Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Barnaby Eaton Jones

Download Today: Fitzwarren’s Well

A brand new Robin of Sherwood story is available to download from Spiteful Puppet!

Fitzwarren’s Well is a full cast (acted not narrated) audio story, staring Judi Trott as Marion.

Fancy a trailer care of the Radio Times? (Yes! The Radio Times!!!) Here you go –https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-07-01/robin-of-sherwood-classic-tv-series-returns-for-new-story-recorded-in-lockdown/?fbclid=IwAR1AvsHxbXospBSUlL0WKsGLoJChdh_Jx4obcSkArUfNU2cXytGoxmlZD8g

Here’s the blurb-

Will Scarlet is regretting buying new boots as he walks home from Lichfield, desperate to get back to Sherwood. A worried Marion intercepts him with terrible news of a sickness that has laid low the rest of the outlaws.

A journey to the Lady of the Well is their one hope.

But the Lady will only help those she deems worthy… and someone is busy convincing her that they are not.

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Richard Carpenter’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD
‘FITZWARREN’S WELL’
By Jennifer Ash

Starring JUDI TROTT as Maid Marion

Featuring JON CULSHAW, SARAH GREENE and IAN OGILVY

With DANIEL ABINERI and BARNABY EATON-JONES

(Set during Series Three, between ‘Rutterkin’ and ‘The Time of the Wolf’)

Artwork: Anthony Lamb
Sound Design: Joseph Fox
Soundtrack: Arpeggio Creative
Produced & Directed by Barnaby Eaton-Jones

Television series Robin Of Sherwood © HTV/Goldcrest Films & Television 1983. Created by Richard Carpenter, with grateful thanks to his Estate.

Once upon a time a 14 year old girl fell in love with a story. The Robin Hood story.

Almost 34 years later, that same girl has – by some miracle – found herself writing for Spiteful Puppet – the power behind the new Robin of Sherwood audios and books – and adding, in a very small way, to that same story.

It is such a joy! Not only do I get to write lines for characters from my favourite television show – I also get to write for incredible guest stars.

The story of Fitzwarren’s Well evolved from an idea that Barnaby Eaton Jones – Spiteful Puppet’s producer, script editor, budget juggler, and actor – had not long after lockdown was imposed.

He wanted a tale that reflected – but did not copy – our current socially isolated situation.

The story was to involve two of Robin Hood’s outlaws (Marion and Will Scarlet), and two extra characters with whom they could interact – in this case Herne and a man called Fitzwarren. Obviously, we are in lockdown, so only actors with their own audio equipment could be involved in this production.

You will notice from the cast list above however, that rather than having a cast of four, we have a cast of six. This is because, when I was writing the story I accidentally invented the ‘Lady of the Well’ – and once I’d got her in my head, I couldn’t shift her.

Barnaby- being a forgiving sort- magically found the brilliant Sarah Greene (of Blue Peter fame) to provide the Lady of the Well’s voice. It has to be said, she plays the role to perfection.

At this point, I thought I’d finished writing the story – but then I received a phone call saying that the fantastic Mr Ian Ogilvy- on hearing that there was an opportunity to bring Lord Edgar of Huntingdon back for a cameo – offered his services. And so, there I was, suddenly writing lines for another of my acting heroes.

The result was Fitzwarren’s Well – of which I’ll say no more, for fear of spoiling the story.

You can buy your copy of Fitzwarren’s Well for download from Spiteful Puppet – here.

 

Happy listening,

Jennifer xx

 

Nothing Forgotten: The Hooded Man Event

This weekend I found myself in a situation I never thought I’d be in. Okay- that’s a sentence I’ve said fairly often since I started this writing lark (especially when I’m being that Kay Jaybee person).

This weekend however, it is totally true.

As I type this I am reflecting on two days sat in a room of stall holders within the beautiful St Pierre Marriott Hotel, nr Chepstow. Why so far from home?  I was attending The Hooded Man event- a celebration of the immensely popular television series from the 1980’s- Robin of Sherwood.

You cannot have escaped noticing if you’re a follower of this blog, that I am something of a Robin Hood fan. I like everything about the legend- and that love was engendered by Robin of Sherwood. I don’t claim that it saved my life or anything, but it set my imagination racing off in a direction previously unexplored- and it hasn’t stopped racing since.

I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d be able to thank some of the people that sparked that flame of interest in me a shy teenager. A spark that took me on a journey which has been both exciting and unexpected, and has taken me from archaeologist, to medieval historian, to novelist, literary festival organiser, writing tutor and, in the future, who knows what else.

