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The Black Adder
Prince Edmund "The Black Adder" Plantagenet, Duke Of Edinburgh (Rowan Atkinson)
The Blackadder lineage begins with the slimy Prince Edmund, who plots to take the throne from his father. Unfortunately for him, he's really, really stupid.
- Accidental Misnaming: His father addresses him as Edwin, Edgar, Edward, Edith, Egbert, Osmond or Edna... at least, when he can be bothered to remember that Edmund exists.
- And of course: "THE BLACK... DAGGER!"
- Anti-Villain: Sure, he's a slimy, contemptible, amoral schemer... but given that his father alternately despises him and forgets he exists, his peers treat him with pity at best and disgust at worst, and his only friends are sycophantic Yes Men... it's not hard to see why.
- Atrocious Alias: Before Baldrick suggested "the Black Adder", Edmund's first choice for his new sobriquet was "the Black... Vegetable."
- Big Bad Wannabe: He really doesn't belong in charge of a Legion of Doom.
- Butt Monkey: His attempts to seize the throne only make things turn on his brother's favour.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Harry's Abel.
- Cool Horse: "He rides a pitch-black steed..."
- Deadpan Snarker: Occasionaly shows signs of this.
- Dirty Coward: Gets second thoughts at the battle of Bosworth Field and has to go relieve himself immediately. He does challenge to Duke of Argyll to a duel, but blubbers for his life when MacAngus chops his sword in half.
- The Ditz: He is quite stupid, much unlike his successors.
- The Evil Prince: A pathetically spineless version.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine - The sniveling, squeaking idiot.
- Harmless Villain: He's not quite as evil as he wants to be. Even in the last episode, when he's finally taking the glove off over his plot to usurp the throne, he's genuinely taken aback when his evil confederates recommend butchering the royal family rather than his suggestion of merely exiling them.
- Heroic Bastard /Bastard Bastard: Tried to uncover a love letter between the queen and McAngus written around Harry's birth to dethrone him. However, it turned out that the letter was written after Harry's birth.Blackadder: As you can see, these letters are dated —
Harry: Nine months after I was born!
McAngus: Or nine months before you were born, Edmund.
Blackadder: You... bastard!
Harry: No, I think you'll find that you're the bastard, Edmund.
- Let's Get Dangerous: He takes the gloves off on his plot to seize the throne after being stripped of his titles except for Lord of the Privvies for no real reason. He comes pretty close as well.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Finds out the one who tried to borrow his horse was King Richard III too late.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In "The Black Seal" he actualy comes close to gaining the throne... until his minions betray him, in a fit of cosmic irony.
- Only Sane Man: Not quite to the level of his descendants (he's pretty much a Cloud Cuckoo Lander at times), but he is sceptical of witch hunts, some of Percy's more bizarre ramblings, and Morris Dancing
- Prince Charmless: Prince Edmund's idiocy makes him quite repulsive around the court.
- Rant Inducing Slight: He puts up with quite a lot over the series, but being stripped of all his titles apart from Lord of the Privvies in "The Black Seal" is what finally causes him to snap.
- Red Baron: At this stage, "The Black Adder" was a personal nickname, but his descendants adopted it as a surname.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Possibly to another bastard called Edmund.
- Sinister Minister: Briefly becomes Archbishop of Canterbury.
- The Starscream: A particularly incompetent example.
- "I have a cunning plan that cannot fail..."
The Black Adder's batman. He's amazingly smart considering that he is a dung gatherer, and helps Edmund to make it through the day... as well as helping him on his royal ambitions.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Without his help, Edmund and Percy would be already dead.
- The Ditz: He gets carried away sometimes, however. Such as the time he was sold "Jesus fingers".
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: He sorts out most of the plans (Percy did the rest), but it is Edmund who takes the sole credit.
- Legacy of Service: His descendants end up serving the Blackadders.
- Only Sane Man: Both in terms of this series and the Baldrick family as a whole.
- Smarter Than You Look: His descendants are as dumb as they look, though.
- Zany Scheme: Hilariously, the first cunning plan a Baldrick comes up with is the only one that actually works. And it's stupidly simple: Get McAngus to stick his head inside a cannon and blow him up with it.
- "But if you kill him in front of everybody, won't they suspect something?"
The kind-hearted simpleton of the trio. His grip on reality is rather inconsistent.
- Cloudcuckoolander:Percy: Only this morning in the courtyard I saw a horse with two heads and two bodies!
Edmund: Two horses standing next to each other?
Percy: ...Yes, I suppose it could have been.
- The Ditz: While more competent than Edmund, Percy is incredibly dim-witted, something that carries over to his descendant.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: If his reaction to Mistress Scott's dead cat is anything to go by.
- Teeny Weenie: Blackadder mentions the rumour:Blackadder: And the part of you that can't be mentioned, I am reliably informed by women around the court, wouldn't be worth mentioning even it could be!
- "As the Good Lord said, love thy neighbour as thyself! Unless he's Turkish, in which case, KILL THE BASTARD!!!"
Official history says that Richard IV was murdered by his uncle, but he actually became King of England for thirteen glorious years, most of them spent on chasing Turks.
- The Caligula: His motto? "Kill any Turk you see".
- Gag Penis: Supposedly not very big, if the Queen is to be trusted.
- Historical-Domain Character: He's one of the "Princes in the Tower" grown up (in this imagining, not only is Richard III being evil a slander by Henry VII, but Henry also erased the existence of a dynasty). Part of the joke is the contrast between the sweet kid he used to be and how he is now.
- Implacable Man: Having the Plague simply sends him into a berserker rage, believing everyone to be Turks. Doesn't save him from the poison in the finale.
