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Left to right: (back) Tim McInnerny,
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie,
(front) Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson
in Blackadder Goes Forth
Genre Period, Situation comedy
Created by Richard Curtis
Rowan Atkinson
Ben Elton
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Tony Robinson
Tim McInnerny
Miranda Richardson
Stephen Fry
Hugh Laurie
Theme music composer Howard Goodall
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 24 (plus 3 specials)
(List of episodes)
Producer(s) John Lloyd
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes approx
Original channel BBC One
Picture format PAL (576i)
Audio format Monaural sound
Original run 15 June 1983 – 2 November 1989
External links
Official website

Blackadder is the generic name that encompasses four series of a BBC One historical sitcom, along with several one-off installments.

All episodes star Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and his dogsbody, Baldrick. Each series is set in a different historical period with Blackadder and Baldrick as main characters. In each series they are accompanied by different characters, though several persons reappear in one series or another - for example, Melchett and Lord Flashheart.

The first series was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, while subsequent episodes were written by Curtis and Ben Elton. The shows were produced by John Lloyd.

In 2000 the fourth series, Blackadder Goes Forth, ranked at 16 in the "100 Greatest British Television Programmes", a list created by the British Film Institute. Also in the 2004 TV poll to find "Britain's Best Sitcom", Blackadder was voted the second best British sitcom of all time, topped by Only Fools and Horses. It was also ranked as the 20th Best TV Show of All Time by Empire magazine.[1]



Although each series is set in a different era, all follow the fortunes (or rather, misfortunes) of Edmund Blackadder (played by Atkinson), who in each is a member of a British family dynasty present at many significant periods and places in British history. Although the character is quite unintelligent in the first series, he is increasingly clever and perceptive in subsequent generations (while decreasing in social status). Each Blackadder though is a cynical, cowardly opportunist concerned with maintaining and increasing his own status and fortunes, regardless of his surroundings. In each series, Blackadder is usually a cynical (almost modern) voice puncturing the pretensions and stupidity of those around him, and what might — through modern eyes — be seen as the more ludicrous and insane follies of history (from the medieval religious witch-hunts and the petty whims and insanities of various British monarchs to the bloodshed and horror of World War I).

The lives of each of the Blackadders are also entwined with their servants, all from the Baldrick family line (played by Tony Robinson). Each generation acts as the dogsbody to their respective Blackadder. They decrease in intelligence (and in personal hygiene standards) just as their masters' intellect increases. Each Blackadder and Baldrick are also saddled with the company of a dim-witted aristocrat whose presence Blackadder must somehow tolerate. This role was taken in the first two series by Lord Percy Percy (Tim McInnerny), in the third series by Prince George, Prince Regent, and in the fourth by Lieutenant George, the latter two played by Hugh Laurie.

Each series was set in a different period of British history, beginning in 1485 and ending in 1917 comprising six half-hour episodes. The first series, made in 1983, was called The Black Adder (set in the fictional reign of 'Richard IV'). This was followed by Blackadder II in 1985 (set during the reign of Elizabeth I), Blackadder the Third in 1987 (set in the reign of George III), and finally Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989 (set in the trenches of the Great War).

In addition to these, three specials were also made: Blackadder: The Cavalier Years (set in the reign of Charles I) appeared as a 15-minute insert during the 1988 Comic Relief telethon; Blackadder's Christmas Carol (mostly set during the reign of Queen Victoria with some scenes taking place in the locations of the second and third series, as well as another many centuries hence) was a 45-minute Christmas installment, broadcast the same year; and Blackadder: Back & Forth was a 30-minute film originally shown in a special cinema at the Millennium Dome throughout 2000, and later transmitted by Sky and the BBC. A pilot episode was recorded in 1982, but has never been shown on television in its entirety, although a brief clip was shown in the 2008 documentary Blackadder Rides Again. It is notable for Baldrick being played by Philip Fox. Its plot was re-used for the episode "Born to be King" in Series 1. Although DVD releases have never included the pilot, copies are known to circulate online.

Developments over the series

It is implied in each series that the Blackadder character is a distant descendant of the previous one, although it is never mentioned how any of the Blackadders manage to father children. The first series incarnation, Prince Edmund Plantagenet, is supposedly the originator of the Blackadder surname, after adopting the title "The Black Adder". However, in Back & Forth, Centurion Blackaddicus (presumably an ancestor) is revealed also to have had it as a name.

With each observed generation, the family's social standing is reduced, from prince, to lord, to royal butler, and finally a regular army captain. However, he concurrently goes from being an incompetent fool (in the first series) to an ever more devious strategist in matters that affect him with each succeeding series. The Macbeth-inspired witches, in "The Foretelling" (1.1) (thinking he is, in fact, Henry Tudor), promise that one day Blackadder will be king and, in "Bells" (2.1), the "wise woman" says "thou plottest, Blackadder: thou wouldst be King!" In the first series, Edmund does become king—albeit for less than a minute—quickly dying after succumbing to some poisoned wine, which is alluded to in the closing credits song in "Head" (2.2):

His great-grandfather was a king
Although for only thirty seconds

In the second series, Blackadder comes very close to marrying Elizabeth I but fails. At the end of Blackadder the Third the character assumes the role of Prince Regent, after the real prince is killed by the Duke of Wellington, and so presumably ascends the throne as George IV. After his general decline in status through the series, Blackadder, or at least the descendant of the original, finally becomes absolute monarch in Blackadder: Back & Forth through manipulation of the timeline. A Grand Admiral Blackadder of the far future is also seen in the Christmas special, and his status further rises when he manages to achieve control of the entire universe upon marrying Queen Asphyxia XIX.

The first, second and fourth series each end with most of the major characters being massacred in some way.

