Baldrick “Blackadder cast won’t reunite”

In a recent interview with London’s Evening Standard newspaper, Sir Tony Robinson has given the clearest indication yet that the Blackadder gang will not be following in the footsteps of the recently reuniting Monty Python team for a new outing.

Sir Tony Robinson claimed “we don’t need the money as much as they do. We don’t have to pay for that amount of alimony or rehab so I’m not sure we have the same motivation,”

The former Time Team host was speaking after making his return to the West End stage after 16 years to star as narrator Kenneth Grahame in the Royal Opera House’s production of The Wind in the Willows at the Duchess Theatre.

source: Evening Standard.

Rowan takes the comedy proud crown

A new survey by British broadband supplier Plusnet has revealed that 44% of us Brits are most proud of Mr. Blackadder himself Rowan Atkinson (when polled against other great British comedic greats).

When asked to name the comedian they were most proud of, Rowan came out tops, followed by Python John Cleese with over a third of the votes.

Although news of Monty Python’s return after a 39 year break is music to many comedy fans’ ears, new research from home phone and broadband provider, Plusnet, reveals it is Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson who springs to mind when it comes to acts to be proud of.

Despite sell-out tours and multi million selling DVDs, big names in modern comedy do not rate as highly as their more established counterparts, with Ricky Gervais receiving just 16% of the vote, missing out on the top five by a clear 10%.

The news comes as Plusnet looks at British traits the public is most proud of, with 68% saying they take most pride in the British sense of humour. This rates significantly higher with men than women, with 42% of men saying they feel very proud of our wit compared to 32% of women.

The top five comedians Brits are most proud of are:

1.      Rowan Atkinson (44%)
2.      John Cleese (39%)
3.      Stephen Fry (39%)
4.      Billy Connelly (34%)
5.      Hugh Laurie (26%)

Nick Rawlings, Commercial Director at Plusnet commented, “We know how popular streaming and downloading classic content is, and with today’s technology offering so many different ways of enjoying our favourite comedians, it is no surprise that the nation’s funny-men can divide opinion. It is interesting to see that the entertainers we’re most proud of are of a certain vintage, proving that the newest generation still have a thing or two to learn!

“Plusnet is proud to offer great value home phone and broadband packages, allowing our customers to stream their favourite comedies today, regardless of how vintage the clips may be.”

Ben Elton – “Blackadder isn’t finished”

source: telegraph.co.uk

He entertained millions of fans before going over the top in one of the most memorable television scenes of all time, but it appears Blackadder may not have breathed his last.

 For programme makers have hinted the popular comedy series may yet make a return, as writer Ben Elton said: “Blackadder is not finished.”

The show’s producer, John Lloyd, added programme makers had still not decided whether Blackadder Goes Forth would definitely be the last outing, as the team admit they will never officially rule it out.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine, Ben Elton, who joined the team as a writer for the second series, said: “Blackadder is not finished. We’ll never officially close it down…ever.”

Lloyd added: “It was always the idea that the last episode would be this tragic thing, but I don’t think we ever decided that it would be the last series.

“And I suppose in many ways we still haven’t decided.”

Their words will bring hope to the show’s legions of fans, more than 30 years after the show was first broadcast.

They are also likely to lead to further speculation, after Lloyd was reported as telling a newspaper he held talks with Rowan Atkinson in August this year.

Speaking of a plan to reunite old cast members for a Blackadder film, he added the “Dad’s Army-style” script could see a platoon being kidnapped by a German submarine and taken to Colditz, where they embark on a plot to escape.

In an article this weekend, the Blackadder team has also disclosed the remarkable moments which led up to the final scene of Blackadder Goes Forth, which saw characters go over the top of the trenches and into battle.

The shot will be remembered for its remarkably harrowing effect, among the light-hearted comedy of dozens of preceding episodes.

Atkinson said of the scene: “I had this knot in the pit of my stomach. An extraordinary feeling of dread I’ve never felt before.

Lloyd added: “The actors were alone, in the dark, and had to go over the top, with real explosions going off around them.

“After the first, shocking take, the audience and the production team were stunned into silence, but the director and I felt it could be done a bit better.”

