|Written by|| Richard Curtis |
|Directed by||Mandie Fletcher|
|Starring|| Rowan Atkinson |
|Theme music composer||Howard Goodall|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||BBC 1|
|Original release||9 January –|
20 February 1986
|Preceded by||The Black Adder|
|Followed by||Blackadder the Third|
Blackadder II is the second series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder ,written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 9 January 1986 to 20 February 1986. The series is set in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603), and sees the principal character, Edmund, Lord Blackadder, as a Tudor courtier attempting to win the favour of the Queen while avoiding execution by decapitation, a fate that befell many of her suitors.
The series differed markedly from The Black Adder , notably with Ben Elton replacing Rowan Atkinson as the second writer, filming in studio sets, rather than on location, the introduction of a Machiavellian "Blackadder" character and a less intelligent Baldrick.
The series is set during the Elizabethan era (1558–1603). The principal character, Edmund, Lord Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), is the great-grandson of the original Black Adder, and is now a member of the London aristocracy. Unlike his forefather, he is both dashing and intelligent, although he is still scheming and cynical in his outlook. The series follows his attempts to win the favour of the childish Queen Elizabeth I (Miranda Richardson). As before, he is aided, and often hindered, by two less-than-intelligent sidekicks, his servant Baldrick (Tony Robinson), and Lord Percy Percy (Tim McInnerny), heir to the Duchy of Northumberland, with whom Blackadder has a grudging friendship.
Throughout the series, Blackadder's chief rival is Lord Melchett (Stephen Fry), the Queen's pretentious and grovelling Lord Chamberlain. Melchett fears upsetting the Queen, and thus attempts to outdo Blackadder by supporting the Queen in whatever current fad she is interested in. Comic relief in the Court is provided by the Queen's demented former nanny, Nursie (Patsy Byrne).
Baldrick, who in the first series was the most intelligent of the main trio, became more stupid, an idea proposed by Ben Elton to make him "the stupidest person in the history of...human beings", and to act as a foil to Blackadder's new-found intelligence.The series was also the originator of Baldrick's obsession with the turnip, although this apparently arose from a botanical error on the part of Elton, who confused the vegetable with the "amusingly shaped" parsnip.
Lord Percy remained similar in character to the original series, as a foolish sidekick in Blackadder's plots and predicaments. In this respect, McInnerny said the character resembled Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night .As with The Black Adder, the series featured many tongue-in-cheek references to Shakespeare's plays; Shakespeare is mentioned as a contemporary Elizabethan, and his famous quotations are twisted for comic effect. The first episode "Bells", follows a similar plot to Twelfth Night .
The series aired for six episodes broadcast on Thursdays on BBC 1 at 9.30pm between 9 January 1986 and 20 February 1986.
"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.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"Bells"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||9 January 1986|
Blackadder gains a new young servant, Bob, and somehow falls for him. When he discovers that Bob is a girl named Kate, he wishes to marry her, much to Queenie's confusion.Guest appearances by Rik Mayall as Lord Flashheart and Gabrielle Glaister as Bob.
|8||2||"Head"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||16 January 1986|
|Blackadder relishes his new position as the Queen's head executioner, until a simple change to the execution schedule leads to catastrophic results when prisoner Lord Farrow's wife wishes to visit him and the Queen decides to pardon him, despite his having been executed two days earlier.|
|9||3||"Potato"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||23 January 1986|
Attempting to impress the Queen in the wake of Sir Walter Raleigh's return, Blackadder plans to go on a voyage to the Cape Of No Hope, from whence no man has ever returned, and he might marry the Queen if he returns. Blackadder hires the flamboyant Captain Redbeard Rum, who has lost his legs and thinks that every part of Blackadder's body is like a woman's, to accompany them.Guest appearances by Simon Jones as Sir Walter Raleigh and Tom Baker as Captain Rum.
