YORK'S favourite villain has returned to the public spotlight with a TV show featuring a fresh take.

The Completely Made-Up Adventures Of Dick Turpin, a wild and wacky new Apple TV+ series starring The Mighty Boosh and The Great British Bake Off’s Noel Fielding, is a new surreal comedy that turns Dick into a vegan pacifist anti-hero.

Fielding said: “We had a bit of fun with the character… It all came from the fact that his dad was a butcher, and he hated working in the butcher.

"So we thought: ‘Great, he’s a vegan’. And he’s a pacifist. He can’t ride a horse, he can’t fight. He’s quite creative. How’s he going to lead this gang of rogues?

"And then it all came from there really, we thought the tension of him being in this criminal world but being quite a nice, easy-going, laid-back guy would work.”

The reality of Turpin, however, is a little closer to the history that every York local is taught growing up.

York Press: A man dressed up as Dick TurpinA man dressed up as Dick Turpin

Born Richard Turpin in 1705 in Essex, Turpin apprenticed as a butcher before becoming involved with an Essex gang of deer thieves. The gang soon moved on from poaching to robbery in and around the London area.

After being betrayed by a fellow gang member following a high-profile raid, the Essex gang disbanded with many members finding themselves caught by authorities.

Following the breakup of the gang, Dick turned to his most notorious crime – highway robbery. After multiple years spent on the road, Turpin was accused of killing one of his partners in crime, as well as a servant of the forest keepers – the latter offence prompted a reward of £200 for his capture.

In 1737, Turpin appeared in Brough under the alias of John Palmer and was subsequently arrested for shooting another man’s game cock in the street.

Questions were then asked about the way Turpin made his money, until locals accused him of sheep and horse thievery – a crime that required him to be transferred to York Castle.

From his cell in York Castle, ‘John Palmer’ wrote to his brother-in-law for help, a letter which was seen by James Smith, a schoolmate who taught Turpin to write. After opening the letter, Smith then travelled up to York Castle, collected his bounty, and correctly identified the bandit.

York Press: The headstone of Dick Turpin opposite St George's Catholic ChurchThe headstone of Dick Turpin opposite St George's Catholic Church (Image: Kevin Glenton)

After his real identity was unmasked, Turpin was able to offer little defence claiming to be unprepared for his trial and was sentenced to death.

Whilst waiting for his execution, he received frequent visitors, bought a new pair of shoes and coat, and hired five mourners to mourn in his honour.

Dick Turpin was executed around two weeks later at the Knavesmire.

Whether the TV Turpin will meet quite the same end is yet to be seen, with the final episode being released today (March 29) on Apple TV.