Robot of Sherwood

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    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @purofilion and @scaryb

    When I watched the DVD, it was the programme ‘as broadcast’.

    The original reason was the horrifically real beheadings that were in the news on broadcast – it may well be that the DVD decision was made because they were and are still going on. Or it may be that they simply didn’t have either the time or budget to do a re-re-edit.

    The original episode had a robot losing an arm (that was the reveal they were robots), and a robot losing a head (which they made very plain was a robot).

    @doctor1994 – there are persistent rumours that a black actor (possibly more than one) has already been approached for the role of the Doctor, but has turned it down. I don’t blame them. Whether you’re the First Black Doctor or the First Woman Doctor, the pressure is going to be intense – and while the role can be a career-maker, it also has the potential to be a career-breaker.

    The rumours mostly swirl around the casting for Series 5. That, the story goes, is why the casting was so open that they saw the utterly unsuitable and far too young Matt Smith. I wonder what happened to him…


    ScaryB @scaryb

    @bluesqueakpip and @Purofilion

    Thanks for the response. I actually found the callous killing of Marians’s guardian more disturbing than the robot deaths. I just wondered if the first edit (cut 😉 ) had made it to the DVD as I understood it was a very late decision to re-edit.

    Ah well.

    And I agree with you both re casting. This persistent snarky issue of “they should cast a female/black/green alien” Doctor is starting to annoy me and is disrespectful to the “types” who are mentioned. It’s agenda driven (including the trollish “let’s have a go at Doctor Who” agenda) and is making it very difficult for future casting to be anything other than “white, male” because it will be such a “big thing”.

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip i had a while ago look up if there where looking in to a black doctor and i was reading some where that the guy from 12 years of slaves and kinky boots as in talks of being the doctor before matt smith was to become one so i think they should still look into still and maybe after peter then we can have a black doctor who but i think steven moffat should listen to the fans of the show and see what they want on doctor who cause i want to see martha jones come for one episode and see river song again and jake heartness and many more things to come

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    aaand breathe! Think punctuation. Also, capital letters. I’m very fond of capital letters in the proper places, because they give me clues about what I’m reading.

    i think steven moffat should listen to the fans of the show and see what they want

    There are, at a rough estimate, 70 million fans of Doctor Who. Give or take 10 million. 😉 Unless they all want the same thing (they mostly don’t), trying to give all of them what they want is a fast track to insanity – and, to a plot so confused that even the intrepid Whovians on this site couldn’t make sense of it.

    They certainly do keep an eye on the fans, because they’ve hired some of them. Well, a lot of them. Well, I think we’re currently running at the Head Writer, the chap playing the Doctor, several writers, the bloke who thought up the title sequence, that nice lady who does the comic covers… 😉

    jake heartness

    I think you may have misheard that.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    The big question which no-one who advocates this kind of stunt casting ever answers in any depth is “why”. What would it bring to the show, what would add to the story, beyond the gimmick of doing it?

    Diversity in drama (whether TV, film or theatre) isn’t down to who you cast in the lead.  It’s about the quality of the writing, acting, direction, production as a whole; it’s about how that lead interacts with other characters, it’s about the story which is shown on screen, the underlying themes, ethos and the range and roles of the other characters. Sometimes certain issues are best served by metaphors (alien races representing particular  viewpoints or prejudices for example). It’s about open casting and ensuring that involvement at all levels is geninely accessible to all, to the point where it’s not even an issue.

    I’m not claiming that Dr Who gets a perfect 10 on all these aspects, but tokenistic casting of the lead (and other) roles is likely to do more harm than good to the actor, the cause and the show. And the more people bang on about “they should do it just becuase it’s not been done before” the more they shoot the cause they’re advocating for in the foot, and the less likely it is to happen.


     a plot so confused that even the intrepid Whovians on this site couldn’t make sense of it

    Oh you think so??! Ha ha, no seriously, I take your point, and I do agree. I don’t think we actually know how lucky we are to have so many fans involved in key production roles, from RTD onwards.

