The Doctor's Acquaintances
(From the Books and Audios)
Robin Hood
Robot of Sherwood
Robot of Sherwood
 Name: Robin Hood

 Format: Book and Television Show

 Time of Origin: England, 1190-ish

 Appearances: "The Thief of Sherwood", "Robot of Sherwood" and "The Return of Robin Hood"

 Doctors: First Doctor, Fourth Doctor and Twelfth Doctor

 Companions: Susan, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan and Clara Oswald

 History: While Robin Hood has come to be regarded as a fictional character, created out of nothing more than misremembered legends, The Doctor has encountered two different versions of Robin Hood throughout his travels who were each completely genuine in their own right. In the legends, Robin Hood is known as a former lord who lost his land and title for his actions against the corrupt Prince John and subsequently retreated to Sherwood Forest with a band of outlaws, earning a noble reputation for his efforts to protect the innocent by robbing from the rich and giving their money to the poor to compensate for the harsh taxes enforced by The Sheriff of Nottingham. His legacy has inspired a range of stories into the present day, ranging from numerous re-tellings of the myth as novels, TV shows and films to inspiring other characters such as DC Comics' Green Arrow, although The Doctor's two encounters with him were not what history would have expected.

Book - Short Trips 6: Past Tense
Short Trips 6:
Past Tense
 When The Doctor first visited Sherwood, the TARDIS materialised in the dungeons of the Sheriff of Nottingham, resulting in Ian Chesterton and Susan being trapped in the dungeons with Maid Marion while the First Doctor and Barbara Wright escaped via a secret passage. Unfortunately, The Doctor and Barbara were then captured by Robin Hood and his Merry Men - with Robin the exact double of Ian - who were actually amoral bandits who robbed from the poor and the rich equally. With Ian facing execution for Robin's crimes and The Doctor unconscious after his attempt to prove himself an alchemist caused an explosion that knocked him out, after Robin Hood was killed in a raid via the secret passage, Ian escaped with the Merry Men and Marion and decided to pose as Robin to lead the Merry Men to rescue the still -captured Susan before her execution. With the recovered Doctor posing as a priest to trick the Sheriff into lowering his guard, Ian rallied the townsfolk against the Sheriff, subsequently sharing the loot among the villagers after the Sheriff fled, with Ian's actions and Marion's unreliable memories inspiring the myth of Robin Hood.

 During a second trip to Sherwood Forest, in response to his companion Clara's request to have a chance to meet Robin Hood directly, the Twelfth Doctor encountered another man who claimed to be Robin Hood, Robin and The Doctor engaging in a duel on a small bridge when Robin attempted to 'claim' the TARDIS. After The Doctor had defeated Robin, he and Clara were invited to meet with the rest of Robin's Merry Men, but while The Doctor was occupied with 'testing' them to determine what they were, refusing to accept that Robin Hood was real, Clara learned that Robin was heading for the archery contest at the Sheriff's castle. Although Robin won the contest, The Doctor won the contest with another shot to try and 'prove' that Robin wasn't real, their subsequent competition resulting in the Sheriff capturing The Doctor, Clara and Robin after The Doctor realised that some of his knights were actually robots.

Robot of Sherwood
Robot of Sherwood
 While Clara was questioned by the Sheriff, The Doctor and Robin managed to escape their cell and discovered that the castle they were in was actually a spaceship; the sheriff had witnessed it crash-land some time ago, subsequently taking control of it and disguising as his castle, the ship also providing him with a new army in the form of the ship's robots, which he equipped with armour to give the impression that they were merely standard knights. Having discovered that the ship was powered by gold, the Sheriff had ordered his men to gather all the gold in the area so that it could be melted down and used as a power source. However, when The Doctor found the ship's computer core, he became convinced that the Sheriff had created Robin to provide hope for the masses as he oppressed them based on records from the ship's databanks, resulting in Robin and Clara escaping while The Doctor stayed behind to confront the Sheriff, Clara being forced to reveal The Doctor's true history to Robin to convince him that they weren't actually allied with the Sheriff.

