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

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