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Ink and Incapability 

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


Mandie Fletcher (as Mifs. Mandie Fletcher)


Richard Curtis (by), Ben Elton (by)

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Episode cast overview:
Rowan Atkinson ... Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince (as Mr. Rowan Atkinson)
Tony Robinson ... Baldrick, a dogsbody (as Mr. Tony Robinson)
Hugh Laurie ... The Prince Regent, their master (as Mr. Hugh Laurie)
Robbie Coltrane ... Dr. Samuel Johnson, noted for his fat dictionary (as Mr. Robbie Coltrane)
Helen Atkinson Wood ... Mrs. Miggins, a coffee shoppekeeper (as Mifs. Helen Atkinson-Wood)
Lee Cornes Lee Cornes ... Shelley, romantic junkie poet (as Mr. Lee Cornes)
Steve Steen Steve Steen ... Byron, romantic junkie poet (as Mr. Steve Steen)
Jim Sweeney 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) See more »

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Did You Know?


The original English Dictionary, written by Samuel Johnson, actually took only six years to create and not ten, as this episode indicates. Also, the word "aardvark" wouldn't have been in the dictionary anyway as the word hadn't entered the English language yet. See more »


Blackadder calls Baldrick's plan "the stupidest thing we've heard since Lord Nelson's famous signal at the Battle of the Nile, 'England knows Lady Hamilton is a virgin. Poke my eye out and cut off my arm if I'm wrong.'" However, Nelson lost his eye in Corsica and his arm in Tenerife, in actions that took place long before the Battle of the Nile. See more »


Prince George: Someone said I had the wit and intellect of a donkey.
Blackadder: Oh, an absurd suggestion sir, unless it was a particularly stupid donkey.
See more »


Spoofs That Hamilton Woman (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Class Act
23 March 2008 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I've been hearing about this TeeVee series for years and finally watched an episode.

Its probably not a fair assessment because the gimmick depends on accretive jokes. But I was fairly impressed.

The reason is that the basis for the story and many of the jokes depends on a literary awareness. Its a bit of a pleasure. No, the jokes weren't any better in formation than what you usually see. But there's something deep and lasting in literate humor, even silly puns. I wonder why this is so rare, even in films.

This is superimposed on relationship situations. Most sitcoms are, but because this is intelligently British, its not based on friends and lovers, but on class. Even for this non- Brit, that element goes deeper.

If I were going to mess with TeeVee shows, this would be near the top of the list.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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