The Black Adder (pilot episode)
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 Rowan Atkinson's character Edmund Blackadder. Following this pilot, The Black Adder went into production and the first six-part series was broadcast in 1983, but with a number of changes to the casting and plot. A close adaptation of the script of the pilot episode was used for the second episode of the first series, "Born to Be King", which contains many similar characters and lines to the pilot. Like the first series, The Black Adder, it was written by Rowan Atkinson. However, the episode features a number of major differences to the aired first series; the pilot episode is introduced with on-screen scrolling text which announces that the setting is "Europe, 400 years ago" which, based on the date of production, places the episode during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In this respect, in the design of the sets and costumes, the pilot bears much resemblance to the second series, Blackadder II, set during the Elizabethan era.
However, the historical connections are vague in the pilot episode. If the character of the Queen is intended to be Elizabeth I, the King and their two sons, Princes Henry and Edmund, would be fictitious characters, as Elizabeth I neither married nor bore offspring.. In the version of The Black Adder, televised in 1983, the setting is shifted back some 100 years to 1485, the King is identified as King Richard IV, a fictional successor to Richard III who rules England with his Queen, the fictional Gertrude of Flanders, during a rewritten period of history; the character of Queen Elizabeth I was revisited in Blackadder II, when Miranda Richardson played the role of Queenie, a skittish caricature of the Virgin Queen. Another major difference to the first series is the cast – most notably, comic actor Philip Fox plays the character Baldrick, rather than Tony Robinson, to play the role in all subsequent series. John Savident plays the role of the King, replaced by Brian Blessed for the first series.
Prince Harry is played by Robert Bathurst instead of Robert East. The rest of the cast were reunited for the commissioned series, it was directed by Geoff Posner, the director of the last series of Not the Nine O'Clock News. The producer was the head of Comedy Department, John Howard Davies but this was a temporary measure because John Lloyd, who had co-produced Not The Nine O'Clock News was working on a special with Pamela Stephenson; when the series was commissioned, Lloyd took over the producer's role. A unique instrumental version of the "Blackadder" theme by Howard Goodall was used, performed by an orchestra and harpsichord. A revised arrangement, featuring mock-heroic lyrics, was used for the first series; the episode opens with a rendition of the now-familiar Blackadder Theme, followed by an on-screen narrative text: The action opens with Prince Harry, the King, the Queen discussing the war with the Spanish. They hope; the Queen is in high spirits, as it is her birthday and she has been given the county of Shropshire as a present.
Prince Edmund, Duke of York is in his chambers with his servants Baldrick. He is unhappy about the task he has been given, to arrange the festivities for both the Queen's birthday and the return of the Scottish hero Dougal McAngus to the court, he refers to his brother Henry as "the bastard." Baldrick points out that if Henry was a bastard, Edmund would one day be King. When he finds out that the eunuchs scheduled to appear have cancelled, Edmund decides to have them executed. At a presentation in the great hall, the King gives McAngus all Edmund's lands in Scotland. Edmund is furious, he, Percy and Baldrick plot to kill McAngus. Percy warns that the King will cut Edmund off if he thinks he has deliberately killed McAngus, so they agree to make it look like an accident. Baldrick suggests putting McAngus's head in the mouth of a cannon and firing it, but Edmund dismisses this as feeble. Edmund, looking for the Scot, overhears him telling the Queen. Edmund invites McAngus to act as the Scotsman in the play "The Death of the Scotsman," to be performed for the Queen's birthday.
As Edmund is about to start the play, he discovers that McAngus is drunk. Percy and Baldrick begin the play, are joined by Edmund and McAngus. In the play, McAngus insults the Queen stabs Edmund with a fake telescopic sword, he is sentenced to be hanged from the gallows. Leaving the stage, Edmund instructs Percy and Baldrick to remove the safety hook from the gallows, warns them that whatever happens, if the Scotsman lives, they will die. Off-stage, McAngus tells Edmund about hidden love letters from the Queen to McAngus' father, casting dou
"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, is the first appearance of the recurring characters Baldrick and Percy; the comedy actor Peter Cook guest stars as King Richard III. The Black Adder is a historical comedy set in late Medieval England on the cusp of the Tudor Period, centres on the eponymous "Black Adder", the pseudonym adopted from this episode onwards by Edmund Plantagenet, Duke of Edinburgh; the premise is that Henry Tudor did not become king in 1485, but instead rewrote history to portray himself as the man who killed Richard III. The show sets out to rectify the situation by telling the "real story" and presents the alternative history of King Richard IV; the script of this episode contains many lines and situations which borrow from or parody William Shakespeare's plays Richard III and Macbeth. A prologue introduces the episode with a narrative describing the Tudor King Henry VII as one of history's greatest liars and establishes the show's premise that he rewrote history to suit his own ends.
