Blackadder
Overview
Blackadder is the name that encompassed four series of a BBC1 historical sitcom
British sitcom
A British sitcom tends, as it does in most other countries, to be based on a family, workplace or other institution, where the same group of contrasting characters is brought together in each episode. Unlike American sitcoms, where twenty or more episodes in a season is the norm, British sitcoms...

, along with several one-off instalments. All television programme episodes starred Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

 as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder is the single name given to a collection of fictional characters who appear in the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder, each played by Rowan Atkinson. Although each series is set within a different period of British history, each character is part of the same familial...

 and Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson is an English actor, comedian, author, broadcaster and political campaigner. He is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder, and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson is a member of the Labour Party...

 as Blackadder's dogsbody
Dogsbody
A dogsbody, or less commonly dog robber in the Royal Navy, is a junior officer, or more generally someone who does drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a "gofer" or a "grunt", a "lackey", or "toady".-History:...

, Baldrick
Baldrick
Baldrick is the name of several fictional characters featured in the long-running BBC historic comedy television series Blackadder. Each one serves as Edmund Blackadder's servant and sidekick and acts as a foil to the lead character...

. Each series was set in a different historical period with the two protagonist
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

s accompanied by different characters, though several reappear in one series or another, for example Melchett
Melchett
Melchett is a family line of fictional characters appearing in the British television sitcom series Blackadder, played by Stephen Fry. There were two main Melchetts: Lord Melchett and General Melchett.- Blackadder II :...

 and Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart is the name of two fictional characters who appeared in two episodes of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder. They are both played by Rik Mayall....

.

The first series
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

 was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, while subsequent episodes were written by Curtis and Ben Elton
Ben Elton
Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....

.
Encyclopedia
Blackadder is the name that encompassed four series of a BBC1 historical sitcom
British sitcom
A British sitcom tends, as it does in most other countries, to be based on a family, workplace or other institution, where the same group of contrasting characters is brought together in each episode. Unlike American sitcoms, where twenty or more episodes in a season is the norm, British sitcoms...

, along with several one-off instalments. All television programme episodes starred Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

 as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder is the single name given to a collection of fictional characters who appear in the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder, each played by Rowan Atkinson. Although each series is set within a different period of British history, each character is part of the same familial...

 and Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson is an English actor, comedian, author, broadcaster and political campaigner. He is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder, and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson is a member of the Labour Party...

 as Blackadder's dogsbody
Dogsbody
A dogsbody, or less commonly dog robber in the Royal Navy, is a junior officer, or more generally someone who does drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a "gofer" or a "grunt", a "lackey", or "toady".-History:...

, Baldrick
Baldrick
Baldrick is the name of several fictional characters featured in the long-running BBC historic comedy television series Blackadder. Each one serves as Edmund Blackadder's servant and sidekick and acts as a foil to the lead character...

. Each series was set in a different historical period with the two protagonist
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

s accompanied by different characters, though several reappear in one series or another, for example Melchett
Melchett
Melchett is a family line of fictional characters appearing in the British television sitcom series Blackadder, played by Stephen Fry. There were two main Melchetts: Lord Melchett and General Melchett.- Blackadder II :...

 and Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart is the name of two fictional characters who appeared in two episodes of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder. They are both played by Rik Mayall....

.

The first series
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

 was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, while subsequent episodes were written by Curtis and Ben Elton
Ben Elton
Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....

. The shows were produced by John Lloyd
John Lloyd (writer)
John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd CBE is a British comedy writer and television producer. He is the great nephew of John Hardress Lloyd.-Early life and career:...

. In 2000 the fourth series, Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

, ranked at 16 in the "100 Greatest British Television Programmes
100 Greatest British Television Programmes
The BFI TV 100 is a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute , chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened....

", a list created by the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

. Also in the 2004 TV poll to find "Britain's Best Sitcom
Britain's Best Sitcom
Britain's Best Sitcom was a poll conducted in 2004 by the BBC, to identify the United Kingdom's best situation comedy. Viewers were asked to vote for their favourite by phone, text message and on the web. The top ten went forward to a final round of voting...

", Blackadder was voted the second-best British sitcom of all time, topped by Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003...

. It was also ranked as the 20th-best TV show of all time by Empire
Empire (magazine)
Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008...

magazine.

Premise

Although each series is set in a different era, all follow the fortunes (or rather, misfortunes) of Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder is the single name given to a collection of fictional characters who appear in the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder, each played by Rowan Atkinson. Although each series is set within a different period of British history, each character is part of the same familial...

 (played by Atkinson), who in each is a member of a British family dynasty present at many significant periods and places in British history. It is implied in each series that the Blackadder character is a descendant of the previous one, although it is never mentioned how any of the Blackadders manage to father children.

Although the character is quite unintelligent in the first series, he is increasingly clever and perceptive in subsequent generations (while decreasing in social status). Each Blackadder though is a cynical, cowardly opportunist concerned with maintaining and increasing his own status and fortunes, regardless of his surroundings.

The life of each of the Blackadders is also entwined with their servant, all from the Baldrick
Baldrick
Baldrick is the name of several fictional characters featured in the long-running BBC historic comedy television series Blackadder. Each one serves as Edmund Blackadder's servant and sidekick and acts as a foil to the lead character...

 family line (played by Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson is an English actor, comedian, author, broadcaster and political campaigner. He is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder, and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson is a member of the Labour Party...

). Each generation acts as the dogsbody
Dogsbody
A dogsbody, or less commonly dog robber in the Royal Navy, is a junior officer, or more generally someone who does drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a "gofer" or a "grunt", a "lackey", or "toady".-History:...

 to his respective Blackadder. They decrease in intelligence (and in personal hygiene standards) just as their masters' intellect increases. Each Blackadder and Baldrick is also saddled with the company of a dim-witted aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

 whose presence Blackadder must somehow tolerate. This role was taken in the first two series by Lord Percy Percy
Lord Percy Percy
Lord Percy Percy is the name given to a pair of related fictional characters, played by Tim McInnerny, in the first two series of the popular British sitcom Blackadder. The Lord Percy of Blackadder II is the descendant of that seen in The Black Adder...

 (Tim McInnerny
Tim McInnerny
Tim McInnerny is an English actor. He is known for his role as Percy in Blackadder and Blackadder II, and as Captain Darling in Blackadder Goes Forth...

