The Foretelling

Blackadder21st August, 1485. King Richard III’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field is ruined only by the unfortunate fact that his head was cut off by Edmund, second son of Prince Richard. Once his father is crowned King Richard IV, the newly ennobled Prince Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh, begins his life as “The Black Adder”. But Edmund is haunted by the ghost of the slain King and finds he’s been unknowingly harboring the King’s enemy, Henry Tudor…

Season 1 Regular Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh, The Black Adder), Brian Blessed (King Richard IV), Robert East (Harry, Prince of Wales), Tim McInnerny (Percy, Duke of Northumberland), Elspet Gray (The Queen), Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Patrick Allen (Narrator)

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Peter Cook (Richard III), Peter Benson (Henry VII), Jay Bura (Prince Edward), Tan Bura (Prince Richard), Stephen Tate (Lord Chiswick), Kathleen St. John (Goneril), Barbara Miller (Regan), Gretchen Franklin (Cordelia), Philip Kendall (Painter)

Season 1 Notes: Rowan Atkinson became a household name (especially in England) on the strength of his portrayal of the various Blackadders. He also found success with the title role in the TV series Bean and its spin-offs (a movie and an animated series). Genre work includes the “unofficial” James Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983), Scooby-Doo (2002) and a comedic portrayal of legendary BBC character The Doctor in the 1999 charity special Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.

Brian Blessed is a veteran of stage and screen, appearing in countless plays, films and television productions. His first standout television appearance was as Emperor Augustus in the BBC series I, Claudius. Genre work includes Space: 1999, Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, Flash Gordon (1980) and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).

Robert East has made appearances on several British television shows, including Rumpole of the Bailey, Yes, Prime Minister, ‘Allo ‘Allo! and The Canterbury Tales.

Elspet Gray began her career in the late 1940s and worked regularly for the next 50 years. Key work includes appearances on such shows as Fawlty Towers, Inspector Morse, Poirot and the Richard Curtis-penned film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Genre work has been minimal, but does include the role of Chancellor Thalia in the pivotal Doctor Who story Arc Of Infinity. Gray is one of only three cast members (along with Atkinson and Tim McInnerny) to survive The Black Adder’s transition from pilot to series.

Tim McInnerny was a regular cast member in all Blackadder series except Blackadder The Third (where he made a guest appearance). Other genre appearances include Erik The Viking (1989) and a guest appearance on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as Franz Kafka.

Tony Robinson has the distinction of being the only cast member besides Rowan Atkinson to appear in all full Blackadder productions (except the pilot). Other work includes the TV series Maid Marian And Her Merry Men, a comic look at the Robin Hood legend, and Blood and Honey, a narrative retelling of Biblical stories.

Notes: Although this episode clearly establishes the origin of the “Blackadder” name, later sources, notably Blackadder: Back & Forth and the script collection/historical overview “Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty”, indicate the name is much older.

The portrayal here of King Henry VII as a liar who re-wrote history is in line with modern thinking that King Richard III’s reign was unfairly portrayed as a means of justifying the Tudors’ questionable hold on the English throne.

The three old women at the end of The Foretelling are based on the witches from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, but are named after the daughters from “King Lear”.

Before his death in 1995, Peter Cook was acknowledged as one of the greats of British comedy, most notably for his longtime collaboration with Dudley Moore on such projects as the 1960s TV series Not Only… But Also… and the 1967 film Bedazzled. His genre work was minimal, but does include the dubious distinction of being a second-string bad guy in Supergirl (1984).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

The Queen Of Spain’s Beard

Blackadder1492. The King, in need of a strategic alliance with Spain, decides to marry Edmund to the Spanish Infanta, since Harry is already engaged to several other young women. Initially excited by the notion, Edmund’s enthusiasm wanes quickly upon actually meeting the Infanta. After failing in his many attempts to evade the altar, it seems Edmund will be married whether he will or no…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Jim Broadbent (Don Speekingleesh), Miriam Margolyes (Infanta Maria Escolosa), Jane Freeman (Mrs. Applebottom), Howard Lew Lewis (Mr. Applebottom), John Rapley (Rev. Lloyd), David Nunn (Messenger), Stephen Tate (Lord Chiswick), Kenn Wells (Messenger), Richard Mitchley (Messenger), Willoughby Goddard (Archbishop), Natasha King (Princess Leia of Hungary), Harriet Keevil (Lady on Ramparts)

Notes: The Queen Of Spain’s Beard was originally transmitted out of order, switching places with Born To Be King.

Miriam Margolyes’ comic skill has been used in many diverse films, from wacky comedies such as Morons From Outer Space (1985) to full dramas like Romeo + Juliet (1996) to popcorn fare like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). Margolyes also appears in Blackadder II (Beer) and in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Jim Broadbent is a highly regarded actor, known for his work in such films as Richard III (1995) and Iris (2001), for which he won an Academy Award. His only other Blackadder appearance is in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. He also appeared with Rowan Atkinson in the Doctor Who charity special The Curse Of Fatal Death, portraying the 11th Doctor to Atkinson’s 9th Doctor.

Natasha King’s portrayal of Princess Leia would be seen only one more time, in the following episode, Witchsmeller Pursuivant.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

The Archbishop

BlackadderNovember, 1487. The death of the Duke of Winchester heightens the rivalry between the Church and the Crown. After disposing of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the King decides to name Edmund to the post in hopes of a more pliable Church leader. While Edmund proves at last to be of use to his father, forces are conspiring against his staying long in the job…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: William Russell (Duke of Winchester), Arthur Hewlett (Godfrey, Archbishop of Canterbury / William, Bishop of London), David Nunn (Messenger), Leslie Sands (Lord Graveney), Joyce Grant (Mother Superior), Carolyn Colquhoun (Sister Sara), David Delve (Sir George de Boef), Bill Wallis (Sir Justin de Boinod), Bert Parnaby (Cain), Roy Evans (Abel)

Notes: William Russell is best known for his portrayal of Ian Chesterton, one of the original cast members of the long running BBC science fiction show Doctor Who. He was credited on this episode under his real name, “Russell Enoch.”

Bill Wallis’ long career includes genre appearances in The Avengers, Robin of Sherwood, and The Canterville Ghost (1986). He also appears in Blackadder II (Head) and Blackadder Goes Forth (General Hospital).

Bert Parnaby and Roy Evans (Cain & Abel) re-appear in Witchsmeller Pursuivant and The Black Seal.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Born To Be King

Blackadder1486. The King is away on a Crusade, but will be home by St. Leonard’s Day, a time of great feasting. While Prince Harry is running the country in his father’s stead, Edmund is in charge of the sheep and getting the frolics together for the feast. When a visiting Scottish Lord calls Prince Harry’s parentage into question, a plan is hatched to remove Harry from the right of succession…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Alex Norton (McAngus, Duke of Argyll), David Nunn (Messenger), Angus Deayton (Jumping Jew)

Notes: This episode is a re-writing of the original Black Adder pilot, which took place about a hundred years later in history. Born To Be King was originally transmitted out of order, switching places with The Queen Of Spain’s Beard; it was intended to be the second episode.