The narrator dispels the popular depiction of King Richard III of England as a scheming murderer. A close-up of one of the children fades to a shot of the bearded Richard, Duke of York roaring with laughter, as the narrator declares that he grew up to be "a big, strong boy", that it was he, crowned king after winning the Battle of Bosworth Field, not Henry; the story opens in England in the year 1485 on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth. A feast is held at the castle of King Richard III of England as his court prepares for the next day's battle with the forces led by Henry Tudor; the King gives a speech parodying the opening of Shakespeare's play. A young lord's overzealous cheering raises the King's attention, who asks Richard, Duke of York, about the cheerer's identity. Richard doesn't recognise him but his eldest son, informs him that it is his second son, Edmund – though Richard mishears the name as "Edna", starting a running gag lasting throughout the series, he asks Edmund. Edmund and his friend, Lord Percy Percy, Duke of Northumberland, are joined by a servant Baldrick, who with a bit of flattery manages to win enough favour with Edmund to be chosen as his squire for the morning battle.
The next day, both Edmund and Baldrick oversleep. Once woken by Edmund's mother, Gertrude of Flanders, they rush to the battlefield, Edmund by horse and Baldrick by mule. Edmund is eager to fight but, observing the combatants from afar, he comes to the realisation that fighting could lead to death, he decides at that moment to remain a spectator and hides behind a bush to relieve himself. Meanwhile, the King lost his horse. Telling the Duke of York that he will meet him back at the castle, he wanders off to search for another horse, stumbling across Edmund's steed. Noticing an attempt to steal his horse, Edmund draws his sword and decapitates the apparent thief, only recognising him as King Richard III afterwards. With Baldrick's help, Edmund hides the body in a cottage but forgets the head, which Percy brings, claiming it to be his triumph until realising whose head it is. Before they can escape, a wounded knight begs to be sheltered in exchange for his land and money, but Edmund and Baldrick shake him off.
Returning to the castle, Edmund reveals that King Richard is dead, startling his mother and his father, who has freshly returned from battle. Any doubts are dispelled by Harry. Edmund fears retribution for his crime but as everyone assumes Henry Tudor to be the murderer, Edmund gets away, while his father is hailed as the new king, Richard IV. Edmund, now a royal prince, resolves to become more assertive, hoping to gain his father's respect and approval, gives himself the title "The Black Adder". To his dismay, Edmund finds out that Percy brought the wounded knight from the cottage back to the castle, but after hearing of his wealth, Edmund lets him stay without asking any further questions. Edmund finds himself haunted by the headless ghost of his great-uncle, who accuses him of beheading him and calling him "Edna" in order to taunt him. During the celebratory banquet in honour of the new king, a portrait of Henry Tudor is presented for ridicule, Edmund is horrified to learn that the wounded man he is sheltering is the enemy.
Edmund rushes back to his room only to find Henry Tudor gone. Edmund pursues him but the ghost of Richard III chases Edmund into a foggy meadow, where he meets three witches who address the Black Adder as "Ruler of men, Ravisher of women, Slayer of kings" and predict that he shall one day become king. Edmund thus proclaims "History, here I come!" When he leaves the meadow, the witches remark among themselves that they had expected Henry Tudor to look different, before realising that they had prophesied to the wrong person. The closing credits of this episode list the cast members "in order of precedence". Important characters are in bold. Peter Cook as Richard III Brian Blessed as Richard IV Peter Benson as Henry VII Robert East as Harry, Prince of Wales Rowan Atkinson as Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh Tim McInnerny as Percy, Duke of Northumberland Elspet Gray as The Queen Philip Kendall as
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 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 first incarnation of the character was a caricature of George, Prince of Wales, serving as the main antagonist of the third series. The second, Lt; the Hon. George Colthurst St Barleigh, was a young officer in the British Army during World War I, a supporting protagonist in the fourth series. Both portrayals were of "dim-witted upper-class twits", who depended on Edmund Blackadder; the character garnered positive responses from critics. Both Prince George and Lt. George are portrayed as dim-witted "upper class twits".