), in the third series by Prince George, Prince Regent, and in the fourth by Lieutenant George, the latter two played by Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie
James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE , better known as Hugh Laurie , is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director...

.

Each series was set in a different period of British history
History of the British Isles
The history of the British Isles has witnessed intermittent periods of competition and cooperation between the people that occupy the various parts of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller adjacent islands, which together make up the British Isles, as well as with France, Germany, the Low...

, beginning in 1485 and ending in 1917 comprising six half-hour episodes. The first series, made in 1983, was called The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

(set in the fictional reign of 'Richard IV'). This was followed by a second series, Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...

(1986) set during the reign of Elizabeth I
Queenie
"Queenie" is a caricature of the historical figure Queen Elizabeth I of England, played by Miranda Richardson in Blackadder II, the second series of the BBC historical sitcom Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England...

, a third series Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....

(1987) set during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the reign of George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

, and finally Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

(1989) in 1917, set in the trenches of the Great War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Series 1: The Black Adder

The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

was the first series of Blackadder and was written by Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis
Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis, CBE is a New Zealand-born British screenwriter, music producer, actor and film director, known primarily for romantic comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, Love Actually and The Girl in the Café, as well as the hit...

 and Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

, and produced by John Lloyd
John Lloyd (writer)
John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd CBE is a British comedy writer and television producer. He is the great nephew of John Hardress Lloyd.-Early life and career:...

. The series was originally aired on BBC1 from 15 June 1983 to 20 July 1983, and was a joint production with the Australian Seven Network
Seven Network
The Seven Network is an Australian television network owned by Seven West Media Limited. It dates back to 4 November 1956, when the first stations on the VHF7 frequency were established in Melbourne and Sydney.It is currently the second largest network in the country in terms of population reach...

.

Set in 1485 at the end of the British Middle Ages
Britain in the Middle Ages
England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England during the Medieval period — from the end of Roman rule in Britain through to the Early Modern period...

, the series is written as a secret history
Secret history
A secret history is a revisionist interpretation of either fictional or real history which is claimed to have been deliberately suppressed, forgotten, or ignored by established scholars.-Secret histories of the real world:...

 which contends that King Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 won the Battle of Bosworth Field
Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians...

, only to be mistaken for someone else and murdered, and is succeeded by Richard IV, one of the Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

. The series follows the exploits of Richard IV's unfavoured second son Edmund, the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Edmund (Blackadder)
Prince Edmund Plantagenet, Duke of Edinburgh is a fictional character in the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.-Character overview:...

 (who calls himself "The Black Adder") in his various attempts to increase his standing with his father and his eventual quest to overthrow him.

Conceived while Atkinson and Curtis were working on Not the Nine O'Clock News
Not the Nine O'Clock News
Not the Nine O'Clock News is a television comedy sketch show which was broadcast on BBC 2 from 1979 to 1982.Originally shown as a comedy "alternative" to the BBC Nine O'Clock News on BBC 1, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy...

, the series dealt comically with a number of medieval issues in Britain – witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

, Royal succession, European relations, the Crusades and the conflict between the Church and the Crown. Along with the secret history, many historical events portrayed in the series were anachronistic (for example, the last Crusade to the Holy Land
Ninth Crusade
The Ninth Crusade, which is sometimes grouped with the Eighth Crusade, is commonly considered to be the last major medieval Crusade to the Holy Land. It took place in 1271–1272....

 ended in 1291); this poetic licence would continue in the subsequent Blackadders. The filming of the series was highly ambitious, with a large cast and much location shooting. The series also featured Shakespearean
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 dialogue, often adapted for comic effect. The end credits featured the words "Additional Dialogue by William Shakespeare".

Series 2: Blackadder II

Blackadder II is set in England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I
Queenie
"Queenie" is a caricature of the historical figure Queen Elizabeth I of England, played by Miranda Richardson in Blackadder II, the second series of the BBC historical sitcom Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England...

 (1558–1603), played by Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
Miranda Jane Richardson is an English stage, film and television actor. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has won two Golden Globes and a BAFTA during her career....

. The principal character is Edmund, Lord Blackadder
Lord Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder, Lord Blackadder is the main character in the second series of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder. He is played by Rowan Atkinson.The second series is set in Elizabethan England, and Edmund is a courtier to Queen Elizabeth I...

, the great-grandson of the original Black Adder. During the series, he often comes into contact with the Queen
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, her obsequious Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

 Lord Melchett
Melchett
Melchett is a family line of fictional characters appearing in the British television sitcom series Blackadder, played by Stephen Fry. There were two main Melchetts: Lord Melchett and General Melchett.- Blackadder II :...

 (Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

) with whom he has a rivalry, and the Queen's demented former nanny Nursie
Nursie
Nursie is a fictional character in the second series of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder II. She was played by Patsy Byrne and appeared in all six episodes. She also appeared in two of the Blackadder specials; Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Blackadder: Back & Forth...

 (Patsy Byrne
Patsy Byrne
Patsy Byrne is an English actress.-Biography:She was educated at Ashford School for Girls, and attended the school around the same time as Lorna Fendall, and Joanna Brough, daughter of Arthur Brough...

).

Following the BBC's request for improvements (and a severe budget reduction), several changes were made. The second series was the first to establish the familiar Blackadder character: cunning, shrewd and witty, in sharp contrast to the bumbling Prince Edmund
Prince Edmund (Blackadder)
Prince Edmund Plantagenet, Duke of Edinburgh is a fictional character in the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.-Character overview:...

 of the first series. To make the show more cost-effective, it was also shot with virtually no outdoor scenes (in contrast to the first series which was shot largely on location) and several, frequently used, indoor sets, such as the Queen's throne room
Throne room
A throne room is the room, often rather a hall, in the official residence of the crown, either a palace or a fortified castle, where the throne of a senior figure is set up with elaborate pomp— usually raised, often with steps, and under a canopy, both of which are part of the original notion of...

 and Blackadder's front room.

A quote from this series ranked number three in a list of the top 25 television 'put downs' of the last 40 years by the Radio Times
Radio Times
Radio Times is a UK weekly television and radio programme listings magazine, owned by the BBC. It has been published since 1923 by BBC Magazines, which also provides an on-line listings service under the same title...

 magazine. It was the following insult directed at Lord Percy by Edmund Blackadder:
"The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn't he, Percy?"

Series 3: Blackadder the Third

Blackadder the Third is set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a period known as the Regency
English Regency
The Regency era in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811—when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent—and 1820, when the Prince Regent became George IV on the death of his father....