Theme tune

Howard Goodall's iconic theme tune has the same melody throughout all the series, but is played in roughly the style of the period in which it is set. It is performed mostly with trumpets and timpani in The Black Adder, the fanfares used suggesting typical medieval court fanfares; with a combination of recorder, string quartet and electric guitar in Blackadder II; on oboe, cello and harpsichord (in the style of a minuet) for Blackadder the Third; by a military band in Blackadder Goes Forth; sung by carol singers in Blackadder's Christmas Carol; and by an orchestra in Blackadder: The Cavalier Years and Blackadder: Back & Forth.[2]

Popularity and effects on popular culture

After the first series — which had enjoyed a considerable budget for a sitcom, been shot largely on location and received a mixed reception — the BBC decided not to take up the option of a follow-up. However, in 1984, Michael Grade took over as the controller of BBC One and, after talks with the team behind The Black Adder, finally agreed that a second series could be made, albeit with a considerably reduced budget. Blackadder II was therefore to be a studio-only production (along with the inclusion of a live audience during recording, instead of showing the episodes to one after taping), with Rowan Atkinson stepping down from co-writing duties and Ben Elton taking his place. Besides adding more jokes, Elton suggested a major change in character emphasis: Baldrick would become the stupid sidekick, while Edmund Blackadder evolved into a cunning sycophant. This led to the now familiar set-up that was maintained in the following series. Only in the Back & Forth millennium special was the shooting once again on location, due to the fact that this was a production with a budget estimated at £3 million, and was a joint venture between Tiger Aspect, Sky Television, the New Millennium Experience Company and the BBC, rather than the BBC alone.

While each episode was plot-driven, they were still formulaic to a degree. For example, whenever Blackadder found himself in a difficult situation (as was the case most of the time), Baldrick would invariably suggest a solution, starting with the words "I have a cunning plan". This became the character's catch phrase and, while his ideas were usually totally unhelpful (particularly from series two onward), he would sometimes come up with a useful scheme.

Blackadder was mentioned in the House of Commons on 21 November 2007, during the 2007 UK child benefit data scandal. Elfyn Llwyd, a Plaid Cymru MP, suggested it was "time for Blackadder to say goodbye to Darling", comparing Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to his fictional namesake, Kevin Darling.

Mark Bolland, the Deputy Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales from 1998 until 2002, was reportedly nicknamed "Lord Blackadder" by the young princes William and Harry.[3]

Origin of name

Blackadder is a genuine surname, its usage in the UK currently documented back to the 15th century, which may explain the choice of the name, with the first series being set in this time period. The name is thought to be mostly Scottish in origin, which is not contradicted in the series, as the first Blackadder begins as the Duke of Edinburgh. In the third series it is revealed that a branch of the Blackadder family is a significant clan in Scotland, although they have become known by the moniker McAdder.[4] There is a Clan Blackadder in reality. Dr Eric Blackadder, Chief Medical Officer at the BBC at the time of the first programme, claims that the series is named after him.[5]

The name 'Baldrick' is also authentic — but much rarer — and has been dated in Britain all the way back to the Norman Conquest of 1066. This name is Germanic in origin.[6]

Series and specials

Chronological order

Title Type Production / air date Set in century
Prince Edmund (The Black Adder) Pilot 1982 (unaired) 16th
The Black Adder Series 1983 15th
Blackadder II Series 1986 16th
Blackadder the Third Series 1987 18th–19th
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years Comic Relief Special 1988 17th
Blackadder's Christmas Carol Special 1988 19th
Woman's Hour Invasion Radio 1988
Blackadder Goes Forth Series 1989 20th
The Shakespeare Sketch Theatre 1989 16th
1775 Pilot for US series 1992 18th
Blackadder and the King's Birthday Sketch 1998 17th
Blackadder: Back & Forth Millennium Special 1999 21st, Various
Blackadder: The Army Years Theatre 2000 21st
The Royal Gardener (From the Queen's Jubilee) Sketch 2002
Jubilee Girl Sketch 2002
Blackadder Rides Again Documentary 2008

Series 1: The Black Adder

The Black Adder was the first series of Blackadder and was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, and produced by John Lloyd. The series was originally aired on BBC 2 from 15 June 1983 to 20 July 1983, and was a joint production with the Australian Seven Network.

Set in 1485 at the end of the British Middle Ages, the series is written as a secret history which contends that King Richard III won the Battle of Bosworth Field, only to be accidentally murdered, and is succeeded by Richard IV, one of the Princes in the Tower. The series follows the exploits of Richard IV's unfavoured second son Edmund, the Duke of Edinburgh (who calls himself "The Black Adder") in his various attempts to increase his standing with his father and his eventual quest to overthrow him.

Conceived while Atkinson and Curtis were working on Not the Nine O'Clock News, the series dealt comically with a number of medieval issues in Britain - witchcraft, Royal succession, European relations, the Crusades and the conflict between the Crown and the Church. The filming of the series was highly ambitious, with a large cast and much location shooting. The series also featured Shakespearean dialogue, often adapted for comic effect. The end credits featured the words "Additional dialogue by William Shakespeare".

Series 2: Blackadder II

Blackadder II is set in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603), played by Miranda Richardson. The principal character is Edmund, Lord Blackadder, the great-grandson of the original Black Adder. During the series, he often comes into contact with the Queen, her obsequious Lord Chamberlain Lord Melchett (Stephen Fry) and her demented former nanny Nursie (Patsy Byrne).

Following the BBC's request for improvements to be made to the show, several changes were made. The second series was the first to establish the familiar Blackadder character: cunning, shrewd and witty, in sharp contrast to the bumbling Prince Edmund of the first series. To make the show more cost-effective, it was also shot with virtually no outdoor scenes (in contrast to the first series which was shot largely on location) and several, frequently used, indoor sets, such as the Queen's throne room and Blackadder's front room.

A quote from this series was placed in third position for the top twenty-five television 'put downs' of the last 40 years by the Radio Times magazine. It was the following insult directed at Lord Percy by Edmund Blackadder: "The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn't he, Percy?"

Series 3: Blackadder the Third

Blackadder the Third is set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a period known as the Regency. In the series, E. Blackadder Esquire is the butler to the Prince of Wales (the prince is played by Hugh Laurie as a complete fop and idiot). Despite Edmund's respected intelligence and abilities, he has no personal fortune to speak of, apart from his frequently fluctuating wage packet from the Prince, as he says: 'If I'm running short of cash all I have to do is go upstairs and ask Prince Fat-head for a raise'.

As well as Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson in their usual roles, this series starred Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent, and Helen Atkinson-Wood as Mrs. Miggins. The series features rotten boroughs (or "robber buttons"), Dr. Samuel Johnson (played by Robbie Coltrane), William Pitt the Younger, the French Revolution (featuring Chris Barrie, Nigel Planer and Tim McInnerny as the Scarlet Pimpernel), over-the-top theatrical actors, a squirrel-hating transvestite highwayman, and a duel with the Duke of Wellington (played by Stephen Fry).

