Will You Tolerate This?
|"Will You Tolerate This?"|
|Robin Hood episode|
Robin prepares to duel
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||John McKay|
|Written by||Dominic Minghella|
|Original air date||7 October 2006|
"Will You Tolerate This?" is the first episode of the 2006 Robin Hood television series, made by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC One. It aired on Saturday 7 October 2006 at 7.05pm. The title of the episode refers to a line of dialogue near the end, where Robin asks the public at Nottingham Castle: "Will you tolerate this injustice? (I, for one, will not)".
The pre-credits sequence begins in Nottinghamshire, England 1192, with the character Allan-a-Dale being caught poaching deer by mounted soldiers. The leader of the group threatens to cut off Allan-a-Dale's hand, in response Alan pleads that he has a pregnant wife to feed. As the soldiers prepare to remove a finger (to which Allan-a-Dale had agreed in return for not being arrested) Robin stops them by shooting arrows around the hand of the man holding the axe. He then convinces the men that he has them surrounded. However, after they begin to leave, Much (Robin's best friend and former man servant) comes out of hiding, and from his taunts the soldiers realise there are only the two opponents. The pair proceed to run for their lives.
After the opening credits, Robin and Much jump into a covered hole underneath a tree, before they come out of hiding. The two walk off, thinking back to their time in the Holy Land. They meet a weaver, and Robin decides to spend some time working for him. However, Robin is seduced by his daughter, and Much attempts to distract the weaver to no avail. The weaver and Robin fight before he escapes again.
The duo finally arrive at Locksley. They meet Dan Scarlett, also a carpenter, who "built half of Locksley". He explains how he chose to have his hand cut off to protect his two sons, who had been caught stealing. Sir Guy of Gisborne, the current ruler of the area, arrives, where Robin announces his return. Robin makes himself at home once more and proclaims Much a free man after his bravery in the Crusades. Much has something to eat and a bath, but soon gets out when Robin tells him he is off to visit the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Robin and Much receive a hostile reception from the former sheriff, Edward. They learn he is no longer Sheriff, and he and his daughter, Marian, tell them to leave. Robin finally arrives at the castle and sees no one has enough money for Wednesday market. He confronts the Sheriff at the Council and suggests that he abolish taxes, though the Sheriff bites back. Robin also learns the Carpenter's sons, Will and Luke Scarlett, have been caught stealing once more. Robin enters the dungeons to learn they will be hanged, and also meets Allan again, exposed as lying about his wife. Robin meets Edward secretly at night, learning how Prince John appointed the new Sheriff, and is also warned not to interfere.
The next day, the brothers and Allan are due to be hanged, and Robin has to read out their sentence. In case he reneges, the Sheriff also has Much held by two soldiers at a great height. A priest interferes by saying he and the Bishop are protecting the men by invoking the benefit of clergy, but is revealed to be a friend of Robin's, a juggler and a performer that Robin had asked to come and help, and the Sheriff promptly orders his arrest. With the men dangling and his plan failed, Robin finally realises what to do, kicking down a soldier and cutting the ropes with their arrows. He also throws a sword to free Much. A soldier attempts to kill Robin, but Marian throws one of her hair pins at him, though only Robin notices. Robin, Will, Much, Allan and the juggler escape on horseback, where it cuts to Sherwood Forest. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, where they are confronted by Little John and his men.
Previewing the episode for the BBC's Radio Times listings magazine, the magazine's television editor Alison Graham gave "Will You Tolerate This?" a generally lukewarm assessment. "[T]his is hardly stirring stuff. Jonas Armstrong as Robin is a pipsqueak of the type you'd send into the garden to play with his bow and arrow... But things pick up once Robin has assembled his merry men... And Armitage flounces darkly as Guy of Gisborne."
A. A. Gill, the television critic of The Sunday Times, was even harsher in his write-up of the episode, reviewing it for the paper the day after it had been screened. "Magyar gangsters stole half the film and held it to ransom — which was critically appropriate. Sadly, they didn’t get all of it... I’ll tell you how bad all this was: Keith Allen was the best thing in it, that’s how bad it was."
David Belcher of Scottish broadsheet The Herald was far more positive in his view, picking up on the episode's political allegory. "In a political sense, things were much worse in Britain in 1192. Back then, as Robin Hood's opening instalment made clear, this nation was engaged in a ruinously expensive and unwinnable war in the Middle East at the behest of an expansive global superpower." He also praised the cast, feeling that Armstrong "succeeds in being likeably noble, a possible sufferer from crusades-induced post-traumatic stress, yet still spry... But it's the baddies who give the new Robin Hood its winning tension. Guy of Gisborne is a cool and sinister lizard. Keith Allen portrays the Sheriff of Nottingham with subtle brio."
The Guardian newspaper's review expressed disappointment with the episode, but pointed out that there was still plenty of time for the series to improve. "These are very early days (12 more episodes to go), and Robin and his posse haven't yet set up camp in the forest. I have no idea if there'll be archery competitions, or log fights between big men on small bridges, but the spirit of the thing seems not to have been lost through modernisation. I'm looking forward to more. Come on, it's Robin Hood — he steals from the rich to give to the poor!"
In the unofficial overnight viewing figures, "Will You Tolerate This?" gained a 37% share of the total television audience available during its timeslot, which equated to an average of 8.2 million viewers across the forty-five minutes. The viewership peaked at 8.5 million. This put the programme over a million viewers ahead of the nearest competition in its timeslot, the light entertainment show Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV1. Ant and Dec gained 31.1% of the available audience, with an average of 7 million viewers.
In the official viewing figures released by the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (BARB) a week and a half later, which included recordings watched within one week of broadcast, "Will You Tolerate This?" recorded a final average audience of 8.56 million. This placed it fifth for all BBC One programmes in the week of 2 October – 8 October 2006, behind three episodes of EastEnders and one of Strictly Come Dancing. Across all channels it placed eleventh for the week, behind an additional six programmes on ITV1 — five episodes of Coronation Street and one of The X-Factor.
The story will be released by BBC Audiobooks on 6 November 2006, read by Richard Armitage, who plays Guy of Gisborne, and written by Kirst Neale. Also featured is an interview with Armitage, discussing the filming of the TV series.
- Graham, Alison (2006-10-07–2006-10-13). "Today's Choices – Saturday 7 October". Radio Times. BBC Worldwide. 331 (4305): 60. Check date values in:
- Gill, A. A. (2006-10-08). "The hammy house of Horrocks". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2006-10-15.
- Belcher, David (2006-10-09). "I want to be Robin's batman!". The Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-15.[dead link]
- "The weekend's TV". The Guardian. 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2006-10-15.
- Day, Julia (2006-10-09). "ITV all-of-a-quiver as Robin rides in (requires free registration)". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- "Robin Hood debut watched by 8.2m". BBC News Online. 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- "Weekly Viewing Summary". BARB. 2006-10-18. Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2006-10-21.
- "Kirst Neale - Robin Hood: Will You Tolerate This?". play.com. Retrieved 2006-10-07.