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Robin Hood: The Witch Finders by Rebecca Levene

01/06/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Robin HoodThe Witch Finders in the USA - or Buy Robin HoodThe Witch Finders in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute story CD with extras. Price: CD: 8.99; Download: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-387-3). read by Richard Armitage.

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If you thought Robin Hood was a man in tights you haven't experienced the little hoodie who lives in the greenness of the BBC forest. Stung by claims they are not pulling in enough dosh, the BBC have licensed Big Finish to take money from the rich to listen to Robin in 'de audio hood'.

I'm not a big fan of the TV series in which Maid Marion seemed to buy her clothes in Top Shop rather than having her needlewoman create them but all shoddy efforts at styling Sherwood Forest can be ignored in the cosy world between your ears.

Guy of Gisborne is deeply unhappy. He has killed the Lady Marion. Perhaps he didn't like her modern clothes. Although outwardly a strong man, he is haunted by her shade. She constantly torments him with his awful deed. Guy has to help the Sheriff of Nottingham to rid Sherwood Forest of outlaws and other lawbreakers.

He is not keen on the Sheriff's idea of bringing in the Witch finders who soon accuse and imprison a young woman. Guy is not convinced but he must obey his lord and master, though Marion continues to chip away at his certainties. He must also deal with Robin who can be guaranteed to do the right thing and get right under the skin of the Sheriff. Ballyhoo will ensue.

This audio adventure is read and performed by the lovely Richard Armitage who plays the apparently unwashed leather clad Guy of Gisbourne. Viewers might also know him from '[Spooks]' and maybe even the Victorian drama 'North And South'. He's very flexible and seems happy spreading himself across the centuries. He also has a most attractive voice and the ladies will melt again at the deliciously dirty, dastardly devil.

This is a respectable narrative and well told. It is not a hugely original story but proves to be an enjoyable slice of forest life. Armitage does some interpretations of his fellow cast members. It's probably the best bit for the actors involved in these solitary audios. Although it's a story rather than a play it has good pace and offers more depth to the characters than can be explored in the TV series. It should prove to be popular with fans.

The CD includes a short interview with Armitage with chat about Series 3 now showing on BBC1 in the UK.

Sue Davies

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