Series 4: Blackadder Goes Forth

This series is set in 1917, on the Western Front in the trenches of the First World War. Another "big push" is planned, and Captain Blackadder's one goal is to avoid getting shot, so he plots ways to get out of it. Blackadder is joined by his batman Private S. Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and idealistic Edwardian twit Lieutenant George (Hugh Laurie). General Melchett (Stephen Fry) rallies his troops from a French mansion thirty-five miles from the front, where he is aided and abetted by his assistant, Captain Darling (Tim McInnerny), pencil-pusher supreme and Blackadder's nemesis, whose name is played on for maximum comedy value.

Except for the final episode, the episode titles are all plays on words involving military titles, e.g. "Captain Cook" (about food), "Private Plane" (involving Rik Mayall as Squadron Commander Lord Flashheart).

The final episode of this series, "Goodbyeee...", is known for being extraordinarily poignant for a comedy – especially the final scene, which sees the main characters (Blackadder, Baldrick, George, and Darling) finally venturing forward and charging off to die in the fog and smoke of no man's land. Melchett remains at his office but blithely orders a reluctant Darling to fight with the others. "Goodbyeee ..." had no closing titles, simply fading from the protagonists charging across no man's land under enemy fire, to a field of poppies in the sunlight: like the poem "In Flanders Fields". In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, Blackadder Goes Forth was placed 16th.


The Pilot Episode

The Blackadder pilot was shot but never aired on terrestrial TV in the UK (although some scenes were shown in the 25th anniversary special Blackadder Rides Again). One notable difference in the pilot, as in many pilots, is the casting. Baldrick is played not by Tony Robinson, but by Philip Fox. Another significant difference is that the character of Prince Edmund presented in the pilot is much closer to the intelligent, conniving Blackadder of the later series than the sniveling, weak Edmund of the original series. Set in the year 1582, the script of the pilot is roughly the same as the episode Born to be King, albeit with some different jokes, with some lines appearing in other episodes of the series.[7]

Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

This takes place at the time of the English Civil War. It is a short episode, shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day in 1988.

The 15-minute episode was set in November 1648, during the last days of the Civil War. Sir Edmund Blackadder and his servant, Baldrick, are the last two men loyal to the defeated King Charles I of England (played by Stephen Fry, portrayed as a soft-spoken, ineffective, slightly dim character, with the voice and mannerisms of Charles I's namesake, the current Prince of Wales). However, due to a misunderstanding between Oliver Cromwell (guest-star Warren Clarke) and Baldrick, the king is arrested and sent to the Tower of London. The rest of the episode revolves around Blackadder's attempts to save the king, as well as improve his standing.

BBC One, Friday 5 February 1988, 9.45–10pm

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

The second special was broadcast in 1988. In a twist on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Blackadder is the "kindest and loveliest" man in England. The Spirit of Christmas shows Blackadder the contrary antics of his ancestors and descendants, and reluctantly informs him that if he turns evil his descendants will enjoy power and fortune, while if he remains the same a future Blackadder will live shamefully subjugated to a future incompetent Baldrick. This remarkable encounter causes him to proclaim, "Bad guys have all the fun", and adopt the personality with which viewers are more familiar.

BBC One, Friday 23 December 1988, 9.30–10.15pm

Woman's Hour Invasion

Woman's Hour is a show on BBC Radio 4 consisting of reports, interviews and debates aimed at women, and also includes short serials during the last quarter of the show. On one instance of the show, in 1988, Blackadder and Baldrick show up, travel back in time and talk to Shakespeare and others.

The purpose of the "invasion" was to raise money for Children in Need.[8]

The Shakespeare Sketch

This non-canonical sketch was performed on stage at the Sadlers Wells Theatre on 18 September 1989. It was written for and performed at an AIDS benefit concert directed by Stephen Fry, and features Rowan Atkinson as a Blackadder-esque character chatting with Hugh Laurie as "Bill" Shakespeare, talking about cutting various sections of Hamlet – in particular the "To be or not to be" soliloquy. Ultimately, Blackadder talks Shakespeare down from an over-long speech to the familiar 'snappy' phrase. From Will's first draft:

"To be a victim of all life's earthly woes, or not to be a coward and take Death by his proffered hand" is, via Blackadder's suggestion, shortened to
"To be a victim, or not to be a coward", and ultimately condensed to "To be, or not to be".

To which Shakespeare naturally replies: "You can't say that – it's gibberish!"

The sketch was available on video as part of Hysteria 2 – The Second Coming, released by Palace Video on 21 May 1990.[9]

Blackadder and the King's Birthday

A short sketch performed at the Prince of Wales' 50th Birthday Gala. It featured Rowan Atkinson as Lord Blackadder and Stephen Fry as King Charles II, and was televised on ITV (in the UK) on 14 November 1998.[10]

Blackadder: Back & Forth

Blackadder: Back & Forth was originally shown in the Millennium Dome in 2000, followed by a screening on Sky One in the same year (and later on BBC1). It is set on the turn of the millennium, and features Lord Blackadder placing a bet with his friends – modern versions of Queenie (Miranda Richardson), Melchett (Stephen Fry), George (Hugh Laurie) and Darling (Tim McInnerny) – that he has built a working time machine. While this is intended as a clever con trick, the machine, surprisingly, works, sending Blackadder and Baldrick back to the time of the dinosaurs, where they manage to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs, through the use of Baldrick's best, worst and only pair of underpants as a weapon against a hungry T.Rex. Finding that Baldrick has forgotten to write dates on the machine's dials, the rest of the film follows their attempts to find their way back to 1999, often creating huge historical anomalies in the process which must be corrected before the end. The film includes cameo appearances from Kate Moss and Colin Firth.

Blackadder: The Army Years

A short monologue performed at the Dominion Theatre for the Royal Variety Performance 2000. It features Rowan Atkinson as the modern-day Lord Edmund Blackadder of Her Royal Highness's regiment of Shirkers. The sketch was written and introduced by Ben Elton, who was the compère of the evening.[11]

The Jubilee Girl

The Jubilee Girl was a 29 December 2002 BBC special about Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee Concert. The concert was hosted by Sir Osmond Darling-Blackadder (Keeper of Her Majesty's Lawn Sprinklers) and Dame Edna Everage. Earlier, a BBC "advertisement" for the celebrations also featured this incarnation of Blackadder, in which Sir Osmond is told to announce the event, even though he thinks it is a terrible idea:

We don't want thousands of people wandering around here willy-nilly, leaving orange peel on the petunias and frightening the corgis.
I said to her, I said, you're the Queen, not Fatboy Slim.[12]

Blackadder Rides Again

A 60 minute documentary produced by the BBC and broadcast on 25 December 2008, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show. It featured interviews with all of the major cast members and other contributors, including Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, Miranda Richardson, Tim McInnerny and Tony Robinson.[13]

Rather than relying on 'talking head' interviews and clips from the show, the documentary included several pieces of rare, and even unseen material (behind the scenes clips, cut scenes from Series 1 etc.). It also reunited certain cast and crew members with their costumes, visited cast members on their current ventures, or took them to the original filming locations.

In October 2008, UKTV Gold had aired two 90-minute documentaries of which celebrated the shows 25th anniversary: Blackadder: The Whole Rotten Saga (a chronological look at the development of the series), and Blackadder's Most Cunning Moments (a countdown of the shows most popular moments, as chosen by the cast, crew, celebrity fans and real people with the surname 'Blackadder'). These two documentaries relied heavily on interviews and clips from the show, and Rowan Atkinson did not contribute to them. The BBC documentary was an entirely independent production from these UKTV Gold documentaries.


While no new series is planned certain comments seem to have left the door open for one.

In January 2005, Tony Robinson told ITV's This Morning that Rowan Atkinson was more keen than he has been in the past to do a fifth series, set in the 1960s (centred on a rock band called the "Black Adder Five", with Baldrick – aka 'Bald Rick' – as the drummer).[citation needed] Robinson in a stage performance 1 June 2007, again mentioned this idea, but in the context of a movie. One idea mentioned by Curtis was that it was Baldrick who had accidentally assassinated John F. Kennedy.[14] However, aside from a brief mention in June 2005,[15] there have been no further announcements from the BBC that a new series is being planned. Furthermore, in November 2005, Rowan Atkinson told BBC Breakfast that although he would very much like to do a new series set in Colditz or another prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, something which both he and Stephen Fry reiterated at the end of Blackadder Rides Again, the chances of it happening are extremely slim.[citation needed]

There were a couple of ideas that had previously floated for the fifth series. Batadder was intended to be a parody of Batman with Baldrick as the counterpart of Robin (suggested by John Lloyd). This idea eventually came to surface as part of the Comic Relief sketch "Spider-Plant Man" in 2005, with Atkinson as the title hero, Robinson as Robin, Jim Broadbent as Batman and Rachel Stevens as Mary Jane. Star Adder was to be set in space in the future (suggested by Atkinson),[16] though this too was touched upon in Blackadder's Christmas Carol.

On 10 April 2007, Hello! reported that Atkinson was moving forward with his ideas for a fifth series. He said, "I like the idea of him being a prisoner of war in Colditz. That would have the right level of authority and hierarchy which is apparent in all the Blackadders."[17]

A post on from Ben Elton in early 2007 states that Blackadder will return in some form, whether it be a TV series or movie. Elton has since not given any more information on the putative Blackadder 5.

During an interview in August 2007 regarding his latest movie, Mr. Bean's Holiday, Atkinson was asked about the possibility of a further Blackadder series, to which the simple reply "No, no chance" was given:

"There was a plan for a film set in the Russian revolution, a very interesting one called The Red Adder. He would have been a lieutenant in the Secret Police. Then the revolution happened and at the end he is in the same office doing the same job but just the colours on his uniform have changed. It was quite a sweet idea and we got quite a long way with it but in the end it died a death."

Stephen Fry has expressed the view that, since the series went out on such a good "high", a film might not be a good idea.[18]

During his June 2007 stage performance, chronicled on the Tony Robinson's Cunning Night Out DVD, Robinson states that after filming the Back & Forth special, the general idea was to reunite for another special in 2010. Robinson jokingly remarked that Hugh Laurie's success on House may make that difficult.

At the end of Blackadder Rides Again Robinson asked Tim McInnerny if he would do another series and he responded "no", because he thought people wouldn't want to see them as they are now and would rather remember them for how they were. In the same documentary, Rowan Atkinson voiced his similar view; 'Times past; that's what they were!' However, Miranda Richardson and Tony Robinson expressed enthusiasm towards the idea of a series set in the Wild West, whilst John Lloyd favoured an idea for a series with a Neanderthal Blackadder.


Ben Elton's arrival after the first series heralded the more frequent recruitment of comic actors from the famed "alternative" era for guest appearances, including Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall (who had actually appeared in the final episode of the first series as Mad Gerald), Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Mark Arden, Stephen Frost, Chris Barrie and Jeremy Hardy. Elton himself played an anarchist in Blackadder the Third.

However, aside from the regular cast listed above, only one actor – Lee Cornes – appeared in an episode of all three Curtis-Elton series. He appeared as a guard in the episode "Chains" of Blackadder II; as the poet Shelley in the episode "Ink and Incapability' of Blackadder the Third; and as firing squad soldier Private Fraser in the episode "Corporal Punishment" of Blackadder Goes Forth.

More 'establishment'-style actors, some at the veteran stage of their careers, were also recruited for roles. These included Brian Blessed, Peter Cook, John Grillo, Simon Jones, Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Paddick, Frank Finlay, Miriam Margolyes, Kenneth Connor, Bill Wallis, Ronald Lacey, Roger Blake, Denis Lill, Warren Clarke and Geoffrey Palmer, who played Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig in "Goodbyeee...", the final, fatal episode of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Unusually for a sitcom based loosely on factual events and in the historical past, a man was recruited for one episode essentially to play himself. Political commentator Vincent Hanna played a character billed as "his own great-great-great grandfather" in the episode "Dish and Dishonesty" of Blackadder the Third. Hanna was asked to take part because the scene was of a by-election in which Baldrick was a candidate and, in the style of modern television, Hanna gave a long-running "live" commentary of events at the count (and interviewed candidates and election agents) to a crowd through the town hall window.

Main Characters

Each series tended to feature the same set of regular actors in different period settings.

