Sherwood: this new BBC crime drama is inspired by a real-life Nottinghamshire murder

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Here’s what you need to know about new BBC crime drama, Sherwood

You’d be forgiven for assuming that, in the midst of a global pandemic, people would be desperately seeking something light and frothy to distract them from the horrors of real life

As it turns out, though, Covid-19 has done absolutely nothing to our seemingly insatiable thirst for dark and gritty crime dramas.  

That’s right; The Serpent, Marcella, A Teacher, The Investigation, and The Pembrokeshire Murders have rapidly become some of the most-watched TV shows in lockdown – and there are plenty more crime dramas due to hit our screens later this year, too (think Line Of DutyNetflix’s The Chestnut Man and Jamie Dornan’s The Tourist, to name just two).  

Now, we have a new must-watch crime show to add to the list in the form of BBC One’s Sherwood.

Here’s what you need to know about the six-part series.

What’s the plot of Sherwood?

As per the BBC’s press release, Sherwood – which is set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where writer James Graham grew up – sees “two shocking and unexpected murders shatter an already fractured community leading to one of the largest manhunts in British history.”  

Some 450 policemen, many of them armed, group for a massive man hunt for two murder suspects thought to be hiding in Annesley Forrest, Nottinghamshire, on 13 August 2004.
Some 450 policemen, many of them armed, group for a massive man hunt for two murder suspects thought to be hiding in Annesley Forrest, Nottinghamshire, on 13 August 2004.

“Suspicion is rife and the murders threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the Miners’ Strike that tore families apart three decades before,” reads the synopsis for Sherwood.

“To solve the murders, police inspectors Ian St Clair, from the local constabulary, and Kevin Salisbury from the Met, must reunite and bury a rivalry that stretches back to 1984, in an attempt to heal wounds, and catch a killer.

“But can a community repair itself as more is discovered about those who live there, and whether they really are who they say they are?” 

Is Sherwood based on a true story?

Sherwood is inspired by the 2004 manhunt for two killers in north Nottinghamshire; Robert Boyer, who escaped into Annesley Forest after killing former miner Keith Frogson, and Terry Rodgers, who killed his daughter Chanel Taylor at around the same time and also fled into the woods.

The former was detained in hospital indefinitely after being apprehended by police. Rodgers, however, died during a hunger strike as he was due to face trial for his daughter’s murder. 

A police helicopter flies low over woodland during the 2004 manhunt for murderers Robert Boyer and Terry Rodgers.
A police helicopter flies low over woodland during the 2004 manhunt for murderers Robert Boyer and Terry Rodgers.

However, while Sherwood is very much influenced by these real-life events, writers and producers have stressed that the drama itself will be fictional.

What are people saying about Sherwood?

“It means the world to have this opportunity to bring the voices of a community I grew up in to BBC One,” says Graham.

“So much is spoken about the divisions and difficulties in these ‘Red Wall’ towns, but they’re not always understood. I feel so honoured to be able to tell a fictionalised story about a very real trauma, but with the humour and heart and resilience of the people I know and love there.” 

Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, adds: “In blending real and fictional events, James has created a penetrating, heartfelt and purposeful thriller which exposes the tensions and fault lines at the heart of modern Britain.

Sherwood is set to be an exceptional series by one of our greatest dramatists and we are proud to be bringing it to BBC One.”

Who will star in the cast of Sherwood?

Casting details have yet to be released, although the BBC promises we’ll learn more before production begins later this year.

When will Sherwood be available to watch on TV?

Sherwood is likely to complete filming towards the end of 2021, and it’s expected that it will be one of the first big BBC dramas of 2022. 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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