So here I am now- a day after the event- in the corner of the cafe where I write my fiction; thinking about the experience of selling my books to the conference attendees. It is incredible how many people I met that feel their lives have been as influenced by the simple act of watching a television programme. And- if I’m honest- feeling oddly emotional that I did have the chance to say thank you- and that my words were appreciated, and not merely kindly tolerated.

This particular event is especially important for RoS fan’s. For the first time in 30 years, all the surviving cast members have reunited to record an audio follow up the final televised episode, which was first televised in 1986. This new episode, The Knights of the Apocalypse, stars Jason Connery as Robin, and has been produced by the lovely Barnaby Eaton-Jones.

With Barnaby Eaton-Jones

With Barnaby Eaton-Jones

It is thanks to Barnaby that I was at the event, surrounded by those men and women who set my life on its roller coaster course. Jason Connery, Michael Praed, Judy Trott, Mark Ryan, Peter Llewellyn Williams, Clive Mantle, Jeremy Bulloch, Claire Toeman, Michael Craig, James Coombes, Rula Lenska and Marcus Gilbert were all present, and correct, and on fine form. As was the incredible force of nature that is Esta Charkham, the programmes casting director and then producer. The woman has a magic eye for casting- thank goodness!

The cast are all so kind, friendly- and very funny. Mark Ryan (Nasir) has had us all in stitches many times with his- shall we say ‘puckish’ sense of humour! This was particularly the case when the cast performed a ‘cut scene’ from the audio show live on the event stage- I can’t tell you what it was about- but the humour was adult, and it was very very funny. I will not mention Mark’s disco dancing, as that would be cruel…. I will tell you however, that we were all treated- all be it 30 years late to witness the wedding of Little John and Meg of Wickham- thanks to vicar Barnaby!

Wedding of Little John and Meg – (Official event photo)

There were many interview sessions held throughout the day, and although I was unable to attend many as I was busy selling my words to unwitting passersby, those I did see were so much fun. Held together by “The last word in RoS himself”- Andrew Orton- (if you are a fan, and you haven’t purchased his two volume set The Hooded Man– then pop them on your Christmas list the very minute), the cast chats were informative and light hearted, and it was clear that every actor, whether they have gone on to be household names, or whether it was their only acting job, have as much affection for the show as those that came to see them.

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My book, Romancing Robin Hood, contains the line ‘It’s all Jason Connery’s fault.’ So when Jason came to my stand, those were the first words I (unintentionally), found myself speaking- which luckily, he found funny. Somehow I managed to intrigue him enough for him to buy a copy. It is a weird feeling when a renowned actor and director asks for my autograph. A situation which repeated itself later, when Peter (Much) also bought a copy. I am – of course- now terrified neither of them will like it!! If I had been thinking straight, I would have asked them for a photograph of them holding my book, but I wasn’t thinking straight. In fact I was thinking, these are two extremely kind men, who have a word-ish creatively that I understand totally, and in different circumstances I would have loved to have talked words with them for much longer. (Yes that is what I was thinking!! Honestly- you doubters you!!!)

As well as having the chance to acquire autographs and photos with the stars; there was plenty of opportunity to eat way too much medieval fayre (with the odd drop of alcohol). There were excellent displays of archery and sword play from Bowlore, Andrew Orton was busy selling his much respected books on the background to the series, and there was the chance to buy fabulous event t-shirts. You could also buy these gorgeous little figures inspired by the show; the event had lots to offer.

The days past have been truly wonderful. They have added greatly to my store of memories and- without a doubt- will form the basis for a new story. Trust me- the people watching alone could fuel a trilogy!

I made some lovely new friends, put faces to the names of Facebook friends, and finally caught up with the lovely Jonathan Greene, who is writing the novel version of The Knights of the Apocalypse. Actually- he was sat next to me writing it for most of Sunday- it was soooo hard not too peep!

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A final thank you to Barnaby and his delicious wife, Kim.

When Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter first penned the catchphrase, ‘Nothing’s Forgotten’ for Robin of Sherwood over thirty years ago, I wonder if he had any idea how pertinent those words would become.

Nothings Forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.

Jenny x

RH- RoS 2

 

Nothing’s Forgotten: An Interview with #KOTA Producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones

I’m delighted to be interviewing the producer of  the brand new Robin of Sherwood audio production today (The Knights of the Apocalypse #KOTA) – Barnaby Eaton-Jones- today!

Got your coffee and cake? Feet up for five minutes? Then let’s begin!

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How did you get involved in #KOTA?