- Large Ham: BRIAN BLESSED AT HIS BOMBASTIC BEST!
- No Indoor Voice: You'll hear him even if you turn the volume real low...
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: In his case, "something" tends to mean "slaughtering Turks".
- Tranquil Fury: For all his bellowing and bluster, his most genuinely terrifying and chilling moment is when, after manipulating Edmund into becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, he very calmly informs Edmund that if he crosses him at any point ever, he will "do unto you what God did unto the Sodomites."
- With This Herring: He manages to defeat ten thousand Turks armed with only a small knife used for peeling fruit.
- "The verdict of this court is that the accused are found guilty of witchcraft. The maximum penalty that the law allows is that you be burned to death. However, in view of your previous good background, I am disposed to be lenient. Therefore, I sentence you to be burned alive."
The King's favourite, and his brother Edmund's main rival. While very intelligent, he still manages to fall for some of The Black Adder's schemes.
- Cain and Abel: The Abel to Edmund's Cain.
- Comically Missing the Point: Has a habit of doing this. The most notable being in '"Witchsmeller Pursuivant", when the Witchsmeller is burning alive, he doesn't even notice and thinks the man is talking about the weather being too warm to wear a cloak.
- Horrible Judge of Character: At no point does he cotton on to Edmund's various throne-usurping schemes.
- Also completely oblivious to the fact that the ridiculously improbable deaths of successive Archbishops were actually obvious assassinations ordered by his own father.
- Skewed Priorities: When he thinks the castle is under attack, his first reaction is to worry about the drains.
- Upper-Class Twit: Smarter than Edmund, but that's no great feat. Having said that, he's probably still the smartest and sanest member of his family.
- More pronounced in the original pilot episode, where he's depicted as having much the same personality as Percy.
- Warrior Prince: Seen riding into battle at Bosworth field.
- The Wise Prince: The smartest head figure through the four series.
- "Now, would I, Edmund... Do I tell people that your brother Harry is scared of spoons? Or that your father has very small private parts?"
Edmund's mother and Queen of England. While portrayed as prudish, she had an affair with Douglas Mc Angus, who may have been the natural father of The Black Adder.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: "In a moment...!"
- Behind Every Great Man: The King is a warmonger with one foot in reality at best; she's not only reasonable, but is implied to have magic powers.
- Hot Witch: Revealed to be one at the end of "Witchsmeller Pursuivant".
- Women Are Wiser: Compared to her husband at least.
- "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Consign their parts most private to a Rutland tree!"
Unlike history has told us, Richard the Third was actually a kind man who was well-loved. And while he did die at Bosworth Field, he was not killed by Henry Tudor, but by an idiotic Yorkist.
- Deadpan Snarker: He sums up his experience at the Battle of Bosworth Field thusly:"Someone cut my head off at one point, but apart from that it all went rather well."
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Henry VII rewrites history to portray him as being a tyrant who murdered Edward V and the young boy who would become Richard IV, when in fact he was a wise, noble king who loved his relations (except Edmund). Having said that, the series doesn't reveal what did happen to Edward V.
- I'm Standing Right Here: Edmund is the only person who can see his ghost. As a result, when Richard III sits between Richard IV and Harry at the post-battle banquet, the two talk across him as if he weren't there (which, as far as they're concerned, he isn't).
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Leads his men in the Battle of Bosworth Field, and actually wins. Then Edmund gets involved...
- "Actually, I'm quite interested in the wigs."
A war hero and friend of the King who gets all of Edmund's Scottish lands. His father may also be the Black Adder's father.
- BFS: Uses one against Edmund, breaking his normal sized sword with a single swing.
- Fiery Redhead: When he's not leading the King's armies against the Turks, he's out hunting or duelling.
- Too Dumb to Live: Baldrick's first "Cunning Plan" actually works on him. Edmund persuades him to put his head in a cannon before it's fired.
- Violent Glaswegian: When bringing tributes to the queen, he empties a bag of severed heads onto the table. He apologises, stating that it was his overnight bag.
- "Hello Edmund. You look funny."
A princess that Edmund is bethrothed to after an engagement with the Spanish Infanta backfired to the Prince's joy.
- May-December Romance: Only about 11 when hastily married to Edmund.
- Morality Pet: Edmund is noticably nicer towards her than he is towards anyone else.
- "BLOODY MILK! It was a mixture of milk and blood!"
An overdramatic witch hunter who puts the Black Adder on trial.
- Amoral Attorney: Has no qualms using obviously ludicrous evidence and arguments to get the verdict he wants.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Overhears Edmund making some obviously empty threats against him, and so gets Edmund, Baldrick and Percy all sentenced to burn at the stake.
- Large Ham: Has a legitimate claim to being the largest ham in the entire Blackadder series, rivalling even the likes of Richard IV and General Melchett.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In his first appearance, he is cloaked in a crowd of peasants with glowing red eyes the only part of his face visible.
- Guy de Glastonbury: "Good evening... and surrender. Your money or your life. Damn!! I'm always doing this. Did I say "Your money or your life? Sorry, slip of the tongue, your money and your life. Sorry."
After Prince Edmund is stripped of his titles, he decides to recruit the most evil men in England to overthrow his father.
- Affably Evil: Guy de Glastonbury is perfectly polite and charming when holding up travellers for their money and their life.
- Badass: Sir Wilfred Death gets attacked by three knights, and defeats them without getting a scratch.
- Black Knight: Sir Wilfred Death, if his "sir" is a genuine Knight title.
- Card-Carrying Villain"May good thrive!"
