepoint, is forced to admit the King Lives.
Rufus will go to find him

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21 Prisoner in the Tower

"Turn back, you're not welcome," shouts Edmund (Maurice Kaufmann) at Ivanhoe, taking him for a robber. He's a very jaundiced young man, having returned from the crusades to find his home has been destroyed, and his father Sir Gerald Thane of Torrbridge being kept a prisoner by Sir Guilbert.
So worked up is Edmund, that "he's as good as dead," for he's going to rescue his father (Colin Tapley) from the clutches of this Sir Guilbert (Patrick Holt), who is an utter rotter, taunting Gerald because he bravely refuses to swear allegiance to Prince John. Innocent Edmund offers Guilbert 20 oz of gold as a ransom. Guilbert pockets it, and refuses to release Gerald!
Next Guilbert's men trick Edmund into shooting a hare, which brings about his arrest for poaching. However Ivanhoe rides up and gets Edmund free. But Sir Guilbert has read the script, for he tells Sir Gerald: "I know Ivanhoe, he won't rest until he's rescued you too!"
And sure enough Ivanhoe is dreaming up a scheme for rescue, though Edmund is very sceptical about Ivanhoe's ability to help. The scheme is this: Ivanhoe dresses up as Sir Guilbert's own rotund helper, Walter and brings in Gurth and 'Ivanhoe' whom he has captured. However the prisoner called Ivanhoe is really Walter, vizors down helping to protect recognition. This gets Ivanhoe into the castle and there's a fierce fight when Sir Guilbert realises the ruse. Ivanhoe is all but killed, but in the end it's Sir Guilbert who is forced at knife point to return the ransom and release Sir Gerald - hurrah!
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The Double Edged Sword
An unconvincing trumpeter fanfares Excalibur, Arthur's legendary sword into the court of Lord Mauray (Peter Dyneley). The Abbot of Ashford testifies that this relic, discovered floating on a lake is the 500 year old sword of the great king. Sir Morten (John Carson) challenges the claim, but when his sword is split in two by Excalibur the genuineness seems proved. Mauray plans to donate Excalibur to Prince John when he visits on All Saints Day.
"The magic sword is nonsense," states Ivanhoe, but unless the people can be disabused, John's claim to the throne is going to be strengthened by the aura of Excalibur.
Bertram of Leeds is a maker of the finest swords- has he crafted this counterfeit? Ivanhoe will never know, as he has been poisoned! Herbert the Goldsmith has an arrow in his back, so the two who could prove Mauray's swindle have been eliminated.
At Mauray's games tournament, a champion Greek wrestler is announced. Ivanhoe is taunted into taking him on, Mauray's plan to finish Ivanhoe off being transparent. But after the usual grunts and groans seen on any Saturday afternoon Wrestling programme, the champion remains undefeated no longer. But having yielded, the coward attacks the victorious Ivanhoe, breaking his arm. Loud booing.
Now Ivanhoe is unable to wield a sword and the scheme to disprove Excalibur's power is in tatters. Ever resourceful, Ivanhoe trains to fight left handed, Gurth and Bertram's son fashioning him a sword light enough to fight with.
Another doubtful fanfare proclaims the arrival of Prince John. Ivanhoe v Mauray, a swordfight in traditional Errol Flynn style, with, naturally, good triumphant.
"The real Excalibur has no magic," pronounces the victor solemnly, "only a wise king." Thus Prince John's claims to the throne are silenced and the evil prince is forced to back down over his iniquitous taxation plans. if only modern day Chancellors of the Exchequer could be made to do the same!

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The Kidnapping
Ivanhoe puts the whole rationale of the series succinctly:
Prince Arthur: "I don't understand why Uncle John is surrounded by so many guards."
Ivanhoe: "Your Uncle Richard was protected by the love of the people. John must guard against their hate."

Right under Prince John's nose, Ivanhoe gains surreptitious entry into Sir Henry's castle, partly thanks to the Queen Mother who is staying there. Ivanhoe's mission: to escort Prince Arthur, heir apparent, to safety. This is an easy job, but there is a hitch when John's men spot Gurth waiting at a nearby hut with Arthur's mother, Princess Constance.
But back at the castle, Prince John is fuming, especially when his mother reveals she was behind the escape. Indeed she gives her wayward son a right royal ticking off.
At the hut, Ivanhoe approaches cautiously. He overpowers Sir Henry's soldiers but while he is rescuing Gurth, Arthur is taken away.Luckily Arthur's captor is gullible, and asks the lad to demonstrate his sling. Arthur is happy to oblige, seizing his chance to grab a horse and gallop off to his destination alone, a ship anchored at Dover.
It's only a pity that Cpt Weed's ship has been taken over by the scarfaced Vignole (Patrick Troughton). But this bold pirate is about to meet "a swordsman who will slit you into tuppenny portions," yes Ivanhoe. Calling Vignole "ugly face," is enough to raise his wrath and he engages Ivanhoe in a swordfight while Arthur with his sling rescues Captain Weed and his crew. "Isn't he marvellous?"
The frenetic Vignole is beaten when the Queen Mother arrives, to order him to be placed under arrest, and declare Sir Henry stripped of his honours.
Note- portraying Prince Arthur is Michael Anderson, an uncommonly good actor for his age
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Three Days to Worcester

The female of the species proves especially treacherous to Ivanhoe in this story, featuring the "beautiful" Edith (Adrienne Corri).
Ivanhoe finds her hiding in an inn, fearing for her life. Enemies of King Richard are after her, she claims, and after King Richard's jewels that she is taking to him personally, so he can ransom some of his captured soldiers. Soldiers of Sir Maurice have been trying to steal the jewels.
For such a cause, such a woman, Ivanhoe would dare volunteer to be her fine escort, yet he has a pressing engagement of his own, for he must ride urgently to Worcester to save Sir Roland from the gallows. Ivanhoe carries a pardon from the archbishop himself. So a compromise, Ivanhoe will ride part of the way with Edith, to give her protection until they can find a suitable escort in the nearest town. One murderous attack is thwarted, now there's another, and it appears that Edith was expecting a trap and her task is merely to delay Ivanhoe on his urgent mission to Worcester. However, maybe because Ivanhoe and Gurth are getting the upper hand she has second thoughts of such treachery and assists Gurth, enabling our heroes to be victorious in the skirmish. But as she binds Ivanhoe's slight wound, her treachery appears to run deeper. Where lie her loyalties? "You keep changing," notes the observant Ivanhoe.
Here come the latest wave of attackers! Gurth delays four horsemen as Ivanhoe rides with Edith on to Worcester.
There Sir Maurice is announcing the forfeiture by Sir Roland of his lands, as well as his execution. As the noose closes on his neck, Ivanhoe produces the pardon. It seems Mistress Edith really has changed sides and is for King Richard at last. "I beg your pardon," smiles Gurth at her
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Three Days to Worcester

The female of the species proves especially treacherous to Ivanhoe in this story, featuring the "beautiful" Edith (Adrienne Corri).
Ivanhoe finds her hiding in an inn, fearing for her life. Enemies of King Richard are after her, she claims, and after King Richard's jewels that she is taking to him personally, so he can ransom some of his captured soldiers. Soldiers of Sir Maurice have been trying to steal the jewels.
For such a cause, such a woman, Ivanhoe would dare volunteer to be her fine escort, yet he has a pressing engagement of his own, for he must ride urgently to Worcester to save Sir Roland from the gallows. Ivanhoe carries a pardon from the archbishop himself. So a compromise, Ivanhoe will ride part of the way with Edith, to give her protection until they can find a suitable escort in the nearest town. One murderous attack is thwarted, now there's another, and it appears that Edith was expecting a trap and her task is merely to delay Ivanhoe on his urgent mission to Worcester. However, maybe because Ivanhoe and Gurth are getting the upper hand she has second thoughts of such treachery and assists Gurth, enabling our heroes to be victorious in the skirmish. But as she binds Ivanhoe's slight wound, her treachery appears to run deeper. Where lie her loyalties? "You keep changing," notes the observant Ivanhoe.
Here come the latest wave of attackers! Gurth delays four horsemen as Ivanhoe rides with Edith on to Worcester.
There Sir Maurice is announcing the forfeiture by Sir Roland of his lands, as well as his execution. As the noose closes on his neck, Ivanhoe produces the pardon. It seems Mistress Edith really has changed sides and is for King Richard at last. "I beg your pardon," smiles Gurth at her.

