Has it really been six years?
Oh, wait, wrong graphic! This was the one I meant to post.
Our first glimpse of the man in black: Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) rides into Locksley Manor at the beginning of Robin Hood 1.1. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com
I’m reliably informed that we’re approaching six years since the premiere of Robin Hood on the BBC, which occurred on October 7, 2006. 8.56 million viewers tuned in for that broadcast. Since then, millions more have thrilled to the ups and downs of the denizens of Nottingham and environs, with the show being shown around the globe, all over Europe, North and South America, and the Asian Pacific.
So, happy sixth screen anniversary to Richard Armitage’s Guy of Gisborne!
With a hint of weariness and sex appeal delivered behind every moment of menace: Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) exhorts the Locksley peasants to reveal the location of some stolen food, in Robin Hood, episode 1.1. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com
It’s true, not everyone loved him at first glance. Some people needed to be convinced. And even now, not everyone loves him.
Source: Richard Armitage Confessions
I think, whether you like Guy or not (I do, he’s definitely one of my big four that are becoming the big five, which include Porter as well), that he looks likely to be one of the most persistent characters Armitage has created. I mused on this question during F3 without coming to any organized conclusions. But looking weekly at what’s being published right now about Armitage, in a situation where there’s been no significant new characterization available to watch for over two years, the two characters written about most consistently and continually remain Mr. Thornton and Guy of Gisborne, and I think they are also fanvid leaders as well (although perhaps less so). At least part of the reason for this situation, I suspect, is that those characters enjoy significant intersectionality in terms of their appeal, in which Armitage’s career is not the only or even the primary factor. People will always be attracted to those archetypes for different reasons, and so potential fans will always be discovering and rediscovering Richard Armitage. (This seems likely to happen with Thorin Oakenshield as well.)
But so many things about Armitage’s portrayal of Guy made this character special — and not someone I want to let go of. Guy will always have a place in my heart. Armitage, too, has had his own ambivalences about this project, saying alternatively that Guy had to die, and that he was a difficult character to play, but also, occasionally, that he was disappointed by the end of the series and might enjoy playing Guy again. When I think about the last six years as potentially seen from his perspective — well, that’s kind of overwhelming. Scary, indeed.
Now. If you loved Robin Hood, you should definitely check out the Robin Hood Fan Community. This is a board, solely devoted to the BBC Robin Hood (2006) run by LadyKate63, a big Guy of Gisborne fan. I interviewed her very early on my career as a blogger, in an interview where she describes her journey to loving Guy and her interest in the moral conflicts in the show, and she’s written a (mature) fanfic that I still love and reread, “The Lady of Nottingham.”
The Robin Hood Fan Community is peopled by fans who’ve done a lot of careful, sophisticated thinking about Robin Hood — to the extent that you wish they had written the series. Join the group here. If you’re already a member, offer congratulations on the anniversary here.
I came to Robin Hood already an Armitage fan, so I didn’t have that experience of watching every week to catch the newest stuff. If you’d like to watch Robin Hood in a group, I recommend #GuyWatch, which continues on Twitter on Friday and Saturday evenings through October.
Thanks — and congratulations — to all the people: creators, actors, crew, fans — who put together this project, and who still make it such a continuing pleasure to be a fan of Armitage in the context of Robin Hood!