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Archive for March 26th, 2013

15. Blackadder

 

by Allan Fish

Another effort to move Field Marshal Haig’s drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.

(UK 1983-1989 815m) DVD1/2

I have a cunning plan

p  John Lloyd  d  Martin Sharlow, Mandie Fletcher  w  Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson, Ben Elton  m  Howard Goodall

Rowan Atkinson (Generations of Edmund Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Generations of Baldrick), Tim McInnerny (Percy/Captain Darling), Stephen Fry (Lord Melchett/ General Melchett), Miranda Richardson (Elizabeth I), Brian Blessed (Richard IV), Elspet Gray, Patsy Byrne, Robert East, Frank Finlay, Miriam Margolyes, Jim Broadbent,

For a series that began life on BBC2 to only lukewarm original praise, the change of co-writer to Ben Elton and move to BBC1 paid unprecedented dividends.  Even those who do not rate the efforts of Curtis and Elton elsewhere have to bite their tongue when ‘the Adder‘ is mentioned, because without them it wouldn’t have existed at all.  Here’s a comedy that lasted four series (and three varying specials) simply because on each occasion it literally reinvented itself by moving forward in time.  The first series, set during the Wars of the Roses, was undoubtedly the weakest, but had numerous cherishable moments.  Then its star took time off from writing duties, a new director was found, and Elton entered the fray.  The second series had been intended to run in autumn 1985, but was held back for release in the new year, and even now I have misty recollections of watching that first episode as a twelve year old schoolboy.  This truly is the all-time peak of British TV comedy in terms of writing and ensemble playing.  (more…)

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