'Sherwood' writer explains 'Notts Forest' clanger after 'hundreds' of complaints

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·4-min read
Alun Armstrong in Sherwood
Alun Armstrong's Sherwood character used a phrase that put off viewers. (BBC)

Sherwood's writer has defended his reasons for the "Notts Forest" clanger that distracted viewers of the new BBC One drama.

The star-studded detective series based on a real-life manhunt for two murderers and set against the backdrop of a community divided by the miners' strike debuted on Monday - but despite the cast and writer claiming it would be an accurate portrayal of the area, viewers who know Nottingham well all had the same complaint.

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In one scene, Alun Armstrong's character Gary referred to the local football team as "Notts Forest", which many viewers pointed out would never have been said by a local who would instead have used Forest or Nottingham Forest, with Notts only being used to refer to different team Notts County.

But writer James Graham, a Nottingham local himself, responded to the "hundreds of messages" he'd had on the subject and explained that it was a deliberate mistake.

He tweeted: "On the hundreds of messages about “Notts Forest”, you are of course Absolutely Right. A true fan would never. I can (sort of) explain. The reasons were mainly character, & accent.

"Because of Gary’s (Alun Armstrong’s) history & politics, we thought no way he’d be a fan, supporting a northern team (inspired by real characters, this was loosely the case). And he’s talking to a child. But the less satisfying reason is, by wanting local accents on screen I worried “Nottnm” wouldn’t register for wider viewers & for non footy fans Forest is just a forest.

"My bad. Know it frustrates fans. I’ll make amends. Please let me back into the city. Proud of your pride for your team."

Alun Armstrong's character referred to Nottingham Forest as 'Notts Forest'. (BBC)
Alun Armstrong's character referred to Nottingham Forest as 'Notts Forest'. (BBC)

Nottingham-born actor Arsher Ali, who has starred in Line Of Duty, Ackley Bridge and Informer, tweeted: "“Notts Forest”? You come and film a show *in* Nottingham AND make that error. No, duck. Do your research."

East Midlands BBC reporter Tony Roe added: "‘Notts Forest’ oohs all over Nottinghamshire at that."

Another viewer commented: "I’m outraged! #Sherwood Notts Forest!!! Seriously! James Graham come on man! #NFFC"

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It was a common complaint as the episode aired, although viewers mostly enjoyed the rest of the series starring David Morrissey, Robert Glenister, Lesley Manville and Joanne Froggatt.

One viewer tweeted: "Notts Forest! Bit of a clanger to drop."

David Morrisey, Lesley Manville and Robert Glenister star. (BBC)
David Morrisey, Lesley Manville and Robert Glenister star. (BBC)

Someone else agreed: "No one in Nottinghamshire would refer to them as ‘Notts Forest’."

Another person commented: "Oh nooo. “Notts Forest” from @BBCOne’s Sherwood. And a local screenwriter too."

Someone else wrote: "Well, Ep1 of #Sherwood was excellent. But “Notts” Forest? Even most cockneys would not make that mistake - Cloughie will turn in his grave!"

Joanne Froggatt in Sherwood
Joanne Froggatt had said the drama was very authentic to people from Nottingham. (BBC)

Ahead of the series airing, Graham had said: "Coming from this community, places like this rarely get screen time. I don't think there's ever been a drama set in the part of the world in which I grew up. So to be able to put those voices and those people, and their sense of humour and wit, and that experience, and the conditions that underpin that community on screen, is a huge privilege."

Froggatt, who plays would-be local councillor Sarah Vincent, had added: "I lived in the Midlands for 10 years of my life and James is from the area, so he knows the sense of humour from that part of the country, and he hit that nail on the head. To me, that adds to the authenticity of the characters as well."

Sherwood continues on Tuesday, 14 June at 9pm on BBC One.

Watch: See the trailer for Sherwood

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