According to new research by the historian Sean McGlynn, Robin Hood did not steal from the rich and give to the poor at all because he spent all his time fighting the French.
Which is a good excuse to re-assess some other so-called heroes and villains:
l Darth Vader. We think of him as a bad guy, but was he really? He tried to stop a band of religious nuts killing thousands of innocent people on the Death Star, didn't he? And for years he was denied access to his children by the so-called good side of the force. I have a lot of sympathy for him.
l Mary Poppins. Practically perfect in every way apparently, but I suggest we take a look at the sugar intake of the children in her care. Sorry to be a stickler, but all nannies should obey the regulations on dietary requirements. And dancing on roofs with chimney sweeps is against health and safety.
l Captain Kirk. A villain. The man is a menace. He sees a woman and flirts with her whatever the situation. And why will he never let Uhuru do anything but answer the phone? Sexist pig. Doesn't Starfleet Academy have a human resources department? Do they know about this man?
l The Wicked Witch of the West. Some random woman turns up, kills your sister and you're supposed to be cool with it? Of course you lose your temper. Of course you threaten to get your own back on her and her little dog too.
l Indiana Jones. He's supposed to be an archaeologist but all he does is blow things up. They would never have him on Time Team. Or maybe they should. At least the programme would be over in a few seconds and we could get on with something more interesting instead.
l Moby Dick. Call me fed up. Fed up with Captain Ahab, a man who's obsessed with a whale that chewed off his leg. Whales aren't evil, they just have big mouths.
l Toad of Toad Hall. Villain again I'm afraid. Anyone whose CO2 emissions are this high could never be a hero. He's a slimey, toad-like creature obsessed with cars. And there are enough of them on Top Gear.
l Santa Claus. The biggest villain of them all for perpetuating the myth that material possessions are free. Bad Santa.
Tom Shields is away.
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