"OVER OUR DEAD BODIES!"
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Edmund has a hard enough time keeping them in check, but when they realise that The Hawk is the biggest bastard of them all, they turn on Edmund in an instant.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Not exaclty standards, but the rest of the crew is scared when Sir Wilfred suggest taking Jack as the Sixth member.
- Five-Bad Band
- Big Bad: Prince Edmund, until Philip "The Hawk" of Burgundy supplants him.
- The Dragon: Arguable, but Sir Wilfred Death, the first of the Seal that is recruited, and the best fighter that we see.
- The Evil Geniuses: Three-Fingered Pete and Guy de Glastonbury.
- The Brute: Jack Large, a singularly vicious brawler.
- The Dark Chicks: Friar Bellows and Sean the Irish Bastard.
- Gargle Blaster / Made of Iron: Sean the Irish Bastard gets up after being poisoned, proclaiming the spiked wine to "have a bit of a sting" before drinking a second cup and dying.
- Ironic Nickname: Edmund tries call Jack Large "Large Jack" (a sort of reverse Little John) but Jack reacted with fury on how it was about his height (or lack thereof.)
- Legion of Doom: The six most evil men in the land... and Edmund.
- Mister Big: Jack Large, a in-joke regarding the famously huge "Little John".
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Several of them, most notably Sir Wilfred Death.
- Self-Made Orphan: Most of them murdered their own families, although the Friar killed Sean's ("Good on you, Father!")
- Sinister Minister: Friar Bellows (but he has nothing on the Baby Eating Bishop Of Bath And Wells from II.)
- "I return at last after fifteen years. Waiting, plotting, nurturing my hatred and planning my revenge. Yes, fifteen years of living in France teaches a man to hate. Fifteen years of wearing perfume, fifteen years of eating frogs, fifteen years of saying 'Par-don' and all because of you."
The smartest and meanest man in England, and Edmund's childhood rival who returns after fifteen years at France. His criminal record and superior intelligence leads the "Black Seal" to betray the Black Adder.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Is very fond of dishing these out.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "The Thrush".
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Is never mentioned until about halfway through the last episode of the first series, when Edmund mentions him as being his greatest adversary. Seconds later he appears in person, and immediately takes over as the bad guy.
- Latex Perfection: He somehow disguises himself as a tiny old Morris dancer, but when he removes his disguise Edmund still doesn't recognise him until...
- Paper-Thin Disguise: ...he removes his fake bushy eyebrows.
- Red Baron: "The Hawk" (and in his youth, "The Thrush").
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered his entire family
Edmund Blackadder, The Lord Blackadder
Played By: Rowan Atkinson
"Well, it is said, Percy, that civilised man seeks out good and intelligent company, so that through learned discourse he may rise above the savage and closer to God... Personally, however, I like to start the day with a total dickhead to remind me I'm best."
- Aristocrats Are Evil: A self-interested scheming bastard.
- Byronic Hero: Honestly, his only possible excuse is that being in Queenie's inner circle is incredibly stressful.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: A drop of the stuff and he's flat on his face singing about goblins.
- Deadpan Snarker: Makes a full-time career out of this, unlike his predecessor.
- Dumbass No More: He's considerably smarter than Prince Edmund.
- Easily Forgiven: No matter how much he abuses Baldrick and Percy, they'll stick by him always (much to his chagrin).
- Impoverished Patrician: A good example of this trope in its early stages - he still has a title and a place at court, but no actual money or estates. Seemingly his father blew the family fortune on "wine, women and amateur dramatics." Alhough he's still better off than his descendants in this respect.
- Manipulative Bastard: Neither as smug as his ancestor nor as magnificent as his descendants, he falls nicely in the middle.
- Mock Millionaire: While he is from a wealthy family, the family fortune was long since squandered by his father.
- Though he does later manage to blackmail several thousand pounds out of the church, and at the end of "Beer" his wealthy aunt and uncle are quite well disposed to him and ready to discuss his inheritance.
- Nerves of Steel: Much unlike his cowarldy great-grandfather.
- Only Sane Man: Along with Melchett. Most of the time.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Then again, some of it is deliberate, as indicated by the quote up there.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's a self-involved ruthless jerk, who constantly insults everyone around him. What makes him still somewhat likable is that he's genuinely witty, and the people around him are idiots, who pretty much deserve all of his put-downs.
- Would Hurt a Child: He shoots a child with a bow and arrow for singing an insulting rhyme.
Played By: Tony Robinson
- "Not to worry my lord, the arrow didn't in fact enter my body... But by a thousand to one chance my willy got in the way.''
- Ambiguously Gay: He gives a very long and passionate kiss to Percy when he doesn't recognize him in a dress and flirts with him, and is quick to agree to marry Blackadder in place of his runaway bride.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: "...You said 'get the door'."
- Bumbling Sidekick: A well-loved example.
- Gag Penis: Shaped like a turnip apparently.
- Genius Ditz: Considerably stupider than his great-grandfather, but retained some level of streetsmarts and cunning that his descendants never saw, and Blackadder did seem to have more faith in him to carry out schemes than he had in Percy.Baldrick: What, have you got a plan, My Lord?
Blackadder: Yes I have, and it's so cunning you could brush your teeth with it! All I need is some feathers, a dress, some oil, an easel, some sleeping draught, lots of paper, a prostitute, and the best portrait painter in England.
Baldrick: I'll get them right away, My Lord! (rushes out)
(sure enough, in the next scene he returns with everything on Blackadder's hastily recited list. Well, except for the prostitute. Fortunately, Percy is able to fill that role.)
- Identical Grandson: In looks if not brains.