. In the series, E. Blackadder
Mr. E. Blackadder
Edmund Blackadder, Esq. is the main character in the third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder. He was played by Rowan Atkinson.The series was set in the reign of George III of the United Kingdom . The character is in keeping with the trend of the series Blackadder is lower in rank in this series,...

 Esquire is the butler to the Prince of Wales (the prince is played by Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie
James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE , better known as Hugh Laurie , is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director...

 as a complete fop
Fop
Fop became a pejorative term for a foolish man over-concerned with his appearance and clothes in 17th century England. Some of the very many similar alternative terms are: "coxcomb", fribble, "popinjay" , fashion-monger, and "ninny"...

 and idiot). Despite Edmund's respected intelligence and abilities, he has no personal fortune to speak of, apart from his frequently fluctuating wage packet from the Prince, as he says: 'If I'm running short of cash all I have to do is go upstairs and ask Prince Fat-head for a raise'.

As well as Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson in their usual roles, this series starred Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie
James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE , better known as Hugh Laurie , is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director...

 as the Prince Regent, and Helen Atkinson-Wood
Helen Atkinson-Wood
Helen Atkinson-Wood is an English actress and comedian born in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Cheshire.Atkinson-Wood studied fine art at the Ruskin School, Oxford University, where she performed with Rowan Atkinson...

 as Mrs. Miggins. The series features rotten borough
Rotten borough
A "rotten", "decayed" or pocket borough was a parliamentary borough or constituency in the United Kingdom that had a very small electorate and could be used by a patron to gain undue and unrepresentative influence within Parliament....

s (or "robber buttons"), Dr. Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

 (played by Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane, OBE is a Scottish actor, comedian and author. He is known both for his role as Dr...

), William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

 (Simon Osborne), the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 (featuring Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie is a British actor. He first achieved success as a vocal impressionist, notably in the ITV sketch show Spitting Image...

, Nigel Planer
Nigel Planer
Nigel George Planer is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright.Planer is perhaps best known for his role as Neil Pye in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked and Hairspray...

 and Tim McInnerny
Tim McInnerny
Tim McInnerny is an English actor. He is known for his role as Percy in Blackadder and Blackadder II, and as Captain Darling in Blackadder Goes Forth...

 as the Scarlet Pimpernel
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The story is a precursor to the "disguised superhero" tales such as Zorro and Batman....

), over-the-top theatrical actors
English Renaissance theatre
English Renaissance theatre, also known as early modern English theatre, refers to the theatre of England, largely based in London, which occurred between the Reformation and the closure of the theatres in 1642...

, a squirrel-hating transvestite highwayman
Highwayman
A highwayman was a thief and brigand who preyed on travellers. This type of outlaw, usually, travelled and robbed by horse, as compared to a footpad who traveled and robbed on foot. Mounted robbers were widely considered to be socially superior to footpads...

, and a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

 with the Duke of Wellington
Duke of Wellington
The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title in the senior rank of the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first holder of the title was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the noted Irish-born career British Army officer and statesman, and...

 (played by Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

).

Series 4: Blackadder Goes Forth

This series is set in 1917, on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 in the trenches of the First World War. Another "big push" is planned, and Captain Blackadder
Captain Blackadder
Captain Edmund Blackadder is the main fictional character in the fourth and final series of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder, Blackadder Goes Forth...

's one goal is to avoid being killed, so he plots ways to get out of it. Blackadder is joined by his batman Private S. Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and idealistic Edwardian
Edwardian period
The Edwardian era or Edwardian period in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910.The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era...

 twit Lieutenant George (Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie
James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE , better known as Hugh Laurie , is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director...

). General Melchett  (Stephen Fry) rallies his troops from a French château
Château
A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions...

 thirty-five miles from the front, where he is aided and abetted by his assistant, Captain Darling
Kevin Darling
Darling is the name of several fictional characters played by Tim McInnerny in the British mock-historical sitcom Blackadder. Introduced in its fourth iteration, Blackadder Goes Forth, Captain Kevin Darling is main character Captain Edmund Blackadder 's intellectual peer and bitter rival; while...

 (Tim McInnerny), pencil-pusher supreme and Blackadder's nemesis, whose name is played on for maximum comedy value.

The series is somewhat darker in tone than the other Blackadders; it details the depredations of trench warfare as well as the infamous incompetence and life-wasting strategies of the top brass. For example, Baldrick is reduced to making coffee from mud and cooking rats, while General Melchett hatches a plan for the troops to walk very slowly toward the German lines, because "it'll be the last thing Fritz will expect."

The final episode of this series, "Goodbyeee", is known for being extraordinarily poignant for a comedy – especially the final scene, which sees the main characters (Blackadder, Baldrick, George, and Darling) finally venturing forward and charging off to die in the fog and smoke of no man's land
No man's land
No man's land is a term for land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties that leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms...

. In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes
100 Greatest British Television Programmes
The BFI TV 100 is a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute , chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened....

 drawn up by the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

 in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, Blackadder Goes Forth was placed 16th.

Pilot episode

The Blackadder pilot was shot but never aired on terrestrial TV in the UK (although some scenes were shown in the 25th anniversary special Blackadder Rides Again). One notable difference in the pilot, as in many pilots, is the casting. Baldrick is played not by Tony Robinson, but by Philip Fox
Philip Fox (actor)
Philip "Phil" Fox is an English film and television actor, known particularly for comic roles. His appearances include Genie in the House, Maurice, People Like Us, Waking the Dead, Maxwell, Midsummer Murders and Foyle's War...

. Another significant difference is that the character of Prince Edmund presented in the pilot is much closer to the intelligent, conniving Blackadder of the later series than the snivelling, weak Edmund of the original series. Set in the year 1582, the script of the pilot is roughly the same as the episode "Born to be King
Born to be King
"Born to Be King" is the second episode of The Black Adder, the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.- Plot :In autumn 1486, King Richard IV departs on a Crusade...

", albeit with some different jokes, with some lines appearing in other episodes of the series.

Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

This special, set in the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, was shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on Friday 5 February 1988. The 15-minute episode is set in November 1648, during the last days of the Civil War. Sir Edmund Blackadder and his servant, Baldrick, are the last two men loyal to the defeated King Charles I of England
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 (played by Stephen Fry, portrayed as a soft-spoken, ineffective, slightly dim character, with the voice and mannerisms of Charles I's namesake, the current Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

). However, due to a misunderstanding between Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 (guest-star Warren Clarke
Warren Clarke
-Biography:Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire. His first television appearance was in the long running Granada soap opera Coronation Street, initially as Kenny Pickup in 1966 and then as Gary Bailey in 1968. His first major film appearance was in Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork...

