I absolutely adore Blackadder. I’ve seen the odd episode here or there over the years, but I’ve never really sat and deliberately watched the series from start to finish.
Well not quite the start. I did watch Series One years ago and I hated it, to the point I’m not willing to try it again.
However, don’t judge Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third or Blackadder Goes Forth by the first series, as series two to four are very different, and most importantly they are absolutely hilarious.
My husband keeps asking me which is my favourite episode, and I honestly can’t pick one, as there isn’t a dud among them to help make the rest stand out as better and therefore a favourite.
Each series is set in a different period of British History. Blackadder II is set in Elizabethan England with Miranda Richardson doing a fabulously macabre turn as Elizabeth I. Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson also establish their roles as Blackadder and Baldrick wonderfully.
Whoever thought to team Richard Curtis and Ben Elton together to write Blackadder, it was a good plan, a cunning one even, because what they established in series two, they built upon in Blackadder the Third.
The third series Blackadder is the man servant for Prince George, the Prince Regent during the reign of Mad Kind George III. The power dynamic has shifted for Blackadder, but that only makes his wit more sharp, and his intolerant of fools even more comical.
And Hugh Laurie, well what can I say; most people know him because of House. British folks knew him as a comedy actor first though (mainly working with Stephen Fry). His portrayal of the Prince Regent is one of the reasons why Britain already loved him before he became one of America’s sweethearts. He is a lovable fool in this series.
And he carries that on in Blackadder Goes Forth, with Stephen Fry and Tim Mcinnerny re-joining the cast from series two. Series four is a completely different set up, because rather than being set in a place of power, it is set in the trenches of World War One.
And somehow the show creators and actors made one of the most horrific periods of history side-splittingly funny.
I said above that I can’t pick a favourite episode, but I do have a favourite series, and if you don’t see any of the others, Blackadder Goes Forth is a must-see. They refer back to jokes and characters from previous series, but you don’t need to know them to find them funny.
And if you are looking for something seasonal, at Christmas you can watch Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, which is their twist on A Christmas Carol. On New Year’s Eve there is Blackadder Back and Forth, which was a special created for the new millennium.
If you call yourself a fan of comedy and you’ve never seen the genius that is Blackadder, then are you really a fan of comedy? Try it!