- Old Retainer :Baldrick: I've been in your service since I was two and a half, my lord.
Blackadder: Well, that must be why I'm so utterly sick of the sight of you.
- Zany Scheme: They're really not that cunning.
Lord Percy Percy
Played By: Tim McInnerny
"Oh, Edmund, could it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a lump of purest green?"'
- Butt Monkey: Often gets the worst end of Blackadder's schemes. The worst is probably when he has to sleep with the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
- Flat Character: Much to McInnerny's frustration. By the end of this series he felt the character's potential had been completely exhausted and declined to reprise the role in the third series (he only did a one-shot role), though he returned as a regular in the fourth thanks to getting a completely different one.
- Identical Grandson: To the original Percy.
- Upper-Class Twit: Although he's not ill-natured.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Percy thinks that he and Edmund are best friends and would give his last coin to him, and regards Edmund's constant insults as nothing more than a sign of Edmund's "wit".
Queen Elizabeth "Queenie" I
Played By: Miranda Richardson
"I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach...of a concrete elephant!"
- Alternate History: Murdered by Evil Prince Ludwig, who spent the rest of his life pretending to be her.
- Ax-Crazy: She loves to order people to be executed.
- The Caligula: One of her favorite pastimes is to threaten her courtiers with summary execution
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Very fond of choppy-choppy.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Taking all of Elizabeth's negative qualities and none of the positive ones.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes it seems she's not quite as dim as she acts.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Always in the costume seen in her portraits.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Never seen doing any actual governing. This may be for the best.
- Psychopathic Manchild: A naughty schoolgirl at heart... a naughy schoolgirl with the power of life and death over Britain.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: "Who's queen?"
- Upper-Class Twit: A very dangerous version.
Played By: Patsy Byrne
"Out you popped, out of your Mummy's tummy and everybody shouting : "It's a boy, it's a boy!". And somebody said "But it hasn't got a winkle!". And then I said "A boy without a winkle? God be praised, it is a miracle. A boy without a winkle!" And then Sir Thomas More pointed out that a boy without a winkle is a girl. And everyone was really disappointed."
- Dirty Old Woman: Blackadder describes her as a "sad, insane old woman with an udder fixation."
- Embarrassing First Name: Bernard, as she reveals to the sailor she falls in love with. She doesn't seem that bothered by it.
- Everyone Calls Her Nursie: No wonder.
- Expy: Of the traditional portrayal of the Nurse from Romeo and Juliet note .
- Gender-Blender Name: Bernard, yeah... also had three sisters called Donald Eric and Basil.
- Old Retainer: She's been with Elizabeth since birth; perhaps that's why she's the only person the Queen never threatens to execute.
Played By: Stephen Fry
"As private parts to the gods are we! They play with us for their sport!"
- Bestiality Is Depraved: His "relationship" with Flossie the sheep...
- Friendly Enemy: He and Blackadder might be rivals, but still maintain a certain tolerance for each other, seeing as they only have each other to turn to for intelligent company.
- The Good Chancellor: Often seen trying to keep the queen's more psychotic impulses in check.
- Only Sane Man: At least, before the reveal...
Played By: Rik Mayall
I've got a plan! And it's as HOT as my PANTS!
- The Ace: "The best sword... the best shot... the best sailor... and the best kisser in the kingdom."
- Anything That Moves: He hits on Baldrick.
- Blasphemous Boast: "Still worshipping God? Last I heard, He started worshipping me!"
- The Cast Showoff: Rik Mayall's recollection of the role was that he asked to get more laughs in the last 3 minutes than anyone got all episode.
- Dynamic Entry: Swings down from the celing, smashes Percy through a door, and steals Blackadder's fiance, all in about five minutes.
- Verbal Tic: WOOF!
Played By: Gabrielle Glaister
"Father, I must speak. I can be silent no longer. All day long you muttered to yourself, gibber, dribble, moan and bat your head against the wall, yelling "I want to die". Now you may say I'm leaping to conclusions but you're not completely happy, are you?"
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The only thing she did that even remotely resembles disguising as a man is calling herself "Bob". Still fooled Edmund though.
- Shout-Out: To Shakespeare's frequent use of crossdressing women as well as is frequent use of Kate as a name for feisty young women.
The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells
Played By: Ronald Lacey
"I will have my money or....YOUR BOTTOM WILL WISH IT HAD NEVER BEEN BORN!"
- Anything That Moves"You see, I am a colossal pervert. No form of sexual depravity is too low for me. Animal, vegetable or mineral, I'll do anything to anything."
- Arson, Murder, and AdmirationBishop: "You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church?"Edmund: "No, I could never get used to the underwear."
- Child Eater: No children, Blackadder? In that case, I'll skip breakfast and get down to business..
- Eats Babies: After drowning them during christenings.
- Fat Bastard: But don't call him "Fatso" if you know what's good for you.
- Incoming Ham: "I AM THE BABY EATING BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS!"
- Loan Shark: Assistant manager of the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod ("Banking with a smile and a stab"). Their motto: "Repayment or revenge." He admits to Blackadder that he hates it when people pay up, as he rather enjoys what he gets to do to those who don't.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In spite of the aforementioned baby-eating, he's apparently of good standing with the Queen and his parishioners. "As far as my flock is concerned, my one vice is a tipple before evensong." Blackadder gets the upper hand by endangering his reputation.
Prince Ludwig the Indestructible
Played By: Hugh Laurie
"We have met many times, although you knew me by another name. Do you recall a mysterious black marketeer and smuggler called Otto with whom you used to dine and plot and play the biscuit game at the Old Pizzle in Dover? Yes! I was the waitress."