The only character types to retain the same name throughout were:

Some characters recurred as their own presumed descendants:

  • MelchettStephen Fry
    • Sycophantic Lord Melchett (a sort of William Cecil character), an adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, series 2
    • General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, a blustering buffoon and presumed descendant of Lord Melchett, series 4
    • General Melchecus – Blackadder Back & Forth
    • King Charles I
    • The Duke Of Wellington, not a Melchett, but definitely a precursor to the Melchett character seen in series 4 (e.g. his use of Melchett's eventual catchphrase "Bahhh!"), series 3
    • Bishop Flavius Melchett – Blackadder: Back & Forth
    • Lord Frondo
  • GeorgeHugh Laurie
    • HRH The Prince George Augustus Frederick, Series 3
    • Lieutenant The Honourable George Colthurst St. Barleigh, Series 4
    • Hugh Laurie also played Simon "Farters Parters" Partridge (also known as Mr Ostrich) in episode five, and Prince Ludwig the Indestructible in the final installment of Blackadder II, and Lord Pigmot.
    • A modern-day George in Back & Forth.
  • BobGabrielle Glaister – an attractive girl who poses as a man called Bob, before revealing her true sex and becoming romantically involved with Flashheart (2 and 4). Series 2 gives her real name as Kate.
  • Lord FlashheartRik Mayall, a vulgar yet successful rival of Blackadder (series 2 and 4)
    • Mayall also plays Mad Gerald in The Black Adder series finale and a decidedly Flashheart-like Robin Hood in Back & Forth.

Non-recurring characters

  • Elspet Gray played the queen (Blackadder's) mother in all six episodes of The Black Adder and the Blackadder pilot. Like Brian Blessed and Robert East, who also appeared in all six episodes of the first series (as the Black Adder's father and brother respectively), Gray never appears again in another related show.
  • Patsy Byrne received plaudits for her crucial role as Nursie in all six episodes of Blackadder II but never featured in either of the subsequent series, either as a regular character or one-off. Her only future roles in Blackadder were in Blackadder: Back & Forth and Blackadder's Christmas Carol, when she briefly reprised Nursie during scenes set in the Blackadder II era and then in Carol's Christmas future scenes, also playing a member of the "triple husbandoid" to Queen Asphyxia, credited as 'Bernard' (though not named in the special this was the name Nursie claimed to have been born under in Series II).
  • Similarly, Helen Atkinson-Wood played the role of Mrs. Miggins in all six episodes of Blackadder the Third, but did not appear again in the programme, although she was mentioned in "Goodbyeee", the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth and a Mrs. Miggins had been mentioned several times in Blackadder II

Multiple guest appearances


  1. ^ "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time - Number 20: Blackadder". Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  2. ^ "List of Musicians and Singers who Played or Sang on Blackadder and Red Dwarf Themes"
  3. ^ It was me what spun it, The Guardian 27 October 2003. Accessed on 29 May 2008
  4. ^ "Blackadder surname meaning". SurnameDB. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  5. ^ MacGregor, James (2 February 2001). ""Step Forward The Real (Unhappy) Blackadder"". Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  6. ^ "Baldrick surname meaning". SurnameDB. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  7. ^ "The Pilot Episode",
  8. ^ "Woman's Hour Invasion",
  9. ^ Shakespeare Sketch at Blackadder Hall. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  10. ^ The King's Birthday at Blackadder Hall. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  11. ^ The Army Years at Blackadder Hall. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  12. ^ The Royal Gardner at Blackadder Hall. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  13. ^ "Press Office - Network TV Programme Information BBC ONE Weeks 52/53". BBC. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  14. ^ "Richard Curtis: Blackadder was lined up to be Sixties entrepreneur". Sunday Telegraph. 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  15. ^ "Faces of the week: Richard Curtis". News. (BBC News). 3 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-06. "… Rowan Atkinson, whose collaborations with Curtis include television and cinema's Mr Bean and TV's Blackadder, which is to enjoy a fifth series next year." 
  16. ^ "Black Adder Program Guide"
  17. ^ "Rowan toys with idea of 'Blackadder' return". (Hello!). 10 April 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  18. ^ "Atkinson Developing "Black Adder" Film",

Media availability

  • All series and many of the specials are available on DVD and video, and as well many are available on BBC Audio Cassette. As of 2008 a "Best of BBC" edition box set is available containing all four major series together with Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Back & Forth. All 4 seasons and the Christmas special are also available for download on iTunes.

Single DVD releases

DVD Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Series 1
The Black Adder
26 June 2001
1 November 1999
29 November 1999
Series 2
Blackadder II
26 June 2001
6 November 2000
11 July 2001
Series 3
Blackadder the Third
26 June 2001
5 February 2001
3 October 2001
Series 4
Blackadder Goes Forth
26 June 2001
22 October 2001
28 February 2002
Special 1
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
26 June 2001
18 November 2002
4 November 2002
Special 2
Blackadder: Back & Forth
26 June 2001
15 September 2003
11 November 2004

Box Set DVD releases

DVD Title DVD Content Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete Blackadder - All Four Series The Black Adder
Blackadder II
Blackadder The Third
Blackadder Goes Forth
12 November 2001 3 October 2002
Blackadder - The Complete Series The Black Adder
Blackadder II
Blackadder The Third
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
26 June 2001 3 October 2005
Blackadder Remastered - The Ultimate Edition The Black Adder (Remastered)
Blackadder II (Remastered)
Blackadder the Third (Remastered)
Blackadder Goes Forth (Remastered)
Blackadder's Christmas Carol (Remastered)
Blackadder: Back and Forth (Remastered)
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years (Remastered)
Blackadder Rides Again
+Audio Commentary
20 October 2009 15 June 2009 1 October 2009


  • Curtis, Richard, Elton, and Atkinson. Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty 1485–1917. Penguin Books, 2000. ISBN 0-14-029608-5. Being the—almost—complete scripts of the four regular series.
  • Howarth, Chris, and Steve Lyons. Cunning: The Blackadder Programme Guide. Virgin Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7535-0447-2. An unofficial guide to the series, with asides, anecdotes and observations.
  • Curtis, Richard, Ben Elton. Blackadder: Back & Forth. Penguin Books, 2000. ISBN 0-14-029135-0. A script book with copious photographs from the most recent outing.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Blackadder (1983, 1986-89, 1999) is a television show which originally aired on BBC One written by Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, and Rowan Atkinson. It traces members of the Blackadder dynasty and their associates through different periods of history.

The Black Adder: Foretelling Born Archbishop Queen Witchsmeller Black Seal
Blackadder II: Bells Head Potato Money Beer Chains
Blackadder the Third: Dish Ink Nob Sense Amy Duel
Blackadder Goes Forth: Cook Punishment Star Plane Hospital Goodbyeee
Specials: Cavalier Years Christmas Carol Back & Forth
Cast External links

The Black Adder

The Foretelling

Edmund: I like the cut of your jib, young fella me lad. What's your name?
Baldrick: My name is Baldrick, my lord.
Edmund: Then I shall call you Baldrick, Baldrick.
Baldrick: And I shall call you "my lord," my lord.

