Trivia / Blackadder

Present Across the Series

  • Reality Subtext: Stephen Fry's homosexuality is amusingly alluded (and Played for Laughs) to by some of his characters' actions:
    • Lord Melchett (Blackadder II) had a very... close relationship with Flossie the sheep.
    • His interpretation of Lord Wellington (BA The Third) is pretty much Camp Straight.
    • General Melchett's "one true love" was Speckled Jim, his pet pigeon. In another episode he falls for George's drag act, and considers a woman's "drag act" a disaster.
  • Star-Making Role: For Tony Robinson in the UK.
  • What Could Have Been: One idea for a fifth series would have had Blackadder as a member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet in the 1980s.
    • Another idea was to do a World War II prisoner escape story.
    • Yet another was The Red Adder, with Blackadder being a secret policeman in Russia during the Revolution. It would turn out that by the end of the series, he'd be doing the same job only in a different uniform.
  • Word of God: Turnips are mentioned a lot, from the second series on. In series three, they become Baldrick's only ambition in life. The creators say this is because someone confused them with parsnips, which explains the joke about their shape in series two.
  • You Look Familiar: Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson, and Stephen Fry all made guest appearances in various episodes.

Present in The Black Adder

  • Character as Himself: Mad Gerald in the finale "Born to Be A King". He's played by Rik Mayall.
  • Dawson Casting: Robert East, who played Edmund's older brother Harry, Prince of Wales, was just seven years younger than BRIAN BLESSED, who played his father, King Richard IV.note 
  • Old Shame: Rowan Atkinson and producer John Lloyd spend a significant amount of time badmouthing this series in the documentary included on the DVD boxset, calling it "pretty, but dreary to watch."
  • The Pete Best:
    • BRIAN BLESSED (Richard), Elspet Gray (Gertrude), Robert East (Henry) all qualify, as none of them would return for the later, more popular incarnations of the series (Blessed was asked back for one-off appearances in the third and fourth series, but was unavailable on both occasions).
    • Going back a step further, John Savident (the King), Robert Bathurst (Henry), and Philip Fox (Baldrick) were replaced between the pilot and the series; only Rowan Atkinson, Tim McInnerny, and Elspet Gray remained of the primary cast from the pilot.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Harry Potter fans may be shocked to find a young Horace Slugthorn as Don Speekingleesh, translator to the Infanta.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original pilot episode was much more similar to what the later Blackadder installments would be like (for example, Edmund was much more savvy and snarky in the pilot than he was in the series, except in "Born to Be King", of which the pilot was an early version), but Executive Meddling resulted in the version of The Black Adder that we know and... well, treat as a valued and respected friend, but not really love, per se. Most fans believe that had the finished series combined the pilot episode's characterisations with the cast that we ended up with, it would have been vastly superior.
    • In "The Archbishop", Wilfrid Brambell was originally cast to play the dying landowner, the Duke of Winchester in the opening scene. However, delays while filming the scene led to Brambell getting impatient and storming off the set, resulting in his speedy replacement by William Russell.

Present in Blackadder II

  • Acting for Two: Hugh Laurie shows up in the final two episodes of the season, but in two unrelated roles: in "Beer", he's Simon Partridge, one of Blackadder's jolly drinking buddies; and in "Chains", he plays the villain, the wicked Prince Ludwig. Laurie evidently must have had a good time on set, since he went on to return in the following two seasons as a major cast member.
  • Out of Order: "Head" was originally intended to be the first episode, and was first to be filmed. This resulted in the small continuity error of Lord Percy still having a beard in "Head" which he shaves off in "Bells". In addition, during the early scenes of "Head", the principal characters are introduced to the audience with Baldrick's stupidity highlighted.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Miriam Margolyes, who played the Puritanical Lady Whiteadder, is not only openly gay but Jewish.
  • What Could Have Been: BRIAN BLESSED claims that the original plan was that he would have played Queenie. And been madly in love with Edmund. It's quite a terrifying idea.
    • There was a murder mystery episode that was abandoned when nobody could get it to work.
    • Jim Broadbent was supposed to play Lord Whiteadder, again opposite Miriam Margoyles, but was unavailable.

Present in Blackadder the Third

Present in Blackadder Goes Forth

  • Actor Allusion: In "Captain Cook", Melchett tells George that his Uncle Bertie sends his regards. Blackadder predates Jeeves and Wooster, so it's a prescient Actor Allusion!
  • Actor-Shared Background: Melchett and George are both implied to have gone to Cambridge, just like Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. (Averted with Blackadder, who didn't go to university, unlike Oxford graduate Rowan Atkinson.)
  • Troubled Production / Wag the Director: According to Stephen Fry and Tony Robinson, there was a lot of friction between the cast and writers during the making of this series, with the actors frequently rewriting the script on the set, which the two have admitted doing themselves. The resulting atmosphere on-set — together with producer John Lloyd leaving the BBC and the knowledge that any hypothetical Blackadder 5 would be eviscerated by the critics if it was even slightly worse than the previous series — made it certain that this would be the final Blackadder production until Back & Forth ten years later.
  • What Could Have Been: The legendary Tear Jerker ending to the final episode was actually thrown together in post-production due to the scripted ending going catastrophically wrong in filming. Originally, everyone was supposed to be dramatically gunned down, with Captain Blackadder being the only survivor and sneaking away, before being seen as an old man in an epilogue scene that never got filmed. Thanks to a combination of limited filming time, the director having no experience with action scenes and there being no money for a stunt co-ordinator in the budget, it ended up being so horribly executed that the footage was unusable. As a result, the crew ended up slowing down what little usable footage they had, breaking it down into several short shots, and then crossfading to a photograph of some poppies.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/BlackAdder