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
See  »

Did You Know?


For the original transmission both 'Born To Be King' and 'The Queen Of Spain's Beard' were swapped in place so 'The Queen Of Spain's Beard' was shown directly after 'The Fortelling' mainly because 'Born To Be King' wasn't ready in time. The correct order has been restored for the video and DVD releases. 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 »


Followed by Blackadder Goes Forth (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

See it gloriously uncut
16 July 2001 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

Much has been written here about `Black Adder' already, and even if you haven't seen it yet, you probably know whether or not you like the dry, sarcastic style of British comedy that this show typifies. Don't misunderstand, though. It's not all high-toned satirical treatment of British history. There's great low comedy, as well. I found it clever and multifaceted enough so that repeat viewing enhances my appreciation of it. For those not well-educated on the aspects British history and monarchy that this show sends up (as I am not), they also become clearer with repeat viewing. So if it doesn't quite register with you at first, you may want to revisit it again. However, DO NOT base your supposed knowledge of British history on this show, as they make things up for the sake of comedy.

With the recent release of the wonderful `Complete Collector's Set' of Blackadder series on DVD, I had the chance to watch them all again. If you've only ever seen these shows on American TV, you may be surprised at a few of the bits you hadn't seen before. The most striking example of this is the episode in the first series where Edmund Blackadder is named Archbishop of Canterbury. To my surprise, I found an extended version of the scene where Edmund, Percy and Baldrick discuss the marketing of fake religious relics, a scene in which occurs a large and intimidating codpiece known as the `Black Russian,' and of course, the scene wherein Baldrick subdues a troublesome bishop by beating him with a crucifix. Obviously, Satan and his pitchforks hold no fears for the posteriors of Black Adder's producers, while American TV execs still fearfully guard their nether regions, if not from the Devil's minions, at least from religious protesters. Political correctness will be the death of comedy, yet.

Among the special features of the DVDs are brief history lessons on certain historical figures, events, places, and cultural references in the shows, explained by Tony Robinson in Baldrick's wonderful, melodious working-class accent. Also, they cover not just all four series, but every special show and skit associated with Black Adder, making it truly `complete.' The packaging design of the Complete Collector's Set is so cunning, you could brush your teeth with it, though I wouldn't recommend it.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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