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Recap / Blackadder

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Blackadder (1983–1989) consists of four seasons with six episodes each, along with three specials.

     The Black Adder 

Written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, set during the 16th Century.

  1. Pilot — Edmund tries to use some love letters written by his mother to put his brother Henry to shame and become the next in line to become King.

Written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, set during the Wars of the Roses.

  1. The Foretelling — Edmund arrives late at the Battle of Bosworth Field and inadvertently kills Richard III (his great-uncle). With his father succeeding to the throne as King Richard IV, Edmund becomes a Prince and decides to reinvent himself as the Black Adder. Unfortunately, he's haunted by the ghost of the dead King and is also secretly sheltering Henry Tudor, his family's sworn enemy.
  2. Born to be King — A remake of the pilot. With the King away crusading, Edmund enlists the help of Lord MacAngus (whose father apparently had an affair with the Queen) so that he can discredit his older brother Harry and thus become King.
  3. The Archbishop — The ongoing struggle between church and crown turns lethal, leading the King to name one of his sons as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Unfortunately for Edmund, it's him. This actually gets him into the King's good books for once, but later the King inadvertently sends two knights to kill him.
  4. The Queen of Spain's Beard — The King's ruthless approach to international relations forces him to make an alliance with Spain by marrying his younger son to the Spanish Infanta. Alas, the stories of her beauty are somewhat wide of the mark, and Edmund spends much time trying to avoid this unwanted union up to and including ordering Baldrick to spend the night with the Infanta and her crazed interpreter.
  5. Witchsmeller Pursuivant — An outbreak of the Black Death leads to the court calling in the titualar witchsmeller, who is able to convince everyone that Edmund is guilty of witchcraft.
  6. The Black Seal — Tiring of Edmund's antics, King Richard disowns him (removing all of his titles except Warden of the Royal Privvies). Reaching his breaking point, Edmund determines to overthrow his father, replacing Baldrick and Percy with the six most evil men in the kingdom (collectively known as the titular Black Seal) for this purpose. Later, they turn on him.

     Blackadder II 

Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, set in Elizabethan London.

  1. Bells — Edmund falls for his new servant, Bob, who appropriately turns out to be a woman who has taken to dressing as a man. However, he invites the dashing Lord Flashheart to act as his best man, and Bob decides to run off with him instead.
  2. Head — Lord Blackadder is named as the new Lord High Executioner by Elizabeth I. Baldrick, it turns out, is moonlighting as the axe-man. By bringing some executions forward in order to give himself a few days off, Blackadder has a nobleman beheaded several days before he's actually due for the chop, only for the Queen to change her mind and pardon him.
  3. Potato — Edmund, who clearly despises Sir Walter Raleigh, decides to outdo him by going on an expedition to the Cape of No Hope (from which no man has ever returned alive). For this, he hires the (literally) legless Captain Redbeard "Red" Rum, the only explorer mad enough to go on such a journey.
  4. Money — Lord Blackadder must pay a debt to the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, which proves impossible as the Queen is in a notoriously playful mood (wasting Edmund's time and taking what little money he has through a series of practical jokes). Percy turns to alchemy, creating a new substance called 'green'. Edmund's only way out is to blackmail the Bishop with a plan that's so cunning, you could brush your teeth with it.
  5. Beer — Edmund challenges Lord Melchett to a drinking contest, which he plans to win by cheating. Unfortunately, this is booked for the same evening as a visit from Lord and Lady Whiteadder, his Puritan relatives, who are in town to discuss his inheritance.
  6. Chains — Lord Blackadder and Lord Melchett are kidnapped by master of disguise Prince Ludwig the Indestructible, who plots to overthrow the Queen and apparently succeeds.


     Blackadder The Third 

Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, set in Regency England.

