• 1. What is the Blackadder?
  • 2. How many series are there?
  • 3. Where can I buy them in the US?
  • 4. What is the chant that the actors perform in BA III when they hear "MacBeth"?
  • 5. Where can I find the scripts?
  • 6. What is the name of the Baby Eating Bishop in BA II?
  • 7. Is Helen Atkinson-Wood any relation to Rowan? Is Rowan married?
  • 8. What are the multiple characters played by the actors in the series?
  • 9. Where else have the actors appeared?
  • 10. Why isn’t Nob and Nobility shown in the US?
  • 11. Why can’t I buy The Cavalier Years?
  • 12. Was that Rowan in The Lion King?
  • 13. What are some of the great quotes from the series?
  • 14. Will there be a Blackadder the Fifth Series?
  • 15. What are some of the anachronisms in the series?

1. What is the Blackadder?
The Blackadder is a British Comedy Series starring Rowan Atkinson as the title role. The series spans from the 15th century all the way up to World War I, with some stops in between, and one stop in the future.

One of the most notable things about the series is the acidic tongue, and quick wit, of Edmund Blackadder, and the uncanny way in which he seems to have a hand in important situations of Europe’s history–and in the slick way he gets himself into and out of trouble.

He is accompanied through the series by one faithful bondsman, Baldrick, whose intelligence is comparable to that of a cabbage. Their families are interwined in a centuries old relationship of servant and master. You can’t help but wonder how the two families managed to reproduce.

Other familiar faces continually pop up over the centuries–such as Lord Flasheart, and Lord Percy Percy. One viewer noted that BlackAdder is to ordinary TV what being a millionaire aristocrat with the sexual capacity of a rutting rhino is to standing in the middle of a pond with a small painted wooden duck on your head.
I think that sums it up beautifully.

2. How many series are there?
There are four series of six episodes each. There is a Christmas Special and a fifteen minute sketch done for charity. According to someone who works at the BBC, there is also a pilot which is similar in plot to ‘Born to Be King’, further information is available via email.

The series and their episodes, along with episode summaries:


It is Europe, 400 years ago. In Spain, war rages, as Christians from every land fight off the threatening terror of Turkish invasion. The French are in uneasy peace. But in England, under the tutelage of a powerful king, the ship of state ploughs a steady course as the court awaits the Queen’s birthday and the return of a Scottish hero from the war.

What follows is a similar plot to the second episode ‘Born to be King’. The major differences are that the king is present all the time, the play ‘The Death of the Scotsman’ involves hanging him from a gibbet rather than stabbing him to death.

The difference in cast is only noticeable in two roles, the King and Bladric. A more detailed synopsis and screen shots are available at: Mad Gerald’s page, located at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/7539/ The King – John Savident
Baldrick – Philip Fox
Duration: 32′ 01"
Recorded at BBC Television Centre Studios, London. Date unknown.
Edited master logged into library on 27 June 1982
Format: 2" PAL Quad videotape.


1-The Foretelling
From out of the swirling mists of the Dark Ages comes a lone horseman with a most ridiculous haircut. It’s the ghost of Richard III, back to haunt the hapless prince Black Adder! Co-stars Peter Cook.

2-Born to be King
An orange-faced, kilt-clad Scotsman sends waves of shock through the court of England with his treachery, murder and Scottish dancing.

3-The Archbishop
The landscape is littered with dead Archbishops of Canterbury…and Edmund the Reluctant is next in line for this rather precarious position!

4-The Queen of Spain’s Beard

When one of Europe’s most eligible princesses is up for grabs, the scheming Edmund tries to lure her into his lascivious clutches.

5-The Witchsmeller Pursuivant
The King contracts a nasty case of the Black Death and blames it on witchcraft. Only one man can sniff out the hocus-pocus–he’s the cruel, corrupt and thoroughly incorrigible Witchsmeller!

6-The Black Seal
Forever devious, Edmund hatches a hapless, hilarious plot to dethrone the king…with the help of the Seven Most Evil Men in the Land. Stars Rik Mayall.


Served by a dungball in a dress, and accompanied by a bird brained dimwit, Edmund, the great, great grandson of the repulsive original is reasonably normal–until he meets Bob.

Edmund, newly-appointed Minister in charge of Religious Genocide and Lord High Executioner finds himself in a wee bit of trouble when he completely ruins Lord Farrow’s weekend by cutting off his head.

Blackadder sets out on a quest for new potatoes and to boldly go where Sir Walter "Rather-a-wimp" Raleigh has already gone before.