Percy: It will be a great day tomorrow for we nobles.
Prince Edmund: Well, not if we lose, Percy. If we lose, I'll be chopped to pieces. My arms will end up at Essex, my torso in Norfolk, and my genitalia stuck up in a tree somewhere in Rutland.

Born to Be King

[King Richard IV is about to set out on a crusade against the Turks]
Richard IV: As the good Lord said: "Love thy neighbour as thyself, unless he's Turkish, in which case, kill the bastard!"

Edmund: Don't be absurd. Such activities are totally beyond my mother. My father only got anywhere with her because he told her it was a cure for diarrhea.

The Archbishop

Harry: Yes, that's right. A tragic accident.
Edmund: Almost as tragic as Archbishop Bertram being struck by a falling gargoyle whilst swimming off Beachy Head.
Harry: Yes, or Archbishop Wilfred slipping and falling backwards onto the spire of Norwich Cathedral. Oh, Lord, you do work in mysterious ways.

King Richard IV: [to Edmund] You, as compared to your beloved brother Harry, are as excrement compared to cream!
Harry: Oh, father, you flatter me!
Edmund: And me, also!

The Queen of Spain's Beard

King: Chiswick, remind me to send flowers to the king of France in sympathy for the death of his son.
Chiswick: The one you had murdered, my lord?
King: [absentmindedly] Yes, yes, that's the fellow.

Don Speekeenglish: [translating for the Infanta of Spain] You are the light of my life. I wish to enfold you in my broad thighs.

Witchsmeller Pursuivant

Witchsmeller: [talking about ordeal by axe] The suspect has his head placed upon a block, and an axe aimed at his neck. If the man is guilty, the axe will bounce off his neck — so we burn him. If the man is not guilty, the axe will simply slice his head off.

Percy: Look, look, I just can't take the pressure of all these omens anymore!
Edmund: Percy...
Percy: No, no, really, I'm serious! Only this morning in the courtyard I saw a horse with two heads and two bodies!
Edmund: Two horses standing next to each other?
Percy: Yes, I suppose it could have been.

The Black Seal

Friar Bellows: Perhaps a motto for our enterprise? "Blessed are the meek..."
[The rest grumble in disagreement.]
Friar Bellows: "... for they shall be slaughtered!"
[The rest cheer and rush for the door.]
Edmund: But the plan! You've forgotten the plan!
Sir Wilfred Death: I thought that was the plan!
Sean, the Irish Bastard: Let's get those meek bastards now!

Edmund: He murdered his whole family!
Pete: Who didn't? I certainly killed mine.
Wilfred: And I killed mine.
Friar: And I killed yours.
Sean: Did you?
Friar: Yes.
Sean: Good on you, Father.

Blackadder II


Blackadder: This is the Jane Harrington?
Percy: Yes.
Blackadder: Jane "Bury Me in a Y-Shaped Coffin" Harrington?
Percy: I think there may be two Jane Harringtons —
Blackadder: No, no... Tall, blonde, elegant.?
Percy: Yes, that's her.
Blackadder: Goes like a privy door when the plague's in town?

Young Crone: There be two things ye must know about the Wise Woman. First... she is a WOMAN! Second.... she is-
Blackadder: Wise?
Young Crone: How'd you know that?
Blackadder: Oh, Just a wild stab in the dark, which incidentally is what you'll be getting if you don't start being a bit more helpful.


Blackadder: To you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it?

Melchett: I have taken the liberty to make a list of suitable candidates. [unrolls a scroll] Lord Blackadder. [pauses and rolls the scroll back up]


Melchett: [giving a scroll to Blackadder] Farewell, Blackadder! The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you! [Blackadder unrolls the scroll] It's a... map of the area you'll be traversing. [Blackadder inspects the apparently blank scroll] They'd be very grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along. Goodbye!

[Not having a present for Melchett, Blackadder offers a bottle of Baldrick's urine]
Blackadder: There was one thing ma'am, a fine WINE from the far east. A most delicious beverage.
Queenie: Have a taste, boys; tell us what you think.
Sir Walter: It certainly has plenty of nose.
Melchett: Oh yes, this is very familiar.
Blackadder: You'll be delighted to hear there's an inexhaustible supply of the stuff.


Blackadder: The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the Devil's own Satanic herd!

Baldrick: Have you got a plan, my lord?
Blackadder: Yes I have, and it's so cunning you can brush your teeth with it.


[Queen Elizabeth has a lot of good ideas]
Nursie: That was another good idea! You are so clever today, you better be careful your foot doesn't fall off.
Queen Elizabeth: Does that happen, when you have lots of brilliant ideas? Your foot falls off?
Nursie: Certainly does! My brother, he had this brilliant idea of cutting his toenails with a scythe, and his foot fell off.

Blackadder: Get the door, Baldrick.
[There is a crash. Baldrick enters, carrying a door.]
Blackadder: Baldrick, I would advise you to make the explanation you are about to give ... phenomenally good.
Baldrick: You said "Get the door."
Blackadder: Not good enough. You're fired.
Baldrick: But my lord, I've been in your family since 1532!
Blackadder: So has syphilis. Now get out.


Melchett: As private parts to the gods are we: they play with us for their sport!

Edmund: Were you ever bullied at school?
Ludwig: What do you mean?
Edmund: I mean, all this ranting and raving about power. There must be some reason for it.
Prince Ludwig: Nonsense. No, at my school, having dirty hair and spots was a sign of maturity.
Blackadder: I thought so! And I bet your mother made you wear shorts all the way up to your final year.
Prince Ludwig: Shut up! Shut up! When I am King of England, no one will ever dare call me "Shorty-Greasy-Spot-Spot" again!

Blackadder the Third

Dish and Dishonesty

Vincent Hanna: And now for the result of our exclusive exit poll, which produced a 100% result for... "Mind your own business, you nosy bastard."

Blackadder: Right. Now all we have to do is fill in this MP application form. "Name"...Baldrick. First name?
Baldrick: Er... I'm not sure.
Blackadder: Well, you must have some idea.
Baldrick: Well, it might be Sod Off.
Blackadder: What?
Baldrick: Well, when I was little and I used to play in the gutter, I used to say to the other snipes "Hello, my name's Baldrick." And they'd say "Yes we know. Sod off, Baldrick."
Blackadder: All right, "Mr S. Baldrick." Now then, "Distinguishing features".... None.
Baldrick: Hold on. I've got this big growth in the middle of my face.
Blackadder: That's your nose, Baldrick. Now, "Any history of insanity in the family?"... Tell you what. I'll cross out the "in." "Any history of sanity in the family?" ... None whatsoever.

