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

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

1775 (US Series Pilot)

BlackadderIn colonial Philadelphia, innkeeper Jeremy Proctor tries to keep the Cock and Hound Inn afloat with revolution lurking just around the corner.  His middle daughter, Eliza, frets that her hair is becoming “less flaxen” and sees her hopes for a husband fading.  Her bookish older sister, Maude, is more interested in spelling bees than dating and the youngest, Abby, is becoming far too involved with the local revolutionaries (especially the boys).  Jeremy’s wife, Annabelle, decides what they need is to send the girls to the Free Mason’s Ball, but Jeremy lacks the necessary funds.  Jeremy is also under pressure from the Colonial Governor, Massengill, who’s always looking for new things to tax.  Thanks to the new candle tax (suggested by Maude), Jeremy swallows his pride and tries to borrow money from his wife’s brother-in-law, George Washington, but Jeremy refuses to pay George’s exorbitant interest.  The future of the entire Proctor may be at stake…

written by Martin Rips and Joseph Staretski
directed by David Trainer

Cast: Ryan O’Neal (Jeremy Proctor), Lesley-Anne Down (Annabelle Proctor), Sarah Koskoff (Maude), Judith Jones (Eliza), Danielle Harris (Abby), Gregory Sporleder (Bert), Adam West (George Washington), Jeffrey Tambor (Governor Massengill)

Notes: This is the pilot episode for what was intended to be an American version of Blackadder. Produced in 1992 for CBS, the series was not picked up and the pilot remains unreleased commercially, although it did air once and is available for viewing online.

Ryan O’Neal went on from the TV drama Peyton Place to become one of the golden boys of 1970s cinema starring in such films as Paper Moon (1973) and A Bridge too Far (1977).

Lesley-Anne Down’s main forte has been costume dramas, including a stint on classic UK drama Upstairs, Downstairs and the three North & South miniseries. Genre work is minimal, but includes From Beyond the Grave (1973) and Beastmaster III (1996).

Sarah Koskoff appeared as Theresa Nemman in The X-Files (1993), the original pilot for the series. She returned several times in that role. She also made appearances on SeaQuest DSV and Millennium.

Judith Jones has made appearances on the genre series Star Trek: The Next Generation and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. She also portrayed Debbie Reynolds in Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995).

Danielle Harris appeared as Jamie Lloyd in both Halloween 4 (1988) and Halloween 5 (1989). She also appeared on genre series Eerie, Indiana and Charmed. Since 1998 she has provided the voice for Debbie Thornberry on the TV series The Wild Thornberrys and in its spin-off movies.

Gregory Sporleder has made guest appearances on shows such as NYPD Blue, The Drew Carey Show and Smallville. His film work includes diverse projects such as A League of Their Own (1992), True Romance (1993) and I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998).

Jeffrey Tambor first made an impression with his scene-stealing performance in …And Justice for All (1979). He finally gained national recognition for his work as Hank Kingsley on the HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show and later as patriarch of the Bluth family on Arrested Development. He finally won award recognition for his lead role on the Amazon Prime series Transparent. Other successful His genre work includes Muppets from Space (1999), Hellboy (2004) and the forward-thinking sci-fi series Max Headroom.

Adam West is best known for the role of Batman, a part he portrayed (in live action and animation) from the 1966 TV series and movie through the 1985 cartoon show The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. His numerous genre work includes appearances on The Outer Limits and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as well as in films such as Zombie Nightmare (1986) and Monster Island (2004).

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

HRH Prince Charles’ 50th Birthday Gala

BlackadderMay 1680. Lord Edmund Blackadder, Privy Counselor, has been asked to organize a gala to celebrate the 50th birthday of King Charles I. He is disinclined to accept the offer until the King makes it clear it would be dangerous to choose not to accept…

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

Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Lord Edmund Blackadder), Stephen Fry (King Charles I)

Notes: This is the second documented event in the life of this particular Blackadder.  He was previously see in The Cavalier Years towards the end of Charles’ life.

Stephen Fry returns to play Charles again, this time with a lot more Melchett blood in him.

This marks the first time Tony Robinson was not involved in a Blackadder appearance of any kind since the original pilot.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey