When Edmund loses his title of Duke of Edinburgh, he snaps, fires Baldrick and Percy and hires some of the most cruel men in England; Sir Wilfred Death, Three-Fingered Pete, Guy de Glastonbury, Sean ...
Rowan Atkinson and the cast of legendary comedy series Blackadder are back for this one-off documentary special to mark 25 years since the original BBC transmission in 1983. Featuring ... See full summary »
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 and the moronic Lord Percy, Edmund plots his rise to greatness.Written by
Michael Grade, who became Controller of BBC One in 1984, regarded this series as overly expensive and unfunny and nearly cancelled further series of Blackadder (he also attempted to cancel Doctor Who (1963) at around the same time and ceased production of The Tripods (1984)). He was eventually persuaded to make more Blackadder if it became a much lower budget studio sitcom. This explains why a second series of Blackadder didn't appear until 1986. 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 »
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 ...
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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.
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