Ink and Incapability

Blackadder: I trust you had a pleasant evening, sir?
Prince George: Well, no, actually. The most extraordinary thing happened. Last night I was having a bit of a snack at the Naughty Hellfire Club, and some fellow said that I had the wit and sophistication of a donkey.
Blackadder: Oh. An absurd suggestion, sir.
Prince George: You're right, it is absurd.
Blackadder: Unless this was a particularly stupid donkey.

Blackadder: Now, Baldrick, go to the kitchen and make me something quick and simple to eat, would you? Two slices of bread with something in between.
Baldrick: What, like Gerald, Lord Sandwich had the other day?
Blackadder: Yes, a few rounds of geralds.

Nob and Nobility

Blackadder: How would you like to earn some money?
Comte de Frou-Frou: I would not like to earn it. I would like other people to earn it and give it to me. Just like in France in the good old days!
Blackadder: Yes, but this is a chance to return to the good old days!
Comte de Frou-Frou: Oh how I would love that. I hate this life; the food is filthy! This huge sausage [points to his dinner] is very suspicious. If I didn't know better I'd say it was a—
Blackadder: Yes, yes, all right.

Blackadder: Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words "I have a cunning plan" marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
Baldrick: They certainly are, sir!
Blackadder: Well, forgive me if I don't do a cartwheel of joy. Your record in this department is hardly 100%. So what is it?
Baldrick: We do nothing.
Blackadder: Yup, it's another world-beater.
Baldrick: No, wait. We do nothing... until our heads have actually been cut off.
Blackadder: And then we... spring into action?

Sense and Senility

Blackadder: Gentlemen, I've come with a proposition.
Mossop: How dare you, sir! You think, just because we're actors, we sleep with everyone!
Blackadder: I think, being actors, you're lucky to sleep with anyone.

Baldrick: My uncle Baldrick was in a play once.
Blackadder: Really?...And what did he play?
Baldrick: Second codpiece. Macbeth wore him in the fight scenes.
Blackadder: So he was a stunt codpiece.
Baldrick: Yes.
Blackadder: Did he have a large part?
Baldrick: Depends who's playing Macbeth.

Amy and Amiability

Blackadder: Oh God! Bills, bills, bills. One is born, one runs up bills, one dies! And what have I got to show for it? Nothing but a butler's uniform and a slightly effeminate hairdo! Honestly, Baldrick, I sometimes feel like a pelican: whichever way I turn, I've still got an enormous bill in front of me!

[Trying to find a bride for the Prince]
Blackadder: Of the 262 princesses in Europe, 165 are over 80 — they're out; 47 are under 10 — they're out; and 39 are mad.
Baldrick: They sound ideal.
Blackadder: They would be if they hadn't all got married last week in Munich to the same horse.

Duel and Duality

Blackadder: I want to be remembered when I'm dead. I want books written about me. I want songs sung about me. And then, hundreds of years from now, I want episodes of my life to be played out weekly at half past nine by some great heroic actor of the age.
Baldrick: Yeah, and I could be played by some tiny tit in a beard.
Blackadder: Quite.

Blackadder: A man may fight for many things: his country, his principles, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child... But personally, I'd mud wrestle my own mother for a wad of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn!

Blackadder Goes Forth

Plan A: Captain Cook

Melchett: Field Marshal Haig has formulated a brilliant new tactical plan to ensure final victory in the field.
Blackadder: Ah. Would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking very slowly towards the enemy?
Captain Darling: How could you possibly know that, Blackadder? It's classified information!
Blackadder: It's the same plan that we used last time and the seventeen times before that.
Melchett: Exactly! And that is what is so brilliant about it! It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard! Doing precisely what we've done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they'll expect us to do this time! There is, however, one small problem.
Blackadder: That everyone always gets slaughtered in the first ten seconds.
Melchett: That's right. And Field Marshal Haig is worried this may be depressing the men a tad. So he's looking for a way to cheer them up.
Blackadder: Well, his resignation and suicide seems the obvious choice.
Melchett: Hmm, interesting thought. Make a note of it, Darling.

Blackadder: Get me a chisel and some marble, will you, Baldrick?
George: Oh, you're taking up sculpture now, sir?
Blackadder: No, I thought I'd get my headstone done.
George: What are you going to put on it?
Blackadder: "Here lies Edmund Blackadder, and he's bloody annoyed!"

Plan B: Corporal Punishment

Blackadder: I remember Massingbird's most famous case: the Case of the Bloody Knife. A man was found next to a murdered body. He had the knife in his hand. 13 witnesses had seen him stab the victim. And when the police arrived, he said "I'm glad I killed the bastard." Massingbird not only got him off, he got him knighted in the New Year's Honours List, and the relatives of the victim had to pay to wash the blood out of his jacket.
Perkins: Yeah, he's a dab hand at the prosecution as well, sir.
Blackadder: Yes, well, look at Oscar Wilde.
Perkins: Oh yes, butch ol' Oscar.
Blackadder: Big, bearded, bonking, butch Oscar — the terror of the ladies. 114 illegitimate children, world heavyweight boxing champion and author of the best-selling pamphlet "Why I Like To Do It With Girls." And Massingbird had him sent down for being a woopsie.

George: I'm a complete duffer at this sort of thing. In the School Debating Society I was voted Boy Least Likely to Complete a Coherent... erm...
Blackadder: Sentence?
George: Yeah.

Plan C: Major Star

George: You a bit cheesed off, sir?
Blackadder: George, the day this war began, I was cheesed off. Within ten minutes of you turning up, I finished the cheese and moved on to the coffee and cigars. And at this late stage, I am in a cab with two lady companions, on my way to The Pink Pussycat in Lower Regent Street.

Blackadder: Yes, in one short evening, I've become the most successful impresario since the manager of the Roman Colosseum thought of putting the Christians and the lions on the same bill.