Edmund gets a bit hot and bothered when a baby-eating Bishop drops by unexpectedly and tried to place a red hot poker in places where a cotton swab would be kinder.

An embarrassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a fanatically puritan aunt lead to a right royal to-do in the Blackadder household.

When Blackadder finds himself up to his chest in iron spikes, he has but one course of action–to play charades with a crazed Spanish interrogator.


1-Dish and Dishonesty
Blackadder takes on the task of saving his royal master from bankruptcy at the hand of the new Prime Minister. Unfortunately, his attempts to interfere with the democratic process don’t quite go according to plan as Baldrick is accidentally elevated to the House of Lords.

2-Ink and Incapability
Dr. Johnson approaches Prince "Thick-As-A-Whale-Omlette" George in an attempt to gain patronage for his new dictionary. Blackadder is at first unimpressed, but when he learns of Johnson’s enthusiasm for a novel by a certain "Gertrude Perkins," the royal butler’s attitude changes.

3-Nob and Nobility
After the French Revolution, Francophilia and "Scarlet Pimpernalia" are all the rage in England, so Blackadder’s intense dislike for anything French seems somewhat out of date. But the lure of money can do strange things to a man’s principles, even if it means being thrown into jail to face terrible torture and death.

4-Sense and Senility
The Prince of Wales hires two fopish actors to help him rehearse a speech, but Blackadder has other plans in store for the two impertinent prissys.

5-Amy and Amiability
The Prince is dead broke and no self-respecting princess will marry the randy royal…until Blackadder comes up with a deliciously devious plan.

6-Duel and Duality
Blackadder finds himself in the middle of a raucous duel between the lascivious Prince of Wales and the head-splitting, throat-slitting Duke of Wellington.


1-Captain Cook
When General Haig unveils a new strategy to move his liquor cabinet six inches closer to Berlin, Blackadder volunteers to be official War Artist.

2-Corporal Punishment
Orders for Operation Insanity arrive and Blackadder breaches regulations by eating the messager–who just happens to be General Melchett’s closest boyhood friend.

3-Major Star
The Russian Revolution produces two appalling results–an offensive by Germany and a really offensive Charlie Chaplin impression by Baldrick.

4-Private Plane
German machine guns in front, British firing squads behind and guess who’s in the middle? It’ll take a better man that Blackadder to escape this prickly predicament. Co-starring Rik Mayall as Lord Flasheart.

5-General Hospital
Ordered to find a spy in the hospital, Blackadder discovers a man with a strong German accent, a beautiful nurse and a chance for three weeks in bed. Co-starring Miranda Richardson as Nurse Mary.

Millions have died, but the troops have advanced no further than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping. Now at last the final big push looms…so, with the help of two pencils and a pair of underpants, Blackadder gets a bit crazy.


Dickens’ classic tale of kindness, truth and virtue completely mucked up and ruined by having a member of the Blackadder family involved. Also Baldrick, of course, the man you can rely on to turn Christmas dinner into a dog’s dinner, as long as the dog isn’t particularly fussy. Stuffed with deeply horrid people (many of whom are gigantically fat) and groaning with cartloads of seasonal bottom jokes, it manages to squeeze in not only a Victorian Blackadder but also his famous Elizabethan, Regency, and Space Age relatives into a huge pie of entertainment that will satisfy all but the most discriminating viewers.


As a Loyalist during the Civil War, Blackadder must use a cleverly disguised pumpkin to escape the block.

3. Where can I buy them in the US?
CBS/Fox sells them at $19.95, but they are in Suncoast Video for $14.95, and in some Sam Goodys for the same price. They are also available in Virgin Megastores. The first series has been released on videodisk.

You can also write:
PO Box 64428
St. Paul, MN 55164-0428
for a catalogue, or call 1 (800) 669-9696.

Also, try your local PBS station, which may sell them.
On the WWW, CDNow sells them. The tapes arrive quickly, as I’ve been told, and all are available.
A? (and sometimes Comedy Central, I believe) shows the episodes occasionally; however, cuts are made, which, in my opinion, severely hurt the humor of the show. (How can anyone even consider cutting out the Flossie the Sheep joke in the last episode of the second series? Tragic.)

4. What is the chant that the actors say when they hear "MacBeth"?
Personally, I hear "Hot potato, orchestra scores, Puck will make amends." However, in the ftp script, it reads "Hot potato, off his drawers, Puck will make amends."
This is still the subject of debate.

