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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2007, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Talking Shop: Jonas Armstrong
The BBC's modern remake of classic tale Robin Hood is returning to TV screens for a second series.

The swashbuckling drama is filmed on location in Hungary, and BBC breakfast presenter Mike Bushell spent time on set.

He caught up with the show's star Jonas Armstrong, who plays Robin, to talk about the new series - and the pitfalls of playing an heroic outlaw.

Q: It's been suggested that the mood of this series is different?

Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood
Jonas Armstrong plays quiver-toting Robin Hood

A: Yes, people have talked about it being a lot darker this year. The writers wanted to make the stakes a lot higher which is evident especially in the first episode, that is quite dark. So the mood and the feeling about the show is not quite so cheery.

Q: Does that mean your character has had to change?

A: Yes, it has really. The way it's been done before is that Robin doesn't have a care in the world. This guy has a lot worries about the state his environment is in. He can't go around being smiley all the time. It is better for me because you get to play that and I think it's a lot more interesting and believable.

Q: Does that mean you've had to change physically?

A: I did my best to put on a bit of meat. They've got me a trainer here who does "iron man" competitions and my stunt double is always watching what I am eating so that I don't lose weight. By the end of last year I got down to nine and a half stone and I looked terrible.

Q: What challenges have you found the most difficult? The sword fighting?

A: The best thing to do is to try to have a laugh with it. The stunt men are brilliant to fight with anyway. Sometimes it messes up, but you just pull out a move and kick them wherever and they don't complain.

Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham
Keith Allen is Robin's arch-enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham

Q: You broke a metatarsal bone in your foot on set. How did that happen?

A: I was supposed to have tripped over a tree root in the forest, but I was actually doing a fight scene. There's a bit where I get thrown against the side of a hut. I was supposed to hit it full on my back but I didn't turn in time and my foot kind of hit it full pelt.

Q: Has Robin's relationship with the sheriff changed? Keith Allen [who plays him] was trying to suggest he's become more political?

A: Yes, he has. His position's changed within the country and he's trying to raise a dark army to overthrow the king. I think Robin's position has to become stronger to match his. The relationship has become more intense.

Q: Were you surprised by the reaction back at home after the first series?

A: I was. It's great when children get really excited and come up to you, while others are so nervous they can't talk to you! It shows the appreciation they have for the programme so you know you're doing something worthwhile.

The new series of Robin Hood begins 6 October at 1930 BST on BBC One.

Mike Bushell talks to Robin Hood's cast members

'My big battle with Robin Hood'
28 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Robin returns for second series
23 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Robin Hood debut watched by 8.2m
08 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Robin Hood overcomes theft drama
08 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Robin Hood given modern makeover
08 Sep 06 |  Entertainment


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