Alex Norton re-creates his portrayal of McAngus from the original Black Adder pilot. He is considerably more savage (and filthy) here.

David Nunn appeared in several episodes of The Black Adder as the somewhat dim messenger seen in this episode. He returned to Blackadder for a small appearance in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Witchsmeller Pursuivant

BlackadderAutumn, 1495. The Black Plague is ravaging the land. The King himself is ill, leaving Harry and Edmund to deal with the crisis. It is decided to call on the Witchsmeller Pursuivant to root out the evil. Edmund’s vocal opposition is rewarded by being pegged as a witch, himself. Prince Harry agrees to put Edmund on trial, but with the Witchsmeller out to get him, Edmund’s survival is anything but certain…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Frank Finlay (The Witchsmeller Pursuivant), Richard Murdoch (Ross), Valentine Dyall (Angus), Peter Schofield (Fife), Stephen Frost (Soft), Mark Arden (Anon), Perry Benson (Daft Ned), Bert Parnaby (Dim Cain), Roy Evans (Dumb Abel), Forbes Collins (Dopey Jack), Patrick Duncan (Officer), Barbara Miller (Jane Kirkettle), Natasha King (Princess Leia), Howard Lew Lewis (Piers), Sarah Thomas (Mrs. Field), Louise Gold (Mrs. Tyler), Gareth Milne (Stuntman)

Notes: Frank Finlay is best known for his extensive theatrical career. He early work included multiple Shakespearean productions, including Othello (1965), Much Ado About Nothing (1967), Julius Caesar (1969) and The Merchant of Venice (1972). Genre work includes The Deadly Bees (1966), the role of van Helsing in Count Dracula (1977), The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999) and Ghosthunter (2000).

Cain and Abel (Bert Parnaby and Roy Evans) are back (following their appearance in The Archbishop) and re-appear in the final episode, The Black Seal.

Following her appearance in The Queen Of Spain’s Beard, Natasha King makes another brief appearance as Edmund’s wife, Princess Leia.

Stephen Frost makes a return appearance in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode Corporal Punishment. He is probably best known to American audiences for his many appearances on the British improv show Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

The Black Seal

Blackadder1498. Humiliations at court finally lead Edmund to attempt to overthrow the King. He dismisses Baldrick and Percy and sets out to form The Black Seal, a band consisting of the six most evil men in the land. With their help he hopes to gain the Crown. But Edmund’s new friends are not really the type you can trust in a pinch…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: John Carlisle (Murdered Lord), Bert Parnaby (Cain), Roy Evans (Abel), Forbes Collins (Trusting Father), Des Webb (Person of unrestricted growth), John Barrard (Retired Morris Dancer), Perry Bevon (Pigeon Vendor), John Hallam (Sir Wilfred Death), Roger Sloman (Three-Fingered Pete), Patrick Malahide (Guy de Glastonbury), Ron Cook (Sean, the Irish Bastard), Paul Brooke (Friar Bellows), Big Mick (Jack Large), Rik Mayall (Mad Gerald), Patrick Allen (Philip of Burgandy, The Hawk)

Notes: Edmund’s wife, Princess Leia, is notably not among those killed at the end of this episode. While Leia was likely around ten at the time of her marriage (1492), she would be about sixteen by the time of this episode, a more than reasonable child-bearing age for the day, thus assuring the Blackadder line to follow.

Cain and Abel (portrayed by Bert Parnaby and Roy Evans) have had a hard time. Three years earlier (in Witchsmeller Pursuivant) they were still healthy, if stupid. By 1498, they’re both blind.

Rik Mayall returned for appearances in Blackadder II (Bells), Blackadder Goes Forth (Private Plane), and Blackadder: Back & Forth. The role of Mad Gerald was credited in this episode to “himself.” Mayall is best known for his alternative comedy work in such TV series as The Young Ones, Bottom and The New Statesmen. (He also starred in Drop Dead Fred (1991), but let’s not hold that against him.)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Bells

BlackadderKate, a young woman in financial straits, disguises herself as a boy, assumes the name “Bob” and goes to London to find work. Lord Blackadder takes on “Bob” as his manservant and finds him to be excellent company. But soon things get out of hand, as Blackadder begins to find himself falling in love with “Bob”…

Season 2 Regular Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Lord Edmund Blackadder), Tim McInnerny (Lord Percy Percy), Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Miranda Richardson (Queen Elizabeth I), Stephen Fry (Lord Melchett), Patsy Byrne (Nursie)

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Gabrielle Glaister (Kate/Bob), Rik Mayall (Lord Flashheart), John Grillo (Dr. Leech), Edward Jewesbury (Kate’s Father), Barbara Miller (Wise Woman), Sadie Shimmin (Young Crone)

Season 2 Notes: Miranda Richardson’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth brought her into the Blackadder family, leading to appearances in all later series. Best known for her dramatic work in films like The Crying Game (1992) and Tom & Viv (1994), she has also embraced fantasy roles in productions like the miniseries Merlin (1998), Alice In Wonderland (1999) and Snow White: The Fairest Of Them All (2002).

Stephen Fry was again a regular cast member for Blackadder Goes Forth and made a guest appearance in Blackadder The Third. He is perhaps best known for his work as Jeeves in the TV series Jeeves and Wooster.

Notes: Patsy Byrne’s extensive career includes appearances in such series as I, Claudius, All Creatures Great and Small, Inspector Morse and Tony Robinson’s Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.

Gabrielle Glaister would return as a “Bob” of a different sort in Blackadder Goes Forth (Major Star, Private Plane).

Rik Mayall portrays a later generation Lord Flashheart in Blackadder Goes Forth (Private Plane) and also appears in The Black Adder (The Black Seal) and Blackadder: Back & Forth.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Head

BlackadderLord Blackadder is named as the new Lord High Executioner. He decides to execute Lord Farrow two days early in order to free up his Wednesday. But Lady Farrow pleads to the Queen for a chance to see her husband before he dies. With an order from the Queen allowing her access to her husband, Lady Farrow (and the Queen) will not be happy to find his head has been cut off…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Holly de Jong (Lady Farrow), Bill Wallis (Gaoler Ploppy), Linda Polan (Mrs. Ploppy), Patrick Duncan (Earl Farrow)

Notes: Despite being clearly designated the second episode of Blackadder II, Head seems to fill the role of the series opener much better than the actual first episode, Bells. This notion is supported first by continuity issues (Percy has a beard throughout Head despite having cut it off in Bells). Next, Head spends a notable amount of time introducing the characters, while Bells seems to take them for granted. Finally, the closing song for Head mentions Blackadder’s grandfather (as portrayed in The Black Adder), again reinforcing the idea that Head was meant to be the segue into the Elizabethan era.