- The Bad Guy Wins: Succeeds in killing the entire court of Elizabeth I and, apparently, successfully impersonating her for the rest of "her" reign.
- Berserk Button: Don't make fun of his complexion.
- Disney Death: Seemingly killed by Blackadder, but obviously not successfully- there's a reason he's called the "Indestructible".
- Embarrassing Nickname: Shorty-Greasy-Spot-Spot.
- Evil Gloating: Prone to it, much to Blackadder's annoyance."Typical master criminal, loves the sound of his own voice.""Gloating is a sign of insecurity, Ludwig. Stop it."
- Freudian Excuse:"When I am King of England, no one will ever dare call me 'Shorty-Greasy-Spot-Spot' again!"
- Funetik Aksent: He writes his ransom note in one.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Spots a classic villain hairdo, slicked-back hair.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has long diagonal scars all over his face.
- Kaiserreich: He's the stereotypical German megalomaniac.
- Master of Disguise: Edmund actually uses this against him. Not that it makes a difference.
- Made of Iron: He's not called Prince Ludwig the Indestructible for nothing.
- No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me: Parodied, since characters past "interactions" with him involved him disguised in a different gender and species.
- Spotting the Thread: Blackadder recognizes him because his costume is too good. (He's impersonating Nursie as a cow and makes the fatal mistake of wearing a costume that looks like a cow, rather than some sort of ungulate with three udders.)
- Vocal Dissonance: In the tag to the "Chains" episode."Now this is a disguise I'm really going to enjoy...if I can just get the voice right."
Blackadder The Third
Mr. Edmund Blackadder, Esq. (Rowan Atkinson)
"A man may fight for many things: his country, his principles, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a stack of French porn."
- Alternate History: Ended up replacing Prince George.
- Bad Boss: Frequently beats, insults, or coerces Baldrick into committing crimes.
- Badass Longcoat: In accordance with Regency fashions.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In fairness, if George had had the sense to keep mum until Wellington actually left, Blackadder wouldn't have become king... but Blackadder certainly leaps at the opportunity.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To the Prince, although he fleeces him handily in revenge.
- Byronic Hero: He is an utter bastard, but he does an ignominious job for a total moron knowing that his sires were nobility and kings.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He has no illusions about what kind of person he is. When Napoleon advertises for a "lying, malicious, unprincipled cad" to be King of Sardinia, Blackadder gives it serious consideration.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: He has to try and get George to realize that, first of all, the play is fiction. Second, the bomb that an anarchist just threw at him is not. (He fails in the latter.)
- Dragon-in-Chief: To Prince George
- Everyone Has Standards: He may have the stupidest master in all of London, but he knows when he's had enough, specifically when insulted by two pompous hams.
- Gold Digger: Wanted to marry Amy Hardwood so he could get her money and then escape to the West Indies.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Can do anything from rigging elections to impersonating his master.
- Identical Grandson: We could've named it "The Blackadder".
- Impoverished Patrician: All the Blackadder land, titles and money are gone by this point.
- The Jeeves: Defied. While he's certainly much cleverer and more level-headed than his master, he only ever acts with his own interests in mind.
- Kick the Dog: When he walks into the kitchen after a bad day, he boots a cat across the room For the Evulz. He explains to Baldrick that this works down the evolutionary ladder, with the cat pouncing on a mouse and the mouse attacking Baldrick in the britches.Edmund: You are last in God's great chain, Baldrick. Unless there's an earwig somewhere you'd like to victimize.
- Manipulative Bastard: He can pretty easily manipulate George into doing whatever Blackadder wants.
- Only Sane Employee: Not that we ever see any palace staff apart from him and Baldrick.
- The Starscream: Although he tries to protect George from Wellington, he immediately decides to continue the charade and take the throne after the prince is shot.
- Villain Protagonist: Arguably the most cold-hearted member of the dynasty; he kills or has killed at least seven people in six episodes ( the voter and returning officer for Dunny-on-the-Wold; Lords Topper and Smedley; the actors Keanrick and Mossop; and Amy Hardwood, the Shadow.)
"I am as stupid as I look, sir, but if I can help, I will."
- Butt Monkey: He has to endure Blackadder's constant abuse and being dragged along in interactions with more dangerous people.
- The Ditz: So much so that he considers becoming a professional Village Idiot.
- Unfortunately he attended the final interview, thus losing the job to the bloke who didn't come.
- The Dragon: A particularly incompetent one to Blackadder.
- Identical Grandson: Although he did lose the beard.
- Manchild: He's very childish, believes in fairies, and thinks that dead souls are freckles on the nose of the Giant Pixie.
- The Pigpen: He's so filthy that Blackadder describes his clothing as the "Dung Collection" with matching hairball accessories, before comparing his trousers to Pandora's Box.
- Took a Level in Dumbass once again.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Turnips, to the point of spending L.400,000 (supposed to be spent on bribing the Lords) in a giant one, which Edmund promptly smashes on Balders' head.
- Zany Scheme: When awaiting execution by the French, his scheme is to wait until their heads have been cut off before they spring into action.
"Only the other day, Prime Minister Pitt called me an "idle scrounger," and it wasn't until ages later that I thought how clever it would've been to have said, "Oh, bugger off, you old fart!" I need to improve my mind, Blackadder. I want people to say, "That George, why, he's as clever as a stick in a bucket of pig swill.""
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He believes that plays are real: There was a time that he yelled out "Look behind you, Mr. Caesar!". Then he ordered the police to arrest one actor for murdering another character.
- The Ditz: The guy is outsmarted by Baldrick and can barely make it through a day without Blackadder's help.
