It started in the mid-fifties when Sir Lew Grade, without consulting his associates, committed nearly all his capital to making Robin Hood with Richard Greene. The series was an instant success, so more medieval adventures followed. There was Roger Moore as Ivanhoe - The Saint in armour. William Russell - man of action - as Sir Lancelot. Conrad Phillips as William Tell, a Swiss Robin Hood with an arblast. Later, were the sea adventures of Sir Francis Drake, with Terence Morgan carrying out Queen Elizabeth's special missions.
Richard the Lionheart, jumped on the medieval bandwagon. It even had the rousing theme song that you could sing along with, parts of which I can still remember to this day:
"Richard, the Lionheart, wrote a page in England's book of fame. History shall long recall his name."
What makes Richard different from most of the rest is that it is about a monarch who can mix with other monarchs who bear more power than the characters in the other series. He has to deal with a vicious but fair Sultan Saladdin; his captor Emperor Leopold; a scheming and dangerous Philip-Augustus; and William the Lion, who will give Richard his way so long as he wins the fight that the former just loves to watch.
And that is why these series were so successful. You might like to watch westerns or gangster movies, modern war movies or sword and sandal epics; but you just can't beat a good medieval scrap.
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