Bill Wallis previously appeared in The Black Adder (The Archbishop). He returns in Black Adder Goes Forth (General Hospital).

Linda Polan’s generally sparse career includes genre appearances in Gulliver In Lilliput (1982), the 1983 Patsy Kensit TV series Luna and the Doctor Who spin-off special K-9 and Company (1981).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Potato

BlackadderSir Walter Raleigh has returned from his adventures and all of London is abuzz with excitement (except Edmund). When it becomes clear that Raleigh’s exploits have allowed him to supplant Edmund in the Queen’s favor, Edmund boasts of his plans to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, which no sailor has ever done. Edmund finds the only ship’s captain willing to go in the form of the drunken, legless Captain Redbeard Rum. Edmund’s scheme begins to turn sour when he realizes that Rum has no idea how to get where they’re going…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Tom Baker (Captain Rum), Simon Jones (Sir Walter Raleigh)

Notes: Simon Jones is best known for his portrayal of Arthur Dent in the radio, LP and television versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Other genre work includes Brazil (1985), Twelve Monkeys (1995), the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, and the Star Trek audio adventure Cacophony.

Tom Baker’s seven year turn in the title role of the BBC’s Doctor Who forever cemented his place in pop culture history. His other genre work includes Frankenstein: The True Story (1973), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), The Silver Chair (1990), Dungeons & Dragons (2000) and the 2000 TV series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Money

BlackadderWhile entertaining a professional “lady friend,” Edmund is visited by the Bishop of Bath & Wells, who has come to collect a thousand pounds that Edmund owes the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod. Edmund, naturally, does not have the money. The Queen, meanwhile, plays one practical joke after another on Edmund, which in succession see him deprived of what little money he does have. All this leads Edmund inevitably towards his dreadful appointment with the Monks and a hot poker…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Ronald Lacy (Bishop of Bath & Wells), Cassie Stuart (Mollie the inexpensive prostitute), Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Pants), John Pierce Jones (Arthur the Sailor), Tony Aitken (Mad Beggar), Philip Pope (Leonardo Acropolis), Piers Ibbotson (Messenger), Barry Craine (Mr. Pants)

Notes: In this episode we learn that although there may be Blackadders throughout history, not all Blackadders are made of the same stuff. Edmund’s father has squandered the family fortune on “wine, women and amateur dramatics,” something a true Blackadder would never do (if for no other reason than their long-held hatred of theater). It is one of the few mentions of any of the various Blackadders’ extended families.

Ronald Lacey’s career dates back to the early 1960s. It includes extensive television and film work. Genre appearances include The Avengers, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Beer

BlackadderEdmund challenges Lord Melchett to a drinking contest despite the fact that one drink causes Edmund to start singing “that song about the goblin.” Complicating matters is the fact that Edmund’s aunt and uncle, the puritanical Lord and Lady Whiteadder, are coming over for dinner to discuss his inheritance on the very same night…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Miriam Margolyes (Lady Whiteadder), Hugh Laurie (Simon Partridge), Roger Blake (Geoffrey Piddle), William Hootkins (Monk), Daniel Thorndike (Lord Whiteadder)

Notes: Miriam Margolyes makes her second appearance here, following her work in The Black Adder (The Queen Of Spain’s Beard). She returns again in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Hugh Laurie returns in the final episode of Blackadder II (Chains). He was a regular cast member of the remaining series. Laurie is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Bertie Wooster opposite Stephen Fry’s Jeeves in the TV series Jeeves and Wooster. He is also known for his appearances in the Stuart Little films as the human father of the little mouse, Stuart.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Chains

BlackadderIn the middle of a rash of kidnappings, Edmund and Lord Melchett are, themselves, kidnapped and held hostage by the evil Prince Ludwig. The Queen, tired of paying ransoms, decides to throw a party instead of helping free her two courtiers. It’s up to Edmund to devise a way to not only free himself and Lord Melchett, but also prevent Ludwig from executing his plans to assassinate the Queen…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Hugh Laurie (Prince Ludwig), Max Harvey (Torturer), Mark Arden (1st Guard), Lee Cornes (2nd Guard)

Notes: This episode’s conclusion sheds light on a very interesting theory as to why Elizabeth I was the “virgin queen.” This means that despite being fantastic in its characterizations, Blackadder II can still fit neatly into proper history, unlike the alternate timeline shown in The Black Adder. This is an aspect that continues throughout the following series.

Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of Prince Ludwig marks one of only two times an actor portrayed two major characters in the same Blackadder series, the other being Rowan Atkinson in the Blackadder the Third episode Nob and Nobility.

Lee Cornes pops up again in Blackadder The Third (Ink and Incapability) and Blackadder Goes Forth (Corporal Punishment). His other genre work includes appearances on Doctor Who and Red Dwarf.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Dish and Dishonesty

BlackadderIn the aftermath of a General Election, the Prince Regent is in danger of being struck from the Civil List, bankrupting him. Edmund Blackadder, the Prince’s butler, attempts to guarantee the bill’s failure, but the MP with the swing vote dies unexpectedly. Edmund’s dogsbody, Baldrick, wins the resulting election (thanks to some “interference”) but the vote is lost anyway. This pushes the bill to the House of Lords, where Edmund hopes to not only save the Prince’s finances, but also elevate his own status as well…

Season 3 Regular Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Edmund Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Hugh Laurie (Prince George, The Prince Regent), Helen Atkinson-Wood (Mrs. Miggins)

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Vincent Hanna (Mr. Vincent Hanna, his own great great great grandfather), Denis Lill (Sir Talbot Buxomly), Simon Osborne (Pitt the Younger), Geoffrey McGivern (Ivor “Jest Ye Not Madam” Biggun), Dominic Martelli (Pitt the even Younger)

Notes: Helen Atkinson-Wood (no relation to Rowan) has made many appearances in British comedies such as The Young Ones and The Lenny Henry Show. She also starred in her own 1992 comedy series, Tales from the Poop Deck, as pirate Connie Blackheart.

Geoffrey McGivern is perhaps best known for his audio work in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, where he portrayed Ford Prefect on radio and on vinyl.

Vincent Hanna, a real-life news commentator, spoofs his own Election Day coverage in this episode.