|10||4||"Money"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||6 February 1986|
Blackadder is threatened by the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells. If Blackadder doesn't pay back the £1,000 he once borrowed from the Bank of the Black Monks, the Bishop will shove his heated poker up Blackadder's bottom (presumably killing him). With Blackadder having to pay the Queen each time he falls for her stupid tricks, things look bleak for him, until he comes up with a plan so cunning you could brush your teeth with it.Guest appearance by Ronald Lacey as "The Baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells".
|11||5||"Beer"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||13 February 1986|
Blackadder discovers that his ludicrously Puritan Aunt and Uncle Whiteadder are coming to visit him on the same night that he is having a party and a high-stakes drinking contest with Lord Melchett. Also, Queenie plans to sneak into the party to find out what happens on boys' nights out.Guest appearances by Hugh Laurie and Miriam Margolyes.
|12||6||"Chains"||Mandie Fletcher||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton||20 February 1986|
Blackadder and Melchett are kidnapped and held for ransom by the German mastermind Prince Ludwig the Indestructible. Queenie must decide whether Blackadder or Melchett should go free.Guest appearance by Hugh Laurie.
Due to the high cost of the first series, Michael Grade (the then controller of programming of BBC 1) was reluctant to sign off a second series without major improvements and cost-cutting, leaving a gap of three years between the two series.
Rowan Atkinson did not wish to continue writing for the second series, so writer and stand-up comedian Ben Elton was chosen to replace him. According to producer John Lloyd, Ben Elton was particularly keen on the choice of the Elizabethan age for the series, because it was "a sexy age that the kids can relate to."As a stand-up comic, Elton often acted as the studio warm-up comic to amuse the audience before filming began. The scripts were also tightened up during principal rehearsals with the actors; according to Richard Curtis, an entire script for a murder mystery-style episode was dropped because the writers felt it did not work.
To make the show more cost-effective, it was principally filmed on specially designed small sets at BBC Television Centre created by designer Tony Thorpe. The sets were de-constructed and rebuilt during the period of studio filming, as was normal for studio series then.In particular, the Queen's throne room and Blackadder's front room were featured in every episode, with only two further unique sets per episode, including an execution chamber in "Head" and a Spanish dungeon in "Chains". Only one outside location shoot was used in the whole series, which took place before principal filming on Thursday 30 May 1985 at Wilton House, Wiltshire. These outdoor scenes were Blackadder's courting scene in "Bells" and the end title sequences. Studio recordings shot in front of a live audience began on Sunday 9 June 1985 with the recording of "Head". Subsequent episodes were filmed on a weekly basis in the sequence "Bells", "Potato", "Money", "Beer" and "Chains". Director Mandie Fletcher was keen for the action to be shot spontaneously and was averse to complex costume changes or special effects which required recording to be halted. She is reputed to have said filming it was "a bit like doing Shakespeare in front of an audience – it's not at all like doing sitcom."
The size of the principal cast was reduced compared to the previous series, with a fixed number of characters appearing in every episode. Richard Curtis has been quoted as saying that due to the familiar cast, the series was the happiest for him to work on, comparing it to a "friendly bunch of school chums".
The series also featured at least one significant cameo role per episode. Notable appearances include Rik Mayall as the debonair Lord Flashheart in "Bells"; Tom Baker and Simon Jones as Captain Redbeard Rum and Sir Walter Raleigh, respectively, in "Potato"; Ronald Lacey as the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells in "Money"; Miriam Margolyes, who had appeared in the previous series, as the puritanical Lady Whiteadder in "Beer"; and Stephen Fry's comedy partner Hugh Laurie, who appears twice, first as the drunken Simon Partridge in "Beer" and in the final episode as the evil Prince Ludwig. Laurie was later given a larger role as George in the next two series. Also Bob, played by Gabrielle Glaister, a former classmate of Ben Elton's, made her first appearance.Several of the characters were seen in similar guises in later series.
The opening titles are accompanied by a mock-Elizabethan arrangement of Howard Goodall's Blackadder theme played on a recorder and an electric guitar, and feature a black snake slithering about on a marble table. The snake, non-compliant to the wishes of its handler, is eventually removed and replaced with something related to the episode title, which in this series is always a single noun. The opening ominous string crescendo and imagery are a parody of the opening credits of the 1976 BBC television adaptation of Robert Graves' I, Claudius .
