Trivia: Blackadder

Present Across the Series

  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • BRIAN BLESSED throughout season 1.
    • Mr. Bean (or, if you like, Johnny English) is the title character.
    • And Baldrick is that bloke from Time Team.
    • Most Brits would probably recognise Stephen Fry (Melchett in Series 2 and 4, the Duke of Wellington in Series 3) and Hugh Laurie (George in Series 3 and 4, and Simon "Farters Parters" Partridge and Big Bad Prince Ludwig in two different episodes of Series 2) from A Bit of Fry and Laurie, or Jeeves and Wooster. International audiences may know them respectively as that really clever guy from QI and Dr. Gregory House.
    • Rita Skeeter as the Queen in Series 2, the highwaywoman in "Amy and Amiability" from Series 3, and the nurse in "General Hospital" from Series 4.
    • Plenty of crossover with the cast of Doctor Who:
      • The dying Duke of Winchester in Series 1 is First Doctor-era companion Ian Chatterton- er, Chesterton.
      • The Fourth Doctor shows up in Series 2 as a drunken sea captain. Arrrr...
      • Ebenezer Blackadder's niece, Millicent, is Fifth/Sixth Doctor-era companion Peri.
    • Professor Sprout as an Infanta of Spain in series 1, Blackadder's aunt in series 2 and Queen Victoria in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. Horace Slughorn, alias Chief Inspector Butterman, plays her interpreter in Series 1 and Prince Albert in Christmas Carol.
    • Three of The Young Ones have also guest starred on the show - Rik (Rik Mayall) as Mad Gerald in series 1 and Flashheart in series 2 and 4, Neil (Nigel Planer) as Smedley, the Scarlet Pimpernel's associate in series 3, and Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson) as the Red Baron in series 4.
    • Arnold Rimmer as the French prison guard in Blackadder the Third.
    • Hagrid plays Dr. Samuel Johnson, inventor of the Dictionary, in series 3. He's also the ghost of Christmas in Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
    • Major Toht is the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells! Eep.
    • Angus Deayton makes an appearance in season 1 as one of the Jumping Jews Of Jerusalem.
    • Jek Porkins is the drunk friar in "Beer".
    • Arthur Dent is Sir Walter Raleigh in "Potato". So despite their both being friends of Douglas Adams, this is the first and only time Arthur Dent and the Fourth Doctor have ever met on-screen - without his involvement!
    • Ford Prefect (in the radio version) is the Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid candidate as well as the Speaker of the House of Commons (the latter is only heard near the end) in "Dish and Dishonesty".
    • The two actors in "Sense and Senility" are Julian and his friend... Monsieur Alphonse.
    • Det. Supt. Andy Dalziel (or, alternatively, Dim) is bluff Northern industrialist Mr. Hardwood in "Amy and Amiability".
    • Standup comic and "singer" Jeremy Hardy is Blackadder's jailer in "Corporal Punishment".
    • Lionel Hardcastle (or, alternatively, Dr. Price) is Field Marshal Haig.
    • Nicola Bryant (Perpugilliam Brown) appears in Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Present in The Black Adder

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.