Pitt the Younger was actually 24 when he became Prime Minister in 1783, the youngest to ever hold the post. In contrast to the portrayal here, Pitt was quite close to the Prince Regent, since they both had dealt with the mental deterioration of a father.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Ink and Incapability

BlackadderThe Prince Regent decides to increase his intellectual profile by befriending Dr. Samuel Johnson, the author of a new book, “The Dictionary”. Edmund, whose book, “Edmund: A Butler’s Tale”, was shunned by Dr. Johnson, schemes to prevent the Prince from patronizing him. But when Dr. Johnson lets out the fact that he had, in fact, intended to sponsor Edmund’s book, Edmund must repair the damage he’s done. Dr. Johnson, however, is notoriously hard headed and Baldrick, unfortunately, appears to have burned “The Dictionary”…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Robbie Coltrane (Dr. Samuel Johnson), Lee Cornes (Shelley), Steve Steen (Byron), Jim Sweeney (Coleridge)

Notes: Robbie Coltrane is best known from his dramatic crime show, Cracker. He has also made appearances in the James Bond and Harry Potter series of films. His other Blackadder appearance is in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Lee Cornes appeared previously in Blackadder II (Chains) and appears once more in Blackadder Goes Forth (Corporal Punishment).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Nob and Nobility

BlackadderIt’s the time of the French Revolution and all of London is being overrun with French aristocrats, much to the annoyance of Edmund. After he disparages The Scarlet Pimpernel in front of two noblemen, Edmund claims that he will go to France and rescue a nobleman. But when the revolution extends to the French Embassy while Edmund is visiting, he may need rescuing himself…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Chris Barrie (Revolutionary Ambassador), Tim McInnerny (Lord Topper / The Comte d’Frufru / The Scarlet Pimpernel), Nigel Planer (Lord Smedley / Mme La Guillotine / The Scarlet Pimpernel)

Notes: Chris Barrie is best known from his UK sitcom roles: Arnold J. Rimmer in the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf and Gordon Brittas in The Brittas Empire. He also portrays Lara Croft’s butler Hilary in the Tomb Raider series of films.

Tim McInnerny here makes his only appearance in Blackadder The Third. He chose not to portray a new version of Percy (for fear of being typecast), making this the only Blackadder series in which he was not a regular.

Nigel Planer is best known from his portrayal of hippie Neal on groundbreaking UK sitcom The Young Ones.

Nob and Nobility did not originally air in the United States, due to copyright issues concerning the character of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Sense and Senility

BlackadderThe Prince is suffering from poor public relations, which coincides with an outbreak of anarchistic attacks. He decides to have two actors, Mossop & Keanrick, teach him how to effectively deliver a speech that Edmund has written. The palpable disdain that Edmund shows the actors drives a wedge between him and the Prince. Pushed too far, Edmund decides to leave for Sardinia, but the actors have plans that may change things…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Notes: Mossop and Keanrick’s anti-Macbeth “hex” chant goes: “Hot Potato / Orchestra Stalls / Puck Will Make Amends,” followed by the squeezing of the other’s nose. (“Ahhh!”)

Kenneth Connor is best known for his many appearances in the Carry On series of films and the France-set sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Ben Elton, co-writer of all Blackadder except the first series, makes his only acting appearance in Blackadder here, despite being an experienced performer in his own right.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Amy and Amiability

BlackadderWhen both Edmund and the Prince find themselves in financial difficulties, the only solution is for the Prince to marry into some money. With no viable prospects amongst the aristocracy, Edmund chooses the beautiful daughter of an industrialist. But Amy Hardwood seems to be even thicker than George and also seems to be hiding something…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Roger Avon (The Duke of Cheapside), Warren Clarke (Josiah Hardwood), Barbara Horne (Sally Cheapside), Miranda Richardson (Amy Hardwood)

Notes: Miranda Richardson makes her first guest appearance here. The part of Amy Hardwood provided Richardson with the opportunity to both hearken back to her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder II and also show off her comic range. She would return again for Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, Blackadder Goes Forth (General Hospital) and Blackadder: Back & Forth.

Roger Avon has had a long career in television including appearances on Benny Hill, Doctor Who, and Upstairs, Downstairs. His films include A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) and Quartermass and the Pit (1967).

Warren Clarke is best known as Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel in the long running Dalziel And Pascoe series of TV movies. He also appears in the Blackadder mini-episode The Cavalier Years as Oliver Cromwell.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Duel and Duality

BlackadderThe Prince Regent is in trouble for having had a sexual dalliance with the nieces of the Duke of Wellington. When the Duke challenges the Prince to a duel, Edmund agrees to take his place. As the time of the duel approaches, each of Edmund’s plans for survival fall short…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Stephen Fry (Duke of Wellington), Rowan Atkinson (McAdder), Gertan Klauber (King George III)

Notes: Fry returns to Blackadder after having been a regular in Blackadder II. He would return as a regular in Blackadder Goes Forth and for the specials. He again portrays the Duke of Wellington (among others) in Blackadder: Back & Forth.

Rowan Atkinson get a chance here to play opposite himself, in the dual roles of Edmund and his Scottish cousin, McAdder.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

BlackadderNovember 1648. King Charles I is on the run from Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads. He seeks shelter with his last supporter, Sir Edmund Blackadder and Edmund’s servant, Baldrick. When Baldrick reveals the King’s whereabouts to Cromwell himself, Edmund must find a way to save his Sovereign from the chopping block…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
director not credited
music by Howard Goodall

Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Sir Edmund Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Warren Clarke (Oliver Cromwell), Stephen Fry (King Charles I)

Notes: This approximately fifteen-minute mini-episode was created for the BBC’s Comic Relief telethon and was unavailable commercially until the release of the US Blackadder VHS box set. It is now available as bonus material on the US Blackadder the Third DVD and the UK Blackadder: Back & Forth DVD.

The young Prince Charles (portrayed here as a baby) was, in fact, 19 years old at the time his father was executed (and already safely in exile).

Stephen Fry is clearly impersonating Prince Charles (Windsor) in his portrayal of King Charles I.

Warren Clarke previously appeared in the Blackadder the Third episode Amy and Amiability.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Experiment K01: Invaders From The Deep

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel says the guys at the station sent a fax saying that Invaders From The Deep is up next. Crow has fired the retro rockets, but wants Servo to keep his involvement quiet. Joel apparently spends some time looking after some “vacuuflowers” which intoxicate with just a smell causing the Bots to attempt to avoid smelling them by putting clothespins on their noses.

