A thought from Jon Huscarl....
I was musing about several things recently, and wondered what my inspirations were regarding history.
It transpired that both Michael Wood's unreleased "In Search of the Dark Ages" 1979-81 BBC documentary series (ie. Offa; Alfred; Athelstan etc) and also ITV's 1983-6 drama "Robin of Sherwood" (starring Ray Winstone and Clive Mantle) struck the nail on the head to inspire me!
But why especially, despite me liking history at school anyway? Well, aside from sheer charisma, enthusiasm and stirring graphics & theme music in the former, and gritty re-enactions and warm English humour in genuine woodlands and lavishly re-created sets as the latter, these brilliant shows grabbed me by the short and curlies and 'dragged me in' [to the wonderful world of History].
In an age before the all-consuming internet and mass media when even the now-defunct VHS was in it's infancy, these shows were surely, even back then, a revelation? Maybe it was simply that they were just very very good!
They were good. I remember Arthur of the Britons as well, starring Oliver Tobias and Michaela Gough. Along with that series (must have been televised about 1974 ish? ) I re-discovered the wonderful Romano British novels of Rosemary Sutcliff and picked up the Crystal Cave / Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart - also about Arthur.
Those novels, combined with the TV episodes switched me from writing fantasy / science fiction to historical fiction.
Those good looking eye-candy hunks who played the lead roles on TV have a lot to answer for you know! *laugh*