Not so long ago, I was privileged to have been commission by Spiteful Puppet to contribute to their officially-licensed continuation novels for Richard Carpenter’s Robin Of Sherwood TV series.
I joined a merry band of authors – as guided by our own brave and fearless leader Barnaby Eaton-Jones, resplendent in his Lincoln Green tights and feathered cap – all with the one intention of authentically recreating the series in audio and prose form. Not only was the fact that writing officially for Robin Of Sherwood was something quite remarkable, I also got to meet with, work with and get to know a talented bunch, too.
Recently, I spoke with one of my fellow authors, Jennifer Ash, about her own take on the classic series. Like me, Jennifer has been a long-term fan of the show and the chance to add to the canon was something very special to be invited to do.
Jennifer, as a fan of Robin of Sherwood, how important was it to you to reflect the concept of the original show?
Utterly essential. Every fan has expectations of the show which are wrapped up in that brilliant first concept. It’s my job to keep that concept at the core of each new episode. I will confess to having nightmares about steering too far from the path and letting the fans down.
It’s not unusual for spin off/tie in fiction to deviate or expand from the original series – so was it tricky to keep in check your own desires to want to widen the landscape/canvas?
Not at all. The aim of the new episodes of Robin of Sherwood was to expand, but not divert, from the original. Even when writing a prequel, “Mathilda’s Legacy” (which tells the story of Robert of Huntingdon’s father meeting his mother), the underlying reason for the story had to compliment the canon set down by Richard Carpenter. In this case, “Mathilda’s Legacy”, showed what it was about Robert of Huntingdon’s character that led him to be the sort of man who’d become Herne’s Son – and to explain Robert’s fractured relationship with his father, the Earl of Huntington.
Every new episode written has to connect with the three series from the 1980s and stay within that landscape. At no point could we – or would we – change or call into question the original canon laid down by Richard Carpenter.
Do you think that sometimes expanded universes dilute the ‘magic’ of what made an original parent show so popular? Too much saturation, kind of thing?
This can happen. If a writer travels too far from the starting point laid down by a series creator – which, is inevitable if too many new episodes/spin offs are created – they’re in danger of weakening the whole thing.
Jennifer, thank you very much.
Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Dr Jennifer Ash wrote The Folvilles Chronicles: The Outlaw’s Ransom, The Winter Outlaw, Edward’s Outlaw and Outlaw Justice (2017-2020). Jennifer has written several audio scripts and novellas for Robin of Sherwood, ITV’s popular 1980s TV series, including “The Waterford Boy”, “Mathilda’s Legacy”, “The Baron’s Daughter”, “The Meeting Place”, “Fitzwarren’s Well”, “The Servant” and “The Power of Three” which were all released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017- 2021. Jennifer also writes as Jenny Kane. Her work includes the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange (Head of Zeus), A Cornish Escape (Headline) and Romancing Robin Hood (Littwitz Press).
Co-owner of the creative writing business, Imagine. Jenny teaches a wide range of creative writing workshops including her popular ‘Novel in a Year’ course. (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk).
All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at http://www.jennykane.co.uk
Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/
Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766
Jenny/Jennifer is available for author talks, workshops and literary festivals across the UK.
Contact Jenny via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny is represented by the Keane Kataria Literary Agents.