Black Adder the Third: Season 1, Episode 2

Ink and Incapability (24 Sep. 1987)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 409 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

Baldrick burns the only copy of Samuel Johnson's dictionary, and Blackadder has only one weekend to rewrite it.


(as Mifs. Mandie Fletcher)


(by), (by)
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Episode cast overview:
Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince (as Mr. Rowan Atkinson)
Baldrick, a dogsbody (as Mr. Tony Robinson)
The Prince Regent, their master (as Mr. Hugh Laurie)
Mrs. Miggins, a coffee shoppekeeper (as Mifs. Helen Atkinson-Wood)
Lee Cornes ...
Shelley, romantic junkie poet (as Mr. Lee Cornes)
Steve Steen ...
Byron, romantic junkie poet (as Mr. Steve Steen)
Jim Sweeney ...
Coleridge, romantic junkie poet (as Mr. Jim Sweeney)


Samuel Johnson has nearly completed his dictionary, and visits his sponsor the Prince Regent. Unfortunately, the illiterate Baldrick burns the manuscript leaving Blackadder the impossible task of recreating in one weekend what it took Johnson nearly a decade to write. Written by Murray Chapman

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Release Date:

24 September 1987 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Robbie Coltrane had previously played Dr. Samuel Johnson in a one-man show, 'Your Obedient Servant' in 1987 at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, which both Richard Curtis and Ben Elton attended. See more »


While Baldrick and Blackadder discuss the dictionary which Baldrick has just burned to produce the large fire burning behind them, the hiss of the gas used to produce the flames can be heard. See more »


Dr. Samuel Johnson: [places two manuscripts on the table, but picks up the top one] Here it is, sir. The very cornerstone of English scholarship. This book, sir, contains every word in our beloved language.
Blackadder: Every single one, sir?
Dr. Samuel Johnson: Every single word, sir!
Blackadder: Oh, well, in that case, sir, I hope you will not object if I also offer the Doctor my most enthusiastic contrafribularities.
Dr. Samuel Johnson: What?
Blackadder: "Contrafribularites", sir? It is a common word down our way.
Dr. Samuel Johnson: Damn!
[writes in the book]
Blackadder: Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, ...
See more »


Featured in Blackadder Exclusive: The Whole Rotten Saga (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

An absolutely great episode - the best of Series 3!
31 October 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Ink and Incapability" is great from the start. It is far funnier than "Dish and Dishonesty", and is intelligently written - Blackadder's sticky situations really make you feel part of the show. The idea to have an episode around Dr Johnson and his dictionary was an absolutely great one, and one that is brought well to the silver screen. The stupidity of Baldrick and Prince George is at its best here - them helping Blackadder rewrite the dictionary was bound to bring out their extreme thickness. Yes, it is predictable, and the ending should have been done slightly better, but this is a 10/10 episode all the way - I hugely enjoyed watching this, and never has a bad moment. This is the highlight of Series 3, and is a worthy one at that - it is historically accurate (well, in some aspects) and very funny. This is one of the greatest Blackadder episodes ever - no others in Series 3 will recapture its dizzy heights. A great job! 10/10

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