The Black Adder (1983)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy, History
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In the Middle Ages, Prince Edmund the Black Adder constantly schemes and endeavors to seize the crown from his father and brother.

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Series cast summary:
 Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh / ... (7 episodes, 1983)
 The Queen / ... (7 episodes, 1983)
 Percy / ... (7 episodes, 1983)
Patrick Allen ...
 Narrator / ... (7 episodes, 1983)
 King Richard IV / ... (6 episodes, 1983)
 Baldrick / ... (6 episodes, 1983)
Robert East ...
 Harry, Prince of Wales (6 episodes, 1983)
Bert Parnaby ...
 Cain, A Blind Beggar / ... (3 episodes, 1983)
Roy Evans ...
 Abel, A Blind Beggar / ... (3 episodes, 1983)
David Nunn ...
 Messenger / ... (3 episodes, 1983)
Perry Benson ...
 Daft Ned, A Peasant / ... (3 episodes, 1983)
 McAngus / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Forbes Collins ...
 Dopey Jack, A Peasant / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Barbara Miller ...
 Jane Firkettle / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Howard Lew Lewis ...
 Mr. Applebottom / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Natasha King ...
 Princess Leia of Hungary (2 episodes, 1983)
Stephen Frost ...
 Soft, A Guard (2 episodes, 1983)


Set in England at the end of the War of the Roses, we soon find out that the history we know is a Tudor fiction. In fact, Henry VII did not actually win the battle of Bosworth Field; he lost and though Richard III died in the battle, his nephew King Richard IV (who certainly was not smothered while still a boy in the Tower of London) reigned on for some years. The story focuses on Richard IV's younger son Prince Edmund, a sniveling coward who calls himself the 'Black Adder'. Assisted by his grungy servant Baldrick and the moronic Lord Percy, Edmund plots his rise to greatness. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most gripping sitcom since 1380.


Comedy | History


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 June 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Blackadder  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (6 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the original (unaired) 1982 pilot, Blackadder was portrayed as a devious and scheming character. When the series was picked up, however, Edmund Blackadder was changed to an intelligent but sniveling weasel; according to Richard Curtis, he thought it would make the character more complicated and interesting rather than present him as a swaggering hero. In the final episode of the season, he begins to show signs of his scheming self, and in later seasons (generations?) the character is the Machiavellian cynic the show is better known for. See more »


We are given the dates for King Richard IV in the very first episode. The final episode begins in the year that we have already been informed that Richard IV's reign ended. However, while Prince Edmund is in prison there is a caption that says '12 months later' that would make it a year later that Richard IV's reign ended. See more »


Opening tune singer: The sound of hoof beats 'cross the glade / Good folk, lock up your son and daughter / Beware the deadly flashing blade / Unless you want to end up shorter / Black Adder, Black Adder, he rides a pitch black steed / Black Adder, Black Adder, he's very bad indeed / Black: his gloves of finest mole / Black: his codpiece made of metal / His horse is blacker than a vole / His pot is blacker than his kettle / Black Adder, Black Adder, with many a cunning plan / Black Adder, Black Adder, you horrid ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a statement in the closing credits: "With additional dialogue by William Shakespeare." See more »


Referenced in Brows Held High: Richard III (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

promising start to an excellent series
27 September 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although series 2 ('Elizabethan'), 3 ('Regency'), and 4 ('Great War') were probably better overall, this was the series that introduced Edmund Blackadder to the TV-watching world twenty years ago. In series 1, however, it was Edmund who was spineless and Baldrick who really did have the sense; in subsequent series these roles would be somewhat reversed and the idea then really took off.

I do like series 1 for the following reasons: strong casting aside from Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson and Tim McInnerny; this series included Brian Blessed, Robert East as regulars and guests like Peter Cook (brilliant in the very first episode), and Alex Norton (as McAngus). The eagle-eyed will also spot a very young Angus Deayton in the St Leonard's Day episode. While the three following series were sharper and more studio-based (not always a good thing ...) I do think the wild open spaces of The Black Adder helped enormously to get some sense of the Middle Ages into comedy, even if all four series have played havoc with historical fact!

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