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The Raven
Ivanhoe and Gurth are dining at the Tynford Tavern when a raven lands on their table and nicks Ivanhoe's gold coin. The bird disappears, though a hand mysteriously returns the coin.
The landlord tells them the bird is an omen. The Tynford Raven had disappeared when Sir Murdoch had claimed Tynford Castle, dispossessing the twin sons of the late owner. The elder son was killed, the younger, a weakling named Gerald had fled for his life. The raven's return signifies Sir Murdoch's days are numbered.
A simpleton (Michael Bates) has run away from Murdoch's castle, but is recaptured at the inn. But Ivanhoe can't stand idly by, and resists Murdoch's men, though for once "the meddling strangers" get second best. They are taken to Murdoch and placed in a guest room in the castle- "the dungeons must be full."
Murdoch worries over the return of this raven for somebody is out to frighten him. It will be at midnight, he is warned. A human dressed as a giant raven warns both Ivanhoe and Gurth to beware. The masked figure releases the prisoners having scared off Murdoch's men-at-arms.
"Me and the raven are friends," Simple Will tells Ivanhoe, in case you hadn't worked out the plot as yet.
Midnight nears, Murdoch increasingly nervy. Surely Ivanhoe isn't going to protect him? "They'll never get me," shivers Murdoch. He climbs the gallery as midnight strikes. Candles are extinguished. The raven flies at Murdoch, who topples to his death. The human raven attacks "Sir Busybody" Ivanhoe, and after a rather unnecessary but fun Errol Flynn-style swordfight, the weakling Will is beaten, though of course ends up friends with Ivanhoe- "Tynford is my home again, the tyrant is gone, the raven sleeps no more."

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The Swindler

Into Ye Candelwyke Inn Gurth rides in rich garb. It seems he has come into money, and he buys everyone a drink to celebrate. Peter the Pedlar (Jon Pertwee) and his servant Eric join him in a toast to freedom. But the drink is expensive, because Prince John has been debasing the value of coins by having so many made. Peter shows the gold he has bought to Gurth. It seems a more secure way of keeping his riches than mere coins, for "it never loses value." Gurth buys a bar but in a fight with local soldiers Peter disappears. When Ivanhoe sees Gurth's gold he proves that it is only lead covered with gold leaf. "I've been robbed!" For Gurth has fallen for Peter's "bait for boobies."
A goldsmith (Ballard Berkeley) confirms the worst, "shouldn't have fooled a baby." Though it seems Peter has done him too!
Peter is now at the Starbridge Tavern, convincing a local that he can turn copper into gold. Local squire Sir Humphrey catches him there. It seems he has been the victim of some Sunken Treasure tale. Peter wriggles free but his servant Eric is caught. However he returns in the guise of Count Giogio to buy this servant, paying with a valuable ring. But wait, it is only glass, and the 'Count' is captured also. But Ivanhoe and Gurth, looking for the return of Gurth's inheritance, rescue Peter and Eric, driving off Sir Humphrey and his men.
Safely away, Gurth gives Peter back his bar of gold leaf, demanding the return of his money. But Peter has other men in hiding. They call him their King, King of the Serfs. For Peter isn't as bad as he has seemed, for all the money he takes has been used to buy the freedom for serfs.
"Would ye begrudge freedom to others?" concludes Peter rather philosophically, though he does give Gurth "a little refund"
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WILLIAM TELL

1 THE EMPEROR'S HAT
2 THE ASSASSINS
3 THE HOSTAGES
4 LANDSLIDE
5 THE BOY SLAVES
6 THE BARONESS
7 THE SECRET DEATH
8 VOICE IN THE NIGHT
9 THE GAUNTLET OF ST. GERHARDT
10 THE CUCKOO
11 THE ELIXIR
12 THE MAGIC POWDER
13 THE PRISONER
14 THE RAID
15 THE LOST LETTER
16 GESSLER'S DAUGHTER
17 MANHUNT
18 THE BANDIT
19 UNDERCOVER
20 THE BEAR
21 THE SUSPECT
22 THE GOLDEN WHEEL
23 THE BRIDE
24 THE AVENGER
25 THE YOUNG WIDOW
26 THE SHREW
27 THE TRAP
28 THE KILLER
29 THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
30 THE SURGEON
31 THE ENSIGN
32 THE UNWELCOME STRANGER
33 THE BLACK BROTHERS
34 THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER
35 SECRET WEAPON
36 THE TRAITOR
37 CASTLE OF FEAR
38 THE SPIDER
39 THE MASTER SPY
The series started on British tv around August 1958 though production of the stories only finally finished in late January 1959, the final episode made being The Master Spy. The mountain scenes were filmed in Snowdonia. The programme did exceptionally well in America and after three weeks in New York was top of the children's tv ratings, so naturally a second series was planned though sadly it was never made. Wrote Margaret Cowan in March 1959- "it will be a safe bet to say that they will now do a second series." In fact, all that happened was the props got used in a feature length film.
Sir Robert Fraser, ITA Chairman, sent the executive producer Ralph Smart a "congratulatory letter." Pity the Americans didn't do likewise. Smart stated in a Jan 1959 interview: "when we used to offer parts to the bigger names, we always got refusals. Now that they see the successes of these scripts, and if the parts are good, they accept."
In an early episode Conrad Phillips crocked his leg on location. Another accident occured when his right shoulder was injured in a swordfight. And in one scene "he almost got hanged" and received a "slight scar" round his neck to prove it. All genuine, as he had medical certificates to prove. Jennifer Jayne described her role as William Tell's wife as "the most action packed of her career." More worryingly, Ralph Smart told TV Times (17 Aug 58 edition) that she had nearly broken her neck "a few times." Apparently in the first few episodes she wore a long peasant costume which caused her to trip up. The problem was solved when she was given "more boyish costumes."
Walter Tell faded as the series progressed: he is only in eleven stories, the last being The Raid. Hedda is in half the stories, while Gessler bursts into all but nine!
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THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO starring George Dolenz

These first in the series
were all made in HOLLYWOOD:

1 THE THREE NAPOLEONS
2 THE PEN AND THE SWORD
3 THE DE BERRY AFFAIR
4 THE SARDINIA AFFAIR
5 THE BLACK DEATH
6 FIRST TRAIN TO PARIS
7 VICTOR HUGO
8 RETURN TO CHATEAU D'IF
9 HE GOLDEN BLADE
10 THE DUEL
11 ANDORRA
12 AFFAIR OF HONOR

. . BRITISH MADE:

13 THE MAZZINI AFFAIR
14 A TOY FOR THE INFANTA
15 MARSEILLES
16 THE LUXEMBOURG AFFAIR
17 THE TEXAS AFFAIR
18 THE CARBONARI
19 THE DEVIL'S EMISSARY
20 BORDEAUX
21 FLIGHT TO CALAIS
22 NAPLES
23 ALBANIA
24 ACT OF TERROR
25 THE EXPERIMENT

26 MECKLENBURG
27 THE PORTUGUESE AFFAIR
28 LICHTENBURG
29 BURGUNDY
30 MAJORCA
31 SICILY
32 A MATTER OF JUSTICE
33 POINT COUNTER POINT
34 THE TALLEYRAND AFFAIR
35 THE ISLAND
36 ATHENS
37 THE BAREFOOT EMPRESS
38 MONACO
39 THE GRECIAN GIFT

This was the first of several series to have episodes made in both America and England.
Nick Cravat played the mute Jacopo. Other semi-regulars included Henry Cordon as Carlo (US stories 4, 6 to 12) and Robert Cawdron as Rico (UK stories).