I was asked to co-produce by Simon Barnard, of Bafflegab Productions, as I’d been organising the 30th anniversary ‘Robin Of Sherwood’ celebration – The Hooded Man 2014, which made history by being the only event to have both Hooded Men together at the same time and on stage together being interviewed; Michael Praed and Jason Connery. It was I who liaised with Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter’s estate and suggested we use the unproduced KOTA script, as well as asking all the surviving actors from the show whether they wanted to come on board. Sadly, Simon left the project in late 2015 and I become sole Producer and basically started the production again (re-casting, re-writing, booking new studios, finding a new audio company – Spiteful Puppet – and generally making sure that ITV and Kip’s estate didn’t pull the plug on it, which was very, very close to happening). It was all rather hectic but I think the production become stronger because of it.

Judi Trott and Nickolas Grace

Judi Trott and Nickolas Grace

Have you always like RH/RoS? You’re much too young to have watched RoS when it aired the first time around.

You flatter me! Ha. I am easily old enough to have watched it the first time round. When the show ended, I was hitting my teenage years, and so I recall it all with great clarity and loved every second of it. I think I’d always had a fascination with Robin Hood (I recall reading the ‘proper’ legend, which was anything but, that had been written by Enid Blyton – a simplified version of the most well-known tale – when I was young. But, Robin Of Sherwood was a different chalice of mead. It was rooted in the ’80s but yet seemingly tireless. It was rather ‘adult’ for a teatime adventure slot on ITV (there is talk in the first episode of Will Scarlet’s wife being raped by soldiers, hence his rather unhinged character and desire to fight the Normans). I eagerly awaited ‘Look-In’ (the TV guide for kids), that had a comic strip of the show in it and the odd article and I recall the confusion when Michael Praed’s Robin died and the next series saw the introduction of a new Hooded Man, in the form of Jason Connery’s Robert of Huntingdon. As I got older, I loved the fact that Kip had basically used the two most well-known legends for the outlaw – the first being a Saxon peasant, in the form of Robin of Loxley, and the second being a well-to-do song of an Earl, in the form of Robert of Huntingdon. Artistic leeway aside, with Kip’s interpretation featuring a regular Merry Man in the form of a Saracen called Nasir, I think his vision was pitch perfect for the show and I don’t believe there’s been one better before or since.

Recording of #KOTA

What’s your ‘real’ job?

My two little daughters will say it’s being a silly Daddy. I work from home, so I look after them. But, I basically do anything that’s creative. I’ve been a writer (documentaries on television, published book, published poet, etc), a publisher (Chinbeard Books Ltd), an actor (mostly on stage but a lot of voiceover work and the odd foray into the limelight), a director/producer (I just find projects easier to do if I sort them myself!), a musical tart (writing and performing comedy songs, not-comedy songs and, at one time, spending nearly a decade being Elwood in a 10-piece Blues Brothers tribute I managed), an improviser (my monthly comedy show has returned after a little break, to take a year-long residency in Cheltenham at The Playhouse) and an impressario (I have run The OFFSTAGE Theatre Group since 1993 and we’ve toured here and overseas with many original and ‘classic’ productions). It all sounds highly egotistical but, in a nutshell, my life has been geared to make people happy. I love that. It’s not for me, though of course it does make me happy too, but knowing an audience is having a good time – in comedy or in drama or in music – really fuels me. So, I try not to have an ego. If I do, I certainly keep it in my back pocket.

Colin Baker and Barnaby

Have you always been a ‘creative’ type?

Yes. See above. Ahem. At school, I was known for writing ‘too long stories’ (can stories be ‘too long’? I don’t think so). Often being given a subject and ending up finishing my exercise book and asking for a new one to end it in, as well as illustrating them too. I think that began as early as Infant School, as did my love of standing up and making people laugh. I was probably about 4 or 5 when I was cast as Grumpy in the school play and I only had one line – “I am Grumpy!” – but I still recall the roar of laughter when I said it and the feeling that I wanted to do that again and again.

Barnaby - radio

I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again

 What’s next for you after #KOTA has aired?

I’m currently putting together a tour for the revival of an old BBC Radio comedy series called ‘I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again’ (which starred John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, et all). We did a one-off version for charity, to see how it faired and it seemed to work well and attract a big audience. So, we’ve been kindly granted a longer licence by Graeme and Bill to tour with it. Plus, I’ve finally got time to get my publishing company back on track a bit. We’ve got a lot of books finished and ready to be released but I just haven’t had the time. Of course, I also need to be beaten up by my little daughters and make them laugh by falling over a lot.

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Many thanks for such a great interview Barnaby- and for the exclusive photographs! I know you are extremely busy getting the #KOTA production ready in time for next months premiere!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

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