Plan D: Private Plane

Blackadder: Hello? I'd like to leave a message for the head of the Royal Flying Corps. That's Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Massingbird-Massingbird VC, DFC and bar. Message reads "Where are you, you bastard?"
Baldrick: Here I am, sir.
Blackadder: For God's sake, Baldrick, take cover!
Baldrick: Why, sir?
Blackadder: Because there's an air raid going on! And I don't want to have to write to your mother at London Zoo and tell her that her only human child is dead!

Flashheart: The first thing to remember is always treat your kite like you treat your woman.
George: Ho-how do you mean, sir? You mean, um... you mean, take her home over the weekend to meet your mother?
Flashheart: No. I mean, get inside her five times a day and take her to heaven and back!
Blackadder: I'm beginning to see why the Suffragette Movement want the vote.
Flashheart: Hey, any bird who wants to chain herself to my railings and suffer a jet movement gets my vote.

Plan E: General Hospital

Blackadder: I spy, with my bored little eye... something beginning with "T."
Baldrick: Breakfast!
Blackadder: What?
Baldrick: My breakfast always begins with tea. Then I have a little sausage. Then an egg with some little soldiers.
Blackadder: Baldrick, when I said it begins with "T," I was talking about a letter.
Baldrick: No, it never begins with a letter! The postman doesn't come 'til 10:30.
Blackadder: I can't go on like this. George, Take over.
George: All right, Sir. Um... I spy, with my little eye, something beggining with "R."
Baldrick: Army!
Blackadder: For God's sake, Baldrick! "Army" starts with an "A." He's talking about something with an "R." [trills the R]
Baldrick: Motorbike!
Blackadder: What?
Baldrick: A motorbike starts with a Rrrrr!
Blackadder: Right! My turn again. What begins with "Come here" and ends with "OW"?
Baldrick: I dunno.
Blackadder: Come here. [punches Baldrick in the face]
Baldrick: OW!

Darling: Don't be ridiculous, Blackadder. You can't suspect me. I've just arrived.
Blackadder: One of the first rules of counter-espionage Darling is to suspect everyone. Believe me, I will be asking myself some very probing questions. First, what is the colour of the Queen of England's favourite hat?
Darling: How the hell should I know?
Blackadder: I see. What is the name of the German head of state?
Darling: Kaiser Wilhelm, of course.
Blackadder: So you're on first-name terms with the Kaiser, are you?
Darling: What was I meant to say?
Blackadder: Darling, shh. Cigarette?
Darling: Thanks.
Blackadder: All right, you filthy piece of crap.
Darling: Eh?
Blackadder: Don't give me that, matey. I know your game. Tell me, Von Darling, what was it won you over? Was it the pumpernickel or the thought of hanging around with a lot of men in leather shorts?
Darling: I'll have you court martialed for this, Blackadder.
Blackadder: What, for obeying the General's orders? That might be how you do things in Munich — or should I say München — but not here, Werner. You're a filthy Hun spy, aren't you? Baldrick: the cocker spaniel, please.

Plan F: Goodbyeee...

George: The war started because of the vile Hun and his villainous empire-building.
Blackadder: George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think we can be entirely absolved from blame on the imperialistic front.

Blackadder: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent a war in Europe, two super blocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side; and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast, opposing armies, each acting as the other's deterrent. That way, there could never be a war.
Baldrick: Except, well, this is sort of a war, isn't it?
Blackadder: That's right. There was one tiny flaw in the plan.
George: Oh, what was that?
Blackadder: It was bollocks.

[Melchett, Blackadder and Darling are discussing Blackadder's supposed madness]
Darling: Well, it's rather odd sir. The message was very clear. "Captain Blackadder gone totally tonto. Bring strait-jacket for immediate return to Blighty." [holds up strait-jacket]
Melchett: Don't be ridiculous, Darling! The hero of Umboto Gorge, mad!? Why, you only need to look at him to see that he's as sane as I am. [Bleats like a sheep]


Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

Blackadder: All right, what's the plan?
Baldrick: This [holds up a pumpkin with a face and wig]
Blackadder: A pumpkin is going to save the king?
Baldrick: I will cover his real head with a cloak and balance the pumpkin on top and cut that off instead and the king survives.
Blackadder: I'm not sure it's going to work, Baldrick. You see, when you've cut it off you have to hold it before the crowd and say "This is the head of a traitor," at which point they will all shout "No, it isn't. It's a large pumpkin with a pathetic moustache drawn on it."
Baldrick: I suppose it's not 100% convincing.
Blackadder: It's not 1% convincing. However, I am a busy man and I can't be bothered to punch you at the moment. Here's my fist. Kindly run towards it as fast as you can.

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

[Blackadder shouts from outside.]
Ebenezer Blackadder: HUMBUG! HUMBUG! HUMBUG!
[Blackadder enters his shop, holding a paper bag]
Ebenezer Blackadder: Humbug, Baldrick?
[Blackadder offers him the bag, which contains humbug sweets.]
Baldrick: Why thank you, Mr. B.

Lord Blackadder: Ah, Melchett! Greetings! I trust Christmas brings to you its traditional mix of good food and violent stomach cramp.
Lord Melchett: And compliments of the season to you, Blackadder. May the Yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down.

[A reformed Ebenezer Blackadder hands Baldrick the money he just lifted from his niece's fiancé.]
Ebenezer: Baldrick, I want you to take this and go out and buy a turkey so large, you'd think its mother had been rogered by an omnibus. I'm going to have a party, and no one's invited but me!

[Baldrick opens the door to find Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their aide prepared to give Blackadder a reward for his generosity.]
Queen Victoria: We are Queen Victoria.
Baldrick: What, all three of you?

Blackadder Back & Forth

Blackadder: Baldrick, I have a very, very, very cunning plan.
Baldrick: Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on, and is now working for the UN at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning?
Blackadder: Yes, it is.
Baldrick: Mm... That's cunning!

[Blackadder punches William Shakespeare.]
Blackadder: That is for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years! Do you have any idea how much suffering you're going to cause? Hours spent at school desks trying to find one joke in A Midsummer Night's Dream? Years spent wearing stupid tights in school plays saying things like 'what ho, my lord' and 'look, here cometh Othello talking total crap as usual'? Oh, and ... [kicks Shakespeare] That is for Ken Branagh's endless, uncut, four-hour version of Hamlet!
Shakespeare: Who's Ken Branagh?
Blackadder: I'll tell him you said that. And I think he'll be very hurt.


The Black Adder

Blackadder II

Blackadder the Third

Blackadder Goes Forth

Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Blackadder Back & Forth

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has articles on:


Proper noun




  1. an English surname

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