 Having determined that there wasn't enough gold in the area to fully repair the ship's engines and that any attempt to launch the ship would trigger an explosion that could destroy half the country, The Doctor was able to help the Sheriff's prisoners escape by using gold plates to reflect the robots' own energy weapons back at them. After the prisoners had fled, The Doctor confronted the Sheriff and his remaining robots directly, confirming during the confrontation that Robin Hood was the genuine article as the idea of the Sheriff creating an enemy for himself made no sense. As The Doctor accepted the Sheriff's words, Robin appeared, inspired to return for The Doctor after hearing Clara's stories of The Doctor's history, engaging his enemy in a duel. Although he was injured and disarmed during the fight, Robin used a manoeuvre that The Doctor had demonstrated during their earlier duel to catch the Sheriff off-guard and hurl him into the vat of molten metal below them. With the Sheriff dead, Robin, The Doctor and Clara fled the castle as the ship within it began to take off, subsequently shooting the golden arrow up to the ship to give the engines the necessary boost to get it into orbit so that it could explode safely out of harm's way (Although all three had to work together to aim and fire the bow as Robin's arm had been slightly injured in his duel with the Sheriff).

Robot of Sherwood
Robot of Sherwood
 With the Sheriff defeated, The Doctor and Clara departed, although The Doctor and Robin shared a last conversation where Robin noted that he was content to be considered a story in future, as historical figures could be twisted and misremembered where fictional characters could truly inspire others. Reflecting on the tales Clara had told him about The Doctor's past, Robin noted that the two of them were not so dissimilar, each having rejected a life of privilege to live among the common people and help them where they could. With that last comment to reflect on, The Doctor departed, revealing as he left that he had discovered Maid Marian among the prisoners he had rescued earlier, allowing her to be reunited with Robin as the two began their lives together.

Book - The Return of Robin Hood
(Paul Magrs)
 Some years later, Robin and many of the outlaws were starting to become disillusioned with their mission, as they were getting older and had yet to achieve their goal of permanently dealing with John, Guy of Gisborne or the current Sheriff, to say nothing of the Sheriff's new ally of the witch Mother Maudlin ("The Return of Robin Hood"). Robin’s mood was lifted when he discovered the TARDIS back in the forest, but he was naturally confused to find the Fourth Doctor rather than the Twelfth, The Doctor having taken a detour while responding to a message from The Brigadier ("Revenge of the Cybermen"). While the Merry Men naturally had trouble understanding the concept of regeneration, Allan-a-Dale chose to interpret it as The Doctor’s legend being more important than his appearance, and Robin (who had some knowledge of regeneration from Clara) decided to tell others that the ‘new’ Doctor was the son of the one they had met previously to keep things simple. After The Doctor helped the Merrie Men capture Guy of Gisborne, he was able to identify Maudlin as a Carrionite ("The Shakespeare Code"), beings of the Dark Times capable of wielding a form of magic. While Harry Sullivan led an attack on the castle to rescue Marian and Friar Tuck, while The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith were able to weaken Maudlin by taking her into the upper atmosphere in the TARDIS (Maudlin currently too weak to leave Earth) before travelling to Europe to retrieve the currently-captive Richard III and bring him back to England. Richard’s return gave the Merry Men a chance to defeat Maudlin, kill Guy and have John and the Sheriff removed from power. While returning to the TARDIS, The Doctor solemnly told Sarah and Harry that the tales at least suggested that Robin and his men wouldn’t have happy endings, but they were spared from analysing this concern in depth when Maudlin stole their memories of this experience to recharge her own energy as she returned home.

 While these two versions of Robin Hood appear incompatible, it should be noted that The Doctor has been forced to ‘reset’ the universe at least twice during his travels, during the Eighth Doctor's clash with the Council of Eight when they collapsed reality down to a single timeline ("Time Zero" to "Sometime Never...") and the near-destruction of the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS almost destroying the universe ("The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang"). Since the Fourth Doctor’s encounter with Robin Hood took place essentially around the time the Council of Eight were attempting to interfere with the Eighth Doctor’s past ("Wolfsbane"), this lends weight to the idea that Robin Hood’s changed circumstances were one of the details affected by the universal reset, Robin being changed from his original self-centred nature and exact double of Ian in his confrontation with the First Doctor to a personality and appearance more compatible with the images created in the legends when he met the Twelfth Doctor and the Fourth Doctor.

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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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