This page is dedicated to one of the (in my eyes) funniest series ever made - equaling, and indeed, in some aspects, exceeding the quality of humor seen by Monty Python; the series follows the fortunes of a family through the ages - starting out in medieval times, through to Elisabethan and Regency eras before concluding with the first world war. The Star of this series is Rowan Atkinson - many of you will recall him for his escapades in Mr. Bean- both on TV, Video and Cinema - but less well known are his live performances - does anyone else recall his memorable "Live in Belfast" LP (my Favourite has got to be "the man in the Queue" - and his performances with Mel Smith, Pamela Anderson and Griff Rhys Jones in "Not the Nine O Clock News".
The Black Adder Series 1
Throughout the ages, men of flair, faculty and outstanding courage have contributed to England's glorious heritage others, like snivelling worm Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh (alias the Black Adder), the bitter and twisted son of medieval King Richard IV, have emerged from the dust of dodgy documents to claim their wrongful position in history.
The Foretelling:With Peter Cook as Richard the III. From out of the swirling mists of the Dark Ages comes a lone horseman cursed from youth by a deformed haircut and sporting a particularly evil pair of tights.
Born to be King: Treachery, Murder and Morris-dancing break out in all their full horror when an orange-faced stranger arrives at court.
The Archbishop: The Landscape is littered with with dead Archbishops of Canterbury. Edmund's cunning plan is to get his his deadliest rival appointed to the vacancy.
The Queen of Spain's Beard: With Miriam Margoyles as the Princess Maria. The King's international treachery gives the hideous Edmund a chance to press his clammy body against one of Europe's most eligible Princesses.
Witchsmeller Pursuivant: The King is a bit under the weather with the Black Death. Witchcraft is diagnosed by the Blackadder and only one man can root it out. Frank Finlay stars as the repulsive Witchsmeller.
The Black Seal: With Rik Mayall as Mad Gerald. In a final gesture of defiance, Edmund rides forth to seek out the Seven Most Evil Men in the land and return with them to seize the throne.
Credits: Rowan Atkinson as Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh a.k.a. the Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Brian Blessed as Richard IV, Tim McInnerny as Percy, Elspet Gray as the Queen, Robert East as Prince Harry. Music by Howard Goodall, directed by Martin Shardlow, Produced by John Lloyd. Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
The Black Adder Series 2
England, 1558 - 1603. The filthy genes of the Blackadder dynasty bubble back to the surface of the melting pot of history as Lord Edmund Blackadder, arrogant peer-about-town swaggers back with a big head and a small beard in search of grace and favour from stark raving mad Queen Bess. Accompanied by a small rabble of beruffed riff-raff - bottom breath Baldrick and pea-brained Percy - the serpentine Lord Blackadder lowers the whole tone of England's Golden Age.
Bells: With Rik Mayall as Lord Flashheart. Served by a dungball in a dress and accompanied by a bird-brained dimwit he can't shake off, Edmund, bastard great, great grandson of the repulsive original is reasonably normal - until he meets Bob.....
Head: Edmund, newly appointed Minister in charge of Religious Genocide and Lord High Executioner, finds himself in a spot of bother when he completely ruins Lord Farrow's weekend by cutting off his head.
Potato: With Tom Baker as Captain Redbeard. Blackadder sets off unwillingly to seek out new potatoes and to boldly go where Sir Rather-a-Wally Raleigh has already been.
Money: With Ronald Lacey as the Bishop. Trouble is in store for Edmund when the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells drops by unexpectedly and tries to shove a red hot poker up places where a cotton bud would be kinder.
Beer: with Miriam Margoyles as Lady Whiteadder. An embarassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a fanatically puritan aunt leads to a right royal to-do in the Blackadder household.
Chains: With Hugh Laurie as Ludwig. Edmund is slightly inconvenienced when a fat-headed German chamberpot boxes him up in a chestful of iron spikes and leaves him to play charades with a crazed spanish interrogator.
Credits:Rowan Atkinson as Lord Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy, Miranda Richardson as Queenie, Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett, Patsie Byrne as Nursie. Music by Howard Goodall, directed by Mandie Fletcher, Produced by John Lloyd. Writen by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Black Adder the Third.
England, 1760 - 1815. Six more brilliantly funny installments from the annals of the Blackadder family, whose fortunes have rather plummeted with the advent of the Regency period. Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince Regent, veers from calamity to disaster with very little in the way of constructive help from his imbecilic Lord and master and Baldrick, of whom the least said the better.
Dish and Dishonesty: Blackadder takes on the task of saving his master from Bankruptcy. Unfortunately, attempts at interfering in the democratic process don't go quite according to plan as Baldrick is accidentally elevated to the House of Lords.
