Sherwood was one of the BBC's big hits of the summer of 2022. Inspired by real-life murders in Nottinghamshire in 2004, where series creator and writer James Graham hails from, the series is a meditation on the era's politics wrapped in the guise of a six-part police procedural. Between the show's all-star cast and its economy of storytelling, British TV critics hailed the series as one of the best programs of the year when the finale aired in June. BritBox landed the rights to stream the series here in the states, with all episodes arriving at the beginning of October.
However, BritBox is deeply aware of the American mindset regarding a series with the name Sherwood. Though the forest and the area of Nottinghamshire are living, breathing, modern-day places, which have undergone a hell of a lot of history since the 13th century, every American immediately thinks of Robin Hood, just from the title. Robin Hood's "steal from the rich, give to the poor" idealism reflects the same present-day liberal politics of the region (known as "Red Wall" areas because the Labour voting blocks form an unbroken red line across the middle of the country on election maps). However, the story has nothing to do with the legend.
Despite the mystery having no relation to Robin Hood or the 13th-century mythos, it is notable that the initial real-life murder that kicks off the story was committed with a bow and arrow. (The subsequent murder that followed was not.) The trailer for the series premiere in the U.S. focuses heavily on the weapon's use, giving viewers at least some sense that the two might be related. If that's what it takes to get people to watch, sure. Come for the archery; stay because you can't believe every PBS star you love is in this.
I'm not kidding about the star-studded aspect of the series. Once every few years, a show comes along from the BBC or ITV that stars every face you know from PBS, playing roles you wouldn't normally expect from the characters they previously played. Sherwood is one of those shows. Robert Glenister (MI-5) plays DI Kevin Salisbury, and David Morrissey (The Missing) is DCS Ian St Clair, the two cops investigating the murder. But the rest of the cast that populates the area of Sherwood is a who's who of faces.
Joanne Froggatt, Kevin Doyle, and Perry Fitzpatrick (Downton Abbey) are among the stars featured in the series. It also co-stars Adeel Akhtar, Lorraine Ashbourne, Phaldut Sharma (Unforgotten), Pip Torrens, Mark Frost, and Sean Gilder (Poldark). Also in the cast: are Claire Rushbrook and Lesley Manville (Magpie Murders), Andrea Lowe and Clare Holman (Inspector Lewis), and Terence Maynard and Tom Glenister (Grantchester). All that, plus acting legends Alun Armstrong (Tom Jones) and Philip Jackson (Agatha Christie's Poirot).
Sherwood premieres on BritBox with all six episodes on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Season 2 is already greenlit for next year.