- Historical Beauty Update: Actually, paintings of young George aren't so bad◊ (keeping in mind that it's painted to a romantic ideal rather than a true representation of the idiosyncratic facial qualities of the person in question) but he certainly didn't look like Hugh Laurie.
- Informed Flaw: Much is made of his supposed fatness, and while the historical Prince George was indeed quite the pig, the same can't be said for Hugh Laurie.
- No Hero to His Valet: To no one, actually.
- Prince Charming / Prince Charmless: Debatable. While he is a crass, dense, loudmouthed buffoon with "all the intellect of a jugged walrus and all the social graces of a potty", he has been known to have seduced a pair of bombshells once, something that costed him his life.
- Royal Brat: Even though he's a grown man, he often throws hissyfits and is totally self-absorbed.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Incapable of puting on his own trousers without Blackadder's help.
- Too Dumb to Live: He nearly dies when he assumes that a bomb thrown at him by an anarchist is All Part of the Show, and has to be talked out of swanking around Revolutionary France in full princely regalia. And then he provokes the Duke of Wellington into killing him for saying that he's the real prince after Blackadder survives the duel. Wellington doesn't believe him, but he's so outraged at the "insult" to the "prince" that he shoots George on the spot.
- Upper-Class Twit: And has more than a few similarties to Bertie Wooster, (who was also played by Hugh Laurie).
- All Love Is Unrequited: At one point she confesses hoping that Blackadder would settle down with her and they would await the slither of tiny Adders.
- Different in Every Episode: Her costuming and coffeeshop usually reflect whatever subject the plot is centered on—in "Duel and Duality" she wears tartan, in "Nob and Nobility" the shop is infested with exiled Frenchman and she's changed the menu to reflect it, and "Sense and Senility" has her in heavy stage makeup.
- Lethal Chef: Blackadder calls her coffee "hot brown water with grit in it" and her "French" menu uses horse's willies as sausages, and her "Scarlet Pimpernel Sauce" is made of frogs.
- Badass: Only a mad Scotsman with a claymore or a kilt could get the better of him.
- BFG: He fights duels with cannons.
- Honor Before Reason: Even when finding that the "Prince" is smarter than rumor has it, Wellington still finds it necessary to kill him.
- General Failure: His first idea for crushing Napoleon is to send Nelson to Alaska in case Boney tries to come around the North Pole. It's Blackadder who suggests harrying him amidships at Trafalgar.
- General Ripper: His regimental crest is two crossed dead Frenchman emblazoned on a mound of dead Frenchmen.
- Large Ham: His general strategy: Shout, shout, and shout again!
- Overprotective Dad: Uncle, actually. Even though it was his nieces who approached George and took him home to Apsley House, Wellington's vowed to kill anyone who meddles with his family. (Of course, unmarried sex was a much bigger deal back then.)
Blackadder Goes Forth
Capt. Edmund Blackadder DSO
Played By: Rowan Atkinson
"For us, the Great War is finito, a war which would be a damn sight simpler if we just stayed in England and shot fifty thousand of our men a week."
- A Father to His Men: Well, A Cruel Abusive Stepfather To His Men maybe...
- Ambiguously Evil: It's debatable wether he is evil or not. He is a massive jerk, but clearly the least malicious Blackadder from the main series and he has his better moments, see Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the Heartwarming Entry for examples.
- Anti-Hero: Type IV or V. The least evil Blackadder in the main series. See Jerk with a Heart of Gold below.
- Byronic Hero: As usual, a selfish cad, but wanting to get out of World War I is an easy motivation to understand.
- The Captain: To a rather incompetent squad.
- Cowardly Lion: Though oddly he arguably isn't actually cowardly at all. He very definitely doesn't want to die, but it's hard to blame him, since his death would be entirely pointless. And when he's unavoidably placed in genuinely very dangerous situations (crawling across a minefield, captured by Germans, facing a court martial, going over the top) he keeps his cool.
- Cultured Warrior: His snarky remarks often border on poetic. His lines in the last episode in particular:Blackadder: The guns have stopped because we're about to attack. Not even our generals are mad enough to shoot our own men. They think it's far more sporting to let the Germans do it.
- Face Death with Dignity: After all his efforts to avoid going over the top, you'd probably expect him to freak out when he learns there's no escape, but no, he handles it pretty well.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: To quote the man himself on his service in Africa (which made his reputation as a competent soldier), "[T]he prerequisite for any battle was that the enemy should under no circumstances carry guns". He became known as the 'Hero of Mboto Gorge' in 1892, where he had faced "ten thousand Watusi warriors armed to the teeth with kiwi fruit and dry guava halves". Needless to say, none of this prepared him at all for fighting in the trenches.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic.
- Genre Blind: He should have known by "Corporal Punishment" that Baldrick and George are incredibly Literal-Minded.
- Identical Grandson: Shouldn't even have to say it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: To a very slight extent. He's still not remotely a nice person, but he can bring himself to feel sympathy for Darling and wish the others good luck in the final episode, and he does at one point compliment George's paintings. Also, despite being a soldier, he is the only Blackadder in the four seasons not to commit murder - unless you count Speckled Jim.
- Lovable Coward: As mentioned in Cowardly Lion above. It's debatable whether he is cowardly or not. Even if he is, he is often viewed as sympathetic to the audience because he is placed in WWI. Who can blame him for trying to get away, especially when his superior is an Ax-Crazy General Failure?
- The Neidermeyer: A relatively mild example. He regards the men under his command as incompetent fools... which in his defense, they mostly are. They seem to admire him, however.