I have placed the American made stories in the most likely sequence. No.1 was a pilot, this and stories 2 and 3 included the Count's servant Mario who disappears after this. Stories 4 and 6 to 12 all have Carlo, who is introduced in the first of these, and is clearly shown to leave the series in story 12.

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LONG JOHN SILVER with Robert Newton
This 1955 Australian made series, in colour, gave Robert Newton the opportunity to continue his celebrated role as RL Stevenson's hero. Whilst many of the stories are predictably mundane, a few have genuine quality.
I specially like #3 The Orphan's Christmas which is a good old fashioned seasonal tale.
#4 Execution Dock is a semi-masterpiece all on its own.
#7 The Tale of a Tooth has Newton at his comic best suffering toothache.
Some of the series was shown at the start of this century numerous times on the satellite channel 'Life'.

1 The Necklace
2 Pieces Of Eight
3 The Orphan's Christmas
4 Execution Dock
5 The Eviction
6 The Pink Pearl
7 The Tale of a Tooth
8 Ship O’ The Dead
9 Sword of Vengeance
10 Turnabout
11 Miss Purity's Birthday
12 Dead Reckoning
13 Devil's Stew
19 Dragon Slayer
20 Temple of Evil

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The Necklace
Script: Martin Rackin.

The Wainwright jewels are the target of thieves. As all the servants are away on holiday, this is an easy job. But Dorothy Wainwright is murdered, her husband Joseph badly injured.
Sir Henry Strong, the Governor, questions him, his dying words are, "he was a - man - with- only - one- l-l-l..."
So why is LJ at Michael O'Shea's shop? He's a buyer of jewellery. "How did you come by them?" Miss Purity asks LJ suspiciously. Of course LJ is soon hauled before the Governor. His explanation is that he had been given the jewels in lieu of a debt owed by a man called Slygo. But the jewels come from the Wainwright collection, and LJ is locked up, "I'll soon be mountin' the steps to the gibbet."
In her inn, Miss Purity chats up the man known as Slygo. With Jim's assistance, Slygo is tied up. Then she calls on the imprisoned LJ, "we ain't been enough," she informs him- unless he names the day, she won't produce Slygo.
But LJ's crew have been busy also, knocking out the guards at the jail, and releasing their boss, "you took your time comin'- you're savin' me from a fate worse than death."
Slygo is handed over to Sir Henry, "John Silver, I owe you an apology." But, once again, Miss Purity is disappointed

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2 Pieces of Eight
Script: Martin Rackin. Director: Lee Sholem.

Government taxes are levied on every ship in harbour, but how can Long John pay? His only resource, Purity, turns him down, unless that is, he consents to marriage. No, he cries.
A solution comes with Salamander the Greek, a slimy traitor in league with the Spaniards. He has been captured by LJ's men, and in return for his life, offers to take LJ to where the Spanish fleet is lying, off the east coast of Panama. They are loading their ships with gold.
His plan appeals to the greedy side of LJ, though some think it's a trap. So with Jim and his crew, LJ hides their longboat for a quick getaway, "we'll need all our strength to strike."
"But it seems "a sight too easy" to relieve the train bearing the gold down to the Spanish ships. "Keep your eyes peeled," warns wily old LJ. His men carry the stolen gold back to the longboat but find it has been vandalised. How to get back now to their ship? There is only one way, a long trek across land under the burning sun. However Salamander claims to know a short cut.
The arduous trip soon proves dispiriting, one man is bitten by a snake, "he's dead." Thirst threatens, "but not that water," warns LJ, "he be drinkin' his own death, lad." Hunger too afflicts those remaining, though LJ believes "they've blubber enough from years of soft livin."
Another crew member dies. Dinner that night be leather, chewy if nothing else. Apparently there is no natural food growing in the area. As they all sleep a weary sleep that night, Salamander sneaks away to mark the route they are taking. But LJ has rumbled him.
Now poor Jim has a fever and can barely drag one foot forward. "I'm afeared he be finished," LJ is told, but some jibes from the old pirate restore Jim to his tottering feet. They all fall into the trap prepared by Salamander, but cunning old LJ disguises the villain as himself, complete with one leg and forces him into the trap first. That be the end of Salamander. "Back the other way," is the cry now. They are free for the moment, though Jim really does need to be carried. The wearied crew stagger on under blazing sun, but finally reach their ship, thankfully bound for Portobello.
On board, Jim is nursed back to health, "he'll be shipshape Long John."

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3 The Orphans' Christmas
Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney.
A parade of orphans through the street, "there will be no talking," orders stern Miss Willoughby (Neva Carr-Glynn), but they do greet Jim Hawkins, who feels sorry for them.
"Christmas be for the little children!" cries Miss Purity, and when Jim recounts to her and LJ the tale of those wretched orphans, they are appalled, for "the old bag" Willoughby doesn't even permit her wards to celebrate the season. But in the spirit of the season, Miss Purity and the reverend take presents to Miss Willoughby for the orphans, but to their chagrin, she turns them away. With a barbed retort, Miss Purity shakes the dust off her feet at the hard woman. However LJ and Jim be a-watchin at her window and see another side to her, as she opens a box of mementoes.
The children are not asleep that Christmas Eve, when Jim peers in their window, inviting them to a party that "they'll remember as long as they live." When Miss Willoughby spots her children are not in bed, Father Christmas, aka LJ, interrupts her further proceedings, "you an me be in for a long wait."
"It's like fairyland," at Miss Purity's party, and soon the nervous orphans are all smiles. Not so their guardian, she is actually in tears. LJ asks her "why do e 'ate Christmas so?" He hears how years ago at this time of the year, she had been jilted by a sailor. They were to elope at Christmas time. Why LJ knows the man, Richard Carstairs. Or knew him, rather, he loved you LJ tells her for the dying words on his lips had whispered Honoria Willoughby. 'Tis a grand story. Sure, as the orphans gather round the Christmas tree and Miss Purity welcomes Father Christmas with "toys for all," Miss Willoughby promises to be kind from now onwards. "So romantic," sighs Miss Purity, though LJ enlightens her to the more down to earth truth. A heart warming seasonal story
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Execution Dock

Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney.

Surreal, hardly children's fare, but curiously abstract. Were the writers under the influence of Samuel Beckett? Or anyway, under the influence....

At the Cask and Anchor, something's wrong, for LJ is paying "cash on the nail" for food yet not eatin' and buyin drink and not swiggin it down. "He must be sick," declares Miss Purity, it's "landbound fever" according to LJ himself and it must be serious if he ain't drinkin his grog. His crew kindly help him upstairs to bed where the doc (Alex Archdale) diagnoses he "might drop dead". Bad news, the patient must have peace and quiet, and worse, no grog.
"They might as well show me to the sharks," the despairing LJ confides in Jim. He composes his will, ship to Patch, gold sovs to Miss Purity and to Jim, "who's been like a son to me," an equal share in his crew's future booty.
In his fever, he sees soldiers enter his bedroom and arrest him for privacy. Through an echoing bare place, he is locked in a stone cell, where Captain Flint ("but you be dead") greets LJ warning he will have to account for his evil ways.
The worst follows as he is taken from here to the court presided over by Sir Henry, surely good news for LJ "what saved your daughter Elizabeth's life."
But worse still, his crew are siding against him. Patch is the Prosecutor, "but you and me were together."
Even worse, he's found guilty, so LJ makes a passionate plea for clemency, calling his first character witness Miss Purity. But, dressed in black, she speaks not up for "the good man," rather brands him a liar, "he's wasted the best years of my life." So to Jim lad, who declares LJ must be "the worst pirate."
The sentence be inevitable, LJ must be hanged by the neck. Poor LJ is taken away for execution, the echoing sounds of his footsteps mingling with the clanging bells of doom.
The executioner, 'tis Eric, "I left you my pistols and my sea chest." As the chopper falls, he cries in sorrow, "they've all turned agin me," and the worst rub of all, "and Little Jimmy, he ain't even cryin."
Tumbling out of bed, he awakes. His former friends gather round the sickbed and the doctor examines him, pronouncing a 100% improvement. Smiles all round, except LJ who has for the nonce to drink milk.

Arrh Jim lad, off to the Long John Silver Menu

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5 The Eviction
Good tale of a fop, Lord Ellington, who gets Miss Purity's tavern closed down (not pure enough!). Naturally she's upset, until LJ opens his big mouth and invites her aboard The Faithful, "only temporary like."
To the ship she adds her "touch of home", and soon, says LJ, the crew will be knitting doileys. But he redeems the situation by exposing a Spanish plot led by the foppish Lord. The gov offers him a reward. Money? "There be more important things to a man, " replies LJ, "than the jingle of gold."
All ends happily for him, as the tavern is reopened. It's not recorded if Miss P is quite so pleased.

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The Pink Pearl

Script: Martin Rackin

At the Cask and Anchor, LJ is guzzling as Jim reads Shakespeare, "the finest writer of them all." Rather jealous, LJ suggests "'e be a poor man to keep a log."
Enter a rich gent, Richard Thorpe by name (John Bonney), searching for his long lost brother, Geoffrey, a poet who had left London for an island paradise in the Caribbean and here he had found that there's a fortune to be made in pearls, "pink as a maiden's cheek."
Romantic minded Miss Purity stumps up the cash for LJ to transport Thorpe there, Jim is allowed to sail along as Richard offers to tutor him.
They reach the isle but no white man lives there, at least according to the natives. "Something rotten here," mutters LJ. Taker me to your chief, he orders. But the chief states "no white man ever here," adding they have no pearls, "we poor." Yet the chief's daughter Pelu (Jeannette Craig) seems to fix her eyes of Richard.
Secretly she approaches Jim. "Me friend," she offers, handing the lad a ring. When Jim shows it, Richard recognises it as his brother's. Pelu comes to LJ on the Faithful and tells them how Geoffrey had died, Spaniards rule the roost on the island, forcing the natives to dive for pearls.
LJ resorts to subterfuge, sailing away from the isle. Immediately the Spaniards emerge from hiding to continue their harvesting of the pearls. But while they gloat over their prize of pearls, "the English pigs" blow up the Spanish galleon and sharks finish off the job. "Amen."
LJ claims the island for Britain, three cheers, and Richard finds his happiness with Pelu. LJ returns to Portobello with pearls as a reward, he returns one to Miss Purity for financing the voyage but ever kind she is satisfied with LJ's "pearls of wisdom"

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The Tale of a Tooth
Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney.

Old Angus MacAllister (Lou Vernon) is a miserly dentist, to whom LJ brings Jim lad who is "in sore pain." However Angus is bound hame for Scotland and Jim runs off scared. "I'm not a coward," he insists, and to prove it, following the dentist's advice, Jim allows LJ to attach string to a door which he slams shut, thus removing the offending tooth.
As a reward, Jim be allowed to sail with Long John and far out to sea the inevitable happens as LJ starts a groanin' and with his temper deteriorating shouts at his crew, it's the toothache.
A diversion is a shipwrecked sailor, from off the Bonnie Mary, which had been sunk by Spaniards. Angus the dentist and one Mr Ross had been taken prisoner by the Spanish.
That night LJ just cannot sleep and Jim lad kindly asks what is wrong. "The hammerin's beatin' so hard," cries LJ, "I can feel the pain in the toes in the leg I ain't got!"
"That's all that's wrong with you?" says Jim, "it's just a toothache." Clearly LJ is more of a coward than Jim! There's but one thing to do, and the crew do it, issue an ultimatum. "We be goin' to draw that tooth."
That gives LJ a bright idea. He'll rescue Angus. So that dark night LJ and his men creep up to the Spanish fort, overcome the guards and force their way into Angus' cell. The old man's rather stubborn, at first refusing to be rescued by such a villain, but Ross persuades him and the escape is on.
Now for Angus to give his reward. But it's a matter of professional pride. "Ma fee is half a crown." As LJ refuses to stump up, Angus paints LJ a nasty picture of what will happen as "rot sets in." Angus is to walk the plank for his refusal, but Jim convinces LJ to relent and, for half a crown, bravely LJ's tooth is extracted.
Two miles from shore, LJ threatens to tip Angus off his ship. He demands half a crown to dissuade him. Honours are even.
A nice piece of fun

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Ship O' The Dead
Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney. Director: Lee Scholem.

"Like a dream come true," Jim has now been given his first boat. However Miss Purity has quite another type of dream, marriage. "I think I'd better be gone," mutters LJ hastily.
Jim is sailing on the open sea when he espies a drifting vessel. It is eerily silent. When he peers closer, he sees all the sailors are dead. The ship is The Rachel from Liverpool, bound for Portobello. But the harbourmaster refuses to give credence to Jim's tale, though LJ sails to the spot where Jim had seen The Rachel. Not there. LJ still believes Jim's story, just, but the governor has no such doubts, "either the boy has outclassed you in the gentle art of lying or your tales of adventure have turned his brain."
The mystery deepens when the ship does dock in Portobello where it picks up a cargo of bullion. Though LJ and Jim watch proceedings, nothing suspicious, and LJ is forced to concede Jim be only making up a yarn.
Yet Jim ponders what he had seen. How could dead men be alive? At night, alone, he pretends he's the cabin boy and snoops round the ship. But he is spotted, and brought before the captain (Kenneth J Warren, here as Ken Warren). Now a prisoner, Jim is to be dumped into the open sea.
His danger is now evident to those back on dry land. A survivor of the massacre on board The Rachel has related the sorry story, and Jim is suddenly believed, a little too late to help. Nonetheless, LJ gathers a crew to chase after these pirates.
But with the aid of his pocket knife, Jim has escaped his cabin and with the crew all drunk in celebration, Jim, with the aid of a pirate's gun, forces the helmsman to steer back to port.
The governor thanks Jim and Miss Purity is overjoyed to see Jim lad back home a hero. LJ is not too unhappy either, for he had helped himself to a little of the gold!

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To Long John Menu

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Sword of Vengeance
Script: Martin Rackin- rather more narration than usual or necessary in this story, and no sign of Jim or Miss Purity.

The Faithful has set sail for Portobello but "the holds be empty." Then hope rises as a Spanish ship hoves into sight. "Prime for battle," orders LJ.
But when they board, they find no Spanish, the ship is sinking, and down below English prisoners are lying dead, murdered. All except one, barely breathing, but "like a brother," the sick man is taken to The Faithful and nursed back to health. Still delirious, he mutters the dread name Fernando de Vegas, deadly Spanish swordsman. Later the man reveals his name is Shaun and that the Spaniards had tortured and killed his father vainly trying to discover the hiding place of the family gold. At that special word, LJ's ears prick up.
Once fully recovered, Shaun vows to avenge his family by killing de Vegas who has taken over his family island home, and, worse, Shaun's betrothed, Abbie, is being forced to marry de Vegas.
She is preparing to poison herself, rather than face such a fate. Besides she has been told Shaun is no more. About to take her first sip, fortune smiles as Shaun appeareth at her window. He gives her the nice line, "I'd have come back from the grave to you," he also kisses her. Some unusually romantic music for this series, before Shaun takes his sword, and admits LJ and his men, who trick de Vegas' men into getting locked out of the castle. Shaun takes on de Vegas in a lengthy and ferocious duel in the traditional manner up and down a fairly grand staircase. Though wounded, finally Shaun strikes the fatal blow, "my father has been avenged."
Thus Shaun is happily reunited with his true love, though all LJ wants to know is, where's the gold? Yes, perhaps the script writer had been watching too many Errol Flynn movies

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10 Turnabout
Script: Martin Rackin. Director: Lee Scholem.

