BBC’s black Friar Tuck irks historians

March 28th, 2009 - 4:26 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 28 (ANI): The English folk law has been reshaped - courtesy BBC. In its new series, Robin Hood has been armed with black warrior Friar Tuck - a change which has not been well received by historians.

However, actor David Harewood, who plays the first ever black Friar Tuck, who is usually played by short, fat, balding white men, is happy with his role.

He says he will reincarnate Sherwood Forrest’s bumbling monk into a hunky, fighting robed warrior who helps Robin rob from the rich and feed the poor.

But Harewood, who starred in the BBC thriller Criminal Justice, confessed that the reincarnation of the character had seemed ridiculous to him at first.

“I actually laughed,” The Times quoted him, as saying.

Historians, on the other hand, are less than amused over the development.

Helen Phillips, Professor of English at Cardiff University and an expert in medieval literature, said: “Sub-Saharan Africans wouldn’t have been converted by that point, they would have had other religions. North Africans would have mostly been Muslims.

“Also, friars came from upper-class families, as did monks. The kind of families from which friars were drawn wouldn’t have been in any sense African.”

Harewood said that he had been persuaded of the merits of the radical interpretation of the character.

“They sent me the character breakdown and it was very different from what I expected. It was a welcome change and something I really felt was going to be exciting. Funnily enough, when I first saw Robin Hood when it started three years ago, I thought they’d missed a trick and that they should have had a black character in it. It turns out that I am the black character, so I think it adds a modern dimension to it, as well. I think viewers will really take to it: at least I hope they will,” he said. (ANI)

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