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Some Sunday Blackadder Awesomeness

November 23, 2008

I love Balckadder! My local PBS station broadcast this show during the late 80s and early 90s sporadically and at odd times, but they did broadcast it. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I knew the brilliant Rowan Atkinson. The first season was, in my opinion, the least funny of the four. Hugh Laurie (Gregory House) and Stephen Fry (A Bit of Fry and Laurie) joined the cast in season three and it achieved cult status.

The YouTube link above will play (if it’s not taken down) every episode of  Season’s one – four of the show. It does begin, for some reason, half way into the first episode. There may be other parts missing too. Here is the link to his YouTube page if you want to watch a particular episode or season. I’d encourage you to buy them on DVD. All four seasons are out plus many of the one-of specials too.

The editors of Blackadder’s Wikipedia page does a good job describing it, feel free to follow the link.

“Although each series is set in a different time era, all follow the fortunes (or rather, misfortunes) of Edmund Blackadder (played by Atkinson), who in each is a member of an English family dynasty present at many significant periods and places in British history. Although the character starts as being quite unintelligent in the first series and gradually becomes smarter and more perceptive through each passing generation (while decreasing in social status), each Blackadder is a cynical, cowardly opportunist concerned with maintaining and increasing his own status and fortunes, regardless of his surroundings. In each series, Blackadder is usually a cynical (almost modern) voice puncturing the pretensions and stupidity of those around him, and what might — through modern eyes — be seen as the more ludicrous and insane follies of history (from the medieval religious witch-hunts and the petty whims and insanities of various British monarchs to the bloodshed and horror of World War I).

The lives of each of the Blackadders are also entwined with their servants, all from the Baldrick family line (played by Tony Robinson). Each generation acts as the dogsbody to their respective Blackadder. They decrease in intelligence (and in personal hygiene standards) just as their masters’ intellect increases. Each Blackadder and Baldrick are also saddled with the company of a dim-witted aristocrat whose presence Blackadder must somehow tolerate. This role was taken in the first two series by Lord Percy Percy (Tim McInnerny), in the third series by Prince George, Prince Regent, and in the fourth by Lieutenant George, the latter two played by Hugh Laurie (see George (Blackadder character)).

Each series was set in a different period of English history, beginning in 1485 and ending in 1917 (with one 1999 special set in the then-present day) comprising six half-hour episodes. The first series, made in 1983, was called The Black Adder (set in the fictional reign of ‘Richard IV‘). This was followed by Blackadder II in 1985 (set during the reign of Elizabeth I), Blackadder the Third in 1987 (set in the reign of George III), and finally Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989 (set in the trenches of the Great War).”

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