Invaders From The Deep Story: WASP (the World Aquanaut Security Patrol) has been charged with the task of keeping the oceans safe. Captain Troy Tempest commands the submarine Stingray, the most impressive vessel in WASP’s fleet. He is accompanied by Lt. George Lee “Phones” Sheridan and Marina, a beautiful, but mute, princess of an underwater kingdom. Giving support at the home base, Marineville, are WASP’s leader, Commander Sam Shore and his daughter, Lt. Atlanta Shore. Their adventures are dramatized in the following stories:

  • “Hostages of the Deep” – Admiral Carson, a former member of WASP, and his wife are kidnapped by the evil Gadus. Gadus leaves a bomb behind to destroy the WASPs when they come to investigate. His plans are foiled by a coded radio signal sent by the Admiral to Troy and Phones. Gadus flees deep into the ocean, finding refuge in a crack in the ocean floor too narrow for Stingray to enter. Marina attempts to rescue the Admiral and his wife, but she is captured. Troy and Phones manage to survive the intense pressure, rescue the captives and defeat Gadus.
  • “Deep Heat” – In the middle of a rare night out, the Stingray team are called into action to discover the whereabouts of a missing probe. While investigating, the Stingray is sucked into the same crater where the probe was lost. At the bottom, Troy and Phones meet the last two survivors of an underwater race, the Centrallius. They explain that recent volcanic eruptions destroyed their world and that they tried to use the probe to escape, but failed. Since the WASPs have only two air masks, the Centrallius take the masks by force and attempt to board the Stingray. When Marina refuses to let them in, they return to their home, where they are overcome by the WASPs. By holding their breath, the WASPs are able to allow the Centrallius to use the air masks until all four reach the Stingray and escape to safety.
  • “The Big Gun” – Stingray is attacked by a pair of submarines with powerful guns. The WASPs destroy one of the submarines and give chase to the other, leading them to the underwater city of Solarstar. The water pressure begins to prove too much for Stingray and she begins to buckle. Marina, who is immune to the effects of the water pressure, is able to destroy the final submarine, enabling Stingray to return to safer waters.
  • “Emergency Marineville” – The WASPs’ home base Marineville finds itself under missile attack from an unknown location. Tracking the path of the missiles, Stingray and her crew come upon a volcano located on a tropical island. The inhabitants are able to capture the WASPs and torture Marina to get information that will allow their missiles to destroy Marineville. Troy and Phones manage to escape and disarm the missile before it is launched. They leave a message detailing their location inside the missile. When the missile lands in Marineville, the message is discovered, the WASPs are rescued and the aliens are defeated.

Season 0 Regular Cast: Joel Hodgson (Joel Robinson), Trace Beaulieu (Crow T. Robot / Dr. Clayton Forrester), Josh Weinstein (Tom Servo / Gypsy / Dr. Lawrence Erhardt), Kevin Murphy (Puppet Operation and Voices)

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments director unknown
Invaders From The Deep written by Allan Fennell
Invaders From The Deep directed by Desmond Saunders, David Elliott & John Kelly
Invaders From The Deep music by Barry Gray

MST3K Guest Cast: unknown

Invaders From The Deep Cast: Don Mason (Troy), Lois Maxwell (Atlanta), Robert Easton (Phones, X-20)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K02: Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel and Crow discuss the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Crow makes a joke. Later, Crow tells Gypsy the history of Thanksgiving, but has some of his facts wrong. Gypsy has gourds in her mouth for no readily apparent reason.

Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars Story: On a mission to Mars, Captain Black of Spectrum, a space exploration and defense force, destroys a base belonging to the Mysterons, immediately leading to a declaration of hostilities. The Mysterons kill two Spectrum operatives, Captain Brown and Captain Scarlet, but “Mysteronize” them, which brings them back to life under Mysteron control. While Brown is turned into a living bomb, Scarlet is sent to threaten the world President. When he falls from an observation deck after being shot by Captain Blue, Scarlet regains his memory and his senses, plus realizes that the Mysterons’ treatment has left him virtually indestructible. Captain Scarlet and Spectrum’s adventures are dramatized in the following stories:

  • “Shadow of Fear” – An attempt to place an observation post on Phobos, Mars’ moon, is disrupted by the disappearance of one of the attending astronomers. Captain Scarlet goes in search of the man in case he has been turned by the Mysterons.
  • “Lunarville 7” – The Lunar Controller has announced that he has reached a peace settlement with the Mysterons. To the astonishment of Captain Scarlet and Spectrum, the Mysterons appear to have begun building a city on the dark side of the moon.
  • “Crater 101” – Infiltrating the Mysterons’ Lunar base, Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue succeed in capturing the city’s power source, one of the Mysterons’ greatest secrets. Escaping the city before it is destroyed, the men of Spectrum are unaware of a Mysteron agent in their midst.
  • “Dangerous Rendezvous” – With the Mysterons’ power source, Spectrum is able to communicate with the Mysterons directly. They seem to accept the offer of a parlay, provided only one officer is sent to negotiate. Captain Scarlet volunteers to go.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments director unknown
Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars written by Tony Barwick
Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars directed by Robert Lynn, Ken Turner & Brian Burgess
Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars music by Barry Gray

MST3K Guest Cast: unknown

Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars Cast: Francis Matthews (Captain Scarlet), Ed Bishop (Captain Blue), Donald Gray (Colonel White / Captain Black / Voice of The Mysterons), Cy Grant (Lieutenant Green), Jeremy Wilkin (Captain Ochre), Paul Maxwell (Captain Grey), Gary Files (Captain Magenta), Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell (Dr. Fawn), Sylvia Anderson (Melody Angel), Liz Morgan (Destiny Angel / Rhapsody Angel), Janna Hill (Symphony Angel), Lian-Shin (Harmony Angel)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K03: Star Force: Fugitive Alien II

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Crow is still trying to explain Thanksgiving to Gypsy, but she doesn’t seem to get it. Joel shows off his latest invention: Num-Clucks! At some point a number is given for callers to voice their opinions of the show.

Star Force: Fugitive Alien II Story: In flashback, we learn the story of Ken, a former member of the Star Wolves, a group of intergalactic warriors from the planet Valna. Ken had refused to kill a child and his insubordination led to the death of his best friend. Finding himself alone and on the run from the Star Wolves, he was taken in by the crew of the starship Bacchus 3 (Captain Joe, Rocky, Dan and Tammy), who eventually learned to trust him. Rita, Ken’s girlfriend and sister to his deceased best friend, had been sent to kill him, but died in the ensuing confrontation. Now, Ken and his crewmates set out on a mission to the planet Cesar to destroy a powerful enemy weapon. They take on board a Cesar captive to guide them, Colonel Irulen, but he almost immediately causes unrest. After traveling through a black hole, everyone in the crew except Ken becomes ill from the side effects of the journey. Meanwhile the ship drifts closer to Demeter, a star about to go supernova, leaving Colonel Irulen as their only hope to get free of its pull. Through the combined forces of Ken and Colonel Irulen, the ship is repaired and they escape the star in the nick of time. Arriving at Cesar, they are attacked when Colonel Irulen’s attempt to secure passage is rebuffed. When Ken successfully fends off the attackers, Colonel Irulen guides the ship to “The Devil’s Desert”, a desolate area on Cesar. Captain Joe stubbornly insists on going on the expedition to find the enemy weapon, so Rocky shoots him with a tranquilizer to keep him safe. Most of the crew goes instead and, with the help of Colonel Irulen, manage to capture an enemy outpost and disguise themselves as enemy soldiers. Finding the installation in short order, they brazenly walk right in and are able to make their way to the heart of the enemy weapon and set a time bomb to destroy it. At the last moment, Colonel Irulen has a change of heart and attempts to stop the detonation, but is shot by a Cesar guard. The others attempt to make their escape, but one is captured and Ken goes back for him. The rescue is successful and the bomb goes off as planned, destroying the weapon and the entire installation. Meanwhile, Valna’s leader, Halkan, sends his Rangers after a powerful bomb developed on Earth. The crew of the Bacchus 3 are assigned to escort the young daughter of the bomb’s creator and are almost immediately attacked by the Rangers and the young girl and the plans to the bomb are taken. They also attempt to get to Ken by using a double of his late mother to infiltrate the Bacchus 3, but he sees through the ploy. Ken decides to go to Valna and confront Halkan personally. The Bacchus 3 follows and attacks the Valna fortress. A personal combat between Ken and Halkan results in the death of his mother’s double, who sacrifices herself to save Ken. Halkan attempts to escape in a starfighter, but Ken chases after him and defeats him in a dogfight. As the Bacchus 3 leaves Valna, Ken decides to stay behind to help rebuild its civilization.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments director unknown
Star Force: Fugitive Alien II written by Keiichi Abe, Bunkou Wakatsuki, Yoshihisa Araki, Hiroyasu Yamamura (as Hiroyasu Yamura), Hideyoshi Nagasaki & Toyohiro Andô (as Toyohiro Andou)
Star Force: Fugitive Alien II directed by Kiyosumi Kuzakawa & Minoru Kanaya
Star Force: Fugitive Alien II music by Norio Maeda

