What Was Cut from Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood

So… (spoilers for ROBOT OF SHERWOOD). Employing spoiler blocker in








So, as you may have heard, the BBC cut about a minute out of the most recent DOCTOR WHO episode, “Robot of Sherwood” because that minute contained a scene where a character was beheaded. Supposedly, the BBC decided at the last minute to make this cut out of respect for the families of the journalists that were beheaded by ISIS earlier this month.

My thought was, I’d watched “Robot of Sherwood” without knowing what the uncut episode was supposed to be like, although knowing a cut was made, and I couldn’t for the life of me see a gaping hole in the plot that the cut left behind. My argument was that if I couldn’t see any holes in the plot resulting from the cut, then the scene didn’t add any significant to the plot, and was likely gratuitous, and may well have benefitted the episode from being cut.

However, this article describes what was actually cut from the episode:

In the original version of the final sword fight, the Sheriff gets the upper hand on Robin disarming him and putting his sword to his neck. Robin looks doomed but the Doctor throws a cloth tapestry over the Sheriff blinding him. Robin picks back up his sword and decapitates the Sheriff. His head rolling across the floor.

Clara congratulates Robin on his apparent victory, but the Sheriff’s severed head suddenly starts talking! He reveals that the skyship fell on him and the knights made him half-robot.

Behind Clara the Sheriff’s body gets back up and puts a sword to her throat ordering the Doctor and Robin to surrender. Robin picks up the Sheriff’s head and throws it back to the Sheriff’s headless body. He puts his head back on. And the fight scene resumes as was shown.


So, this does explain how the Sheriff of Nottingham survived long enough to climb partway out of the vat of molten gold, while encased in gold.

Honestly, my first reaction is that I prefer the episode as shown. Making the Sheriff into a robot just strikes me as a step too far into the silliness. It pulls the focus too much onto the Sheriff, and less onto Robin Hood. In the version as shown, the fight scene shows Robin taking on the Doctor’s move of defeating an enemy while unarmed, pulling this man into the realm of hero that the Doctor uncomfortably occupies, and subtly making him into the legend he’s destined to become. I’m also quite impressed that they could cut away that big of a scene and still have a story function perfectly well on its own devices.

What do you all think? Which is better? The episode as shot, or the episode as shown?

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