Bernard Ludwig Black
Played By: Dylan Moran
The reclusive owner of the eponymous bookstore. He is a misanthropic, pessimistic, belligerent Irish alcoholic who hates both the job and the customers.
- The Alcoholic: He drinks alcohol so much that his entire demeanor gives off the impression of a slurring drunk.
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguously Bi / Ambiguously Gay: He has occasional moments of Ho Yay with male characters, especially Manny, and is terribly awkward and often unenthusiastic when pursuing women, even if he's honestly interested in them. In the second episode he said he used to think he was gay, but decided against it because of the dancing and standards of hygiene, rather than lacking attraction to men.
- Badass Bookworm: Bernard is capable writing a 1,000 page novel with a deeply complex plot, characters and themes in the space of one night using two typewriters. He also throws knives and shoots miniature crossbows at invisible monsters.
- Bad Boss: He forces Manny to do all of the work, never praises him, demeans him all he can, and hardly pays him.
- Completely Missing the Point
- The Cynic
- Deadpan Snarker
- Extreme Omnivore: Things Bernard Black has ingested - a coaster, slug pellets, oven cleaner, a jar of coffee, a teacup - are less about nutrition and more absentmindedness, dead tastebuds and rage.
- The Gambling Addict: A little flutter on the Grand Nationals horse races gets him hooked for life. Or for the episode, at least.
- Genius Slob: Extremely well read but too drunk and misanthropic to apply himself. His hygiene is so poor that the suit he wears only appears to be black when it is in fact an exceptionally dirty white suit.
- Grammar Nazi
- Kavorka Man
- Large Ham
- Lethal Chef: "MY OVEN CAN COOK BITS OF OVEN!"
- Man Child
- Man in White: That black suit he always wears is actually just exceptionally dirty.
- Meaningful Name: Matches his cynical personality.
- Messy Hair: To the point it has edible mushrooms in it.
- Manny also cuts clumps of it off with a bread knife.
- Named After Somebody Famous: got his middle name in Beethoven's honor.
- The Nicknamer: Calls Manny by a variety of names, including Bigfoot, Gandalf, and Thor.
- No Social Skills: "Do you eat dinner? So do I! ...Would you like to do it in the same room sometime?"
- No Sympathy
- Sophisticated as Hell: He's read every book in the shop, and he's got the mouth of an Irish drunk.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's such a massive jerk that you end up wanting bad things to happen to him.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: At certain points, he treats Manny like his child. Cultimates in screaming, 'HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? MY OWN SON!'
Bernard's shop assistant and flatmate. He is a skilled businessman, well liked by the customers.
Played By: Tamsin Greig
Bernard's best and oldest friend. In the first season owned a gift store next to Black Books, but the business went bankrupt and she was unemployed from then on.