- Pet the Dog: In the final episode Blackadder treats Darling very gently after Melchett sends him to the Front, respectfully addressing him as 'Captain Darling' when he shows up at the trench (somewhat reminiscent of King Richard and Edmund in the finale of the original series), and a few moments later asking him how he felt about going over the top. Pretty moving stuff considering they have spent the last five episodes hating each other.
- It is possible that Blackadder's main reason for hating Darling was that Darling had succeeded in what Blackadder had been trying to do for the entire war; get the hell out of the trenches. When it became clear that both he and Darling were not getting out of it, he didn't have any reason to hate Darling any more (although there's not much chance of Blackadder liking him any more because of it).
- Reluctant Warrior: He does everything in his power to avoid going into battle. A closer look at the series shows that he rarely carries his sidearm unless he has to (such as when visiting HQ) and even then, doesn't appear to keep it loaded (we see him loading it before going over the top in the finale).
- Took a Level in Kindness: He becomes much nicer in comparison to other series, especially in the final episode when he realizes that he can’t escape the trenches alive. Not once does he insult his men and he even shows respect towards Captain Darling.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Although he's more sympathetic than his forebears. Nobody could blame him for wanting to escape the hellish insanity of the trenches.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He comes to the conclusion that Nurse Mary is the spy in "General Hospital" and gives a perfectly coherent reason as to why. He's ultimately wrong though, the real “spy” was an unwitting George who sent letters to relatives in Germany.
Pvt. S. Baldrick
Played By: Tony Robinson
"Why can't we just stop, sir? Why couldn't we just say "No more killing, let's all go 'ome?" Why would it be stupid just to pack it in, sir? Why?!"
- Armor-Piercing Question: Despite his unprecedented idiocy, Baldrick also points out the utter insanity of World War One: at any point, the general soldiery on all sides could have simply banded together and refused to fight any more, and had shown such potential earlier in the war. He doesn't know why they don't do it, and nobody can tell him why, either.
- Bumbling Sidekick: The stupidest and foulest Baldrick of all, which is no small feat.
- Deadpan Snarker: Only when he's hungover.
- Lethal Chef: "How did you manage to extract so much 'custard' from such a small cat?"
- Mythology Gag: His first initial is S, which is a Call Back to the Regency Era Baldrick, whose first name was Sod Off.
- He worked at a factory on Turnip St. The Elizabethan and Regency Baldricks had some anecdotes with turnips.
- Sole Survivor: All of the Turnip Street Workhouse Pals Battalion are dead, save for him.
- Team Chef: A fairly lethal one. Whenever his food tastes like something disgusting (for instance, dog turds in glue), that's because it's exactly that.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: now to the point of "terminal stupidity".
- Warrior Poet: Well, he tries. His efforts at poetry are disastrous, especially The German Guns (which consists of him repeating the phrase "Boom boom boom!").
Lt. George C. St Barleigh
Played By: Hugh Laurie
"Permission for lip to wobble, sir?"
- Actually Pretty Funny: Although Blackadder doesn't admit it aloud.
- Boisterous Weakling: His (apparent) fearlessness is as complete as his survival skills are non-existent.
- Hidden Depths: He's not as much of a Patriotic Fervor filled twit as he initially seems- he's a gifted artist and ultimately admits to fear of dying in battle.
- Also despite said fear of dying in battle (and his near certainty that he will die in the oncoming charge) he imminently refuses to leave the trenches when Melchett offers to take him back to Britain for a boat race, showing just how seriously he takes the whole "King and Country" thing.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: Compared to his more spoiled arrogant form in the third series, this George spends the majority of the series idealistic, selfless and undyingly loyal to Edmund, albeit just as brainless.
- Sole Survivor: In the last episode, he mentions that he joined the Army with along with his friends from Cambridge, the "Trinity Tiddlers", and by then, he's the only one left alive of the group. (Which was Truth in Television. The pals battalions were a real thing, and the Great War was the last time friends joining en masse was allowed, as it led to whole villages, towns and communities being decimated.)
- Upper-Class Twit: Not as upper-class as the Prince, but has the personality down, pat.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems blissfully unaware of Captain Blackadder's contempt for him.
- Wham Line: In perhaps a first in television history, it actually occurs mid-line when George's bravado gives way to near panic. Any laughs from the audience for the remainder of the episode are nervous ones at best."I'm... scared, sir."
- Wholesome Crossdresser: For a drag act in a talent show. But General Melchett doesn't realize that's what it is and falls head-over-heels.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He volunteered for the army as soon as the war began, and he whole-heartedly believes in the propaganda rag "King and Country."
Gen. Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett
Played By: Stephen Fry
"You know, over these last few years, I've come to think of you as a sort of son. Not a favourite son of course, Lord no, more a sort of illegitimate back-stair sort of sprog, y'know, the sort of spotty squid that nobody really likes."
- Affably Evil: Melchett is a jolly chap. Sadly, he's too hooked up in his fantasy world to realize that he's pointlessly sending countless soldiers to their deaths.
- Badass Mustache: Wears a 'stache so magnificent, he covers it with a hairnet while he sleeps.
- Bad Boss: When Darling said that he needed a convincing injury so that he could spy on a field hospital, Melchett shot his foot on spot. This is easily the least of his crimes.
- Bait the Dog: As noted, he initially seems a lot more amusing and likable than he actually is.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Melchett's played as though he's having the time of his life, and thinks everyone else is, too, with Darling and Blackadder as straight men to his antics. Subverted in the final episode when he sends Darling to his death with barely a thought.
