Has it really been six years?

“Has it really been eight years?” Malcolm (Hugh Simon) greets Lucas North (Richard Armitage) on the Grid after his return from Russian prison in Spooks 7.1. My caps.

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!

 

~ by Servetus on October 7, 2012.

39 Responses to “Has it really been six years?”

  1. A bad boy in leather who shows just enough of a chance of redemption to keep a lady thinking she may be able to change him. What’s not to love???? Guy is my favorite character to date and given Thorin’s personality, I think he’ll remain that way for a long time.

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    • I think the people who don’t like him are bothered by the look (as above) or by the fact that he’s more of a villain than the vast majority of the Armitage fandom likes to concede or perhaps by the flimsiness of the storylines. But yeah, he’s a favorite of mine, too. I don’t Armitage’s face has ever been this mobile and subtle since.

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  2. Looking at wht Richard Armitage did with the character of Guy of Gisborne, it’s easy to see why his appeal persists and even grows over time. Armitage took a thin script with a 2D villain and gave us a fully developed individual, complete with nuanced emotions, making Guy both more sinister and more compelling. He showed moments of tenderness and naivete as well as ruthless ambition, still human, and yes, sex on legs.

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  3. Guy is one of my least liked chaRActers (unless he’s in SlothFic) but I came into the fandom through GofG fic so I guess I owe some thanks to the series.

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    • I enjoyed the series as a whole and Armitage/Gisborne in particular. Anachronisms (medieval casino! Marian’s “High Street” costumes) just seemed an in-joke. Cast interesting, guest actors very good. Everyone seemed to have a lovely good time. 😀

      It was one of Armitage’s most nuanced and expressive performances to date.

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      • Yes, not very medieval. Which put me off bigtime at the beginning.

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        • I first saw it with a friend who shares my interest and background in the 12th century. We were howling with laughter at the anachronisms, while surreptitiously ogling Guy.

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          • I am sadly not one of those people who laughs at historical errors. (I’m not proud of this.) Has a lot to do with my political position / profession, I’m sure.

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            • Normally, I don’t snigger or chortle at them either, but when it’s so completely over the top, almost to the point of Pythonesque absurdity, yeah, I hoot…

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              • Me too…Gladiator, 300 *hackles up* . I definitely noticed the anachronism, but it so often verges on camp, that I just started to look past them. After the Marian costumes of s1-2, Isabella’s s3 bliauts were a bit of a shock 🙂 Definitely not complaining about the Guy-locks and leather though!

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                • I’m fine as long as I don’t think about it having anything to do with medieval England. If I just say, there’s nothing historical here at all (which isn’t hard to do), I can enjoy it a great deal. And I pretty much never use the “medieval” blog tag when I’m writing about it because of that. There is, however, one sense in which Armitage really (I assume unconsciously or accidentally) picked up on a central medieval moment / vibe — wrote about that in terms of status near the beginning of the blog — and then hit a wall on that topic and had to stop writing. I may go back there this fall — it’s feeling like a Guy kind of fall.

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                  • True, once I decide it’s pure AU, I’m okay with that. Modern tack, modern textiles, weird design, anachronistic concepts, whatever … just let me watch Guy.

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              • I think the deal with Python is that it was supposed to be funny/absurd and it actually achieved that. RH is anachronistic in ways that make that the scripts look lazy and/or just plain weird. 3.3 and 3.4 are good examples of this problem.

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                • Did they actually have an historical advisor on staff? (I’m too lazy to look it up – and I’m supposed to be prepping for the Opium Wars)

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                  • no. They weren’t even trying.

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                    • Probably for the best for any professional historian who may have attached themselves to the project…could have been career suicide for all the reasons outlined above 🙂 I had some of the same responses to the medieval-ish that I did watching “A Knight’s Tale” which felt weird to me too.

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                    • historical consultant to a film is really a different profession, I think, which involves greater awareness of what is likely to appeal to an audience and also of figurative techniques for representing history. When you’re a historian, no matter where you end up on the methodological debates about reality and objectivity, you are still bothered by the demands of what somebody like Peter Novick would probably have termed “positivism.”