) and Baldrick, the king is arrested and sent to the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

. The rest of the episode revolves around Blackadder's attempts to save the king, as well as improve his standing.

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

The second special was broadcast on Friday 23 December 1988. In a twist on Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

' A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of...

, Ebenezer Blackadder
Ebenezer Blackadder
Ebenezer Blackadder is one of the many Blackadder descendants from the BBC sitcom of the name. Unlike his ancestors, however, he is the only member of the Blackadder family whose name is not Edmund to feature in the television shows.-Overview:...

 is the "kindest and loveliest" man in England. The Spirit of Christmas shows Blackadder the contrary antics of his ancestors and descendants, and reluctantly informs him that if he turns evil his descendants will enjoy power and fortune, while if he remains the same a future Blackadder will live shamefully subjugated to a future incompetent Baldrick. This remarkable encounter causes him to proclaim, "Bad guys have all the fun", and adopt the personality with which viewers are more familiar.

Blackadder: Back & Forth

Blackadder: Back & Forth was originally shown in the Millennium Dome
Millennium Dome
The Millennium Dome, colloquially referred to simply as The Dome or even The O2 Arena, is the original name of a large dome-shaped building, originally used to house the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium...

 in 2000, followed by a screening on Sky One in the same year (and later on BBC1). It is set on the turn of the millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

, and features Lord Blackadder placing a bet with his friends – modern versions of Queenie (Miranda Richardson), Melchett (Stephen Fry), George (Hugh Laurie) and Darling (Tim McInnerny) – that he has built a working time machine
Time travel in fiction
Time travel is a common theme in science fiction and is depicted in a variety of media. It simply means either going forward in time or backward, to experience the future, or the past.-Literature:...

. While this is intended as a clever con trick
Confidence trick
A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...

, the machine, surprisingly, works, sending Blackadder and Baldrick back to the time of the dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s, where they manage to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs, through the use of Baldrick's best, worst and only pair of underpants as a weapon against a hungry T. Rex
Tyrannosaurus
Tyrannosaurus meaning "tyrant," and sauros meaning "lizard") is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex , commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other...

. Finding that Baldrick has forgotten to write dates on the machine's dials, the rest of the film follows their attempts to find their way back to 1999, often creating huge historical anomalies in the process which must be corrected before the end. The film includes cameo appearance
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

s from Kate Moss
Kate Moss
Kate Moss is an English model. Moss is known for her waifish figure and popularising the heroin chic look in the 1990s. She is also known for her controversial private life, high profile relationships, party lifestyle, and drug use. Moss changed the look of modelling and started a global debate on...

 and Colin Firth
Colin Firth
SirColin Andrew Firth, CBE is a British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...

.

Chronological order

Title Type Production / air date Set in century
The Black Adder (pilot) Pilot 1982 (unaired) 16th
The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

Series 1983 15th
Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...

Series 1986 16th
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....

Series 1987 18th–19th
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years is a 15 minute one-off edition of Blackadder set during the English Civil War, shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on Friday 5 February . The episode included series regulars Rowan Atkinson as Sir Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, and Stephen Fry...

Comic Relief
Comic Relief
Comic Relief is an operating British charity, founded in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia. The highlight of Comic Relief's appeal is Red Nose Day, a biennial telethon held in March, alternating with sister project Sport Relief...

 Special
1988 17th
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth , and is narrated by Hugh Laurie...

Christmas Special 1988 19th
Woman's Hour Invasion Radio 1988
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

Series 1989 20th
The Shakespeare Sketch Theatre 1989 16th
Blackadder and the King's Birthday Sketch 1998 17th
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 short film based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga...

Millennium Special 1999 20th, Various
Blackadder: The Army Years Theatre 2000 21st
The Royal Gardener (From the Queen's Jubilee) Sketch 2002 21st
Jubilee Girl Sketch 2002
Blackadder Exclusive: The Whole Rotten Saga Documentary 2008
Blackadder Rides Again Documentary 2008

Series development

Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis developed the idea for the sitcom while working on Not the Nine O'Clock News
Not the Nine O'Clock News
Not the Nine O'Clock News is a television comedy sketch show which was broadcast on BBC 2 from 1979 to 1982.Originally shown as a comedy "alternative" to the BBC Nine O'Clock News on BBC 1, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy...

. Eager to avoid comparisons to the critically acclaimed Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Twelve television program episodes were produced . The show was written by John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played major characters...

, they proposed the idea of a historical sitcom. An unaired pilot episode was made in 1982, and a six episode series was commissioned. The budget for the series was considerable, with much location shooting particularly at Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle is a castle and stately home in the town of the same name in the English county of Northumberland. It is the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building.-History:Alnwick...

 in Northumberland and the surrounding countryside in February 1983. The series also used large casts of extras, horses and expensive medieval-style costumes. Atkinson has said about the making of the first series:

The first series was odd, it was very extravagant. It cost a million pounds for the six programmes... [which] was a lot of money to spend.... It looked great, but it wasn't as consistently funny as we would have liked.


Due to the high cost of the first series, the then controller of programming of BBC1, Michael Grade
Michael Grade
Michael Ian Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth CBE is a British broadcast executive and businessman. He was BBC chairman from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV plc from 2007 to 2009.-Early life:...

 was reluctant to sign off a second series without major improvements and cost cutting to be made to the show, leaving a gap of three years between the two series. Atkinson did not wish to continue writing for the second series, so writer and comedian Ben Elton
Ben Elton
Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....

 was chosen to replace him.

Blackadder II was therefore to be a studio-only production (along with the inclusion of a live audience during recording, instead of showing the episodes to one after taping). Besides adding more jokes, Elton suggested a major change in character emphasis: Baldrick would become the stupid sidekick
Sidekick
A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one he accompanies. Some well-known fictional sidekicks are Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes' Doctor Watson, The Lone Ranger's Tonto, The Green Hornet's Kato and Batman's Robin.-Origins:The origin of the...

, while Edmund Blackadder evolved into a cunning sycophant
Sycophant
Sycophancy means:# Obsequious flattery; servility.# The character or characteristic of a sycophant.Alternative phrases are often used such as:-Etymology:...