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb i understand what your saying i just think the show in it future season can start to change thing. Adding more people who are different like Martha Jones and Donna noble. i would like to see the show grow from what it already is. As a Who fan i just want to see old faces and new faces start showing up on the show. Also there have been talks of a male companion now if you consider that Rory was a male one then fine but i would like to see one with having a woman in between him and the doctor it could just be the doctor and him. But i guess only time will tell what doctor who writers will think of for us fans.

    Anonymous @

    @doctor1994  could I politely ask (as others have) that you use your grammar? 🙂

    Here you said: “Also there have been talks of a male companion now if you consider that Rory was a male one then fine but i would like to see one with having a woman in between him and the doctor it could just be the doctor and him”

    “Also, there have been discussions of a male companion. Now, if you consider Rory was a male companion  -and he was – then that’s fine but I would like to see a series where there is another woman in between the male companion and the male doctor.” Is that what you meant?

    So in summary you would like a male companion like Danny Pink in the Tardis with the Doctor (Capaldi) and the current companion, Clara? But we have this already 😉 well, almost, as Danny Pink didn’t travel with them and then, so awfully, died. …But who ‘nose’? 🙂

    I get the impression that since 2005 we’ve tried many ‘combinations’: Doctor Martha (crushing on Number 10); Donna (a female companion who wanted to travel with a friend); the Ponds and their child who was much older than them (and largely unknown); a female master; the Doctor’s daughter and so many more! We’ve had two 10s and one of those was with Rose in an inter-dimensional  space. We’ve had the Moment and a totally new war doctor and an Impossible Girl together with a Doctor who stayed on Christmas for 1000 years or more to protect its children.

    Do we need more? Or do we need ‘as good’?

    I think the latter. And I think we’re getting it, in large part. A new sonic (or not) doesn’t really contribute much more (it’s a gadget) and the Tardis itself is new again, with leather bound books, armchairs and Gallifreyan writing on the console. The edges are lined with highly polished hardwood -quite archaic and beautiful.

    I would echo @scaryb about the real agenda behind the gimmick of a female or black doctor which, I think, diminishes the ‘type’ -if that is what we call it (not a good word, type) but I assume, as you suggest, such conversations are a-buzz on the internet and in upper management production rooms. The conversation nobody really wants to have -the leverage would be huge and the actor would need to be brilliant. But that goes for any actor who plays such a major role loved by millions. Also, you can’t really please fans -they always want something different. I guess that’s why there’s such diversity in the fan-fic, the fan creativity and in audio books and comics. Also the spin-offs help with the vibe and ‘complexion’ of the show -its alter ego, if you will.

    As for the “show moving on”, you then state you want “old faces”? Do you see? I think we all want a little bit of something we already have mixed with the new. Certainly, we had that this year in spades!

    Regards, purofilion

    ichabod @ichabod

    @scaryb   — “Stunt casting”, well put; but sometimes making a radical break isn’t (or is much more than) just a “gimmick”.   What some would regard as a “stunt” others — many others! — could see as a daring reach into new territory that could delight more viewers than it would offend, and that could bring new energy into the show and its fandom.  The creative team made a massively successful decision to drop the “my boyfriend is a Time Lord” line for exploration of a subtler, more complex relationship between an ancient alien and a young human woman.  This move put off a lot of young fans probably not into that kind of complexity yet, but re-engaged older fans who’d drifted off *looking* for more maturity and complexity, as well as refreshing the show tremendously which it definitely needed.  On the evidence, I am happy to trust the team to make other decisions on the basis of what’s good for the show and its enormous and varied audience rather than catering to whatever ideological skirmishes are going on in the (real) world at the time.

    My bet is that they’re going to need to go way wide in choosing Capaldi’s successor.  IMO, nobody can *follow* Capaldi; they’ll need someone talented and compelling enough to take off like a rocket and blaze their own unique trail in no uncertain terms; in other words, the very best talent and the most compelling presence they can find, regardless of skin color, gender, sexual orientation, fitness to run a marathon, and so on.