The son of King George III, Prince George is represented as a childish, bumbling fool who spends money extravagantly. Lieutenant George, stationed in the trenches of World War I, retains his enthusiastic naiveté, despite being stuck in the trenches for three years, revealing a lack of awareness of the seriousness of his circumstances. Both men are portrayed as incompetent, in "Nob and Nobility", it takes Prince George a week to put on a pair of trousers by himself putting them on his head. George relies on his butler, Mr. E. Blackadder while Blackadder despises George for his stupidity. While George is considered "moronic" and "idiotic", he is helpful, is aware he is not intelligent, describing himself as "thick as a whale omelette". In a 2008 retrospective, co-star Stephen Fry said George's keenness for self-improvement was one of the things he felt made the character likeable. In "Duel and Duality," the final episode of the third series, after a sexual encounter with the Duke of Wellington's nieces, this princely incarnation of George is struck by a point-blank shot from the vengeful Wellington's pistol and killed.
George awakes, believing that he may have a cigarillo case on him that deflected the blow, but when he realises that he must have left the case at home, promptly falls dead again in Baldrick's arms. George's incarnation as Lieutenant The Honourable George Colthurst St. Barleigh MC, in Blackadder Goes Forth, is a frontline officer, his character draws a lot of similarities to the naive 2nd Lt. Raleigh from R C Sherriff's 1928 play Journey's End. George joined the army on the first day of World War I, along with nine other students at Cambridge University; the ten men named themselves the Trinity College tiddlywinks, or the "Trinity Tiddlers". It is revealed in the fourth series' finale, that George is the only surviving member of the group. Although he lacks any kind of skill, competence, or authority as an officer, his upper-class status and educational background meant he went straight into the commissioned ranks upon enlisting. George is shown to have a special friendship with General Melchett, an old family friend with whom he shares his public school "tally-ho" attitude towards the war.
Melchett offers George a way out of the trenches for the "final push", which he refuses, much to Blackadder's incredulity. Although George is shown to have benefited from his background of privilege, he still remains a kind and hopeful individual, shortly before the big push at the end of the final episode George expresses some genuine fear and sadness that he may indeed die. In the 1989 sketch Shakespeare Sketch Laurie portrays a George-like William Shakespeare. Lord Blackadder manages to persuade him to condense his new play Hamlet. In the series, Lieutenant George is seen wearing the following ribbons: Tim McInnerny, who had starred in The Black Adder and Blackadder II as Lord Percy Percy, was afraid to be typecast in comedic roles and decided not to appear in the third instalment of Blackadder, though he did appear in the episode "Nob and Nobility", as Lord Topper, a snobbish aristocrat who claims to be The Scarlet Pimpernel, returned in the fourth series playing Captain Kevin Darling.
The Prince George character was created as a new "incompetent sidekick" for the title character. He was modeled after George IV of the United Kingdom, who served as Prince Regent between 1811 and 1820. Laurie had guest starred in the final two episodes of Blackadder II, the producers decided to cast him in the role of Prince George. Laurie's physical appearance differed from that of George IV, obese during the time of his regency. Writers Ben Elton and Richard Curtis were unfazed by this, referring to George as "a fat, flatulent git", an appropriate description for the real Prince rather than Laurie. Laurie was supposed to wear a monocle as Lt. George, the character's second incarnation, but decided against it after it kept falling out of his eye. Laurie reprised the role of Prince George in the Christmas special Blackadder's Christmas Carol, portrayed a new character, Lord Pigmot, set in the distant future, he appeared in the millennium special Blackadder: Back & Forth, playing the Roman Consul Georgius and the modern day Major George Bufton-Tufton, The Viscount Bufton-Tufton.
Born to Be King (Blackadder)
"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. Although "Born to Be King" was broadcast as episode 2 of the series, on broadcasts and 2009 DVD releases it has been switched with episode 4, "The Queen of Spain's Beard"; the story begins in 1486. The episode opens as King Richard IV departs on a Crusade against the Turks, leaving his elder son Prince Harry to rule as regent; the King's younger son, Prince Edmund, encouraged by his sidekick Baldrick, considers the opportunity to take control of the kingdom. As it turns out, Prince Harry takes most of the power and leaves Edmund to do the duties that remain: namely herding sheep and cleaning out the drains. A year Harry plans a feast to celebrate Richard's impending return and entrusts Edmund with arranging the entertainments.