. This led to the familiar set-up that was maintained in the following series.

Only in the Back & Forth millennium special was the shooting once again on location, because this was a production with a budget estimated at £3 million, and was a joint venture between Tiger Aspect
Tiger Aspect Productions
Tiger Aspect Productions is a British television production company, particularly noted for its situation comedies. Co-founded by producer Peter Bennett-Jones, its productions have included popular hits such as The Vicar of Dibley and Mr. Bean...

, Sky Television
Sky Television plc
Sky Television plc was a public limited company which operated its four-channel satellite television service, launched by Rupert Murdoch's News International on 5 February 1989...

, the New Millennium Experience Company and the BBC, rather than the BBC alone.

Casting

Each series tended to feature the same set of regular actors in different period settings, although throughout the four series and specials, only Blackadder and Baldrick were constant characters. Several regular cast members recurred as characters with similar names, implying, like Blackadder, that they were descendants.

Main cast

  • Rowan Atkinson
    Rowan Atkinson
    Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He is most famous for his work on the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Thin Blue Line...

     as Edmund Blackadder
    Edmund Blackadder
    Edmund Blackadder is the single name given to a collection of fictional characters who appear in the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder, each played by Rowan Atkinson. Although each series is set within a different period of British history, each character is part of the same familial...

    , the series' protagonist.
  • Tony Robinson
    Tony Robinson
    Tony Robinson is an English actor, comedian, author, broadcaster and political campaigner. He is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder, and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson is a member of the Labour Party...

     as S. Baldrick
    Baldrick
    Baldrick is the name of several fictional characters featured in the long-running BBC historic comedy television series Blackadder. Each one serves as Edmund Blackadder's servant and sidekick and acts as a foil to the lead character...

    , his servant.
  • Stephen Fry
    Stephen Fry
    Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

     played Melchett
    Melchett
    Melchett is a family line of fictional characters appearing in the British television sitcom series Blackadder, played by Stephen Fry. There were two main Melchetts: Lord Melchett and General Melchett.- Blackadder II :...

     in two series, first as Lord Melchett, the sycophantic adviser to Queen Elizabeth I
    Queenie
    "Queenie" is a caricature of the historical figure Queen Elizabeth I of England, played by Miranda Richardson in Blackadder II, the second series of the BBC historical sitcom Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England...

     in series two and secondly as General Melchett, a blustering buffoon and presumed descendant in series four. Fry also appeared as King Charles I
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

    , The Duke Of Wellington in series three and as various characters in Blackadder Back & Forth.
  • Tim McInnerny
    Tim McInnerny
    Tim McInnerny is an English actor. He is known for his role as Percy in Blackadder and Blackadder II, and as Captain Darling in Blackadder Goes Forth...

     played Lord Percy Percy
    Lord Percy Percy
    Lord Percy Percy is the name given to a pair of related fictional characters, played by Tim McInnerny, in the first two series of the popular British sitcom Blackadder. The Lord Percy of Blackadder II is the descendant of that seen in The Black Adder...

    , Blackadder's dimwitted sidekick in series one and two before a change of character to antagonist Captain Kevin Darling
    Kevin Darling
    Darling is the name of several fictional characters played by Tim McInnerny in the British mock-historical sitcom Blackadder. Introduced in its fourth iteration, Blackadder Goes Forth, Captain Kevin Darling is main character Captain Edmund Blackadder 's intellectual peer and bitter rival; while...

     in series four. He also appeared as The Scarlet Pimpernel
    The Scarlet Pimpernel
    The Scarlet Pimpernel is a play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The story is a precursor to the "disguised superhero" tales such as Zorro and Batman....

     (alias Lord Topper and Le Comte de Frou Frou) for one episode in the third series, and reprised his role as Darling in Blackadder: Back & Forth.
  • Hugh Laurie
    Hugh Laurie
    James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE , better known as Hugh Laurie , is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director...

     played George in series three and four, first as HRH The Prince Regent
    George IV of the United Kingdom
    George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

    , and later Lieutenant George in series four. Laurie also appeared twice in series two as Simon "Farters Parters" Partridge and Prince Ludwig the Indestructible in the final instalment of Blackadder II. He similarly reprised this role in Back & Forth.
  • Miranda Richardson
    Miranda Richardson
    Miranda Jane Richardson is an English stage, film and television actor. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has won two Golden Globes and a BAFTA during her career....

     was only a regular cast member for series two where she played Queen Elizabeth I, reprising the role in Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Back & Forth. However, she also played significant one-off roles as Amy Hardwood (aka The Shadow) in "Amy and Amiability
    Amy and Amiability (Blackadder)
    "Amy and Amiability" is the fifth episode of the third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.-Plot:Mr. E. Blackadder is in serious debt. Baldrick suggest that he becomes a highwayman to make money to pay off his bills; however, Blackadder, having "no desire to get hung for wearing a silly hat",...

    " in the third series and Mary Fletcher-Brown, a dutiful nurse in "General Hospital
    General Hospital (Blackadder)
    "General Hospital" is the fifth episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, the fourth series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.-Plot:The episode opens with George and Baldrick playing "I spy", to Blackadder's great annoyance and boredom...

    " from the fourth.

Non-recurring cast

  • Brian Blessed
    Brian Blessed
    Brian Blessed is an English actor, known for his sonorous voice and "hearty, king-sized portrayals".-Early life:The son of William Blessed, a socialist miner, and Hilda Wall, Blessed was born in the town of Goldthorpe, West Riding of Yorkshire, England...

    , Elspet Gray
    Elspet Gray
    Elspeth Jean Gray, Baroness Rix is a Scottish actress, known for her work on British television in the 1970s and '80s...

     and Robert East
    Robert East (actor)
    Robert Gwyn East East is an accomplished theatre and tv actor. He also wrote Incident at Tulse Hill, first produced at the Hampstead Theatre in December 1981 under the direction of Harold Pinter....

     appeared in all six episodes of the first series as the Black Adder's father, mother and brother respectively. Gray had also appeared in the non-broadcast pilot.
  • Patsy Byrne
    Patsy Byrne
    Patsy Byrne is an English actress.-Biography:She was educated at Ashford School for Girls, and attended the school around the same time as Lorna Fendall, and Joanna Brough, daughter of Arthur Brough...

     played Nursie in all six episodes of Blackadder II
    Blackadder II
    Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...

    but never featured in either of the subsequent series, either as a regular character or one-off. She briefly reprised the character in Blackadder: Back & Forth
    Blackadder: Back & Forth
    Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 short film based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga...

    and Blackadder's Christmas Carol
    Blackadder's Christmas Carol
    Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth , and is narrated by Hugh Laurie...

