Blackadder was and is a comedy of the very highest calibre. Starring Rowan 'Mr Bean' Atkinson, the series tracks the historical misadventures from 1485 of Edmund Blackadder (series 1) and several of his descendants (series 2 - an Elizabethan nobleman in 1560ish, series 3 - the Prince of Wales' butler in 1800ish, and series 4 - a Captain of British infantry in Flanders 1917).
Universally loved NOW, it was not until series 4 that Blackadder was accepted as a true classic. It must be impossible to spend a day in a (British) Military unit without hearing at least one quote from Blackadder!
Series 1 - The Blackadder
Written by Richard Curtis and Rowen Atkinson.
Imagine that Richard III won the battle of Bosworth BUT was killed by accident by his nephew Edmund. Now the cadet side of the family has power, Edmund (now called The Black Vegetable then later The Blackadder) grabs as much power as possible. Assisted by his cunning servant Baldrick and his 'friend' Percy. History is about to be rewritten.
- THE FORETELLING: After accidentally killing Richard III and giving support to Henry Tudor results in Richard Duke of York becoming King and the Black Vegetable becoming a Prince.
- BORN TO BE KING: With the King missing (he was last seen storming a city armed only with a fruit knife) Blackadder tried to tar his brother with the stigma of bastard. He manages only to question his own legitimacy.
- THE ARCHBISHOP: On being lumbered with the suicidal archbish of Canterbury job, Blackadder tries to make some money ... but suffers a rerun of the Thomas a Becket debacle.
- THE QUEEN OF SPAIN'S BEARD: In a bid to ally with Spain Blackadder is betrothed first to a Spanish Hippocrocagrillapig and then to a 10 yr old (not unusual at the time!)
- WITCHSMELLER PURSUIVANT: Blackadder stands up to a witch hunter with unpleasant results and a 'Bewitching' moment.
- THE BLACK SEAL: Raising a medieval special forces team to take the crown for himself, Blackadder risks it all to be king.
- on the subject of eunuchs having little courage 'No Balls, thats their problem'.
- Blackadder motto Veni Vedi Castratavi Illegitimos ... I came, I saw, I castrated the bastards.
- On being taunted that he may no longer pass laws over Scotland... 'I wouldn't pass water over Scotland'
Series 2 - Blackadder II
Written by Richard Curtis and Ben 'little bit of politics' Elton.
Set at the time of Queen Elizabeth the First, the Armada, the invention of the roll up and the potato ... Edmund Blackadder is a member of the royal court and an advisor to Queen. The Queen (played by Miranda Richardson) is a self-obsessed, excitable, unpredictable, overgrown child who dreams about ponies and sitting right on top of a great big tree! Baldrick has dropped about 30 IQ points and ownes a turnip exactly the same shape as a thingie.
- BELLS: An attractive young woman disguises herself a boy to enlist in Blackadder's service resulting in Baldrick being sacked and Blackadder thinking he's gone a bit gay.
- HEAD: Blackadder gets the job of chief executioner and executes the wrong man. Cue coverup.
- POTATO: Sir Walter 'rather a wally' Raleigh returns from the new world causing Blackadder to lose influence. He decides on a 'world cruise' to regain his position.
- MONEY: Being penniless Blackadder borrows money from the Black Monks of St Herod. He has to find £1000 or its a red hot poker up the catflap time.
- BEER: Blackadder challenges Lord Melchett to a drinking competition that he can't possibly win on the same night his puritan aunt and uncle visit to discuss his inheritance.
- CHAINS: Evil Prince Ludwig kidnaps Blackadder with an aim to killing the Queen. Nursie dresses as a cow.
- Queenie on Lord Percy beating her in a game 'Percy! Who's Queen?' ; Percy promptly throws game.
- 'I AM THE BABY EATING BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS!'
- 'Oh its a Scythe!'
Series 3 - Blackadder the Third
Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.
The next descendant of Edmund Blackadder is now butler to George, Prince of Wales. Baldrick is Blackadder's dogsbody. In this series The Prince of Wales is usually the cause of Blackadders discomfort. Targets for this series were a corrupt electoral system, actors, The Duke of Wellington and the Scarlet Pimpernel.
- DISH AND DISHONESTY: The Prince is to be bankrupted and in order to protect his civil list payment, Baldrick must be voted to Parliament, sent to the Lords and buy a £400,000 turnip.
- INK AND INCAPABILITY: The first dictionary has been burnt, disembowelling cutlasses are being sharpened and Baldrick writes a novel.
- NOB AND NOBILITY: The Scarlet Pimpernel is grabbing French nobs and Le Adder Noir decides to copy the big head and rescue frogs for money.
- SENSE AND SENILITY: After Ben Elton's great great great grandfather attempts regicide, George decides he needs to take up public speaking.
- AMY AND AMIABILITY: Prince George is broke and needs to marry money. Enter northern rich babe Amy and its hide the sausage time!
- DUEL AND DUALITY: Having nobbed The Duke of Wellington's nieces, Prince George convinces Blackadder to take his place in the resulting duel of honour ... to be fought with cannon.
- 'ANARCHIST!' , desperate defense of 'CLEANER' , 'OK SO YOU'VE HAD A WASH!'
- 'what does the S stand for in S Baldrick?' , 'Sod Off' , 'Fair enough, my own fault for asking really'
- 'England knows that Lady Hamilton is a vigin; poke out my eye and cut off my arm if I'm wrong'
- Blackadder: Tell me, do you ever stop bullying and shouting at the lower orders?
- Duke of Wellington: NEVER! There's only one way to win a campaign; shout, shout and shout again!
Series 4 - Blackadder goes Forth
Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.
Series centres on Captain Edmund Blackadder, Lieutenant George & Private S Baldrick in their bunker Flanders 1917. Brave attempt to poke fun at WW1 (given that in 1989 there were many people still alive who were there). Universally applauded for its humour and the sensitivity with which the subject was addressed. Openly mocked the general staff and the insanity of the war. Many critics admitted to being in tears come the final episode 'Goodbyeee' in which the stars are mowed down in a headlong charge across no-mans land, as was the style at the time.
- CAPTAIN COOK: To escape one of General Haig's attempts to move his drinks cabinet 6 inches closer to Berlin, Blackadder disguises himself as a wandering Italian chef.
- CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: For shooting (and eating) one of the King's carrier pigeons Blackadder is sentenced to be shot by firing squad.
- MAJOR STAR: Blackadder becomes manager of a music hall troop with George as his leading lady.
- PRIVATE PLANE: In a bid to get out of the trenches, Blackadder joins the 20 minuters (RFC) not realizing thats their life expectancy. Results in duel between The Lord Flashheart (the original not the arrser) and Baron Von Richthoven.
- GENERAL HOSPITAL: To trap an enemy spy Blackadder spends 2 weeks humping a nurse.
- GOODBYEEE: To escape a suicidal attack, Blackadder pretends to be insane (put underpants on his head and said 'wibble'). The attempt fails and the attack goes in.
- 'Security isn't a dirty word, Blackadder. Crevice is a dirty word....Leak is a positively disgusting word'
- 'I must say captain, I've got to admire your balls' and the reply 'Perhaps later'
- on the suffragette movement... 'Any bird who wants to chain herself to my railing and suffer a jet movement gets my vote!' '
- Baldricks Poems
- Umboto Gorge
- Frequent references to characters named Bernard.