Edmund grows frustrated, as the traditional troupe of eunuchs cancel their participation and he has to consider acts he considers pathetic like Morris dancers, a bear baiter, a flock of chickens which lays eggs, an act entitled "The Jumping Jews of Jerusalem". King Richard's military commander from Scotland, Dougal MacAngus, arrives for the feast and mistakes Edmund for a eunuch. Edmund's bad mood worsens when MacAngus asks for land in Scotland as a reward for his service, the Royal burghs of Roxburgh and Peebles. Ignoring the fact that these lands are possessed by Edmund, Prince Harry grants them to MacAngus, a furious Edmund plots with Baldrick and Percy to kill MacAngus. After ignoring Baldrick's "cunning plan" to use a cannon, Edmund decides to try something more subtle, he finds MacAngus hunting in the forest and offers him a part in a play, being staged at the castle that night as part of the St Leonard's Day festivities. The Death of the Pharaoh is hastily re-scripted as The Death of the Scotsman.
Edmund replaces the actors' fake knives with real ones, intending to have them kill MacAngus onstage. When MacAngus reveals he has information that throws the legitimacy of Prince Harry's claim to the throne in jeopardy, Edmund hastily prevents the assassination. Edmund has the chance to examine the letters himself, they are dated 1460, his brother's year of birth, Edmund concludes that they prove that Harry is an illegitimate child and placing Edmund first in line to the throne of England. Eagerly, Edmund reveals the letters to the Royal court; as MacAngus claims that Richard IV was last seen entering Constantinople to face 10,000 Turks alone and armed with only a fruit knife, Edmund has himself announced king: "The King is dead, long live the King!" At that moment, Richard IV makes a grand entrance, stating that he survived "thanks to my trusty fruit knife!". Edmund tries to show the letters to his father, it is found that the letters date from November–December 1460, nine months after Harry was born, nine months before Edmund was born, thus suggesting that Edmund is a bastard.
Faced with losing his royal title, Edmund is quick to claim the letters to be forgeries and burns them out of feigned disgust. In the heat of the moment, Edmund challenges MacAngus to a duel. MacAngus pretends at first to be about to strike but laughs, showing no hard feelings. Soon afterwards, Harry sees Edmund and Dougal keeping company, believes them to have become firm friends. However, it is shown that Edmund goes through with Baldrick's plan and MacAngus dies in an "accident" involving a cannon; the closing credits of this episode list the cast members "in geographical order". Important characters are in bold. Rowan Atkinson as The Laird of Roxburgh and Peebles Brian Blessed as Richard IV of England Alex Norton as MacAngus, Duke of Argyll Tim McInnerny as Percy, Duke of Northumberland Elspet Gray as Gertrude, Queen of Flanders Robert East as Harry, Prince of Wales Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Bachelor of the Parish of Chigwell Angus Deayton as Jumping Jew of Jerusalem Joolia Cappleman as Celia, Countess of Cheltenham Martin Clarke as Sir Dominick Prique of Stratford Martin Soan as the 2nd Wooferoonie Malcolm Hardee as the 3rd Wooferoonie David Nunn as the Messenger As Edmund begins to plot against Dougal McAngus, he has a brief exchange with Baldrick which marks the development of Baldrick's "cunning plan" catchphrase.