The closing titles use a different arrangement of the theme, sung by countertenor Jeremy Jackman,with lyrics (usually insulting Blackadder) that reflect the events of the preceding episode. The song is played over a shot of Blackadder strolling through a formal garden and being annoyed by the lute-wielding minstrel (Tony Aitken). This sequence was incorporated as a separate subplot, with Blackadder constantly attempting to apprehend the musician each time with limited success. At the end of the final episode, Blackadder catches the minstrel and repeatedly dunks him in a fountain.
The complete series of Blackadder II is available as a Region 2 DVD from BBC Worldwide, as well as in a complete box-set with the other series, most recently as a remastered edition including a commentary on selected episodes. An earlier VHS release of the series was also produced in 1996. The series is also available in Region 1 DVD in a box-set of the complete series. In addition, an audio recording taken from the television episodes is available on cassette and compact disc.
|VHS video title||Year of release/BBFC rating||Episodes|
|Blackadder II- Parte the Firste (BBCV 4298)||2 October 1989 (PG)||Bells, Head, Potato|
|Blackadder II- Parte the Seconde (BBCV 4299)||2 October 1989 (15)||Money, Beer, Chains|
|The Complete Blackadder II (Double Pack) (BBCV 4785)||7 September 1992 (15)||TAPE 1: Bells, Head, Potato|
TAPE 2: Money, Beer, Chains
|Blackadder II- The Entire Historic Second Series (BBCV 5712)||2 October 1995 (15)||same as 'The Complete Blackadder II' but with all 6 episodes on a single video: Bells, Head, Potato, Money, Beer, Chains|
|DVD Title||DVD Content||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Blackadder II||Complete second series, no extras.||26 June 2001||22 October 2001||28 February 2002|
|The Complete Blackadder||All four series, no extras.||12 November 2001||3 October 2002|
|Blackadder – The Complete Collection||All four series and specials, no extras.||26 June 2001||3 October 2005|
|Blackadder Remastered – The Ultimate Edition||All four series and specials remastered, plus Blackadder Rides Again documentary, audio commentaries on selected episodes and interviews with cast.||20 October 2009||15 June 2009||1 October 2009|
Blackadder is a series of four BBC One pseudohistorical British sitcoms, plus several one-off instalments, which originally aired from 1983 to 1989. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the antihero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's dogsbody, Baldrick. Each series was set in a different historical period, with the two protagonists accompanied by different characters, though several reappear in one series or another, e.g., Melchett and Lord Flashheart.
Edmund Blackadder is the single name given to a collection of fictional characters who appear in the BBC mock-historical comedy series Blackadder, each played by Rowan Atkinson. Although each series is set within a different period of British history, each character is part of the same familial dynasty and is usually called Edmund Blackadder. Each character also shares notable personality traits and characteristics throughout each incarnation. In a 2001 poll conducted by Channel 4, Edmund Blackadder was ranked third on their list of the 100 Greatest TV Characters.
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC1. The series placed the recurring characters of Blackadder, Baldrick, and George in a trench in Flanders during World War I, and followed their various doomed attempts to escape from the trenches to avoid death under the misguided command of General Melchett. The series references famous people of the time and criticises the British Army's leadership during the campaign, culminating in the ending of its final episode, in which the soldiers are ordered to carry out a lethal charge of enemy lines.
The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, directed by Martin Shardlow and produced by John Lloyd. The series was originally aired on BBC 1 from 15 June 1983 to 20 July 1983, and was a joint production with the Australian Seven Network. Set in 1485 at the end of the British Middle Ages, the series is written as a secret history which contends that King Richard III won the Battle of Bosworth Field, only to be unintentionally assassinated by his nephew's son Edmund and succeeded by said nephew, Richard IV, one of the Princes in the Tower. The series follows the exploits of Richard IV's unfavoured second son Edmund in his various attempts to increase his standing with his father and, in the final episode, his quest to overthrow him.