    I trust them to get it right — assuming they’re smart enough to start off by broadening the diversity of the writing team as well.  I think they’re edging up on getting that smart.

    Anonymous @

    I am going to say this very nice im very sorry that my english is hurting your eyes , i just felt this is a site that i can come and express my ideas and feeling about doctor who so if people on here dont like the way i write my post on here then maybe people should not read if it kills you some much inside. sorry im killing the king english. thank you for reading



    Bear in mind that people have grumbled about the casting of a mixed-race actor in The Musketeers.

    By people who need to research Alexandre Dumas…

    ichabod @ichabod

    @IAmNotAFish  — Yikes!  Really?!  Don’t know whether to laugh or cry . . . cry, probably, because probably not one in a thousand viewers of that show have bothered to read Dumas’ books, let alone discover his interesting ancestry.

    Anonymous @

    @pedant @ichabod  checking out Dumas with Flaubert extends that history somewhat…. There’s a nice little French web site that explains it all nicely.

    @Doctor1994 -come on, we were having a nice discussion! Don’t go away grumpy.

    ichi: I do think it’s agenda driven -I look at the utter frickin’ mess that is Screen Australia’s recent adaptation of an ..erm…’story’ (Hiding) , and I weep at the evident gimmicky ‘additions’ to the screen. It would be good to trail blaze but I wonder what happens to the trail blazer….usually death – but I could be mixing this up with Mad Max.

    Anonymous @

    @purofilion in not grumpy i was thinking this was a place were people who are doctor who fan can come a share there idea but some people think my writing on is so hard for them to read like it killing them inside or something. But im not leaving this site this is a place i feel im ideas about the show can be seen by people like me

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I am not being pedantic. I’m being dyslexic.

    If you don’t give me the clues to meaning provided by full stops and capital letters, I’m adrift in a sea of words. It really does ‘sound’ in my head like you are talking and talking with no pause for breath.

    To add to the fun and games, ‘I’m’ and ‘im’ are two different words- both for my brain and my screen reader.

    Now, I’m sorry that you feel annoyed, but when you sarcastically say that your English is hurting my eyes – you’re actually pretty close to the truth. I would like to talk ideas with you, so please – give me some help.

    Anonymous @

    No need for me to keep going back and forth with someone over words.Just keep it moving and that’s all

    Craig @craig

    @doctor1994 Not everyone can process words easily. Which is why we have punctuation, etc.

    @bluesqueakpip is not making it up. When I created the latest design for this site the background was white. When she told me it made it hard for her to read it, I changed it to light grey. Why wouldn’t I?

    If you’d like to improve your English we would all be happy to help. First lesson would be to start using more punctuation and paragraphs, so that your writing reflects your speech.

    I changed my whole website to make it more readable. The least you could do would be to try and do the same with your posts.

    Anonymous @


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I trust them to get it right — assuming they’re smart enough to start off by broadening the diversity of the writing team as well. I think they’re edging up on getting that smart.

    It’s an easy complaint to make. However, it ignores the point that Doctor Who – with its need for experienced TV writers and directors – is in the position of having to choose from a not-as-diverse-as-it-should-be pool.

    If you argue, as Moffat does, that AG Who is now so technical you can’t commission a newbie any more, then you’re dealing with a writing pool that’s about 85% male. The directing pool is probably about 90% male. (In film it’s about 98% male). If you’re looking for non-white writers and directors, you’ve got very similar problems. It’s not that the talent isn’t out there – it’s that a diverse talent isn’t getting any initial commissions. Therefore, diverse voices aren’t getting a track record.

    [Even for film, look how many of the tiny number of women or non-white directors/writers came in from either theatre or acting.]

    For women writers, I think there may also be an additional problem – you have to ask them. 😉 And I suspect most of them know what the so-called-fans did to Helen Raynor for her first AG Who story.

    [Kudos to Catherine Tregenna, for giving it a shot. Hopefully that’ll break the ice a bit. Or, alternatively, if we do get another shit-storm, it’ll be clearer that the misogynists are out on the Internet, not in the Production Office. 😈 ]

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip  Good points, all.  There certainly are problems of supply . . .