Actor Tony Robinson realised the potential for repetition as a comedic device and inserted it into the script of episode 5, "Witchsmeller Pursuivant". EDMUND: Perhaps we need something a little more cunning. BALDRICK: I have a cunning plan. EDMUND: Yes but I think I have a more cunning one. BALDRICK: Mine's pretty cunning my Lord; the plot of Born to Be King contains a large proportion of material, written for the unaired pilot episode in 1982, in which Prince Edmund arranges the festivities for the Queen's birthday and the Scottish hero Dougal McAngus returns to the court and reveals Edmund's illegitimacy. The pilot episode differs from Born to Be King a number of respects: The pilot episode is set some 100 years in 1583; the cast includes different actors playing certain roles – The King, Prince Harry, Baldrick are played by John Savident, Robert Bathurst and Philip Fox respectively. Prince Harry is named Prince Henry. Edmund's character is much more like that of his descendants in the other series
The groat is the traditional name of a long-defunct English and Irish silver coin worth four pence, a Scottish coin, worth fourpence, with issues being valued at eightpence and one shilling. The name has been applied to any thick or large coin, such as the Groschen, a silver coin issued by Tyrol in 1271 and Venice in the 13th century, the first of this general size to circulate in the Holy Roman Empire and other parts of Europe; the immediate ancestor to the groat was the French gros tournois or groat of Tours, known as the groot in the Netherlands. The name groat refers to a range of other European coins such as those of the Italian peninsula known as a grosso including the grosso of Venice and the Kraków grosz. Marco Polo referred to the groat in recounts of his travels to East Asia when describing the currencies of the Yuan Empire, his descriptions were based on the conversion of 1 bezant = 133 1⁄3 tornesel. It was after the French silver coin had circulated in England that an English groat was first minted under King Edward I.
Scots groats were not issued until the reign of David II. Scots groats were also worth fourpence, but issues were valued at eightpence and a shilling. Irish groats were minted first in 1425 and the last ones were minted under the reign of Elizabeth I of England. There were two more issues, both emergency coinage. While speaking, the English groat should have contained four pennyweights or 96 grains of sterling silver, the first ones issued weighed 89 grains and issues became progressively lighter; the weight was reduced to 72 grains under Edward III, 60 grains under Henry IV, 48 grains under Edward IV. From 1544 to 1560 the silver fineness was less than sterling, after the 1561 issue they were not issued for circulation again for about a hundred years. From the reigns of Charles II to George III, groats were issued on an irregular basis for general circulation, the only years of mintage after 1786 being in 1792, 1795, 1800. After this the only circulating issues were from 1836 to 1855, with proofs known from 1857 and 1862, a colonial issue of 1888.
These last coins had the weight further reduced to about 27 grains and were the same diameter as the silver threepenny pieces of the day although thicker. They had Britannia on the reverse, while all other silver fourpenny pieces since the reign of William and Mary have had a crowned numeral "4" as the reverse, including the silver fourpenny Maundy money coins of the present; some groats continued to circulate in Scotland until the 20th century. At times in the past, silver twopenny coins have been called "half-groats"; the groat ceased to be minted in the United Kingdom in 1856, but in 1888 a special request was made for a colonial variety to be minted for use in British Guiana and the British West Indies. The groat remained in circulation in British Guiana right up until that territory adopted the decimal system in 1955. In the 1600s and 1700s, chaplains were employed in English Navy ships of war by the captain, paid out of a groat per month deducted from the wages of the seamen; the Navy's wages did not rise between 1653 and 1797, during which time the ordinary seaman was paid 19 shillings, as was the chaplain.
The word "groat" has entered into a number of English and Scottish expressions, many of them now archaic. In the north of England, there is the saying "Blood without groats is nothing" meaning "family without fortune is worthless." The allusion is to black pudding, which consists chiefly of blood and oats formed into a sausage and cut into slices. "Not worth a groat" is an old saying meaning "not worth a penny", i.e. worthless. Benjamin Franklin, in his book, Necessary Hints gives the following thrifty advice: He that spends a groat a day idly, spends idly above six pounds a year. Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin features the following riddle: Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote! A little wee man in a red red coat! A staff in his hand, a stone in his throat; the answer is "a cherry."In The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a character recounts the paying of groats to people who held her underwater to determine if she was a witch: And Mistress Jemima's father gives them each a silver groat to hold the stool down under the foul green water for a long time, to see if I'd choke on it.
According to Hawkins' History of the Silver Coins of England, groats were known as "Joeys", so called from Joseph Hume, M. P. who recommended the coinage for the sake of paying short cab-fares, etc. This refers to the Victorian fourpenny piece; the mention of cab fares is related to the fact that the standard minimum was fourpence, so many passengers paid with a sixpenny piece, allowing the cabbie to keep the twopence change as a tip. The slang name "Joey" was transferred to the silver threepenny pieces in use in the first third of the twentieth century. In A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Sara Crewe picks up a fourpenny piece from the street and uses it to buy buns; the original story was set in 1888. John o' Groats, a place name in the north of Scotland, is not derived from "groat" but is a corruption of "Jan de Groot", the name of a Dutchman who migrated there in the reign of James IV; the monetary unit of Federation, the forerunner of the active Federation II text-based roleplaying game, was the groat.