Jim lad be a-writin' the ship's log, as dictated by LJ. They're near the end of a successful and "honest" voyage when a French ship The Richelieu runs them down and "One big pain in ze neck" Captain Francois de Villion takes over The Faithful. He's not in the best of tempers since he slips on a banana skin on boarding LJ's vessel.
But LJ seems to take it all remarkably philosophically, "c'est la guerre." Lt Leon (David Nettheim) is appointed new captain, LJ reduced to cook with Jim lad as galley boy. The rest of LJ's crew are in irons.
Leon is something of a gourmet and appreciates the fare LJ serves him, "you indeed are a master chef." So pleased is he, that he even invites LJ to dine alongside him.
Of course it's the lull before the storm. Indeed a storm is brewin' as LJ takes a knife to Leon's throat. Jim lad ties him up to the mast, a large helping of plum duff in his face to keep him quiet. Then Jim frees the crew who in turn surprise their French counterparts. Roles reversed, the French are clapped in irons.
Now it is LJ dining on Leon's French cuisine, crepe suzette etc etc, Leon's culinary expertise so exceptional he is honoured with an invitation to dine with LJ.
They have reached port and governor Sir Henry Strong sentences the enemy to be hanged. But LJ cannot see this happen and he offers to take Leon on The Faithful to safe haven in Martinique.
The surprised Frenchman naturally agrees and at The Cask and Anchor he dons the disguise of a maid.
Governor Strong is not amused to find his prisoner has escaped. He searches LJ's inn, only finding a certain Miss Leone, allegedly LJ's niece. One soldier even offers to date her, so attractive does she seem.
So all is well, and the two cooks prepare a slap up meal, there is however a certain lack of trust twixt the pair of them. LJ is cooked a flambe which mysteriously explodes. However he isn't that bothered, for he had doctored Leon's plum duff

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Miss Purity's Birthday
Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney. Director: Lee Scholem.

This starts with the standard introduction, Jim relating how Governor Strong in Portobello had placed him in the care of "good" pirate LJ, though, he informs us, Miss Purity Pinker of the Cask and Anchor is his real guardian.

However she is not a society lady, and at the governor's residence celebrating the birthday of Miss Elizabeth (Jeanne Whittey), the gossip is about Jim's unfortunate background. Miss Purity is distinctly out of place.
"Wasn't it a lovely party?" sighs Jim after. But sad Miss Purity is reminiscing of her old lost youth, "as the years roll on." She does confide to the busy reverend that tomorrow, March 16th, is her own birthday, but LJ "is no good for birthdays," for he is too busy preparing to set sail on the Faithful.
"Go and don't come back," cries Miss Purity bitterly, as she sees that her special day has been forgotten. She comforts herself with her childhood doll, and wallows in nostalgic memories.
Next day, she's the only one to wish herself a Happy Birthday, LJ has already set sail. "I be finished with Long John for ever." Everyone gets the sharp edge of her tongue, Jim not comprehending why she is so worked up. But at least she gets one present from his reverence, a bunch of red roses. He persuades her to join him in his "service for others" as he visits the sick and needy.
While Jim attends a boating party organised by Governor Strong, she finds satisfaction in nursing Widow Flynn, bathing a young child and even delivering a baby for Mrs Watt. "You've been like an angel from heaven," the mother thanks her.
Returning to the tavern, awaiting is a lovely birthday surprise, LJ has returned with a giant cake and Miss Purity relapses in tears. "You darlin' man, I never doubted!" A "beautiful" new hat is her present as endeth this rather wistful story, with LJ taking a back seat

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12 Dead Reckoning

To avoid being forcibly returned to England, Jim lad has to be sent abroad to boarding school but he's caned so often for the misdemeanours of a posh twerp he runs away.
Will he be able to set a course for home by dead reckoning that Long John has taught him?

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13 Devil's Stew -

LJ's gambling debts force him to follow the example of reformed pirate Dixon into "honest tradin'."
His cargo - pigs and goats! Fortunately he's ready in case Dixon betrays any dishonest treachery

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19 Dragon Slayer
Script: Martin Rackin and Kay Keavney.

"Miss Purity salts the food with her tears," at least according to Ironhand she does, now that LJ has departed after a quarrel. "The loud mouthed ruffian" has got to apologise, but will he? The Bull and Blunderbuss is doing well out of it all, for LJ and his crew are now frequenting that tavern, though in no happy frame of mind, while at The Cask and Anchor Miss Purity is building up a more respectable clientele, even though, let's be honest, it's "uncommonly empty." Welcome is Captain Redbeard, especially as he flatters "the sweet woman."
'Tis enough to make LJ jealous, his old enemy carryin' on like this, and LJ returns to The Cask and Anchor for a bit of a fracas, "fight you swab." With some of the enemy still breathin' LJ unwisely takes Redbeard's advice and retreats, following Redbeard's advice to be "masterful" with Miss Purity. Anything to win her back.
"If he really loved me, we'd have been wed long ago," sighs Miss Purity, who's also being strung along by Redbeard.
The mischievous pirate suggests to LJ that he can win her back by staging a fake rescue, after Redbeard has abducted her. The rendezvous is Dead Man's Bay, but wily Redbeard has carried off Miss Purity, and her jewels, and gone in the opposite direction to Broken Finger Point.
Jim has followed Redbeard as he goes to LJ's ship and removed his strong box containing gold, and he wises LJ, who like a Knight in Shinin' Armour rescues Miss Purity, as well as his gold box. Thus the "old dragon slayer" be forgiven
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Temple of Evil
On 16mm film. Script: Martin Rackin. Director: Lee Sholem.
Surely LJ isn't broody, thinking of settling down? Miss Purity is almost convinced. "How much for the Cask and Anchor?" queries LJ. He's going to turn his back on the sea. Marriage, sighs Miss Purity.
But not yet. LJ shows her a first token of a treasure located on an island. He's met this Roger Constable who can show him where it is, and all Roger wants is to be taken there so he can be reunited for ever with his beloved. "It reeks of treachery," comments Miss Purity wisely.
There is supposed to be only one difficulty, the natives have sworn to capture on sight any white man setting foot on their isle. They roast captives on a spit!
Native drums beat too incessantly as LJ lands on Amoyan and the crew enter the temple that contains the gold. It's a surrealistic set, impressive, littered with the skeletons of those who had come, and failed, to carry off the fortune.
But LJ isn't afraid, not until the opening closes tight, "'tis the hand of death." Smoke commences a-pourin' into the temple, the ground shakes, statues topple. Somehow Roger's beloved has time to relate the legend of the temple. The only good news be, there be a secret passage out. But where?
Fear drives poor Patch potty, and he wrestles with a giant statue, that movement causes a wall to collapse and LJ and his men are shown their way to freedom.
The treasure be left ahind, but LJ is able to tell Miss Purity later that he married Roger and his beloved in his capacity as ship's captain. But oh dear, no wedding for Miss Purity, since LJ never brought back that fortune
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Historical Menu

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SIR LANCELOT with William Russell as Sir Lancelot