5. Where can I get the transcripts?
The scripts can be found at http://www.people.memphis.edu/~jgwright/bladder.htm  

6. What is the name of the Baby Eating Bishop in BA II?
He is the Bishop of Bath and Wells, a bishop of a diocese in England which contains Wells, a city with a huge remarkable cathedral, and Bath, which has an equally impressive Abbey.

7. Is Helen Atkinson-Wood related to Rowan? Is Rowan married?
Helen Atkinson-Wood plays Mrs. Miggins in BA III. There is no proof so far which says she is any relation to Rowan, nor is she his wife.

Rowan Atkinson is married to a woman named Sunetra, and they have had two children.

8. What are the multiple characters played by the actors?
(Note: only those who appeared more than once.)

Rowan Atkinson

  • Lord Edmund Blackadder. BA I, II, III, IV, Cavalier Years.
  • Ebenezer Blackadder. Xmas Carol.
  • McAdder. BA III.
  • Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment. Xmas Carol.

Patsy Byrne

  • Nursie/Bernard. BA II, Xmas Carol.

Robbie Coltrane

  • Samuel Johnson. BA III.
  • Spirit of Xmas. Xmas Carol.

Stephen Fry

  • Melchitt, BA II, Xmas Carol.
  • Duke of Wellington, BA III.
  • General Sir Antony Cecil Hogmany Melchitt, BA IV.
  • Frondo. Xmas Carol.

Gabrielle Glaister

  • "Bob" Kate. BA II.
  • "Bob" Parkhurst. BA IV.

Hugh Laurie

  • Simon Partridge, BA II.
  • Prince Ludwig, BA II.
  • Prince Regent George, BA III.
  • Lt. George St. Barleigh, BA IV.
  • Lord Pigmot. Xmas Carol.

Miriam Margolyes

  • Infanta Maria of Spain. BA I.
  • Lady Whiteadder. BA II.
  • Queen Victoria. Xmas Special.

Rik Mayall

  • Mad Gerald. BA I.
  • Lord Flasheart. BA II, BA IV.

Tim McInnerny

  • Lord Percy Percy. BA I, II.
  • Lord Topper, BA III.
  • Scarlet Pimpernel. BA III.
  • Cpt. Kevin Darling, BA IV.

David Nunn

  • Chubby Messanger. BA I.
  • Enormous Orphan. Xmas Carol.

Miranda Richardson

  • Queenie. BA II, Xmas Carol.
  • Amy Hardwood. BA III.
  • Nurse Mary. BA IV.
  • Queen Asphyxia XIX. Xmas Carol

Tony Robinson

  • S. Baldrick. BA I, II, III, IV, Xmas Carol, Cavalier Years.

Bill Wallis

  • Avenging Knight. BA I.
  • Ploppie, the jailer. BA II.
  • Brigadier Proudfoot-Smith. BA IV.

9. Where else have some of the actors appeared?

(Rowan Atkinson’s list of appearances is available; see #12)

Tom Baker

  • Dr. Who, TV series
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, film (?)

Chris Barrie

  • Red Dwarf, TV series
  • The Brittas Empire, TV series

Brian Blessed

  • Dr. Who, TV series
  • Flash Gordon, film
  • Hamlet, film
  • Henry V, film
  • I, Claudius, TV series
  • Much Ado About Nothing, film
  • Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, film
  • Tom Jones, TV Movie

Jim Broadbent

  • Bullets over Broadway, film
  • The Crying Game, film
  • Princess Caraboo, film
  • Widow’s Peak, film

Robbie Coltrane

  • Crackers, TV series
  • Nuns on the Run, film

Peter Cook

  • Bedazzled, film
  • Princess Bride, film
  • The Wrong Box, film

Adrian Edmundson

  • Bottom, TV series
  • Comic Strip presents, TV series
  • Dangerous Brothers
  • Filthy, Rich and Catflap, TV series
  • Rocky Horror Show, play
  • Young Ones, TV series

Stephen Fry

  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie, TV series
  • Cell Mates, play
  • Cold Comfort Farm, film
  • A Fish Called Wanda, film
  • IQ, film
  • Jeeves and Wooster, TV series
  • Peter’s Friends, film
  • The Thin Blue Line, TV series
  • Young Ones, TV series

Elspet Gray

  • Dr Who, TV series

Simon Jones

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, TV series

Hugh Laurie

  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie, TV series
  • Experiment IV, Kate Bush video
  • Jeeves and Wooster, TV series
  • The Man in the Iron Mask, film
  • Murder Most Horrid, TV series
  • 101 Dalmations, film
  • Peter’s Friends, film
  • Sense and Sensibility, film
  • Strapless, film
  • Walking on Broken Glass, Annie Lennox music video