When asked to repeat it, Atkinson was heard to say: “I’m sorry, b-but we can’t do another; it’s just too horrible.”

It’s A Royal Knockout – Rowan Atkinson clips

Blackadder fan Ryan Hall has done a sterling job cutting together all of Rowan’s (Lord Knock) bits from the weird royalty-does-silly-gameshow-to-make-themselves-appear-normal TV special called ‘It’s A Royal Knockout’. Although Rowan is credited as Lord Knock, he is quite clearly channeling Lord Blackadder..

Enjoy!

Cheers for the video Ryan.

Ploppy, son of Ploppy actor dies aged 76

It is with sadness to write that British actor and comedian Bill Wallis has died at the age of 76. Bill appeared in three series of The Blackadder, in roles as Poppy the Gaoler (Blackadder II), Brigadier Smith (Blackadder Goes Forth), and Sir Justin de Boinod (The Black Adder).

Bill is survived by his second wife and by four children, two from each marriage.

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BILL WALLIS: 1936 – 2013

A Blackadder Movie Would Be Too Painful

Recently, there’s been a few ‘news’ stories doing the rounds about a Blackadder movie in development all of which is utter nonsense. The ‘news’ originated from an interview with John Lloyd on BBC Breakfast where he said: ‘Rowan and I had this great idea – because we’re all getting a bit old now – of doing a Dad’s Army; that they are a platoon in Walmington-on-Sea, and they get kidnapped by a German submarine and taken to Colditz and they all have to escape.’

‘Tony Robinson is probably very nearly 70 now and it would be just about the right age, and I think quite funny, don’t you?’

He added: ‘It’d make a good movie, don’t you think?’

Let’s just be clear here, there is no movie in development – John and Rowan may have had a chat about different ideas over dinner, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Now, Blackadder creator Richard Curtis has gone on record as saying that there is no movie. And for the simple reason that it would be too painful to make.

In an interview with The York Press, Curtis has revealed it is “unlikely” that Blackadder would return for a big-screen outing.

“I don’t believe that! If Rowan’s really keen, that would be interesting to hear but he hasn’t said it to me,” he said.

“We went away for a weekend a decade ago to see whether we could work out a way of doing it and we never could, so I’m sure it won’t happen. I think it’ll be quite unlikely that there will be a Blackadder movie.

Richard revealed they had discussed the idea for a film years ago.

“We did say when we were young, if ever we did Blackadder again, it would be when we are old,” he continued.

“We thought we should wait 30 years and then vent our anger at the younger generation in the way that the original Blackadder was venting our anger as young men about older men and how messed up the world was, particularly in the First World War.”

The 56-year-old added: “So it’s not impossible but I think it would be too painful.”

Blackadder at 30: how the cunning plan worked

Source: Telegraph

‘The Black Adder’ began on June 15, 30 years ago. Despite a chaotic start, it became a hit. The rest, says Dominic Cavendish, is history.

“It was a great lesson in vanity and egotism,” says veteran producerJohn Lloyd, looking back on The Black Adder, the first series of what became simply Blackadder. June 15, 2013, brings the 30th anniversary of the first episode’s broadcast on BBC One. History, the fabric of which Blackadder draws from, however tongue-in-cheekily, has started to weave the show into its own tapestry.

And yet it’s worth remembering how narrowly Blackadder avoided being trampled underfoot in the onward march of televisual endeavour. Lloyd – one of Britain’s most successful producers of comedy on radio andtelevision, responsible for Spitting Image and QI, among much else – has previously admitted to the angst, setbacks and accidental saving graces that went into the programme’s DNA.

Yet when I catch up with him, he’s more than usually emphatic about how deficient those early episodes were: “Richard [Curtis], Rowan [Atkinson] and I had come off Not the Nine O’Clock News, which was a triumph – we’d won two Baftas for the last series,” he recalls. “We were young, we thought ‘We’re brilliant, we can do anything,’ and we bit off more than we could chew.”

In the documentary trip down memory lane conducted to mark the 25th anniversary, Blackadder Rides Again, Atkinson and Lloyd retrod their steps around Alnwick Castle, Northumberland – the location for the first series’ mock-authentic version of late-medieval history, in which Brian Blessed’s Richard, Duke of York, father to Atkinson’s Edmund (“The Black Adder”), gained the English throne at the Battle of Bosworth.