    .
  • Helen Atkinson-Wood
    Helen Atkinson-Wood
    Helen Atkinson-Wood is an English actress and comedian born in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Cheshire.Atkinson-Wood studied fine art at the Ruskin School, Oxford University, where she performed with Rowan Atkinson...

     played the role of Mrs. Miggins in all six episodes of Blackadder the Third
    Blackadder the Third
    Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....

    , but did not appear again in the programme, although the character was mentioned several times in Blackadder II and in the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth
    Blackadder Goes Forth
    Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

    .

Guest cast

Ben Elton
Ben Elton
Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....

's arrival after the first series heralded the more frequent recruitment of comic actors from the famed "alternative
Alternative comedy
Alternative comedy is a term that originated in the 1980s for a style of comedy that makes a conscious break with the mainstream comedic style of an era, and typically avoids relying on a standardised structure of a sequence of jokes with punch lines. Patton Oswalt defines it as "comedy where the...

" era for guest appearances, including Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane, OBE is a Scottish actor, comedian and author. He is known both for his role as Dr...

, Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall is an English comedian, writer, and actor. He is known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s...

 (who had appeared in the final episode of the first series as "Mad Gerald"), Adrian Edmondson
Adrian Edmondson
Adrian Charles "Ade" Edmondson is an English comedian. He is probably best known for his comedic roles in the television series The Young Ones and Bottom , for which he also wrote together with his long-time collaboration partner Rik Mayall.-Early life:Edmondson, the second of four children, was...

, Nigel Planer
Nigel Planer
Nigel George Planer is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright.Planer is perhaps best known for his role as Neil Pye in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked and Hairspray...

, Mark Arden
Mark Arden
Mark Arden is an English comedian and actor, best known for being one half of comic double act "The Oblivion Boys" with Stephen Frost....

, Stephen Frost
Stephen Frost
Stephen Frost , also known as Steve Frost, is an English comedian.Frost is known for his work in the 1980s with Mark Arden as part of the double act The Oblivion Boys on Saturday Live...

, Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie
Chris Barrie is a British actor. He first achieved success as a vocal impressionist, notably in the ITV sketch show Spitting Image...

 and Jeremy Hardy
Jeremy Hardy
Jeremy James Hardy is a British alternative comedian who is also known for his socialist politics.-Career:Hardy was born in Farnborough, Hampshire. He attended Farnham College and studied Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton...

. Elton himself played an anarchist in Blackadder the Third.

Gabrielle Glaister
Gabrielle Glaister
Gabrielle Glaister is an English actress.-Early life:She was a school friend of Ben Elton at Godalming Grammar School on Tuesley Lane in Godalming, Surrey; Glaister was in the year below Elton...

 played Bob
Bob (Blackadder character)
Bob is a pseudonym used by two characters in the sitcom Blackadder, both female and played by Gabrielle Glaister.-Blackadder II:Kate, who goes by the pseudonym "Bob", is one of the first characters to appear in Blackadder II...

 – an attractive girl who poses as a man appears in both series 2 and 4. Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall is an English comedian, writer, and actor. He is known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s...

 plays Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart
Lord Flashheart is the name of two fictional characters who appeared in two episodes of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder. They are both played by Rik Mayall....

, a vulgar yet successful rival of Blackadder in two episodes of series 2 and 4. Mayall had appeared in The Black Adder as Mad Gerald. He also played a decidedly Flashheart-like Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 in Back & Forth. Lee Cornes
Lee Cornes
Lee Cornes is a British actor.He appeared in three series of Blackadder, as a talking extra, in two episodes of The Young Ones and in the TV show Bottom, as barman, 'Dick Head'. He made an appearance in the first episode of Filthy, Rich & Catflap as a binman. He also starred in children's drama...

 also appeared in an episode of all three Curtis-Elton series. He appeared as a guard in the episode "Chains" of Blackadder II; as the poet Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron...

 in the episode "Ink and Incapability' of Blackadder the Third; and as firing squad soldier Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

 Fraser in the episode "Corporal Punishment" of Blackadder Goes Forth.

More 'establishment'-style actors, some at the veteran stage of their careers, were also recruited for roles. These included Brian Blessed
Brian Blessed
Brian Blessed is an English actor, known for his sonorous voice and "hearty, king-sized portrayals".-Early life:The son of William Blessed, a socialist miner, and Hilda Wall, Blessed was born in the town of Goldthorpe, West Riding of Yorkshire, England...

, Peter Cook
Peter Cook
Peter Edward Cook was an English satirist, writer and comedian. An extremely influential figure in modern British comedy, he is regarded as the leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960s. He has been described by Stephen Fry as "the funniest man who ever drew breath," although Cook's...

, John Grillo
John Grillo
John Grillo is a British actor and playwright who has appeared in many film and television productions....

, Simon Jones
Simon Jones (actor)
Simon Jones is an English actor, most famous for his appearances in the television and radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which he played the lead role of Arthur Dent from 1978 to 2005...

, Tom Baker
Tom Baker
Thomas Stewart "Tom" Baker is a British actor. He is best known for playing the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction television series Doctor Who, a role he played from 1974 to 1981.-Early life:...

, Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
James "Jim" Broadbent is an English theatre, film, and television actor. He is known for his roles in Iris, Moulin Rouge!, Topsy-Turvy, Hot Fuzz, and Bridget Jones' Diary...

, Hugh Paddick
Hugh Paddick
Hugh William Paddick was an English actor, whose most notable role was in the 1960s BBC radio show Round the Horne in sketches such as Charles and Fiona and Julian and Sandy...

, Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
Francis Finlay, CBE is an English stage, film and television actor.-Personal life:Finlay was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, the son of Margaret and Josiah Finlay, a butcher. A devout Catholic, he belongs to the British Catholic Stage Guild. He was educated at St...

, Miriam Margolyes
Miriam Margolyes
Miriam Margolyes, OBE is an English actress and voice artist. Her earliest roles were in theatre and after several supporting roles in film and television she won a BAFTA Award for her role in The Age of Innocence .-Early life:...