Blackadder the Third is the third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987. The series is set during the Georgian Era, and sees the principal character, Mr. E. Blackadder, serve as butler to the Prince Regent and have to contend with, or cash in on, the fads of the age embraced by his master.
Blackadder: Back & Forth is a 1999 science fiction comedy short film based on the BBC period sitcom Blackadder that marks the end of the Blackadder saga. It was commissioned for showing in the specially built SkyScape cinema erected southeast of the Millennium Dome on the Greenwich peninsula in South London. The film follows Lord Edmund Blackadder and his idiotic servant, Baldrick, on a time travel adventure that brings the characters into contact with several figures significant to British history.
The Black Adder is the unaired pilot episode of the BBC television series Blackadder. Taped on 20 June 1982, it features the original incarnation of the character Edmund Blackadder, played by Rowan Atkinson. Following this pilot, The Black Adder eventually went into production and the first six-part series was broadcast in 1983, but with a number of changes to the casting, characterisation and plot; while the transmitted series was set in 1485 and the years following the Battle of Bosworth Field, this untransmitted pilot was set in 16th century, apparently during the Elizabethan Era.
"Goodbyeee", or "Plan F: Goodbyeee", is the sixth and final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, the fourth series of British historical sitcom Blackadder. The episode was first broadcast on BBC1 in the United Kingdom on 2 November 1989, shortly before Armistice Day. Apart from the one-off short film Blackadder: Back & Forth made a decade later, it was the last episode of Blackadder to be produced and transmitted.
"Bells" is the first episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603. Although "Bells" was the first to be broadcast on BBC1, it was originally destined to be the second episode.
"Head" is the second episode of the BBC period comedy Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603.
"Chains" is the final episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603. Power-mad and self-professed "master of disguise", Prince Ludwig the Indestructible kidnaps Lord Blackadder and Lord Melchett. They escape his clutches but Prince Ludwig infiltrates the palace during a fancy dress ball.
"Beer" is the fifth episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603. In the episode, an embarrassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a fanatically Puritan aunt leads to a right royal to-do in the Blackadder household. The episode marks Hugh Laurie's first ever Blackadder appearance, and Miriam Margolyes's second. Laurie would go on to appear in every subsequent episode of the show.
"Money" is the fourth episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603.
"Potato" is the third episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603.
George is a supporting character who appeared in various adaptations of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, played by Hugh Laurie. Each series saw a different incarnation of the character, because each was set in a different period of history. He was most prominently featured in the third and fourth series. The character was added to the series as a replacement for the Lord Percy Percy character, who did not appear in the third instalment because Tim McInnerny, the actor playing him, feared being typecast.
"The Foretelling" is the first episode of the BBC sitcom The Black Adder, the first series of the long-running comedy programme Blackadder. It marks Rowan Atkinson's début as the character Edmund Blackadder, and is the first appearance of the recurring characters Baldrick and Percy. The comedy actor Peter Cook guest stars as King Richard III.
"Born to Be King" is the second episode of The Black Adder, the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder. Set in late 15th-century England, the episode takes a humorous look at rivalries with the Kingdom of Scotland and centres the dramatic tension on the doubts cast over parentage of the lead character, Prince Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh.
"The Archbishop" is the third episode of the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder. It is set in England in the late 15th century, and follows the exploits of the fictitious Prince Edmund as he is invested as Archbishop of Canterbury amid a Machiavellian plot by the King to acquire lands from the Catholic Church. Most of the humour in the episode relies on religious satire.
"The Queen of Spain's Beard" is the fourth episode of the BBC historical sitcom The Black Adder, the first serial in the Blackadder series. Set in late 15th-century England, the episode parodies the practice of political marriages between the royal houses of Europe which characterised European politics during the Middle Ages. Its bawdy humour also deals with taboos surrounding premarital sex, gay stereotypes and the practice of child marriage.
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