Terry Pratchett's first book in the Moist von Lipwig series of novels, Going Postal, introduced a supporting character named Tolliver Groat
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, sees the principal character, 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 saw a number of significant changes from the format of The Black Adder, notably Ben Elton replacing Rowan Atkinson as the second writer, filming in studio sets, rather than on location, the introduction of the more familiar Machiavellian "Blackadder" character and a less intelligent Baldrick. The series is set during the Elizabethan era; the principal character, Lord Blackadder, is the great-grandson of the original Black Adder, 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. As before, he is aided, hindered, by two less-than-intelligent sidekicks, his servant Baldrick, Lord Percy Percy, heir to the Duchy of Northumberland, with whom Blackadder has a grudging friendship. Throughout the series, Blackadder's chief rival is Lord Melchett, the Queen's pretentious and grovelling Lord Chamberlain. Melchett is himself in fear of upsetting the Queen, 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 Nursie. 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", to act as a foil to Blackadder's new-found intelligence. The series was the originator of Baldrick's obsession with the turnip, although this 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 has stated that the character bears a resemblance to Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Indeed, as with The Black Adder, the series featured many tongue-in-cheek references to Shakespeare's plays. In particular the first episode "Bells", follows a similar plot to Twelfth Night; the series aired for six episodes broadcast on Thursdays on BBC One at 9.30pm between 9 January 1986 and 20 February 1986."Head" was 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. Due to the high cost of the first series, Michael Grade 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 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 acted as the studio warm-up comic to amuse the audience before filming began. The scripts were tightened up during principal rehearsals with the actors. 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". Rowan Atkinson as Lord Edmund Blackadder Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy Percy, Heir to the Duchy of Northumberland Tony Robinson as Baldrick Miranda Richardson as
Dish and Dishonesty
"Dish and Dishonesty" is the first episode of the third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder. Due to the thorough parody of the conventions of a British electoral declaration, it has been shown several times on the dates of real General Elections; the newly appointed Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, wants to declare war on Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite hearing this, the Prince is nonetheless convinced that the general public adores him because the day before he heard them singing "We hail Prince George!". Since the House of Commons is evenly divided on the issue, Blackadder suggests to the Prince that they tip the scales in his favour by bribing a Member of Parliament named Sir Talbot Buxomley with the position of High Court judge; the Prince calls for Buxomley, after assuring the Prince that he will stand by him, promptly sits down in a chair and dies, due to his poor health. Moving Blackadder realises that Buxomley represented the constituency of Dunny-on-the-Wold, a rotten borough consisting of a tiny plot of land with several farm animals – three rather mangy cows, a dachshund named Colin and a small hen in its late forties.
Blackadder schemes to elect Baldrick as the constituency's new MP to ensure that he votes in favour of the Prince. Pitt hears about visits the Prince, the latter not recognising him at first. Pitt reveals that he once suffered "alone in a cold schoolroom, a hot crumpet burning my cheeks with shame" under the Prince's sort, before seeking and succeeding to become what he is today. Pitt declares that he shall have his own brother, William Pitt the Even Younger, as a candidate on his side; when he leaves, Blackadder tells the Prince how they shall win the election: firstly, fight the campaign on "issues, not personalities". After an rigged election, in which the single voter cast 16,472 votes for Baldrick, it is revealed that Blackadder is both the constituency's returning officer and voter, Baldrick is made an MP in a landslide victory. Once Baldrick enters the House of Commons, Pitt manipulates him into voting the wrong way, the issue proceeds to the House of Lords. Blackadder plans to get himself appointed to the House of Lords, where he will be able to vote against the bill, he purchases a ludicrously expensive catskin robe in preparation.
However, his scheme is ruined by Prince George's stupidity and Baldrick is elevated instead. Baldrick is given £ 400,000 to bribe a few Lords. Once he finds out, Blackadder smashes the turnip over Baldrick's head. * Election rigged by Mr E Blackadder. The episode features a cameo by political commentator Vincent Hanna as "his own great-great-great grandfather" and additionally stars a dachshund called Colin Harwood. "Dish and Dishonesty" at BBC Programmes "Dish and Dishonesty" on IMDb