Ink and Incapability: When "thick as a whale omelette" Prince George is approached by Dr. Johnson with a view to patronising his new dictionary, Blackadder is, at first, unimpressed. But as Johnson's enthusiasm for a novel by a certain "Gertrude Perkins" becomes clear, the royal butler's attitude changes. However, he hasn't bargained with the monumentally brainless Baldrick.
Nob and Nobility: With Francophilia and Scarlet Pimpernalia sweeping England following the French Revolution, Blackadder's dislike for anything Gallic seems somewhat out of place. But the lure of pecuniary advantage can do strange things to a man's principles. Meanwhile, the Prince Regent has terrible trouble getting his trousers on.
Sense and Senility: With anarchists lurking everywhere, Blackadder suggests that it might be opportune for his master to make a speech sympathetic to the proletariat. But when they hire two actors to give Prince George some oratorical training, the "mouse-brained" Baldrick apparently discovers an extravagent plot to murder the prince, who is wearing some very large trousers indeed.
Amy and Amiability: Penury stalks the corridors of the Royal Palace and the only answer is a marriage of financial convenience for the Prince Regent. Unfortunately, that idea backfires and Blackadder is forced into a highwayman's life with dogsbody, Baldrick, as his trusty steed. Miranda Richardson stars as Amy.
Duel and Duality: With Stephen Fry as the Duke of Wellington. After a night of debauchery with the Duke of Wellington's two nieces the Prince Regent is challenged to a duel by the big nosed General. During a momentary lapse into semi-coherence, Baldrick thinks of a plan.....
Credits: Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Hugh Laurie East as the Prince Regent. Music by Howard Goodall, directed by Mandie Fletcher, Produced by John Lloyd. Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.
The Black Adder goes Forth
The Western Front 1917: Captain Blackadder, joined the British Army when it was little more than a travel agency for gentleman with an abnormally high sex drive. Now he's twenty yards from a lot of heavily armed people who want to kill him. Worse still, his brother officer is a man whose family brain is gathering dust in a pawn shop in Dunstable and Baldrick is in charge of the cooking....
Captain Cook: When General Haig unveils his new strategy to move his drinks cabinet 6 inches closer to Berlin, Blackadder volunteers to be the Official War Artist.
Corporal Punishment: Orders for Operation Insanity arrive and Blackadder breaches regulations by eating the messenger. Can the Flanders Pigeon Murderer avoid the firing squad?
Major Star: With Gabriell Glaister as Driver Parkhurst. The Russian Revolution produces two more appalling results: an offensive in Germany and a really offensive Charlie Chaplin impersonation by Baldrick.
Private Plane: With Rik Mayall as Lord Flashheart and Adrian Edmonson as Baron von Richthofen. German machine guns in front, British firing squads behind - the only way out is up tiddly-up-up.
General Hospital: with Miranda Richardson as Nurse Mary and Bill Wallis as "Smith". The secret of the Great Plan is out. Ordered to find out a spy in the hospital, Blackadder spots a man with a German accent, a beautiful nurse and the chance for three weeks in bed.
Goodbyee: With Geoffrey Palmler as Field Marshal Dougie Haig. Millions have died but the troops have advanced no further than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping. Now at last the final big push looms.
Credits: Rowan Atkinson as Captain Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Private S Baldrick, Tim McInnerny as Captain Darling, Hugh Laurie as Lt. the hon. George Colthurst St. Barleigh, Stephen Fry as General Sir Anthony Hogmanay Melchett. Music by Howard Goodall, directed by Mandie Fletcher, Produced by John Lloyd. Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Blackadder - the Cavalier Years
The Civil War is at an end. The fugitive King Charles hides with his only ally, a certain Edmund Blackadder and his half-servant - half compost heap Baldrick. They rate his chances of survival as highly as an ant on the crudité plate at an aardvark party....
Note that this episode was originally broadcasted on TV especially for Red Nose Day and is available on the BBC Video 5963 "Pick of the Nose"
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Dickens classic tale of kindness, truth and virtue completely mucked up and ruined by having a member of the Blackadder family involved. Also Baldrick, of course, the man you can rely on to turn a Christmas Dinner into a dog's dinner, as long as the dog isn't very fussy. Stuffed with deeply horrid people (many of whom are gigantically fat) and groaning with cartloads of seasonal bottom jokes, it manages to squeeze in not only the Victorian Black Adder but also his famous Elizabethan, Regency and Space Age relatives into a huge pie of entertainment that will satisfy all but the most discriminating viewers.