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                    • I think I had Kathleen Coleman and Gladiator in mind when replying…I recall reading that she asked to be taken out of the credits of that film after seeing the final results. I think you’re right though, as media has become so dominant, it has created a new field really…I think of Jonathan Stamp who merged classical studies with film production – a foot in both camps so to speak. It would be interesting to look at how the role of consultants has changed as the impact of film has changed. I find all sorts on interesting projects to divert me from what I should be working on 🙂

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                    • All of the historians that commented on the script of the film made in my research area in 2003 asked to have their names taken off.

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                    • Umm, which one would that be I wonder 😉 Given the final product, I’m hardly surprised. I use it as an extra credit option to assess for veracity.

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    • It’s okay, jazzy, you don’t have to love Guy. Guy understands 🙂

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  4. […] of it, with Marian.   Just something that built and built, layer upon layer, until he became my favorite character in the […]

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  5. I imagine the series will gain new audiences as those who didn’t watch it first time around are made aware of it through their interest in the actor playing Thorin. There is no doubt in my mind that Richard’s portrayal of Guy, which IMO is wholly responsible for the dark knight’s appeal, will continue winning over new fans.

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  6. When I started watching Robin Hood it seem like the thing to like Robin (it seemed the right thing to do, like the good guy) but the more I watched the more I was liking Guy. I thought Marian was an idiot for not liking Guy. He had a good side to him and she would get him to think. But when your boss is bad and I also think Guy thought he had no choice than to do his bidding. Guy whats not to love, I really can get pass the bad boy, or maybe it’s the thrill of it. As for Richard, what a great job on giving us Guy and that voice, he can still make me jump, or smile.

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  7. Mmmmmm . . . . . that pic. of him in Strike Back is FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD!! Strangely enough, that statement is doubly true – cause I’d love to lick those fingers . . . and thumbs . . . must regain control of myself, DH is walking down the hall. HA HA HA! 🙂

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    • LOL, I think you’re slightly off topic 🙂 I can do an SB anniversary post in the spring, it will be three years already.

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  8. Thanks so much for posting the link to the fanfic–well done and really enjoyed it.

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  9. Robin Hood plays on my local PBS station quite frequently. They cycle through the 3 series and then wait awhile and cycle through again. When I watch this show it reminds me of campy TV shows from the 60s like Get Smart, Batman, or Hogan’s Heros. I don’t think Robin Hood was ever intended to be anything other than a kids’ TV show. RA is what made it interesting to the adults. He made Guy’s interactions with the other characters interesting, thereby making those characters interesting — Marian, Robin Hood, The Sheriff, and Alan of Dale. I miss Guy and it’s not because I don’t see him anymore. It has more to with the fact that RA seems to have moved on and left Guy in the dust.

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    • I assume the reason PBS shows it regularly has to do with its appeal to children. But what do you mean, RA has left Guy in the dust? You sound really sad.

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      • Not really sad, just sentimental. Guy is my favorite RA character and he was also my “first” RA character. My initial introduction to Guy was in season 3 so the character was more fully developed than he was in season 1. Guy was appealing to me in so many ways (not too sure what that says about me, but I will admit to liking the idea of a reformed bad boy) and RA played the role with real depth and lots of layers. So even though I look forward to seeing RA play other roles, it is sad to think that he has moved on from a character that was such a sensation.

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        • I suppose, too, you can say he wanted to — he said in interview he argued the writers into giving Guy a definitive death that he couldn’t come back from. But it’s unclear to me where the script could have gone after they decided to make Guy and Robin ally with each other.

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          • I think one of the reasons the series ended was because RA’s portrayal of Guy overshadowed Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood. So to me the question is how do you move forward when the main character is no longer the main character…after all the name of the show was Robin Hood — not Guy of Gisborne. Maybe they should’ve done a spin off for Guy instead of killing him off.
            I read they were planning to continue the series with the other brother until the ratings went down and that Jonas Armstrong wanted to leave — which brings me back to my original speculation for ending the series.

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            • You can’t blame JA, really, with the kind of scripts he got. Also, during 2011 I saw some other stuff he’d been in that he was much better at, and I thought, he was cast badly against type in RH.

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