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Is BBC One’s Sherwood a true story? How close is it to real life events that inspired the drama

todayJune 14, 2022 1

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James Graham, the writer behind Sherwood, grew up in a North Nottinghamshire village. He was a student by the time news of two tragic murders that happened near Annesley Woodhouse broke, shaking locals and the wider community in 2004.

It is this tragedy that James drew inspiration from when penning his new six-part series. While Mr Graham points out that the BBC production is a fictional crime drama, just how close to real life events is the show?

Here’s a round up of the first two episodes of Sherwood and, below that, the actual events which inspired the series.

The fictional drama so far

The setting is an ex-mining town in the district of Ashfield in Nottinghamshire. Memories of strikes still rumble on in the community divided by its past.

There’s a wedding celebration, a scene in the pub and then things take a dark turn. Retired miner, Gary Jackson has been killed. He is found dead in the street, the character has an arrow, presumable shot from a crossbow, in his chest.

A manhunt ensues. An incident room is set up in a local church. It seems Gary is already in the police database, noted as an arrest for arson in 1984.

READ MORE: BBC One Sherwood writer James Graham apologises over ‘Notts Forest’ reference

Episode two begins 48-hours after the murder. An arrow shot from Nottinghamshire woodland (near Newstead) hits a passing train window.

Scott Rowley (played by Adam Hugill) is out hunting in the woods. His parents expect him home for a court appearance sentencing. A warrant is issued for his arrest after a no-show at court. Elsewhere alibis are being manufactured

Arrows are found in the Sparrow family home and arrests are made. Even though the Sparrow family are in custody more arrows fly. This time towards Gary Jackson’s solicitor.

The community begins to resurrect the divisions of the past and one theory is that the killer is targeting striking miners.

A raid of Scott’s home reveals he’s not hiding out there. As we delve into the family background, we hear that Scott’s father was a working miner during the strikes. He had given Scott his redundancy money from the pit.

We find out the court appearance that Scott had missed related to benefit fraud and later discover a garage full of press cuttings, maps and computer equipment belonging to Scott. In the next scene, Scott is shown in a make-shift shelter in the woods counting money and bagging it up in plastic before burying it in the ground.

And then comes a twist. We hear murder victim Gary believed there was a spy cop (an undercover police officer) that had infiltrated the community in the 80s during the strike and had never left. Gaining the confidence of the locals but “secretly” feeding intelligence back to the Met Police or Home Office.

However, before that line is explored further, there’s a second murder in the village. A newlywed, in her own home, brutally struck with one blow by her father-in-law.

The real life events which inspired the drama

The two tragic events took place within weeks of each other 18 years ago.

In July of that year, Robert Boyer had shot ex-miner Keith ‘Froggy’ Frogson with a crossbow on his doorstep, before hacking him to death with a sword and setting fire to his home – with his victim’s daughter and her husband still inside.

Later that month, Terry Rodgers was living in his daughter Chanel’s home in Huthwaite when he shot her four times, just weeks after her wedding.

The two killers fled into woodland near Annesley Woodhouse, both remaining at large for weeks while police tried to hunt them down. The search for Rodgers involved a team of more than 450 officers from forces across the UK, cost more than £1.5m, and led to a desperate community appeal to find him with “wanted” posters pasted to lamp-posts and in shop windows.

Rodgers eluded police for nearly three weeks after constructing a shelter in the woods and was was finally found on August 16, the day after Boyer had been discovered.

Rodgers, 55, admitted the manslaughter of his newly-wed daughter Chanel on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied her murder. However, prosecutors refused to accept his plea, and a murder trial was set for March 6, 2006, but he went on hunger strike and died in February 2006. He never disclosed why he killed her.

Boyer, 42, later pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Keith Frogson and at Nottingham Crown Court was given an indefinite hospital order. On the night of the killing, he waited for Mr Frogson to return from the pub, shot him with the crossbow and then attacked him with the sword. He had mental health problems and wrongly believed that Mr Frogson was out to get him.

  • Catch up with episodes one and two of Sherwood on BBC iPlayer. Watch episode three on Monday, June 20, 2022 on BBC One at 9.00pm.

Written by: thehitnetwork

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