By Richard´s fan club
Richard has taken the role of Little John to new heights - making the giant of Sherwood into a gentle and caring man. Though gruff sometimes and ready to fight, Little John cares deeply about all who are oppressed - and for children and small animals. His gentleness is hidden behind a rough exterior, but it is still there to see. All of this shows through in Richard's acting. He's made the gentle giant into a loveable character, and it is a joy to see his loyalty to Robin Hood come through on the TV screen.
Richard has shown himself to be a sweet and romantic actor, too.
In the episode "Rage of the Mongols", when asked by a young girl how she smelt, he replied: "You know how a dog smells when it's wet and lays down by a fire ... You don't smell like that at all." That line was delivered so sweetly, it left many with an answering smile on their faces for Little John. In another episode, "Your Land is My Land," we saw a fun-loving side of Little John. The scene of John and Renata at the river's bank was enjoyable to watch, and showed a deeply romantic side of Little John.
A doughty fighter with the staff, Richard practices long hours, keeping his skills up to the level his role as Little John needs. The staff he uses is quite long due to Richard's height, and weighs enough to make it an unwielding weapon, indeed. It takes a little while to learn the use of the quarterstaff as a weapon, and Richard has done a creditable job! His skills improve daily with his practice, and it will be fun to see what else he finds he can do with it in the coming season! For other weapons used on the show, Richard also has to practice swordsmanship, and he even has shot off a flaming arrow in the episode "Your Land is My Land." All this hard work - and it IS hard work, learning to use different weapons, can make a man very tired!
Little John's loyalty to Robin Hood comes through very clearly, and the way Richard delivers the lines has a lot to do with that. In one episode, "The Legion," Richard has a tough line to speak, but the way he emphasizes it is perfect. "We've never run away from a fight yet, and I'm not going to start now. Especially if it means the next time I see you is at your funeral." Little John's stout adherence to Robin Hood shows clearly in that last line. In the "Devil's Bride," again Little John shows his strong sense of duty and friendship to Robin. Though afraid of the "black raven", he refuses to leave his friend's side in Robin's quest to free Marion. And in the "Witches of the Abbey," at the very end of the episode, Little John refuses to kill Robin, even though he is under a spell. All of these examples show Little John's devotion to Robin Hood, and Richard acts the part perfectly.
During the last two seasons, Richard also has shown his talent as a comedic actor! His rendition of Laurel and Hardy (with Martyn Ellis) in the episode "Mystery of Druid's Grove," was extremely funny to watch! He also used his talents to play the part of the Sheriff in "Outlaw Express" (a bumbling sheriff, with a sense of rightness!) In this part, he was able to let loose, and really came through the screen as an hysterically funny man - but with his morals set in the right spot. One of his final lines was delivered with finese - when he told Robin he was the most wanted man in England. When Robin replied "Not today. Today, I'm the best man." Richard answered him with feeling - "Yes, you are!"
The filming of the New Adventures of Robin Hood takes place in Lithuania. The forests of that country are beautiful to see, and are reminiscient of the ancient forests of Sherwood. Unfortunately, those great trees in England have been destroyed, but a group of people are working hard on replacing them. They vow to bring Sherwood back to its former glory! For more information on The Sherwood Initiative - visit their website at http://www.sherwoodinitiative.co.uk/
Text by Diane.