Miriam Margolyes

  • Age of Innocence, film
  • Cold Comfort Farm, film
  • Babe, film
  • Ed and his Dead Mother, film
  • James and the Giant Peach, film

Tim McInnerny

  • Erik the Viking, film
  • 101 Dalmations, film (?)
  • Richard III, film
  • Rockey Horror Show, play
  • Sherlock Holmes, "Red Headed League", TV series
  • Tracy Takes On…, TV series
  • Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, play
  • A Very British Coup, TV drama

Rick Mayall

  • Bottom, TV series
  • Comic Strip presents, TV series
  • Dangerous Brothers
  • Drop Dead Fred, film
  • The New Statesman, TV series
  • Shock Treatment, film (?)
  • Young Ones, TV series

Miranda Richardson

  • Comic Strip presents, TV series
  • The Crying Game, film
  • Damage, film
  • Enchanted April, film
  • The Empire of the Sun, film
  • The Evening Star, film
  • Fatherland, HBO movie
  • The Line, the Cross and the Curve, video collection
  • Tom and Viv, film

Tony Robinson

  • Maid Marion and her Merry Men, TV series
  • One Foot in the Past, TV series
  • The Young Ones, TV series

10. Why isn’t Nob and Nobility shown in the US?
There are legal complications due to a trademark law involving the Scarlet Pimpernel. It is sold in the videos, but not aired on television.

11. Why can’t I buy The Cavalier Years?
The fifteen minute sketch, done orginally for the UK Comic Relief, for Third World aid. It was released on a Comic Relief video; however, it is very difficult to find this tape.
On boxed sets now being sold, the Cavalier Years are included on the end of BAII. There is a stick which announces its inclusion.

12. Is that Rowan in The Lion King?
Yes, Rowan was the voice of Zazu, the King’s Major Domo. Rowan also made an appearance in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Hot Shots: Part Deux. He has made many more appearances, in films, comedy specials and commercials. A complete listing of Atkinson appearances is posted regularly in the alt.comedy.british.blackadder newsgroup.

13. What are some of the great quotes from the series?
Check out the quotes page.  

14. Will there be a Blackadder the Fifth Series?
[NOTE: Recently, there has been indication that a Fifth Series is extremely possible. I’ve heard that the info is on the BBC ComedyZone homepage Although no concrete dates have been set, the possibility of our favorite big-nosed, rubber-faced bastard returning the the small screen is welcome news indeed. Until I get a concrete, ten-foot high letter announcement, however, I’ll retain my original answer to this question. Mainly because I like the quotes in this article. 🙂 ] No. Read on:

Blackadder Goes Forth Article (posted by Lee Whiteside) [From the Times (London) October 22, 1989]

‘…When the fourth series comes to what its co-writer, Richard Curtis, darkly describes as its "very definitive last episode" on BBC1 in two weeks, it is almost certainly the last we will see of the most slippery dynasty since – as Captain Blackadder might have said to Private Baldrick – the incredibly mean Emperor Ting covered his grandchildren in yak grease, pushed them down the Great Wall of China and said he’d bought them a roller coaster for Christmas…

‘…Curtis says: "It’s possible that we’ll all work together again, but we’re not likely to meet up two years from now and decide to do something we’ve already done four times. There were only four gospels, for God’s sake."’….

15. What are some of the anachronisms in the series?

Blackadder I
"Archbishop of Canterbury" The series takes place in the 15th century, and chocolate is mentioned, which isn’t introduced to Europe until the 1500’s.

Blackadder II
"Chains" The last quote of that episode concerns pencils, which are a relatively recent invention.
"Beer" Blackadder mentions sending for the police when Percy says ‘hey nonny nonny’. The police weren’t around until several centuries later.

Blackadder III
"Ink and Incapability" Samuel Johnson could not have asked George IV for patronage for his dictionary as George didn’t become regent until 1811, and Samuel Johnson died in 1784. His dictionary was published in 1755.
Byron, Shelley and Johnson gathering together is also impossible. The men lived and died in different times.
Also, when describing "Edmund: A Butler’s Tale", the book is said to give a "roller coaster" ride of action, etc. The anachronism here is self-evident.

Blackadder IV
In "Goodbyeee", Cpt. Darling comments upon the Great War that lasted from 1914-1917, indicating that series ended in 1917. However, previously, Baldrick mentioned the assassination of Tzar Nicholas ("who used to be bizarre"). Nicholas and his family were killed in 1918.



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