New York, New York…

WE WON! Woo-hoo!

(Straightens jacket and tie, tries to regain composure)

Well, it’s now official. Robin of Sherwood: The Knights of the Apocalypse is an award-winning production. The lovely judges on the Grand Jury of the 2017 New York Festivals® International Radio Program Awards have given KOTA an award in the Best Drama Special category for audio.

This is rather a big deal and I’m really very, very proud of the ensemble team that made this happen.

From humble beginnings when Rowena Sayer gifted the original script back to the Richard Carpenter Estate via myself, ITV Global agreed to a charity one-off, and then Jason Connery said ‘yes’ to returning as Robin Hood (which meant that we had our leading man for the other original actors to feel safe in returning to their original roles with), on to amazing events like the London Premiere of KOTA, the exclusive online trailer via Radio Times and the specially-prepared trailer for the Hooded Man II convention airing in front of 300 tearful fans, to the glowing reviews it got on release. This was a genuine labour of love.

It was Spiteful Puppet – who came on board at the make or break stage of this production going ahead – who steered KOTA through to what it was and they have been a constant source of support and friendship. They loved the show as much as I did, with a real passion for getting the feel and the tone right.

The first pass at the script, to adapt it for audio, was delivered by award-winning audio writer John Dorney, and then – after discussions with the cast – completed by myself and Iain Meadows. Our director (of the original series episodes and KOTA itself), Robert Young, was on-hand as script consultant and Merle Nygate was our esteemed script editor.

It only feels right to mention the evocative Clannad-esque soundtrack composed and produced by Alexander White of Arpeggio Creative (with Verity White on vocals), alongside the truly immersive sound design completed by Iain Meadows of Spiteful Puppet – who has become like a long-lost brother to me – and the wonderful engineering done by Matt Hopper in the Soundhouse Studios in London when we recorded. The amazing graphic creations of Stuart Manning and Anthony Lamb gave the production such a distinctive look and flavour for those viewing online, tapping into a nostalgia that went back 30 years.

The cast – from the recurring characters to the guest artistes – were all so very easy to work with and made time in their schedules for a production that was purely for charity. I raise my hat to Jason Connery, Ray Winstone, Nickolas Grace, Mark Ryan, Clive Mantle, Judi Trott, Peter Llewellyn Williams, Phil Rose, Michael Craig, Philip Jackson, Freddie Fox, Daniel Abineri, Anthony Head, Colin Baker, Terry Molloy, Lisa Bowerman and Michael Praed. Also, to all the supporting players who may have only said a line or two but were remarkable in their devotion to recording this.

It was a delight, therefore, to have donated the huge proceeds of KOTA to the Sherwood Forest Trust and the British Red Cross. As the Producer, I could never have got through this workload – especially as I was working for free – without the never-ending support of my wife and my family. They bore the brunt and took the strain as I battled to keep this alive and make it all happen.

Of course, none of this could have really happened if Harriet Whitehouse, daughter of Richard Carpenter, hadn’t allowed me to read and use the unproduced KOTA script in the first place. So, a glass should really be raised to her and to her father’s wonderful creative vision.

However, I’d like to dedicate this award to the fans.

The amazing fans, who proved that nothing’s forgotten. Nothing’s ever forgotten.

The unbelievable response to our initial crowdfunded campaign surpassed all expectations and it was the fans who drove this forward so successfully. It was fans who created the exclusive content (like the novelisation and the Mini Figures and the ‘KOTA 1989’ memorabilia package, etc) and it was fans who shared the news of this across the internet, leading to a local BBC News story being picked up and run by the main BBC News page and ending with over a million hits.

Fans are passionate in their love and in their opinions, so it was a relief to know that they liked the production when it debuted, and this award is a humbled thanks for all their continued support and love.

 

Barnaby Eaton-Jones

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