, Kenneth Connor
Kenneth Connor
Kenneth Connor MBE was an English comedy stage, radio, film and TV actor, best known for his appearances in the Carry On films.-Career:...

, Bill Wallis
Bill Wallis
Bill Wallis is a British character actor and comedian who has appeared in numerous radio and television roles, as well as in the theatre....

, Ronald Lacey
Ronald Lacey
Ronald Lacey was an English actor. He made numerous television and film appearances over a 30 year period and is perhaps best remembered for his villainous roles in Hollywood films, most famously Major Arnold Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark.-Career:Lacey attended Harrow Weald Grammar School and...

, Roger Blake, Denis Lill
Denis Lill
Denis Lill is a New Zealand-born British actor.Some of his many film and television roles include Fall of Eagles , Edward the Seventh , Survivors , The Scarlet Pimpernel , as William Knox d-Arcy, the Australian oil pioneer in Persia, in Reilly: Ace of Spies , Rumpole of the Bailey , Mapp &...

, Warren Clarke
Warren Clarke
-Biography:Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire. His first television appearance was in the long running Granada soap opera Coronation Street, initially as Kenny Pickup in 1966 and then as Gary Bailey in 1968. His first major film appearance was in Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork...

 and Geoffrey Palmer
Geoffrey Palmer (actor)
Geoffrey Dyson Palmer, OBE is an English actor, best known for his roles in sitcoms such as Butterflies and As Time Goes By.-Career:...

, who played Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig
Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE, ADC, was a British senior officer during World War I. He commanded the British Expeditionary Force from 1915 to the end of the War...

 in "Goodbyeee", the final, fatal episode of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Unusually for a sitcom based loosely on factual events and in the historical past, a man was recruited for one episode essentially to play himself. Political commentator Vincent Hanna
Vincent Hanna
Vincent Leo Martin Hanna was a Northern Irish television journalist famed for his coverage of United Kingdom by-elections.-Background:...

 played a character billed as "his own great-great-great grandfather" in the episode "Dish and Dishonesty
Dish and Dishonesty (Blackadder)
"Dish and Dishonesty" is the first episode of the third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder. Due to the thorough parody of the conventions of a British electoral declaration, it has been shown several times on the dates of real General Elections.-Plot:...

" of Blackadder the Third. Hanna was asked to take part because the scene was of a by-election in which Baldrick was a candidate and, in the style of modern television, Hanna gave a long-running "live" commentary of events at the count (and interviewed candidates and election agents) to a crowd through the town hall window.

Theme tune

Howard Goodall
Howard Goodall
210px|thumb|Howard Goodall at St. John the Baptist Church in Devon, United Kingdom, May 2009Howard Lindsay Goodall CBE is a British composer of musicals, choral music and music for television...

's theme tune
Theme music
Theme music is a piece that is often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game or movie, and usually played during the title sequence and/or end credits...

 has the same melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

 throughout all the series, but is played in roughly the style of the period
History of music
Music is found in every known culture, past and present, varying wildly between times and places. Around 50,000 years ago, early modern humans began to disperse from Africa, reaching all the habitable continents...

 in which it is set. It is performed mostly with trumpets and timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

 in The Black Adder, the fanfares used suggesting typical medieval court fanfares; with a combination of recorder
Recorder
The recorder is a woodwind musical instrument of the family known as fipple flutes or internal duct flutes—whistle-like instruments which include the tin whistle. The recorder is end-blown and the mouth of the instrument is constricted by a wooden plug, known as a block or fipple...

, string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 and electric guitar in Blackadder II; on oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

, cello and harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

 (in the style of a minuet
Minuet
A minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, and may have been from French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps, or from the early 17th-century popular...

) for Blackadder the Third; by a military band
Military band
A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

 in Blackadder Goes Forth; sung by carol singers
Carol (music)
A carol is a festive song, generally religious but not necessarily connected with church worship, and often with a dance-like or popular character....

 in Blackadder's Christmas Carol; and by an orchestra in Blackadder: The Cavalier Years and Blackadder: Back & Forth.

Awards

In 2000 the fourth series, Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

, ranked at 16 in the "100 Greatest British Television Programmes
100 Greatest British Television Programmes
The BFI TV 100 is a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute , chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened....

", a list created by the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

. Also in the 2004 TV poll to find "Britain's Best Sitcom
Britain's Best Sitcom
Britain's Best Sitcom was a poll conducted in 2004 by the BBC, to identify the United Kingdom's best situation comedy. Viewers were asked to vote for their favourite by phone, text message and on the web. The top ten went forward to a final round of voting...

", Blackadder was voted the second best British sitcom of all time, topped by Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003...

. It was also ranked as the 20th Best TV Show of All Time by Empire
Empire (magazine)
Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008...

magazine.

Future

Despite regular statements denying any plans for a fifth series, cast members are regularly asked about the possibility of a new series.

In January 2005, Tony Robinson told ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

's This Morning
This Morning (TV series)
This Morning is a British daytime television programme broadcast on ITV. As of September 2011, its main presenters are Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, and Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, with various other presenters standing in for illness or contributing to sections of the programme.The...

that Rowan Atkinson was more keen than he has been in the past to do a fifth series, set in the 1960s (centred on a rock band called the "Black Adder Five", with Baldrick
Baldrick
Baldrick is the name of several fictional characters featured in the long-running BBC historic comedy television series Blackadder. Each one serves as Edmund Blackadder's servant and sidekick and acts as a foil to the lead character...

 – aka 'Bald Rick' – as the drummer). Robinson in a stage performance 1 June 2007, again mentioned this idea, but in the context of a movie. One idea mentioned by Curtis was that it was Baldrick who had accidentally assassinated
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

 John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. However, aside from a brief mention in June 2005,
there have been no further announcements from the BBC that a new series is being planned. Furthermore, in November 2005, Rowan Atkinson told BBC Breakfast
BBC Breakfast
BBC Breakfast is the morning television news programme simulcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel. It is presented live from BBC Television Centre in White City, West London, and contains a mixture of news, sport, weather, business and feature items...

that although he would very much like to do a new series set in Colditz
Colditz
Colditz is a town in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, near Leipzig, located on the banks of the river Mulde. The town has a population of 5,188 ....

 or another prisoner-of-war camp
Prisoner-of-war camp
A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of combatants captured by their enemy in time of war, and is similar to an internment camp which is used for civilian populations. A prisoner of war is generally a soldier, sailor, or airman who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or...

 during World War II, something which both he and Stephen Fry reiterated at the end of Blackadder Rides Again, the chances of it happening are extremely slim.