1 KNIGHT WITH THE RED PLUME
2 THE FEROCIOUS FATHERS
3 THE QUEEN'S KNIGHT
4 THE OUTCAST
5 WINGED VICTORY
6 SIR BLIANT
7 THE MAGIC SWORD
8 THE ROMAN WALL
9 SIR LANCELOT'S BANISHMENT
10 CALEDON
11 THE SHEPHERD’S WAR
12 THE PIRATES
13 THE BLACK CASTLE
14 THEFT OF EXCALIBUR
15 THE MAGIC BOOK
16 KNIGHT ERRANT

Stories in colour: 17 THE LESSER BREED
18 THE RUBY OF RADNOR
19 SIR CRUSTABREAD
20 WITCHES BREW
21 MAID OF SOMERSET
22 DOUBLE IDENTITY
23 THE BRIDGE
24 LADY LILITH
25 THE UGLY DUCKLING (only survives in b/w)
26 KNIGHT'S CHOICE
27 MORTAISE FAIR
28 THE PRINCE OF LIMERICK
29 THE MISSING PRINCESS (only b/w)
30 THE THIEVES

The production company Sapphire stated at the start of 1957 that although the cost was a third more, the series was now being filmed in colour. The reasoning was- "the product will not be outmoded when colour TV finally gets here." Most of these coloured films have been preserved on the Network dvd, making this series almost unique amongst 1950's British television.
A problem during the filming of the series was King Arthur's Round Table. Art director Peter Proud had to design a special one made of Swedish wood. It was 14ft in diameter and had seven removable 'slices' each weighing 56lb, so cameras could move in for close ups. Edmund Hockridge made a test recording of the theme song, but the producers were never able to repeat the success of the Robin Hood theme.
My favourite episode: 4 The Outcast. With McGoohan prowling round, dare I suggest any other?
Best moment: In 19 Sir Crustabread, Virginia Vernon treats it all with the dignity it deserves
Dud episode: 24 Lady Lilith, though this story at least tries hard.
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SIR FRANCIS DRAKE

26 stories were made

1 The Garrison
2 The Prisoner
3 Mary Queen of Scots
4 Governor's Revenge
5 The Lost Colony of Virginia

6 English Dragon
7 Bold Enterprise
8 Doctor Dee
9 Escape
10 Boy Jack
11 The Flame Thrower
12 King of America
13 The Irish Pirate
14 Drake on Trial
15 Beggars of the Sea
16 The Bridge
17 Johnnie Factotum
18 Mission to Paris
19 Gentleman of Spain
20 The Reluctant Duchess
21 The Gypsies
22 The Doughty Plot
23 Fountain of Youth
24 Court Intrigue
25 Visit to Spain
26 Slaves of Spain
with Terence Morgan in the title role, and Jean Kent as Queen Elizabeth.
ATV being short of studio space, this series was made at AB Elstree Studios. An attempt to make a series "as well as, if not better" than the money-spinning Robin Hood. "No effort will be spared," declared an ATV spokesman, "to make this a first class series, with top production values. We think it will be better than Robin Hood." A bold promise, that really fell flat because finding a star proved a difficult task. Ten names were considered, then three were tested on tape on July 28th 1960. Terence Morgan was solidly reliable, but hardly in the charismatic Richard Greene mould.
Having said that, a few of the stories do rise above the usual rather mundane children's swashbuckling adventures, some for example, #3, #5, and #12 are firmly rooted in history, while others are nicely entertaining, like #11, and the final few stories seem mostly concerned to introduce a young female attraction, like #23 and #26. I do like the stirring theme music by the underrated Ivor Slaney- perhaps if it had had a vocal, it would have been a hit.
The series was previewed in September 1961 in the cinema at the Devonport naval barracks. It was attended by the stars and producer Anthony Bushell. Apparently it went down none too well with many derisive sailors who were watching, "I have seen worse audiences," commented Terence Morgan.

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The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1955)
Only 18 stories were made.

1 The Hostage
2 Sir Percy's Wager
3 The Lady in Distress
4 The Elusive Chauvelin
5 Something Remembered
6 The Sword of Justice
7 Thanksgiving Day
8 Sir Andrew's Fate
9 The Ambassador's Lady
10 The Christmas Present
11 The Flower Woman
12 The Imaginary Invalids
13 The Princess
14 Antoine and Antoinette
15 The Winged Madonna
16 Gentlemen of the Road
17 The Farmer's Boy
18 A Tale of Two Pigtails

"They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There, Those Frenchmen Seek Him Everywhere.
Is He In Heaven, Is He in Hell, That Cursed Elusive Pimpernel?"
Marius Goring starred as Sir Percy "in flowed satin," but secretly the famous Scarlet Pimpernel, the curse of France and especially Citizen Chauvelin.
"I enjoyed playing the Pimpernel," Goring stated in an interview, "he embodies everyone's ideal of a hero; a man who, for no personal gain, risked his life for the innocent. It's a strange thought that his antagonists were the people who shouted Liberte Egalite Fraternite!"
This was the first British television attempt at the filmed historical series genre, and Goring comes over as just a bit too clever. He's not really that likeable, not dashing like Robin Hood or Dan Tempest. Despite all his fun in disguise, he's lacking the lightness of touch of the true tv hero. More adept at creating the right atmosphere of tongue in cheek fun is Alexander Gauge, as the foppish Prince of Wales, perhaps here can be seen also his embryonic Friar Tuck.
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Sword of Freedom (1957)

1 FRANCESCA
2 THE SICILIAN
3 CHOICE OF WEAPONS
4 CATERINA
5 THE HERO
6 PORTRAIT IN EMERALD GREEN
7 THE DUKE
8 THE EYE OF THE ARTIST
9 THE TOWER
10 ALESSANDRO
11 THE SHIP
12 THE BRACELET
13 THE SLAVE
14 THE BELL
15 THE SUSPECTS
16 SERENADE IN RED
17 MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
18 THE VALUE OF PAPER
19 THE PAGAN VENUS
20 FORGERY IN RED CHALK
21 VESPUCCI
22 THE SCHOOL
23 CHART OF GOLD
24 THE AMBASSADOR
25 THE LION AND THE MOUSE
26 ANGELICA'S PAST
27 THE BESIEGED DUCHESS
28 CRISTINA
29 THE STRANGE INTRUDER
30 THE PRIMAVERA
31 A GAME OF CHANCE
32 THE MARIONETTES
33 THE RELUCTANT DUKE
34 VENDETTA
35 WHO IS FELICIA?
36 VIOLETTA
37 ADRIANA
38 THE ASSASSIN
39 THE WOMAN IN THE PICTURE
Starring Edmund Purdom as Marco del Monte, "one of the most famous and talented artists in Florence." Marco has two allies in his model Angelica (Adrienne Corri) and, in the pilots, the burly Sandro (Reginald Beckwith). Sadly he was replaced for the main series.
Pitting his wits against him is de Medici, the Gonfalonier of Florence (Martin Benson), who had perhaps the best part as the splendidly unpleasant rich banker, who acts as in the worst traditions of banking today. Thus the scene is set for the struggle of the people of Florence for liberty against this despotic ruler.
This was no masterpiece of a series, perhaps the worst of those from the Hannah Weinstein stable. Edmund Purdom is no Richard Greene, and I find the scripts lack the freshness of the Robin Hood ones- everything and almost everyone are too plodding and ordinary, so that one couldn't really care less whether de Medici gets away with his bullying or whether Marco thwarts him yet again

Best story: undoubtedly #27 with Martita Hunt. #36 is enjoyable too.
Worst story: out of several, I nominate #37.

