Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Black Adder

The Black Adder is a 1983 British comedy series that was the starting point of the Black Adder saga (as I like to call it).

This series stars Rowan Atkinson as Prince Edmund, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy Percy, Brian Blessed as King Richard IV of England, Elspet Gray as Gertrude of Flanders, and Robert East as Harry, Prince of Wales.

This iteration of the series takes place in the 15th century during the War of the Roses. The story is an alternate take on history. Edmund (Rowan Atkinson) is the son of Richard IV. Richard IV is based on the real Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York who was the brother of King Edward V of England. Both Richard and Edward disappeared after being sent to the Tower of London in their early teens after Richard III seized power. History has put the blame for this on Richard III directly or indirectly (someone in his court may have done it).

So yes, this takes place in an alternate history as anyone with a single iota of English history in their brains would know that this isn't close to what really happened. It's a pretty clever way of doing a show set in the past. Turns out that Henry Tudor 'made it all up.' Richard III dies in the Battle of Bosworth Field as he does in real life, but then Richard of Shrewsbury is crowned Richard IV (which obviously doesn't really happen). Edmund's goal is to one day become king though since he's such a bumbling fool, his plans are upset in each episode.

The best episodes of the series were "The Queen of Spain's Beard," where Edmund is arranged to be married to an unfortunate princess and "The Black Seal" journeys out to find the most cruel men in all of England to take part in a coup.

The show becomes more refined in later seasons, with Edmund's character receiving a huge face lift. For newcomers, it may be better to start off with "Black Adder II." More to come...

*** 1/2 out of *****


Anonymous said...

you suck man

Chris said...

Small words from a little man.

Thanks for visiting my blog!