MST3K Guest Cast: unknown

Star Force: Fugitive Alien II Cast: Tatsuya Azuma (Ken), Jo Shishido (Captain Joe), Miyuki Tanigawa (Tammy), Choei Takahashi (Rocky), Tsutomu Yukawa (Dan), Hiro Tateyama (Biri), Keiko Mari (Rita)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K04: Gamera Vs. Barugon

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel is happy with the calls he’s gotten recently and has a number for people to use. Joel and the Bots spend a lot of time listening to their messages. Crow and Servo do an Abbot & Costello-like routine, but Joel thinks they’ve gone a bit nutty. Later, based on a caller’s request for “more Chapstick”, Joel applies loads of it to the Bots. Crow, thinking about Chapstick, goes on a long rant on lubricants, culminating in his famous advice to “never stick anything in your ear larger than a pirate”. At the end, the Bots are making crank calls and Crow goes on and on about dog behavior.

Gamera Vs. Barugon Story: Ichiro Hirata, a crippled war veteran, backs a group of men (Onodera, Kawajiri and Ichiro’s brother Keisuke) on a mission to find a giant opal Ichiro discovered during the war. When they find the opal over the objections of the natives, Onodera orchestrates the death of Kawajiri and seals Keisuke in a cave where he is eventually rescued. Repenting against his previous actions, Keisuke joins with a native girl, Karen, to retrieve the opal. They arrive in Japan too late, as Onodera has murdered Ichiro and the opal has turned out to be an egg that has hatched revealing the monster Barugon. It grows to enormous size and destroys the city with its powerful tongue and rainbow beam, even defeating Gamera in a brief battle. After numerous attempts to destroy Barugon fail, Gamera returns and defeats it.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Gamera Vs. Barugon written by Nisan Takahashi (as Nizo Takahashi)
Gamera Vs. Barugon directed by Shigeo Tanaka
Gamera Vs. Barugon music by Chuji Kinoshita

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Gamera Vs. Barugon Cast: Kojiro Hongo (Keisuke Hirata), Kyôko Enami (Karen), Koji Fujiyama (Onodera), Yoshiro Kitahara (Professor Amano), Akira Natsuki (Ichiro Hirata), Ichirô Sugai (Dr. Matsushita), Yuzo Hayakawa (Kawajiri)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K05: Gamera

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: It’s Christmastime, so Joel has decided to carbon-freeze Crow and use him as a Christmas tree because he’s the most “spindly”. He also contemplates using Servo as a “Frosty the Snowman”. After a caller (whose message gets a Punky Brewster background) asks who cuts Joel’s hair, the credits roll early so Joel can point out that it’s “Mr. Crow of Beverly Hills”. Later, Joel takes another call, then does a poll on movie colorization. Joel also gets calls from competing coalitions, each supporting different giant monsters. A review of the previous movie proves inconclusive. At episode’s close, Joel shows Gypsy how Crow was frozen, followed by a discussion of the Holiday season and a rendition of “O Tanenbot”.

Gamera Story: A scientific expedition to the Arctic led by Dr. Hidaka is disrupted by a dogfight that leads to an airplane crash. The explosion awakens Gamera, a giant monster turtle. Meanwhile, a young boy named Kenny is in trouble in school and at home because of his obsession with turtles. Forced to release his pet turtle to the wild, he comes upon Gamera and feels a kinship with the giant turtle. The humans try many different means of destroying Gamera without success. Kenny, who believes Gamera is good, eventually convinces them to use “Z Plan”, in which Gamera is trapped in a rocket and blasted into space. “Z Plan” is a success and Gamera is peacefully removed from the Earth.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Gamera written by Nisan Takahashi (as Fumi Takahashi)
Gamera directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Gamera music by Tadashi Yamauchi

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Gamera Cast: Eiji Funakoshi (Hidaka), Bokuzen Hidari (Old Man), Harumi Kiritachi (Kyoke), Yoshio Kitahara (Sakurai), Michiko Sugata (Nobuyo), Jun Hamamura (Dr. Murase), Junichiro Yamashita (Ayagi), Yoshiro Uchida (Toshio), Koji Fujiyama (Engineer)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K06: Gamera Vs. Gaos

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel is still pleased with the phone calls, but he wants the “scary guys with the low IQs” to stop calling and scaring Gypsy. Joel apologizes for all the giant turtle movies, but states that he doesn’t control what films are shown. He explains that the films are sent up by the mad scientists who shot him into space. Later, Joel puts Servo through puberty by changing his voice, taking it from a squeak to a “great dynamic mighty voice”. It immediately goes to Servo’s head. Gypsy also wants a new voice, but Joel thinks her voice is “kinda deep and sexy” and reminds him of Kim Carnes. A caller wants Crow unfrozen and Gypsy to join Joel in the theater. After showing the freezing of Crow again, Joel scolds Gypsy for eating Crow’s garland thinking it was “shiny spaghetti”. Joel gets an invitation to a young viewer’s birthday party. Since he’s trapped in space and can’t attend, the satellite is decorated in the boy’s honor and Servo gives him some life advice. At the close, Joel announces that they won’t be on during the Christmas holidays, but will return for a special New Years Eve broadcast.