    Oswino @oswino

    Its so clear that the doctor is jealous of robin hood and clara

    Calango @calango

    Check out my first and new Doctor Who video. It’s hilarious. Tell me if you like it. 🙂


    gamergirlavatar @gamergirlavatar

    @calango I like your new who video . Me and my friend loved that seen . It was so funny . This is a great episode for families to watch . Mark brings a happy side to the show .

    nerys @nerys

    Hubby and I are rewatching this season on Netflix. I’m finding I like the few episodes I thought I didn’t like so well … and I think a big part of that is having no commercial interruptions. Even when we record a program and can fast-forward, that’s still an interruption. Things come together for me better without it.

    Anyway, in this episode, the Sheriff takes away the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. As far as I can tell, we never see it returned, yet obviously he get s it back at some point. Can anyone recall when this happened?

    Anonymous @


    Helloo to you again and welcome back from a phase away! I didn’t think of the screwdriver? I must have  a look again these holidays.

    I rarely think of what it’s like to watch this with ads. In Oz, on ABC TV, it’s uninterrupted. Indeed it’s exciting to watch this knowing many thousands of people are sitting down to watch it at the same time. As the ABC news finishes, they say “stay tuned, as next is Doctor Who…” (squee) and then the BBC ‘circles’ appear and off we go. One has to have hot chocolate, tea and custard ready or else a vital 5 minutes goes missing forever.

    Hmm, screwdriver: that ep was on my list this next fortnight:  though I imagine our @bluesqueakpip would know straight away.

    Kindest, puro.

    nerys @nerys

    @purofilion Thanks for the welcome back! We watch on the Space channel in Canada … which we recently upgraded to HD, hooray! That’s another difference; before we were watching current episodes in low-def (on cable), plus catching up on old eps in high-def (on Netflix). High definition is certainly a vast improvement over that slightly blurry cable telecast.

    Sadly Space has commercials, but they’ve gotta pay the bills. Anyway, I will continue to watch on Space because, as you note, I still do feel a certain communal excitement at watching the same program with lots of other folks, especially since we can have our watercooler discussion here soon after. But the interruptions (especially for a show that zips around as much as Doctor Who does) do take away from my ability to hold the story together in my wee little brain.

    Missy @missy

    It’s taken me long enough, but this is – to my mind – the funniest episode of the series.

    Peter Capaldi excelled himself and had me chuckling for most of the 45 minutes.

    The Robot Knights were terrific, those faces. I hope we see them again.



    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy   I love it too.  It has a for-the-kids flavor that I like just fine, still having a fair amount of kid alive in me.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @missy @ichabod

    This was the other one I watched over the weekend. Even at this late date, I still had the same big goofy grin as the first time! So much fun to see the CapDoc showing his lighthearted side, as well as the beautiful BBC work to create a storybook twelfth century– “It’s realistic, I’ll give you that.” Like the Doctor, I spent the whole story waiting for the other shoe to drop, and was a little surprised when it didn’t, so I found that knowing that Robin Hood really is Robin Hood puts a different spin on it.

    I remember that a lot of fandom at the time were incensed by the silliness of this story. It was high up on a lot of “worst of DW” lists. But really, can’t we laugh? I loved the Doctor and Robin’s game of h-o-r-s-e with bows and arrows, and then when the Doctor decides “This is getting silly”, he pulls out the sonic and blows up the target. And the intensity of the Sheriff’s plans: “For Nottingham is not enough. After this– Derby.” OMG. And Clara telling the Doctor that he would need a plan that doesn’t include the word “sonic” should have made the crankiest fans happy.

