Captain Blackadder, Lieutenant George, and Private Baldrick see joining the Air Corps as a great way of sitting in a classroom instead of fighting on the front lines. Unfortunately for them, the course is taught by Squadron Commander Flasheart, who lives for danger- much like his nemesis, the infamous Red Baron. Written by
Private Plane is easily the funniest episode of the entire Blackadder legacy. Yes, the plot is weak and the script has been written better in other episodes, but what makes this episode so great is that it throws the concepts of plot and complex writing out of the window and instead replaces it with a simple plot and a riotous new character, Squadron Commander Flashheart, played by Rik Mayall. And be honest, it's easy to watch Mayall make his riotous comments and actions for hours. The episode is once again predictable, and there is no extremely intelligent humour in it, but it is made great by hilarious one-liners, (Blackadder insults Baron von Richthoven's rank of "the greatest living German" - "Which, considering his competition consists of very fat men in leather shorts burping to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain", is no great achievement.") and rough, gritty Flashheart, and those two things alone make Private Plane a great episode to watch.
One other good thing about this episode is that we actually do get to see Baldrick and Blackadder in the air - the flight scene was obviously filmed in the sky, using authentic-looking WWI planes. I found this great because it shows that Blackadder has not been confined to the studio only, after the slight flop of Series 1. Not even Blackadder's plane getting shot down was done badly - it actually looked relatively well-done. Though this scene won't be winning any Oscars any time soon, it is good to see that Blackadder has once again made it beyond the studio boundaries, and while the flight scene is only one minute or-so long, it is relatively well-done and a credit to this episode - if this were like previous episodes, then there would have never been a flight scene, and Blackadder would have updated us by speech once again. A huge thumbs-up to the Blackadder crew for once again filming outdoors. Studios in the late 80s/early 90s would have not been able to do the flight scene like it was, especially for a low-budget comedy production, so I am fully sure it WAS done outdoors. Anyway, enough of this banter...
What is good about this episode is that Blackadder actually reveals a truth about himself in the prison cell - he wants to get out of the trenches and the war, and live a cushy life once more. Even if it means spending the rest of the war in Germany teaching convents how to cook. This, and the following 2 episodes, will start to reveal truths about Blackadder, truths that he himself would be ashamed to admit. But Flashheart's appearance keeps things wild again.
Adrian "Vyvyan" Edmondson (I say "Vyvyan" because that was his character in "The Young Ones", and possibly the biggest role of his life) stars as the Baron von Richthoven, German flying ace, who was made out to be a bit of a poof in this episode who couldn't stomach death. ("You are ze two English flying aces responsible for ze spilling of ze precious German blood of many of my finest, and my blondest, friends," was possibly his best line.) It would have been better to have seen more of him, but his performance was memorable, well played, and with a very funny German accent. Flashheart's best bit was when he bullied Darling towards the end of the episode: ("Captain Darling! Funny name for a guy, isn't it?! Last person I called Darling was pregnant 20 seconds later!"). A hugely hilarious and witty line. And this basically sums Private Plane up - rude, hilarious, and rough.
On the whole - Private Plane is easily the funniest of the Blackadder episodes, but it isn't the most meaningful - get a couple of your mates around and pop it on is my advice. A spiffing job, and another hilarious Blackadder addition. Bravo! 10/10
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