1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 1 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
The Hensman brothers – Robin (Craig McFarlane), John (Howard Taylor) and Harold (Paul Erangey) – are on holiday from their boarding school, staying with their Aunt Ellen (Rosalie Crutchley) in the summer of 1925 when they decide to run away and live in the woods of Brendon Chase, like Robin Hood and his merry men.
The brothers take only what they need – including a .22 rifle (fitted with a silencer) stolen from Rumbold the gardener (Michael Balfour) – and make their camp in an ancient, hollow oak tree.
Fighting off the natural dangers of living life rough, the boys occasionally forage into town for food whilst avoiding the local villagers who have by now formed a search party for the errant adolescents.
Helping with the search are the local vicar (Christopher Biggins), the local policeman PS Bunting (Michael Robbins) and intrepid flying reporter Monica Hurling (Liza Goddard).
The boys are not entirely alone the whole time and occasionally encounter some of the forests other residents, such as Smokoe Joe (Paul Curran), who shares his secrets of the forest with them enabling the children to survive through the summer until – by the final episode – the autumn, when they are finally reunited with their spinster aunt.
Adapted from the novel by Denys Watkins-Pitchford (a.k.a ” B.B”), the producers went to great lengths to recreate the 1920s period feel for the drama, removing TV aerials and altering road markings, covering double-yellow lines with peat and repainting brightly-coloured doors and walls in more sombre shades in Porchester (Hampshire) so it could become the bustling market town of Brendon.
Paul Erangey died in 2004. He was only 37 years old.
Sir William Bary