The Doctor and Robin Hood meet again. There is some confusion because this Doctor is a ‘taller, older man in the swathes of multicoloured wool.’ and not ‘whey-faced and judgemental and not at all happy to be here.’ whether this means the Doctor is older or younger, who knows. Robin Hood is certainly older, and without Maid Marion. Sir Guy of Gisborne has taken possession of Robin Hood’s home, Locksley Hall and the Sheriff has kidnapped Maid Marian. The Sheriff is planning to marry her and orders Gisborne to capture Robin Hood and as many of his Merrie Men as possible, for hanging in front of the audience of King John. There are references to Vogan gold and a message from the Brigadier, which sets The Return of Robin Hood before Terror of the Zygons. It’s Sarah Jane who first detects something might be amiss. ‘And all at once a horrible feeling of foreboding settled on Sarah Jane.’
I have been a fan of Paul Magrs writing since I was a teenager and I have enjoyed the other books in this range. I was initially put out because this story features the fourth Doctor. He’s not my favourite. Harry Sullivan is one of his companions, so I changed my mind and was keen to read the book for that reason. I also love the front cover. I was disappointed after I had read The Return of Robin Hood the first time. I don’t feel as if there needed to be a second adventure with Robin Hood? It isn’t a story that interests me much. I did like Harry Sullivan and his reaction to being in a story from his childhood. This leads to a warning from the Doctor, great lines ‘But you believed in the dangers there because they were alien worlds and everything was hostile and terrifying. Here, it’s all as familiar as a game you played in childhood.’ The Doctor’s concern was very clear in his tone and Harry was touched. ‘Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re invulnerable. These are deadly times.’ Harry is charmed by it all but it obviously still poses dangers like the Daleks and being on Voga did too. Sarah Jane does not feel like herself in The Return of Robin Hood and is sidelined. The Doctor has a couple of moments which I really felt suited his character.
There is another return of a historical figure in King Richard. This involved the Doctor explaining to Sarah Jane where/when he had met him before and Sarah Jane asking ‘and I suppose you know both Marco Polo and Kublai Khan personally, too, do you?’ This was a part of a chapter which went very history lesson heavy.
On reread I liked The Return of Robin Hood for what it is but I didn’t feel as if there was much in the book that I felt truly engaged with. Except for Harry.
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For those who are curious