There were a couple of ideas that had previously floated for the fifth series. Batadder was intended to be a parody of Batman
Batman (TV series)
Batman is an American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to...

with Baldrick as the counterpart of Robin
Robin (comics)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman...

 (suggested by John Lloyd
John Lloyd (writer)
John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd CBE is a British comedy writer and television producer. He is the great nephew of John Hardress Lloyd.-Early life and career:...

). This idea eventually came to surface as part of the Comic Relief sketch "Spider-Plant Man
Spider-Plant Man
Spider-Plant Man is a parody of Spider-Man, made for the Comic Relief 2005 appeal and aired on BBC One on March 11, 2005. It featured Rowan Atkinson as Peter Piper/Spider-Plant Man and Rachel Stevens as his love-interest Jane-Mary...

" in 2005, with Atkinson as the title hero
Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15...

, Robinson as Robin, Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
James "Jim" Broadbent is an English theatre, film, and television actor. He is known for his roles in Iris, Moulin Rouge!, Topsy-Turvy, Hot Fuzz, and Bridget Jones' Diary...

 as Batman and Rachel Stevens
Rachel Stevens
Rachel Lauren Stevens is an English singer-songwriter, actress, presenter, dancer, television personality and model. She is a former member of the successful pop group S Club, and launched a solo recording career in 2003, releasing seven singles and two albums in the UK between 2003 and 2005...

 as Mary Jane
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson, often shortened to MJ, is a fictional supporting character appearing, originally, in Marvel comic books and, later, in multiple spin-offs and dramatizations of the Spider-Man titles as the best friend, love interest, and one-time wife of Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man...

. Star Adder was to be set in space in the future (suggested by Atkinson), though this too was touched upon in Blackadder's Christmas Carol.

On 10 April 2007, Hello!
Hello!
Hello is a weekly magazine specializing in celebrity news and human-interest stories, published in the United Kingdom since 1988. Hello is sister magazine to ¡Hola!, the Spanish weekly magazine launched in Spain in 1944...

reported that Atkinson was moving forward with his ideas for a fifth series. He said, "I like the idea of him being a prisoner of war in Colditz. That would have the right level of authority and hierarchy which is apparent in all the Blackadders."

A post on www.BlackAdderHall.com from Ben Elton in early 2007 states that Blackadder will return in some form, whether it be a TV series or movie. Elton has since not given any more information on the putative Blackadder 5.

During an interview in August 2007 regarding his latest movie, Mr. Bean's Holiday, Atkinson was asked about the possibility of a further Blackadder series, to which the simple reply "No, no chance" was given:
"There was a plan for a film set in the Russian revolution, a very interesting one called The Red Adder. He would have been a lieutenant in the Secret Police. Then the revolution happened and at the end he is in the same office doing the same job but just the colours on his uniform have changed. It was quite a sweet idea and we got quite a long way with it but in the end it died a death."


Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

 has expressed the view that, since the series went out on such a good "high", a film might not be a good idea.

During his June 2007 stage performance, chronicled on the Tony Robinson's Cunning Night Out DVD, Robinson states that after filming the Back & Forth special, the general idea was to reunite for another special in 2010. Robinson jokingly remarked that Hugh Laurie's success on House
House (TV series)
House is an American television medical drama that debuted on the Fox network on November 16, 2004. The show's central character is Dr. Gregory House , an unconventional and misanthropic medical genius who heads a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in...

may make that difficult.

At the end of Blackadder Rides Again Robinson asked Tim McInnerny if he would do another series and he responded "no", because he thought people would not want to see them as they are now and would rather remember them for how they were. In the same documentary, Rowan Atkinson voiced his similar view; 'Times past; that's what they were!' However, Miranda Richardson and Tony Robinson expressed enthusiasm towards the idea of a series set in the Wild West, whilst John Lloyd favoured an idea for a series with a Neanderthal
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo genus known from Pleistocene specimens found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia...

 Blackadder. Lastly Stephen Fry suggested a series set in a prisoner of war camp during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 but later remarked that "perhaps it's best to leave these things as a memory."

Media availability

  • All series and many of the specials are available on DVD and video
    VHS
    The Video Home System is a consumer-level analog recording videocassette standard developed by Victor Company of Japan ....

    , and as well many are available on BBC Audio Cassette. As of 2008 a "Best of BBC" edition box set is available containing all four major series together with Blackadder's Christmas Carol and Back & Forth. All 4 seasons and the Christmas special are also available for download on iTunes
    ITunes
    iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

    .

Single DVD releases

DVD title Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Series 1
The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...


26 June 2001
1 November 1999
29 November 1999
Series 2
Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...

26 June 2001
6 November 2000
11 July 2001
Series 3
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....

26 June 2001
5 February 2001
3 October 2001
Series 4
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

26 June 2001
22 October 2001
28 February 2002
Special 1
"Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth , and is narrated by Hugh Laurie...

"
26 June 2001
18 November 2002
4 November 2002
Special 2
"Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 short film based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga...

"
26 June 2001
15 September 2003
11 November 2004

Box set DVD releases

DVD title DVD content Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete Blackadder – All Four Series The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...


Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...


Blackadder The Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....


Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....


N/A
12 November 2001 3 October 2002
Blackadder – The Complete Series The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...


Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...


Blackadder The Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....


Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....


Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth , and is narrated by Hugh Laurie...


Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 short film based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga...


Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years is a 15 minute one-off edition of Blackadder set during the English Civil War, shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on Friday 5 February . The episode included series regulars Rowan Atkinson as Sir Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, and Stephen Fry...


26 June 2001 3 October 2005
N/A
Blackadder Remastered – The Ultimate Edition The Black Adder
The Black Adder
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd...

 (Remastered)
Blackadder II
Blackadder II
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986...

 (Remastered)
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987....

 (Remastered)
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

 (Remastered)
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth , and is narrated by Hugh Laurie...

 (Remastered)
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth
Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 short film based on the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga...

 (Remastered)
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years
Blackadder: The Cavalier Years is a 15 minute one-off edition of Blackadder set during the English Civil War, shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on Friday 5 February . The episode included series regulars Rowan Atkinson as Sir Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, and Stephen Fry...

(Remastered)
Blackadder Rides Again
+Audio Commentary
+Interviews
20 October 2009 15 June 2009 1 October 2009
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