  1. Dish and Dishonesty — Parliament and the new Prime Minister (Pitt the Younger) are dead-set against the Prince Regent. To protect his interests, the Prince's butler and political fixer Edmund Blackadder rigs the Dunny-on-the-Wold by-election, which results in Baldrick (whose first name is revealed to be 'Sod Off') becoming an MP, and eventually, a Lord.
  2. Ink and Incapability — Baldrick apparently burns Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, which is being patronised by Prince George in an attempt to appear "as clever as a stick in a bucket of pig swill". The only available plan to save the situation from Dr. Johnson's clan of manic-depressive writers involves Edmund trying to re-write the Dictionary in one night — and worse still, the Prince and Baldrick want to help...
  3. Nob and Nobility — The French Revolution is underway, and Edmund is irritated by the sudden fashion for all things French. Two aristocrats challenge him to emulate The Scarlet Pimpernel and rescue a French aristocrat, leading to a confrontation in the French Embassy.
  4. Sense and Senility — Edmund hates the theatre, but the Prince loves it (although he has trouble telling the difference between what's real and what's made up). After almost being killed by an anarchist's bomb, the Prince asks for the advice of his two favourite actors to make an speech. Meanwhile, Mr. Blackadder grows tired of George and resolves to leave and apply for King of Sardinia, and the Prince mistakes Baldrick for an anarchist.
  5. Amy and Amiability — Prince George runs out of money, so Edmund must arrange for him to be married. Baldrick, meanwhile, has become obsessed with 'The Shadow', a mysterious highwayman who turns out to be the woman Edmund's trying to get the Prince married to. After attempting to become a highwayman himself, he ends up turning her in for the reward money.
  6. Duel and Duality — The Duke of Wellington finds out the Prince Regent has had sex with his nieces, and challenges him to a duel. Against his better judgement, Blackadder is persuaded to change places with the Prince and fight the duel on his behalf. However, fate will turn against the Prince, and it is Edmund Blackadder who will ascend the throne as 'King George IV'.

     Blackadder Goes Forth 

Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, set in the trenches of World War I.

  1. Captain Cook — General Melchett appoints Captain Edmund Blackadder to be the Official War Artist, a perfect opportunity for him to try to leave the trenches.
  2. Corporal Punishment — A hungry Captain Blackadder shoots General Melchett's pigeon, 'Speckled Jim', and gets court-martialled for it.
  3. Major Star — Blackadder gets over his dislike of showbiz after taking over the war show, with Baldrick impersonating Charlie Chaplin and George doing a drag act. Unfortunately, Melchett finds love at first sight with 'Georgina'.
  4. Private Plane — Following an encounter with flying ace Lord Flashheart, Captain Blackadder, Private Baldrick and Lieutenant George get out of the trenches by joining the Royal Flying Corps' 'Twenty Minuters' squadron, thinking that's the time they will spend on air, instead of their life expectancy. Alas, the Captain and his dim-witted Private crash behind enemy lines, meeting the Red Baron in person.
  5. General Hospital — After George gets injured, Edmund visits him at the field hospital. He is also assigned to look for a German spy there, but he woos a nurse instead. However, she turns out to be the spy.
  6. Goodbyeee — Blackadder, Baldrick, George and Captain Darling are ordered to take part in a full-scale attack. Edmund pretends to be mad so he can escape; however, Melchett doesn't fall for it and he is finally sent 'over the top'.

     Blackadder Specials 
  1. Blackadder: The Cavalier Years — Set during the English Civil War. Sir Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick try to save Charles I from the executioner's block.
  2. Blackadder's Christmas Carol — A parody of Dickens' novel, set in Victorian London. Nice Guy Ebeneezer Blackadder is taken advantage of by everyone except Baldrick. On Christmas Eve he is visited by the Spirit of Christmas, who inadvertently persuades him to change his ways, leading to Blackadder getting revenge on everyone but ruining his chances of a peerage by insulting Queen Victoria.
  3. Blackadder Back & Forth — On Millennium Eve, Lord Blackadder bets his friends that he can travel through time. He's playing a trick on them but to his surprise, Baldrick's time machine actually works, leading to a journey through British history. Blackadder ends up using the time machine to change the course of history to ensure that, after centuries of scheming, the Blackadders finally become the Royal Family. As 'King Edmund III', Blackadder abolishes Parliament and rules as an absolutist monarch, with Baldrick as his puppet Prime Minister.


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