    I loved one moment even more this time, when the Doctor and Robin discover the space ship: “At last, something real. No more fairy tales.” It was always amusing, because of course giant space ships are just another kind of fairy tale in our reality, but knowing the ending gives this line new significance– if Robin Hood is one kind of fairy tale, the Doctor is another. “I’m just as real as you are.” The intensity with which he said that line gave it extra weight. While of course, we know that in reality, no real person’s legend would survive 800 years so perfectly intact, but this was our first indication of the myth and fairy tale thread that would run through this whole series. And just so perfectly done.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @arbutus. I re watched Robot of Sherwood too last week and like you enjoyed it very much. It is fun, it is meant to be fun and it does it is meant to do. I can really imagine Tom Baker’s Doctor in this story. He would have been very much at home in it. It has a lot of resonance of BG Who and particularly some of the Baker stories. (And back in the day there were fans who complained that there was too much humour in the show and it the beginning of the end…blablabla..)

    It did occur to me that as we know nothing of the original or if there was an original Robin Hood, (which is highly unlikely) it is not impossible that there was someone who, by sheer coincidence, matched the the post 18th-19th century description. Robin does say, I am not remembered as a man only a myth. So I will be content that in Dr Who that kind of remarkable coincidence is possible and accept and enjoy.



    Missy @missy


    I watched again last night, and still laughed a lot. Some of PC’s lines are hilarious.
    “And has anyone punched you in the face when you’ve said that?” “Six months in your case.”
    ‘Shut up Hoodie.’ “an ornamental plant stand,” and Robin’s reaction. “Stop laughing and I’m totally against bantering.” To mention a few. It’s the way he delivers those lines.
    One scene I found very touching. The village girl who thanks the Doctor, kisses his cheek and his reaction.
    Rather moving I thought. One wonders what he was thinking about.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy  Maybe he was thinking, “Wow, that sure felt better than when Clara nearly smacked my head off inside that Dalek!  Must have a chat with her about this, sometime when we’re not busy liberating a dungeon.”

    Anonymous @

    @missy @ichabod @arbutus

    @lisa the fairy tale of this particular episode is quite incredible. The actor, who was the inimitable soldier in Lost in Austen, played a perfect Robin.

    And for all the Doctor’s ‘I hate banter,’ he’s certainly bantering by the Christmas Special himself.

    GallifreyanGoldfish @thecleverzygon

    The, “Robot of Sherwood” was a great episode in my opinion, but I  thought that they could’ve done something new, like a crossover with BBC’s”Robin Hood”.  I know that sounds unlike them, but It would’ve been great, as I very much enjoyed that series. Aside from all that, I loved the robot twist to the episode, I thought it was a great way of adding the Doctor Who touch (The little sprinkles of aliens and fiction). I loved when the Doctor and Robin were fighting in the dungeon, I could not contain my laughter, it was so great! I think things like that are some of the best attributes of this Doctor.

    Superfreak @superfreak


    Anonymous @

    @thekrynoidman Worse even than Sean Connery?

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    The Sheriff is a really nasty piece of work. In fact him murdering Quail was so unexpected in an episode like this, it was shocking.

    The hollow in the woods is, I’m certain, the same one in the Sherlock episode The Hounds of Baskerville. But some great comedy in the Doctor checking Robin’s men to see if they’re real. And suspecting some sort of virtual reality. “It’s very green hereabouts, isn’t it? Very sunny.” “So?” “Have you been to Nottingham?”

    The shooting in the archery contest is, of course, totally impossible. Which raises the question of whether this whole story is, as the Doctor suspects, a virtual reality environment.

    Killer robots trying to repair their ship – haven’t we seen this two episodes ago? Never mind, this one is sufficiently different in the details that the similarity only occurred to me this time round.

    Doc and Robin having an ego-waving contest in the cell is funny, particularly when the guard decides that Clara is the brains of the outfit. Which in this instance she is. I absolutely love the way Clara worms the story out of the sheriff, then when he asks for hers, straight-out admits she was lying. “People are so much better at sharing information if they think the other person has already got it.” What a nerve. This is a guy who kills people on a whim. But to the Sheriff’s credit he has the intelligence to appreciate Clara’s boldness. Or maybe he’s just fallen under the spell of her personality. (I rather think Elizabeth 1 must have had a personality like that).

    Oh, and I might have forgotten the similarity with the robots in Deep Breath, but then Gatiss goes and lampshades it! I’d forgotten that too. I did like the photo of Doctor 2 (Patrick Troughton) as Robin Hood. I wonder if that mini-series is on video.