- Expy: Of Field-marshal Haig
- General Failure: A parody of WW1 Generals, meaning that his particular brand of strategic incompetence wasn't very removed from real life...
- Hot-Blooded: A far cry from his soft-spoken ancestor.
- Identical Grandson: Obviously of the Melchett of the second season, but also an Expy of the Duke of Wellington in the third season, who was also played by Stephen Fry. Wellington was likewise presented as a Hot-Blooded and crazy military man, but he was actually competent.
- Jerkass: Melchett isn't just incompetent, he's totally insensitive to the well-being of others and might even be a sociopath.
- Karma Houdini: Despite senselessly, obliviously ordering countless men to their deaths on the Western Front, including his own very-much-reluctant right hand man, Melchett is the only major character to survive the entire fourth series.
- Large Ham: BAAAAA!!
- Love at First Sight: With "Georgina." He proposes after a few days of knowing her.
- The Neidermeyer: He is distraught by the death of his pigeon "Speckled Jim", yet blissfully uncaring about the fifty thousand men a week dying in the trenches. His bizarre tactics that help expedite the latter include "doing precisely what we've done eighteen times before" and "climbing out of [the] trenches and walking very slowly towards the enemy". Sadly, both are to some extent Truth in Television.
- Pet the Dog: His love for his pet pigeon. However, any sympathy he'd get for that is subverted by his callousness toward running over George's rabbit when George was a child, and of course his apathy toward his troops' lives.
- In the last episode he casually offers George a ticket out of the trenches (and the imminent suicide attack he is about to order)
- Verbal Tic: His "baahing", often interpreted as a Call Back to his ancestor's "affection" for sheep, but according to Stephen Fry who played him, he had in mind that Melchett had hemorrhoids.
- War Is Glorious: Believes in this trope fanatically, which seems to be why he gets on rather well (Pigeon incident aside) with Blackadder due to him being a frontline soldier, and why he never even imagines he could want out of the insane nightmare. Unfortunately this is also why he is so utterly callous and blind to the carnage and suffering of the trenches, and why he "rewards" Darling's loyal service by sending him to die on the front lines.
Capt. Kevin Darling
Played By: Tim McInnerny
"Just doing my job, Blackadder. Obeying orders...and, of course, having enormous fun into the bargain."
- Desk Jockey: Enjoys being Melchett's personal staff officer, mainly because it minimises his risk of being killed in action. He claims he has a wonderful evening when two lorry loads of paperclips arrive. He's also trying to get transferred to an even easier assignment with the Women's Auxiliary Balloon Corps.
- Heroic BSOD: When Melchett sends him to combat.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Compared to Melchett.
- Not So Different: He's basically in the position Blackadder aspires to being: Away from the prospect of certain death. When he's transferred to the front, he and Blackadder are a lot more respectful towards each other.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He and Blackadder have a lot in common, but they never miss an opportunity to insult each other and get each other killed. Until it's too late to bother.
- Twitchy Eye: It took McInnerny a while to shake it after the show was completed.
- Unfortunate Names: Word of God is that the character only began to take shape after they changed his surname from Cartwright. He went from being a formless character to a person steeped in a lifetime's worth of bitterness from being called "Darling" all the time."What is the matter with you today, Darling?!""Darling you're hysterical."
Squadron Com. The Lord Flashheart
Played By: Rik Mayall
"Cancel the state funeral, tell the King to stop blubbing, Flash is NOT DEAD! I simply ran out of JUICE - and before all the girls start going "Oh, what's the point of living anymore?" I'm talkin' about PETROL! WOOF WOOF!"
- Ace Pilot: In this incarnation, he's a parody of that World War One trope.
- Answers to the Name of God: "Yes, I suppose I am."
- Expy: Of Captain Flashman, the protagonist of a series of mock-historical novels.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: This incarnation of Flashheart is this. Brave and dashing, handsome, bold, admired by all, adored by the ladies, and laughed in the face of danger. Also an arrogant prat who boasted constantly, lied, sucked up to his superiors, patronised his admirers, and treated women as sex objects. And the only reason he always won was because he was an underhanded bastard who cheated and played dirty.
- For the Lulz: He risks his life to save Blackadder and Baldrick, who he doesn't even like. Why? Just for the hell of it.
- Incoming Ham: "HEY GIRLS, LOOK AT MY MACHINERY!"
Kate, AKA Bob Parkhurst
Played By: Gabrielle Glaister
"Permission to slip into something more uncomfortable, sir."
- Identical Grandson: Well, presumably...
- Paper-Thin Disguise: It doesn't fool Blackadder this time around. When she actually dresses as a girl for a stage show, Melchett and Darling think it is a poor attempt at a drag act.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: She dressed up as a so she could join the army and fight in the war like her brothers.
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen
Played By: Adrian Edmondson
"How lucky you English are to find the toilet so amusing. For us, it is a mundane and functional item. For you, the basis of an entire culture.
- Casting Gag: He often worked with Rik Mayall, and generally was a tormentor to Mayall's characters. In this show, Mayall (playing Flasheart) kills him mid sentence and calls him a poof.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: His planned Fate Worse Than Death for Blackadder is to have him teaching at a German girl's school for the rest of his life, completely unaware that that would actually be paradise for Blackadder.
- Expy: He's obviously supposed to be the equivalent of Ludwig from the second season, but Identical Grandson isn't in play because Laurie is playing a different, also German descended role in this series.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: He's portrayed as a stupid Bond villain.
- Unknown Rival: Obsessed with defeating Lord Flasheart, who really doesn't give a shit.
- Worthy Opponent: How he sees Lord Flasheart. Flash, alas, just sees a poof who needs shooting.