Doctor Who series 8, Robot of Sherwood, review: A dull and nonsensical disappointment

The Doctor and Robin Hood could have been a winning combination but it just didn't work in this adventure

Neela Debnath@NeelanjonaD
Monday 08 September 2014 09:03
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow

And it was all going so well… what happened? After last week's Dalek triumph, tonight paled in comparison.

‘Robot of Sherwood’ came as something of a disappointment.

It attempted to shoehorn a well-loved historical figure (mythical or otherwise) into the series and combine it with the central arc involving Missy and The Promise Land.

The result was an oddly pieced together episode that didn't make much sense.

There were no silver linings either. Far too much time was spent on the Doctor and Robin Hood attempting to out-banter each other. No one cared. Then there was the Doctor’s obsession with disproving the existence of Robin Hood?

Again, no one really cared.

If only the Doctor and Clara had ended up in a miniscope like 'Carnival of Monsters' from the Jon Pertwee era, it would have made things far more interesting. Long-form storytelling on television is back in vogue, so why not spend another episode on the robotic knights and the legend of Robin Hood?

Even Clara who has come so far in this series was grating. She reverted back to the school girl with the crush. Three steps forwards and two steps back as she gazed with dewy eyes and wonderment at her legendary outlaw and pranced through the forest with him.

Tom Riley's merry outlaw failed to charm and appeared to be smothered in so much foundation that he looked a tad orange at times and more suited to Strictly than Sherwood. Meanwhile Ben Miller's Sheriff of Nottingham did not offer any relief - comic or otherwise. Both Miller and Tom Riley's performances were too caricature for this new era of Doctor Who.

Where has all the darkness that we were promised repeatedly gone? This was one for the kids to enjoy. It was so dull that it was more likely to convince some grown ups to revisit Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for some real robbing from the rich, giving to the poor action.

Apparently the BBC struggles to get the legend of Robin Hood right, as this episode attests to. Let’s not forget the ridiculously anachronistic Robin Hood miniseries from several years ago either. The show was admittedly a guilty pleasure, featuring Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, and an outlaw kitted out in a hoodie, who was more likely to be carrying an Asbo than a bow and arrow. Yet both were poorly executed.

Click the image above to launch the interactive graphic

The only good thing about the episode was the Doctor's spoon versus sword fight. Capaldi is putting to good use the skills he picked up from his co-stars on the set of The Musketeers. Though the fact that the Doctor carries around a dirty piece of cutlery does throw up questions about his personal hygiene.

Every series has its blips and 'Robot of Sherwood' appears to be this year's one.

Next week on Doctor Who, things pick up in the scary-looking ‘Listen’, which looks like it will give even the adults the heebie-jeebies as things come out from under the bed.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments