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 ...
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
This season had the largest budget in the series, with a multitude of extras and props (horses, armour, etc) and on-location shooting at actual medieval locations. Rowan Atkinson has described shooting as being extravagant: "It cost a million pounds for the six episodes, a lot of money to spend... it looked great, but it wasn't as consistently funny as we would have liked." In partial consequence, the later shows had their budgets, casts and sets scaled down. 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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Each episode's "cast in order of..." credit is different depending on the plot of the episode. "Witchsmeller Pursuivant," for instance, introduces the cast "in order of Witchiness," and "The Black Seal" introduces them "in order of disappearance." "The Black Seal" also lists Tim McInnerny's character as "Percy, a Poisoner" (watch the episode to find out why) 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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