The Thief of Sherwood was the sixth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Jonathan Morris. It featured the First Doctor, Susan, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.
The Doctor's TARDIS materialises in a dark cell. The Doctor and his companions find themselves in the dungeon of the Sheriff of Nottingham. The Doctor and Barbara head outside to explore, and Ian and Susan explore the dungeon. They find a cell containing a young lady named Marian, but when they try to rescue her they themselves are trapped. Ian and Susan learn that Ian is the exact double of Robin Hood.
The Sheriff plans to execute Ian, thinking him to be Robin. The Doctor makes a deal with the Sheriff: Ian's safe release in exchange for the Doctor teaching the Sheriff the secrets of alchemy.
Robin and his men agree to attack Nottingham's castle to rescue Susan and Marion, but Robin is killed in the attempt. Susan is scheduled for execution, but the Doctor has convinced Robin's men and the villagers to attack.
The Sheriff flees, and Susan is rescued. Ian hands out Robin's gold to the villagers, an action which along with Marion's romantic stories about Robin are the source of the legends about Robin Hood.
After the time-travellers depart, the Doctor detects a buildup of space pressure...
- First Doctor
- Susan Foreman
- Barbara Wright
- Ian Chesterton
- Robin Hood
- Little John
- Will Scarlet
- Sheriff of Nottingham
- Maid Marian
to be added
- This story is written in the form of various summaries, reviews, and commentaries concerning a fictional six-part Doctor Who story (Serial I) entitled The Outlaws, "broadcast" from 19 September - 24 October 1964. The story includes "excerpts" from Doctor Who Magazine, Radio Times, Doctor Who: A Celebration, and The Television Companion as well as the Target Books "novelisation" of the serial.
- The serial (and Target novelisation) is stated as having been written by Godfrey Porter, with Patrick Whitfield as director. As a result of its placement, Verity Lambert is producer.
- The "guest cast" is stated as being Archie Duncan (Little John), Ronald Hines (Will Scarlet), Frank Thornton (Sheriff of Nottingham), Anneke Wills (Maid Marion), Milton Johns (Peddler), Carl Bernard (Villager) and Ivor Colin (Man-at-arms) with William Russell also playing Robin Hood.
- The fact that Anneke Wills - more commonly known for playing companion Polly Wright - plays Maid Marion is referenced in PROSE: That Time I Nearly Destroyed the World Whilst Looking for a Dress, when Polly finds herself in the events of this story and encounters Marion, who looks exactly like her.
- In reality, Archie Duncan played Little John in The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1955 to 1959.
- The six "episodes" are "The Deserted Castle", "The Thief of Sherwood", "The Alchemist", "Errand of Mercy", "Ransom" and "A Guest For the Gallows". The story notes that Episodes 3 and 5 are "missing", but exist as off-air audio recordings.
- While doing an alchemy demonstration for the Sheriff in Episode 3, the Doctor nearly blows himself up while mixing chemicals, leaving him absent for two episodes while William Hartnell recovers from a short illness.
- This story was reprinted in Short Trips: Re:Collections.
- Barbara mentions being "poisoned by radiation" (TV: The Daleks), "hailed as a goddess" (TV: The Aztecs), "possessed by an alien brain" (TV: The Keys of Marinus) and "let down by a Frenchman" (TV: The Reign of Terror).
- The broadcast dates and production code put this story between TV: The Reign of Terror and TV: Planet of Giants. Further, the end of this story leads directly into the beginning of Planet of Giants.