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RICHARD THE LIONHEART (1961)

My reviews of the 38
surviving stories to follow

1 Long Live the King
2 The Lion and the Eagle
3 The Robbers of Ashdown Forest
4 The Wolf of Banbury
5 School for a King
6 Crown in Danger
7 The Pirate King
8 The Alchemist of Rouen
9 The King's Champion
10 King Arthur's Sword
11 The Challenge
12 The Bride
13 The Great Enterprise
14 The Norman King
15 The Strange Monks of Latroun
16 When Champions Meet
17 The Warrior from Scotland
18 The Conjuror
19 The Lord of Kerak
20 Queen in Danger
21 The Saracen Physician
23 Prince Otto
24 The Vision Fades
25 The Fugitive
26 Knight Errant at Large
27 Guardian of the Temple
28 Capture
29 A King's Ransom
30 The Devil Is Unloosed
31 The Little People of Lyntor
32 The Raiders
33 An Eye for an Eye
34 The Caveman
35 A Year and a Day
36 The Crown Jewels
37 The Man Who Sold Pardons
38 The Heir of England
39 The People's King
With scripts by the accomplished Paul Tabori and Stanley Miller, this was an ambitious last TV series by the Danziger Brothers.
Dermot Walsh starred as Richard The Lionheart
with support in many episodes from Robin Hunter as Sir Gilbert ('Lord of the Stomach'), Iain Gregory as Blondel, and Alan Haywood as Sir Geoffrey. Others who appear in several stories were Trader Faulkner as Prince John (and other roles), Sheila Whittingham as Queen Berengaria, John Longden as Sir Thomas, Marne Maitland as Saladin, Francis de Wolff as King Leopold, Michael Peake as Conrad of Montserrat, Conrad Phillips as Guy of Lusignan, and Anton Rodgers as Sir Kenneth.

Publicity for Richard the Lionheart from Associated Rediffusion, who purchased the series:
The factual accuracy of this 1961 series was vouched for by three historians, "one being a master at a famous public school."
A castle with moat and drawbridge was built in Hertfordshire, designed like a real 12th century castle by Art Director Roy Stannard, who also designed portions of an Austrian castle, parts of contemporary London and Richard's desert camp. Over 3,000 costumes were made. Fights were staged by Paddy Ryan, using Olympic swordsmen in many jousts. "Fights were so realistic that weapons were broken daily." 100+ horses were employed, other animals included camels, goats, a puma, a tiger, and a lion which a Danziger dvd later admitted was pretty docile.
The 39 stories covered the events leading up to Richard's coronation in 1189 (#1-9). "A later story tells of his betrothal and marriage to Princess Berengaria in 1190 (#12). This marriage caused a long and bitter feud between Richard and King Philip of France... The first Crusade in 1191 occupies a number of episodes (#12-24) which cover the capture of Acre (#16), the arrival at the walls of Jerusalem (#24) and the King's capture by the Duke of Austria (#28). Of course Richard's ransom (#29) and return to England is included and introduces his great ally Robin Hood (#30)."

Thank you to Geoffrey Helman, assistant director on the series, for this behind the scenes photo
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The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
A 1964 French series, dubbed and first shown on BBC in 1965.
Starring Robert Hoffmann. English Narrator: Lee Payant.

Story 1. September 1697. A mix of model and a studio ship, a shipwreck in a fierce storm at night, all crew surprisingly calm and silent. Despite the buckets of water being sloshed in their faces, the action is quite impressive visually, in primitive tv terms.
This lasts five minutes before the ship has to be abandoned. Crusoe swims and floats on to a wide deserted beach. Exhausted, he clings his fingers into the sandy shore. Having taken in his surroundings, he calls out to his fellow sailors. Alas, he receives no replies, the dreary background music accentuating his isolation.
He is so hungry he even eats grasshopper. Then, better, a papaya, and after a search finds lovely fresh running water. Then it's sleep, up a baobab tree.
In a flashback, he reflects on how he got here. Stumbling upon smugglers, he had once been arrested as one. But his wealthy father had seen him right, and despite his wishes, started him on a career as a lawyer, articled to JB Wooseley, "sollicitor"(!). This retrospect slows the action, and never gets as far as explaining why Crusoe is where he is.
This episode ends with his awakening, wondering where on earth he is. On the wasteland of a beach, he again calls out to his late friends

2 "Am I the sole survivor?" Perhaps not, for he finds a footprint deep in the sand. But his joy is shortlived, "I've found the tracks of my own footprints." What a twit.
"This solitude is maddening," Unsurprisingly, he is depressed on the lonely isle. Can he signal any passing ship with a smoke signal? He attempts to light a fire by friction, but the theory is good, though not his performance.
For food, he covets the seagulls' eggs atop the cliff. He makes the perilous climb up the dangerous cliffs, rather him than me. Not sure how he gets down.
He reminisces on his boring training as a lawyer, it's a very dull interlude, long too.
To the present, and the philosophic reflection, "I know nothing." He isn't even able to mend his broken penknife. But this instrument cheers him, for he can make a spark with it! Now he will enjoy his birds' eggs cooked.
Even more ambitious, he kills a goat to have a meal of meat, and kindly rears the orphaned little goat.
Then he dreams. He recalls that fateful day he boarded the ship

3 "Anguish" in isolation. The small kid is a slight compensation. He catches a female goat for it to suckle.
Next job: house building. Then sleep and dreams of happier times, he loved fencing, but a minor injury made him stop his law studies, and he resolved never to resume, but go to sea and make his fortune. Farewell to Dick his dog, "en route for adventure and glory." Sadly he has to sell his faithful horse, "but the love of adventure was stronger." At the port of a very empty Hull, he seeks a ship, without success.
To reality. Next day a hat floats in on the tide. He calls out in vain.
The wrecked ship will soon sink and he checks it for any life. A dog barks, and is later rescued, to be christened Dick. On board are tools and food, plus a bible, "my companion for life." He constructs a raft to bear away every useful article, "sailing majestically on my own vessel"

4 Day Four. With Dick, Crusoe continues unloading the ship, The Esmeralda. Then it sinks for ever.
He constructs "a good bed," and from the salvage selects a gun. It works. One dead bird. A fire started with gunpowder, then the bird is cooked. In case it is poisonous, he takes an antidote, brandy.
He sleeps and remembers his first voyage. He had met his friend Willy in Hull. He was sailing on his uncle's steamer to London. On this journey, Crusoe had discovered the terrible truth that he was prone to seasickness, "go home to your mother."
In a London tavern had had met Ann a serving maid and Captain Darrick. He offers to pay passage on the captain's ship, but flashing his money about results in his being attacked when he leaves. Thanks to the captain he is saved from robbery. So Crusoe joins him on his voyage to the Ivory Coast.
Back on the island. On the morrow, Dick sniffs out a cave, inside is a goat. Here is a perfect shelter with the added attraction of a superb view. With explosive he blows open a large opening for his cave. He also makes a new friend- a parrot

5 More than a month on the island!
The cave entrance has been barricaded as a precaution. Robinson Crusoe has built a terrace so he can sit in splendour as king of his isle. He has made furniture, with some difficulty. He can even laugh when his attempts at constructing a chair end in collapse.
Flashback- on board Captain Darrick's vessel, Robinson makes an enemy of second mate Bush. He learns the skills of sailing, and how to trade with natives. But on a lonely beach he is attacked and robbed. He is taken prisoner. Darrick, believing Robinson to be dead, sets sail without him.
"A wretched slave tied to a camel" Robinson now is, his fate hangs in the balance, on the whim of the Emir.
Back on his desert island, Robinson attempts to get his parrot to speak, "poor poor Robinson." But the parrot is mostly uncooperative.
Robinson plans to capture a herd of goats, to provide him with milk, so he digs traps. He uses a net to catch fish in the sea, to replenish his larder, but the fish prove too cunning for him