    Question – is Robin real, or is he (as the Doctor suspects) a robot tailored to suit the legends? That might explain his archery shooting (though it woudn’t explain the Sheriff’s). I see the Doctor later explains his own accuracy with a homing device in his arrows.

    Though I don’t like the Sheriff, Ben Miller imbues him with a certain pragmatic frankness. “Why would we create an enemy to fight us? What sense would that make? That would be a terrible idea.”

    There is some credibility in the robots needing gold for their circuits. Gold is a premium metal for electronics use on account of its high conductivity and resistance to oxidation. However, I have major logistic** reservations about the golden arrow thing. First, considering the huge amounts of gold we saw them using, the amount in the arrow would be insignificant. Second, even if it hit the ship, how would it be instantly and magically incorporated into its circuits? And thirdly, given the puny range of actual arrows, there is no way Robin et al could actually reach the ship with an arrow.

    **Not sure if ‘logistic’ is the right word. ‘Practical’? ‘Mechanical’? ‘Terrestrial’? I’m looking for a word that describes the niggling doubts I feel whenever a fictional event skirts too close to everyday reality and causes me to lose my suspension of disbelief.

    Did like the Doctor’s parting gift to Robin, reuniting him with Marian.

    So, quite a pleasant episode, good fun, even if overshadowed by the episodes neighboring it (Into the Dalek and Listen).

    janetteB @janetteb

    @dentarthurdent I was looking forward to your review of Robot of Sherwood. It is a fun episode, the kind that cheers me up if I feel a bit down, and has a lovely meta line at the end but it has that one glaring fault, the golden arrow. It does not work in a “real world” sense but nor does it work as fantasy. It just doesn’t work which is a shame but there is so much to enjoy in this episode. The banter between Robin and the Doctor is a delight, the Doctor is wonderfully eccentric and wrong about so many things, the highlighting of the relationship between myth and reality provides a hint of depth. If only there were a better resolution.  It is one of those stories where the writer has good set up, good complication, good setting and characters but no idea of how to resolve the story and so it fizzles at the end.

    Last night we watched the Puss in Boots movie and Puss reminded me of Robin and used the same line. “Puss in Boots laughs in the face of death.”  I don’t know if that is an old line from the golden days of Hollywood. IT sounds like a 1940 Swashbuckler type of thing to say.



    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb I forgot to mention that Robot is also a very visually appealing episode, at least the outdoor scenes. The whole episode has a very pleasant feel to it (which is odd considering the nastiness of the robots).

    Interesting that you picked up on the golden arrow too. As a dramatic device saving the day it was a good idea, pity that it just didn’t work. I think Gatiss put it in partly to show the Doctor, Robin and Clara acting in unison.

    I have this slightly cynical impression that plot elements put in to show the advantages of co-operation, or sometimes to demonstrate the merits of some under-valued character, tend to fall flat. The worthy intention of the writer to make a point doesn’t quite fit with the natural flow of the story, it seems a little forced.

    Back to the arrow, I’ve gone on before now about the apparent capriciousness or inconsistency of our (well, my) ‘incredulity’ circuits. I think, for me at least, the further something is from everyday concrete reality, the easier I can accept it – the Tardis for instance. It’s things that just skirt physical reality that give me a mild twinge of uneasiness. Like the stone block that Robin was lugging after they escaped from their cell – how did they pull that out of the floor? But usually I can gloss over it for the sake of the story.

    (On the opposite hand, I’m reminded of souffle girl in Asylum of the Daleks and ‘where does she get the milk?’ That was Moffat waving it like a flag in front of my face and I still didn’t get the clue – probably because Oswin was such a vivacious, lively character that my brain didn’t want to entertain the idea that she might not be real. So I glossed over that (because it didn’t seem significant) and the revelation that Oswin was a Dalek was a real shock, and very sad. The Moff fooled me completely. I (like the Sheriff with Clara) was delighted by his effrontery. But it takes great skill to get away with that.)

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