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 »
It is 1917, and lunatic General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett is leading the British troops at the front lines against the Germans, while everyone waits for Field Marshall Haig's big push. There are various emotions throughout the camp about it. For Captain Kevin Darling, Melchett's bull-dog-like right-hand man, it makes no difference, as it appears he will be safe and sound with the general when the big push occurs. For Lieutenant George Colhurst Saint Barleigh, he is overly excited at thrashing the Germans. For Private S. (probably for Sod-Off) Baldrick, it's a terrifying experience he is not looking forward to. For Captain Edmund Blackadder, however, it's something he's too cowardly too face. Self-centered, arrogant, and sarcastic, Blackadder is always constantly searching for a way out of this silly war, and will try various, often crazy, variations on escape, all of which will take a turn he never expected. Sharing a dugout with George and Baldrick, his main obstacle for ...Written by
The writers researched World War I and thought it made a very apt fitting for a comedy: "All the buildup to the First World War was very funny, all the people coming from communities where they'd never bumped into posh people, and all being so gung-ho and optimistic... the first hundred pages of any book about the World War are hilarious, then of course everybody dies." Rowan Atkinson further explained that the trenches of WWI were perfect: "We wanted a place and time that could reproduce to an extent the claustrophobia and sordidness of medieval England, the best way to do that was to set it in the middle of a war." See more »
Throughout the series, Blackadder and George, both front-line officers in the trenches, are show with their rank insignia displayed on their cuffs, whereas Melchett and Darling, staff officers, are shown with their rank insignia on their shoulders. In reality, this would have been reversed: Cuff insignia was the standard, but front-line officers were allowed to wear theirs on their shoulders to make them less conspicuous to snipers. Shoulder insignia eventually became an army-wide personal option in 1917, and made permanent in 1920 when the cuff insignia was abolished completely. See more »
The production crew credits at the end are formatted to look like military personnel rolls. Each crew member is listed with a cryptic abbreviation of their job title (as if it were a military rank), a serial number, last name and first initial. For example, production designer Chris Hull is listed as "Dgr. 404371 Hull, C" and makeup designer Caroline Noble is credited as "M/U Dgr. 862641 Noble, C". See more »
While I can think of plenty of WWII comedies, comedies about WWI are few and far between. Okay, there is Chaplin's Shoulder Arms, but then I fail to think of anything - apart from these glorious 6 half-hour long pieces of British Comedy. There are reasons for this scarcity, most notably that hardly anything happened during the war, except that millions of soldiers died in their muddy trenches. Not much room for a comedy writer to get his teeth into, is there?
Well, watch this and you'd be surprised how much one can squeeze out of that setting. The main angle is the absurdity of it all, which our hero, Edmund Blackadder, is fully aware of. Alas, he's the only one and so his cynicisms and sarcasms remain undetected by the other characters. The highlights of the series are thus Blackadder's one-liners (well, often a bit longer than one line).
If you have grown up watching TV comedy US style only then you may find the conclusion of the series rather disturbing.
24 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this