Maid Marian and her Merry Men is a British children's sitcom created and written by Tony Robinson and directed by David Bell. It began in 1989 on BBC One and ran for four series, with the last episode shown in 1994. The show was a partially musical comic retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, placing Maid Marian in the role of leader of the Merry Men, and reducing Robin to an incompetent ex-tailor.
The programme was much appreciated by children and adults alike, and has been likened to Blackadder, not only for its historical setting and the presence of Tony Robinson (as well as early, uncredited, script editing work being undertaken by Richard Curtis), but also for its comic style. It is more surreal than Blackadder, however, and drops even more (deliberate) anachronisms. Many of the show's cast such as Howard Lew Lewis, Forbes Collins, Ramsay Gilderdale and Patsy Byrne had previously appeared in various episodes of Blackadder alongside Robinson. Like many British children's programmes, there is a lot of social commentary sneakily inserted, as well as witty asides about the Royal family, buses running on time, etc. Many of the plots spoofed or referenced film and television shows including other incarnations of Robin Hood in those media.
The show was such a success that there was an adaptation produced for the stage, a cartoon strip by Paul Cemmick which was serialised in the Daily Telegraph's children's paper "The Young Telegraph" (also available as a series of collections), and the programme was repeated on BBC One in 2001. Series 1 was released on video in 1990, with three episodes each on two tapes, and all four series are available on DVD. During the summer of 2009, Gold repeated the entire 4 series.