In WW2 France, Rene Artois runs a small café where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene.
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
The series was primarily shot at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. See more »
Blackadder is throughout the series referred to as the Duke of Edinburgh, a title that was first bestowed by King George I in 1726, on his grandson, Prince Frederick Lewis, in the Peerage of Great Britain. In the 1480s, the King of England had no jurisdiction over Scotland, where Edinburgh is. Giving Edmund an anachronistic, geographically useless title is a joke, as explained in the DVD special features. See more »
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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