6 Four weeks a prisoner!
"A sail on the horizon"- but 'tis only a mirage.
Robinson constructs a post to use as a calendar, starting 16th September 1697.
Making a shirt proves a more difficult task, but he must be "decently dressed."
Then diasaster. His fire gets out of control, furniture destroyed, at least his companions aren't hurt.
Long flashback. How he almost escaped slavery by the aid of a camel. One camel is his price- the Emir sells him. But he's sold on at increasingly deflated proces, finally to Kazir a fishmonger whose son young Ali teaches Robinson the business, the first friendly face long awhile. The pair become friends and Ali helps Robinson formulate an escape plan, which would have succeeded except it seems Kazir cannot swim, and Robinson has to rescue him from drowning. However when Robinson perceives Kazir had been weighed down by his fortune in gold, Robinson ditches his master and escapes in a boat to the open sea. He does, er, take Kazir's gold.
His meagre supplies run out and he's adrift at sea, soon unconscious. A miracle. A Portuguese vessel rescues him. Of course his gold is stolen, but the kind captain punishes the wicked thief and returns the fortune to Robinson.
They land in Brazil. He buys land to grow crops. He trades and becomes prosperous. He debates the morality of slavery.
Back on his isle, Robinson constructs a canoe

7 "Solitude grows from day to day."
Crusoe is resolved to make for the nearest land. Before he departs, he recalls the good times on his island. Now his canoe is completed, he takes his leave. But his craft is too heavy to drag to the water's edge.
He sinks in despair. He remembers those prosperous times in Brazil. Three gentlemen had approached him to lead a voyage to buy more slaves, "it's our sacred duty to help those poor creatures." Destination Guinea. Crusoe is surprisingly swayed by their specious argument, lured by the thrill of a new adventure.
His ship, The Esmeralda, has a crew of fourteen. A model of their ship is enveloped with splashing. Here's a useful opportunity to shows bits of part one again! But though this may be a money saver, it is too protracted to be worth more than a cursory look.
On his lonely isle, Crusoe writes down his memoirs, for it's the rainy season. He uses his spare time to enlarge his cave, knocking rocks away, a little too enthusiastically, for part of the roof caves in

8 "Months on the island"
The dust settles after the rock fall. Dick the dog scrapes. A hand emerges from the rubble, then zombie-like, a head. Robinson is OK. He sets to work. He makes a parasol. Then he is a potter of sorts. He's also a basket weaver. From goat's milk, he produces cheese, though even Dick doesn't like the taste of this. Even those corn seeds he had planted have sprouted, so soon he can make bread, "looks good, smells wonderful." After practice, his nets catch some fish, which he cleans and salts, a skill he had learned when a slave. All this mostly reprises earlier episodes. We also hear the parrot has got as far as "Poor poor Robin...." Robinson draws on the walls. He observes the Day of the Lord, quietly smoking his pipe.
A ship off the island! Light the fire! "I've been waiting for this moment for a year and a half." He hears a cannon, and a bell ringing. Isn't that the sign of plague? It's a risk Robinson is prepared to take, so he packs his belongings and makes for the ship which has gone to ground. The crew are pirates, but all are dead. Robinson finds their giant treasure chest, crammed with booty. However this ship is far too large for him to sail single handed

9 "More than a year"
Dick is rescued from quicksand.
We move on. Three years Robinson has been king of his island, he is surrounded by all the booty from the pirate ship. He celebrates his anniversary with presents for his friends, a bone, seeds and bananas, while he relaxes enjoying feasting his eyes on his diamonds- it's touchingly done, "and for me, a pipe."
He tells hinself he is sober. He climbs on board the stranded ship in case a cask of rum has been overlooked. Found some!
Next morn he awakes, the ship in motion. His island no longer is in sight. Adrift, with not even a drop of water. Then the ship grounds. He swims to the nearby land, "my whole adventure is starting again."
Not quite. For the first thing he sees is... Dick. "It's my island." But what are those alien footprints in the sand? Robinson fortifies his home and awaits a sighting of the intruder. No sign.
He succumbs to a fever. No medicine. He manufactures an inhalation of tobacco. Success. But recovered, he stumbles on a skull, are there cannibals on his island?

10 "Years now"
"Mysterious visitors," and they are cannibals! Robinson plans to frighten them away with gunpowder when they make their next visit.
Weeks later, they return, in cover Robinson watches. The cannibals bring two prisoners, one escapes, and two savages pursue him while the others prepare their victim for the cooking pot. Robinson saves the fleeing man, killing the two pursuers. though he himself might have been killed had not the fleeing man intervened. Then, the fire being lit, an explosion, the gunpowder works its magic. In their terror the cannibals flee.
By the aid of sign language, Robinson makes it clear that he is the white master, though it's not put like that, and he orders the two savages to be properly buried. As this is Friday, Robinson names the man, "you Friday." Less pc, "me master."
They share food. In wonderment, Friday explores the cave, meeting Dick and the parrot. The mirror is a marvel. However "his manners are revolting," his eating habits that is. Robinson begins to educate the benighted man, a long task. As he's a cannibal, he has to be tied up at night, for Robinson's own safety

11 "My solitude has just ended"
"I was wrong to be distrustful," Robinson admits, for Friday brings him breakfast in bed. However Robinson has to demonstrate his "superiority," by his mastery of the rifle. Then Friday proves his own superiority in other ways, by performing a task Robinson found so difficult, for he easily lights the fire.
Friday learns to speak, English naturally. "Civilisation begins with trousers." Friday is also taught to shoot with the rifle that primitively worships. They enjoy a good laugh, "me civilised."
They can converse now. Friday says he will go with Robinson one day to Engand. "My country has never suffered defeat," Robinson informs Friday.
"You never fight us," retorts Friday. Their discussion turns to the wrongs of cannibalism, then to religion, "who made you?" Explains Robinson, "one God for all men, we are all brothers."
Friday learns all these lessons, and having learned them, takes to loafing about like his master! So the pair fall out, and Friday runs away

12 "Five years"
Robinson is alone again as Friday has gone into hiding on the island. Robinson searches in vain for him.
Dick the poor dog is ailing, and with no possible cure, we have a very sad scene. In the midst of Robinson's sorrow, Friday returns. Dick is buried, then at last the two men commune, "me understand." Robinson has come to appreciate that Friday is not his slave. They begin anew, Friday is better at building goat traps, Robinson teaches Friday about the value of gold. None too well sinces Friday plants it, "me very stupid." But he can appreciate it is valuable, though not on this island.
Years on, Robinson is content, sporting a beard, "we have enough to eat for years." The pair only work to keep themselves occupied. Then a British ship is seen on the ocean. "It looks like a mutiny." Men land on the island, two are killed. Three others scour the island and hear the parrot talking.
"Who taught him how to speak?"
Robinson is seen, and chased. Though Robinson finds a refuge, it will surely be a farewell to his paradise when another boat lands on the shore

13 "Our solitude has drawn to an end"
After six years, the island is overrun with pirates who knock Robinson unconscious and take him captive. Worse, they find his treasure cave, but lured by Robinson's promise that there's even more gold, they are taken on a roundabout tour of the isle. Friday picks off the enemy of ten one by one, and soon only half are left. Into a swamp is pushed one, another has a knife in his back. The others flee with the treasure chest, but Friday sinks their dinghy. The kidnapped captain of the vessel commandeered by the pirates is rescued.
To his thanks, the ship is retaken, all enemy dispelled. The captain is introduced to Friday and the parrot.
"My prayers have been answered." Robinson takes his leave of his island, perceiving it has changed him for the better. The last scene is back in Robinson's father's house, now his, shared with Friday. The surroundings are pleasant but one day, he promises, he will return to the island

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LONG JOHN SILVER with Robert Newton

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