Gamera Vs. Gaos Story: A volcanic eruption releases Gaos, a giant, bat-like creature with a laser beam and a taste for human blood. His rampage is delaying the building of an important road, disrupting not only the company, but also the locals who are negotiating the sale of their land for the road’s use. Several different methods are attempted to destroy Gaos, but none prove effective. Only the combined efforts of the Japanese scientific community, Gamera and Ichi (the grandson of the leader of the landowners), proves enough to defeat Gaos.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Gamera Vs. Gaos written by Nisan Takahashi (as Fumi Takahashi)
Gamera Vs. Gaos directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Gamera Vs. Gaos music by Tadashi Yamauchi

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Gamera Vs. Gaos Cast: Kojiro Hongo (Shiro Tsutsumi), Yoshiro Kitahara (Dr. Aoki), Reiko Kasahara (Sumiko Kanamura), Kichijiro Ueda (Tatsuemon Kanamura), Koji Fujiyama, Kyôko Enami, Eiko Yanami

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Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

BlackadderOn Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Blackadder is visited by the Spirit of Christmas. Seeing that Ebenezer is such a good person (no, really!), the Spirit decides to show him scenes of his ancestors’ shameful behavior. A view of how horrid his predecessors were leads Ebenezer to wonder what the future holds for him…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
directed by Richard Boden
music by Howard Goodall

Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Ebenezer Blackadder / Lord Edmund Blackadder / Mr. Edmund Blackadder / Grand Admiral Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Mr. Baldrick / Baldrick / S. Baldrick / Commander Baldrick), Stephen Fry (Lord Melchett / Lord Frondo), Hugh Laurie (The Prince Regent / Prince Pigmont), Miranda Richardson (Queen Elizabeth I / Queen Asphyxia XIX), Robbie Coltrane (The Spirit of Christmas), Jim Broadbent (Prince Albert), Miriam Margolyes (Queen Victoria), Patsy Byrne (Nursie / Bernard), Denis Lill (Beadle), Pauline Melville (Mrs. Scratchit), Philip Pope (Lord Horatio Nelson), Nicola Bryant (Millicent), Ramsay Gilderdale (Ralph), David Barber (Orphan), Erkan Mustafa (Orphan), David Nunn (Orphan), Martino Lazzeri (Boy)

Notes: The principals from the casts of Blackadder II (minus Tim McInnerny) and Blackadder the Third (minus Helen Atkinson-Wood) reprise their roles for the flashback sequences.

Nicola Bryant is best known to sci-fi fans (especially guys who hit puberty around 1985) for her portrayal of Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown on Doctor Who.

Robbie Coltrane returns in a kindly role, following his menacing portrayal of Dr. Samuel Johnson in the Blackadder The Third episode Ink and Incapability.

Jim Broadbent and Miriam Margolyes appear together, re-uniting the duo from The Queen of Spain’s Beard episode of The Black Adder. Margolyes also appeared in Blackadder II (Beer).

This is the only full Blackadder series or special not to feature Tim McInnerny.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Experiment K07: Gamera Vs. Zigra

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel thanks everyone for their calls and announces that Crow will soon be unfrozen. Servo wonders what Crow will think of his “dynamic mighty voice”. Finally thawed in time for the New Year, Crow is very annoyed after being shown what was done to him. Later, Joel receives his first transmission from the mad scientists who shot him into space: Dr. Clayton Forrester and Dr. Lawrence Erhardt. Joel wants to know when he can come back to Earth and the Mads say they’ll let him come down if he does a different show for them; one that involves being trapped deep in the transatlantic trench and watching nothing but Jacques Cousteau movies. Joel passes. The movie begins to make Joel very unhappy and the Bots are unable to cheer him up. Even viewer calls fail to do the trick. Just as Joel begins to feel better, they play a message in which the caller thinks Gypsy is a male. This makes her very upset. Late in the movie, midnight approaches and Joel and the Bots take time to discuss their hopes for the New Year. They then try to do a countdown, but are interrupted by Movie Sign. At the conclusion, Crow give the film a “claw up” while Servo thinks it’s “mediocre at best”. Joel wants to know why Japan has the jet planes used in the movie, since they’re supposed to be demilitarized since the war. He then announces next week’s movie before everyone says their goodbyes.

Gamera Vs. Zigra Story: A spaceship appears near the moon and attacks the International base there. Meanwhile, earthquakes are occurring all over the Earth. Two marine biologists and their children are kidnapped and taken aboard the spaceship. It is inhabited by a lone female humanoid. She states that they are from the planet Zigra and that they intend to conquer the Earth. The adults are hypnotized, but the children orchestrate an escape. They return to Earth where Gamera appears and takes them to safety. Gamera engages the alien spacecraft in battle and destroys it. The Zigra monster, a shark-like creature, survives and grows to enormous size. It ultimately defeats Gamera by turning him on his back. Meanwhile, the alien female, who had followed the children to Earth in order to kill them, is captured. She turns out to be a scientist who has been possessed by the Zigra aliens after being captured on the moon. Using her knowledge, along with that of the now-awakened marine biologists, Gamera is successfully revived and the Zigra monster defeated.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Gamera Vs. Zigra written by Nisan Takahashi (as Fumi Takahashi)
Gamera Vs. Zigra directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Gamera Vs. Zigra music by Shunsuke Kikuchi

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Gamera Vs. Zigra Cast: Eiko Yanami (Space Woman), Reiko Kasahara (Henry’s Sister), Koji Fujiyama (Tom), Isamu Saeki, Shin Minatsu, Yasushi Sakagami, Arlene Zoellner, Gloria Zoellner

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K08: Gamera Vs. Guiron

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Joel and the Bots are hopeful that they won’t get another Gamera movie, but the Mads counter that turtles are going to be “big, really big”. Still, at first it seems like Joel will get his wish, since the Mads have run out of Gamera films. They briefly contemplate sending a good movie like Star Wars or Jaws, but Dr. Erhardt finds Gamera vs. Guiron at the last moment. At a break, Gypsy accidentally drops a piece of heavy equipment on Crow and he dreams that he is on Earth in the Mads’ control room and that the Mads are stuck on the “Satellite of Loathe”. In his dream, Crow has been sending them Planet Of The Apes Christmas over and over again. Joel wakes Crow up just as they go to commercial. This incident leads Joel and the Bots to an extended discussion on the nature of dreams. After singing a snippet of Satellite of Love with the Bots at the episode’s end, Joel announces that “Kent” is doing a survey back on Earth and that next week there won’t be another Gamera movie.

