4 user 1 critic

Major Star 

Blackadder sees an opportunity to escape the trenches by organizing a variety show as entertainment for the troops.


Richard Boden (as Dir. 232418 Boden, R)


Richard Curtis (by), Ben Elton (by)

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Episode cast overview:
Rowan Atkinson ... Captain Edmund Blackadder
Tony Robinson ... Private S Baldrick
Stephen Fry ... General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett
Hugh Laurie ... Lieutenant The Honourable George Colthurst St. Barleigh
Tim McInnerny ... Captain Kevin Darling
Gabrielle Glaister ... Driver Parkhurst


In order to improve morale, General Melchett asks Captain Blackadder to organize a variety show in the traditional British music-hall style. Seeing another opportunity to leave the trenches, Blackadder agrees - despite detesting variety shows and being horrified at the lack of talent available to him. Written by Murray Chapman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | War


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

12 October 1989 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color (Sepia: closing credits)
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Did You Know?


Gabrielle Glaister appears in this episode as a woman who disguises herself as a man and calls herself "Bob." This is similar to the character she played in Blackadder II: Bells (1986). See more »


Almost certainly done to set up the gags, the sequence of referenced historical events is wrong. At the beginning, Baldrick is delighted to announce that "the Russian Revolution has started", that Tsar Nicholas II is dead, and the masses "have shot all their nobs". In the final scene, General Melchett cancels the concert party because the Americans have joined the war. In actual fact, the Americans declared war on Germany in April 1917, and although this was preceded by a proto-revolution in February 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution (to which Baldrick clearly refers) was in November that year (called the October Revolution in the confused Julian Calendar), with the Tsar being murdered in August 1918. See more »


Bob Parkhurst: [Reacting to the crowd's ovation to the variety show] They love him, sir. We're a hit!
Captain Blackadder: Yes, in one short evening I've become the most successful impresario since the manager of the Roman Coliseum thought of putting the Christians and the Lions on the same bill.
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Featured in TV's 50 Greatest Stars (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

wearing dark sunglasses..
19 January 2019 | by merelyaninnuendoSee all my reviews


Curtis and Atkinson's passionate project of upsetting your expectation on both literature and history, is one of the rare art that inspires us even after decades. The writing still holds for both its maturity and pettiness, never has been before, a sketchy act so witty and truthful to its theme. It starts from the scratch on the infamous royal history of Britain and ends on a dramatic World War note, where both the humor and drama is given sincere respect on writing and performance. Despite of depicting various different stages of history with new characters, the themes often dwells on the chemistry of a master and a squire.

And with equations shuffling like cards, where either there is envy, honesty and vacuous-ness between their relationship, the close calls that is the ignition of the chaotic humor is something that stays with us throughout the series. It often tilts towards satirical where politics, democracy, monarchy and even humanity is put to trial and being laughed at. Atkinson, as the soul and the title of the series, challenges himself on all sorts of personas, from gullible to being cunning as a fox, his necessity on greed and humility is the fabrication of the history itself.

Robinson is the apt supporter of his, on every literal sense where every now and then brilliant actors like Laurie and Fry invests their talent in, to raise the bar. The world built by Curtis and Atkinson is a mirror to our own only with a slight change of post or title or references, the emotions and circumstances it goes through, still can easily be seen around us and it is that nakedness of the game that we are curious to dazzle with. Blackadder is much more than a mere series or a period sitcom, it has memories of ours and theirs childhood that makes it long last.

Major Star

The screenplay isn't gripping as the previous one, but Laurie's track is hilarious and its ironic theme convinces you to keep a broad smile on your face throughout the course of the episode.

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