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Richard Carpenter 1929-2012

February 28th, 2012 (04:18 pm)

Richard Carpenter, creator of Robin of Sherwood, died at the weekend. I first encountered him on BBC schools television as the host and writer of the Look and Read serial Cloudburst; aimed at slow-reading eight-year-olds this series was essential viewing for the literate pre-schooler in the 1970s. His credits as a writer of family television series for ITV were long - Catweazle, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Dick Turpin and of course Robin of Sherwood. He also wrote the first series of The Scarlet Pimpernel for the BBC in the late 1990s, but while he started work on the second, the transmitted series was credited to other hands. I remember Mark Ryan, Nasir in Robin, praising 'Kip''s imagination when he visited the Oxford Arthurian Society in 1995. A few years later I went to a National Film Theatre retrospective of Carpenter's work. He deserves more attention than he receives.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/492282.html.

ETA 5 March 2012: Year of birth changed from 1933 as it appears Carpenter was four years older than previously assumed, according to the obituary by Anthony Hayward in The Guardian.

Comments

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

He also wrote the first series of The Scarlet Pimpernel for the BBC in the late 1990s

Was that the one with Richard E. Grant and Martin Shaw? I vaguely remember enjoying it.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)

Yes, it was the Grant-Shaw version. Carpenter's main change, according to publicity, was to develop the intelligence of the Pimpernel's wide, which is attested but never proven (in his view) in the Orczy books. In the Carpenterless second series, the wife was dispensed with, killed off between series.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

I don't think I saw the second series. Did the new writers not like the character or did the actress leave?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)

I don't know what the story was, only that Carpenter was working on the second series at one point and that he was no longer involved by the time it was actually recorded.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Grey Havens

Alas. Now we will never know what would have happened in Robin of Sherwood. If only they had returned to that rather than the embarrassing stubblemuffin of a couple of years ago.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Mist over the Tamar

I would wholeheartedly agree with you, if only I knew what a "stubblemuffin" was. Please enlighten...


Nothing is forgotten.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)

Nothing is ever forgotten.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
cat scorn

I made it up in an attempt to express in a single word my dislike of the recent Robin Hood, apparently chosen for his winsome looks and carefully curated stubble. Just thinking of his chin makes me want to hit something. Preferably the chin, with a hammer.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)

One problem was that it was difficult to distinguish most of the men in it from one another, because they all had the same look. I couldn't see anything which any part of the audience might find heroic in them, and wasn't surprised, after I stopped watching, to see a listing along the lines of 'Marian marries Guy of Gisburne'.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: February 29th, 2012 09:15 am (UTC)
Toenails

Am I right in thinking that that Guy of Gisburne is going to be Thorin in the Hobbit movies? Now that's acting range.

A couple of nights ago we watched Excalibur* in which Robin of Sherwood's Guy plays Mordred.**




* Or, according to the DVD "Helen Mirren - Excalibur", which is a bit harsh on the other actors in the film with larger parts.
** At least the grown-up Mordred. The child Mordred is played by that bloke who rides around on motorbikes with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 29th, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Tolkien

You're right - with makeup that makes him look like a cross between a Klingon and Oddjob from Carry On Screaming.

Charley Boorman had a decent child star career appearing in his dad's films...

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: February 29th, 2012 09:11 am (UTC)
cyberleader

It's a good word. Could it perhaps be used apply to a certain badly-dressed particle physicist with weird lips who nevertheless seems to be physically attractive to a certain kind of teenage girl? Or is it more specifically used to refer to young men with winsome looks and carefully curated stubble?

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: February 29th, 2012 10:02 am (UTC)
ivanova eyebrow

Thank you! Yes, I think the term could be extended that far. His stubble is there in spirit, if not in fact.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 29th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
Devil's Crown

Someone I know was once trapped in a pub where said physicist and entourage were holding court. He refers to him as 'the fake' as opposed to the actor namesake, who is 'the real'.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: February 28th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)

Some notes by Richard Carpenter on possible directions for the series are mentioned at Spirit of Sherwood.

I'd have liked to have seen what BBC Scotland and incoming (but never to arrive) showrunner Sally Wainwright would have made of the 2000s Robin Hood had it continued for a fourth year, shorn of its lead (stubbled or otherwise) and with a new Robin. Robin of Sherwood still had more going for it, though.