Gamera Vs. Guiron Story: Akio, a Japanese boy, spots a space ship through his telescope and observes it landing at the park. Akio, his friend Tom and sister Tomoko go out in search of the ship and find it. Akio and Tom climb aboard and the ship launches, carrying them into space. Gamera attempts to stop them, but the ship accelerates too fast. Back on Earth, Tomoko tries to get help, but none of the adults believe her story except one policeman. The boys eventually land on an alien planet where they witness a furious battle between a “Space-Gaos” and a monster whose razor-sharp snout slices the Space-Gaos to pieces. Running from the monster, Akio and Tom find themselves inside an alien city where they meet two female aliens, Belladonna and Flovera. They explain that they control the monster and that it is called Guiron. They also say they need to leave the planet and that they want to take the boys back to Earth with them. Their true intentions are revealed when they drug Akio and Tom and state that they will use the boys as food. Gamera finally arrives and is initially defeated by Guiron, falling onto his back on the bottom of the ocean. The boys find out about the aliens’ plan and eventually escape and revive Gamera. With the boys’ help, Gamera defeats Guiron in a battle that also leads to the aliens’ death. Gamera then takes the boys back to their families on Earth.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Gamera Vs. Guiron written by Nisan Takahashi (as Fumi Takahashi)
Gamera Vs. Guiron directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Gamera Vs. Guiron music by Shunsuke Kikuchi

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Gamera Vs. Guiron Cast: Nobuhiro Kazima (Akio), Miyuki Akiyama (Tomoko), Christopher Murphy (Tom), Yuko Hamada (Kuniko), Eiji Funakoshi (Dr. Shiga), Kon Omura (Officer Kondo), Reiko Kasahara (Flovera), Edith Hanson (Elsa, Tom’s mother)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey Continue reading

Experiment K09: Phase IV

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: The Mads are in trouble. Their boss, “Old Leadbottom”, has found out they’ve been embezzling money for their experiment on Joel. To make matters worse, they’ve spent their grant money on customizing the Mad Scientist-mobile. They need $40,000 to bring Joel back, so they sold his car. Joel tells them he had $40,000 in it all along, so they send him “the ant movie” as punishment. Joel takes the opportunity of a break to teach the Bots the “Three Robotic Laws”, but they don’t take them seriously, stating the third law is “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” Later, Joel and the Bots discuss what they’re going to do when they get back to Earth. A game of “I Spy” concludes with an impromptu a cappella rendition of “Wipe Out”. After the movie, Joel announces that they are looking into creating a fan club and asks people who are interested to call in. Joel ends the broadcast by having Crow and Gypsy recite the “Fourth Robotic Law”, which he wrote himself: “Don’t be surprised if somewhere, sometime, when you least expect it, someone walks up to you and says ‘Don’t be surprised if somewhere, sometime, when you least expect it, someone walks up to you and says “Don’t be surprised…”‘”

Phase IV Story: A mysterious solar phenomenon has caused odd behavior amongst the world’s ant population. James Lesko, a specialist in game theory, joins Dr. Ernest D. Hobbs in investigating the ants’ activities. Hobbs had found that ants had been engaging in a high level of socialization: meeting and planning, even across species. The scientists operate in a biosphere outside a housing development that had been overrun by the ants. The only people in the area are a farmer named Eldridge, his wife Mildred, granddaughter Kendra and hired hand Clete. Once they have settled in, Hobbs and Lesko find that the ants have built tall towers, a clear indication of their advanced intelligence. The scientists attempt to contact the ants, with Hobbs finally resorting to destroying their towers to rile them. The ants respond by destroying the scientists’ generator. The Eldridge family has also been run off of their farm. Fleeing to the scientists’ camp, they are caught in a barrage of poison sent by Hobbs to stop the ants. The only survivor is Kendra. Once rescued, Kendra upsets an experiment Hobbs is performing on some of the ants, resulting in Hobbs being bitten and the ants getting a sample of the scientist’s poison. The ants, now immune, step up their attacks: disabling the biosphere’s communications and heating it to the point where the computers fail. The poison from the bite causes Hobbs to become increasingly erratic. He hatches a plan to defeat the ants by destroying their Queen. Meanwhile, Lesko uses geometry to communicate with the ants and reaches the conclusion that the ants want one of them. Kendra, thinking it’s she the ants are after, runs away, giving herself over to the ants. Hobbs tries to go after the Queen himself, but the ants have dug a trap for him and he succumbs. Lesko, with no options left, tries to execute Hobbs’ plan. Eventually, he finds what he believes to be the Queen’s lair, only to discover Kendra: safe, but altered. He comes to the realization that it was the two of them the ants wanted all along. The world belongs to the ants now and mankind will be taught its place.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Phase IV written by Mayo Simon
Phase IV directed by Saul Bass
Phase IV music by Brian Gascoigne

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Phase IV Cast: Nigel Davenport (Hobbs), Michael Murphy (Lesko), Lynne Frederick (Kendra), Alan Gifford (Mr. Eldridge), Robert Henderson (Clete), Helen Horton (Mildred)

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Experiment K10: Cosmic Princess

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Hoping to watch the Super Bowl, the Mads decide to send the movie (which is just two episodes of Space: 1999 stitched together) using an auxiliary transmitter they bought with the profits from the sale of “No-D” glasses. Later, Crow gives Joel a haircut and they engage in typical barbershop chit-chat. At a break, Crow cons Servo into testing the theory of evolution by trying to fly. Servo crashes, causing a disagreement between the Bots that lasts for some time. Crow and Servo begin to do Joel’s taxes, but are upset to learn that they are “business expenses”. When the movie finally ends, Joel, Gypsy and Crow play a little catch, culminating in Joel singing a horribly off-key rendition of “We Are The Champions” and the Bots getting into a tickle fight.

Cosmic Princess Story: A prologue tells us that in the year 1999, the moon was blasted out of its orbit around the Earth and hurtled off into space. Its only inhabitants, the crew of Moonbase Alpha, struggle for survival against terrible odds. First, the “Alphans” confront Mentor, an alien who is attempting to revitalize his dead planet Psychon by using the psychic energy of aliens who wander near. He captures an Alphan exploratory ship, feeding one of the crew’s minds into his “biological computer”, Psyche. Then he captures Moonbase Alpha’s leader, Commander John Koenig, along with Medical Officer Dr. Helen Russell and astronaut Alan Carter. Mentor plans to use the remaining Alphans to complete his goal. Mentor’s shape-shifting daughter Maya is unaware of the deadly affects of “helping” Mentor, believing her father’s methods to be benign. Koenig is able to convince her of the truth, allowing him to escape and defeat Mentor. With the destruction of his world imminent, Mentor pleads with Koenig to take Maya to safety. Later, Koenig and crew member Tony Verdeschi get trapped on the other side of a “space warp” that has sent the Moon millions of miles away from its previous position. Back on Moonbase Alpha, Maya is having hallucinations and is transforming into various deadly creatures in a delusional attempt to return to her father. She is eventually cured of her madness, just as Koenig and Tony find a way through the warp and rejoin Moonbase Alpha.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Cosmic Princess written by Johnny Byrne & Fred Freiberger (as Charles Woodgrove)
Cosmic Princess directed by Charles Crichton & Peter Medak
Cosmic Princess music by Derek Wadsworth
additional music by Barry Gray

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Cosmic Princess Cast: Martin Landau (Koenig), Barbara Bain (Russell), Catherine Schell (Maya), Brian Blessed (Mentor), Tony Anholt (Verdeschi), Nick Tate (Carter), Zienia Merton (Sandra Benes), Anouska Hempel (Annette Fraser)

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