Every so often, a new BBC series comes along that's so chock full of recognizable stars that it's akin to watching a remix of your favorite British shows. For 2022, that series is Sherwood, the fictionalized retelling of real-life events in the mining village of Annesley Woodhouse, which is one of the BBC's critical darlings of the year. Considering both the cast and the high praise the series received, not to mention its immediate renewal for Season 2 following the finale, it was only a matter of time before someone scooped it up to stream on this side of the pond. The good news is that it's BritBox who's got hold of it, and will debut the series in October.
The confirmation that BritBox would stream Sherwood came as part of the Television Critics Association Press Tour. Asked about the use of the title Sherwood, which calls to mind the Robin Hood stories, as well as the area of Northern England where the story is set, series creator James Graham explained, "It's a part of the world that means a huge amount to me. I grew up in the community where the two murders that this story is inspired by took place... It was remarkable that the overlapping symbolism with somebody using a crossbow and then as an outlaw, disappearing into Sherwood Forest," Graham noted. "Narratives and mythology and folklore do feed into this story to expand it, I think, slightly outside the traditional crime drama."
The Robin Hood aspect isn't nearly as important as the area's history in the 1980s, much of which the rest of the world has forgotten. These mining towns suffered enormously under Thatcher's administration after she broke the miners' strike early in her rule as Prime Minister. The area is still considered a Labour-centric stronghold, British politics refer to Nottinghamshire and the surrounding country as "red wall" towns, because they form one on the voting results map, and is still a target for state surveillance, as evidenced by its being one of the earliest ground zero areas for the SpyCop scandal, another part of recent British history Americans might not be familiar with.
Here's the show's synopsis:
A complex political past means that the industrial villages around Sherwood Forest have often been divided communities. But when two local residents are killed, old wounds are reopened and the town is engulfed in tension and fear. Soon everyone is under suspicion, neighbors are turning on neighbors, and no one can be trusted – especially not the authorities. It’s down to local police chief Ian and London met police offer Kevin to solve the case and unravel the lies. Can they put their own troubled history aside and help this fractured community heal? Drawn from real-life events, Sherwood is a shockingly relevant thriller about a burgeoning lack of trust in local police and national government – and the way that supposedly long-buried political tensions can resurface to devastating effect.
The cast for this series is seriously stacked. The top line leads are Robert Glenister (Suspicion) plays DI Kevin Salisbury, and David Morrissey (The Missing) is DCS Ian St Clair, the cops assigned to solve the two murders. Still, they're just the tip of the iceberg. Lesley Manville and Claire Rushbrook (both from Magpie Murders) also co-star, as do Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, and Perry Fitzpatrick (all from Downton Abbey), and Lorraine Ashbourne, Adeel Akhtar, and Phaldut Sharma (all from Unforgotten). Also in the cast: Clare Holman and Andrea Lowe (both from Inspector Lewis), Sean Gilder and Mark Frost (both from Poldark), Philip Jackson (Agatha Christie's Poirot), and Alun Armstrong (Tom Jones).
All six episodes of Sherwood will debut on BritBox on Oct. 4, 2022. Season 2 is expected out next year.