Filming was a logistical nightmare and Lloyd shudders at the memory. “I was standing there in the freezing cold, looking at the dogs and the horses, surrounded by snow, thinking ‘What on Earth have we done?’ Richard and I used to stay up all night writing the scripts. We weren’t ready.”

The big joke about The Black Adder back at Television Centre was that it was the show that looked like a million dollars – and cost a million pounds (these being the days when the pound had clout). “It took months to edit,” Lloyd says. “I think one of the actors died, we took so long to edit it. We had to do retakes the whole time.” Although a second series was commissioned – despite mixed reviews – the arrival of Michael Grade as BBC One controller in 1984 spelt the bloody axe. He took one look at the cost and the ratings (not great), and cancelled the show.

The cavalry had arrived, though, in the shape of Ben Elton – nephew, it’s worth noting, of the venerated Tudor historian GR Elton. Taking over as joint scriptwriter, his whizzo idea was to get out of the boggy, lice-ridden misery of the Middle Ages and cut a sexier, punkier dash in the Elizabethan era.

It was a decision that, at a stroke, unlocked the show’s full potential for rapier wit, silly costumes, light-of-touch satire and richly detailed characterisation built around the intricacies and hypocrisies of class and power. One frantic weekend spent lopping off anything in the scripts that would require more than a minimal budget, one concerted plea for a reprieve, and the rest is the stuff of golden memories, reissued DVDs and repeats until doomsday.

Blackadder II begat Blackadder the Third – set in the Regency period – which begat Blackadder Goes Forth, bringing things from the mire and gore of the Middle Ages to the mud and blood of the First World War trenches. Lavish location shoots had given way to a studio set-up, with the scripts all the tighter and better for it. Having started out trying to subvert the traditional sitcom, the team – the talent of which no subsequent generation has yet matched – produced comedy’s answer to a cathedral, robust and built to last.

In explaining Blackadder’s enduring power, aside from the fashion-proof nature of its historical settings, we should point to its unique combination of guile and guilelessness, of perfectionism and on-the-fly invention. In artistic terms, it’s Edmund and Baldrick rolled into one.

In a neat final twist of behind-the-scenes irony, the most hallowed moment of the series came about by accident rather than design. The haunting last scene of the final series shows Blackadder and his not so merry men – Tony Robinson’s hangdog Private Baldrick, Hugh Laurie’s asinine but suddenly anxious Lieutenant George and Tim McInnerny’s ever-twitchy Captain Darling – getting felled by machine-gun fire as they go over the top.

Time itself seems to slow to a standstill – and past laughter turns into a silent act of remembrance punctuated only by birdsong. Having begun on a parodic Shakespearean note in the very first episode – with a rewrite of Richard III, performed by Peter Cook – the magnum opus arrives at a place as poignant as anything in the Histories.

The series’s knowing send-up of a simplistic Ladybird view of English history grows organically into a humble indictment, in grim monochrome fading into the blood-red of a poppy field, of the supposedly educated few whose idiocy led to such senseless slaughter.

Those closing moments were the result of happenstance. The final take was a rushed, botched job, with no time or inclination for another go. It was only in the editing suite that the possibilities of snatching artistic victory from the jaws of a deadly shambles dawned. Having started out biting off more than they could chew, they reached the apotheosis of “less is more”.

“Suddenly we were all standing there in awe,” Lloyd remembers. “My only contribution was to say ‘We’ve touched something here. Quite by accident we’ve done something extraordinary. It would be impertinent to put credits on this. We will take them off.’” And that’s what they did.

Arise Sir…. Baldrick?

In what can only be described as the most cunning of all the cunning plans ever devised, and on today, the 30th anniversary of The Black Adder being shown on the tellybox, Blackadder star Tony Robinson has been knighted in the Queen’s recent birthday honours list. And that’s not all; in a cruel twist of irony (a bit like goldy but less err, gold), Baldrick’s long-suffering master, Blackadder (played most effectively by the British actor Rowan Atkinson) has ONLY been awarded a CBE – oh the shame of it.

Blackadder The 2nd

Awarded in recognition of his public and political service, Sir Tony Robinson said ”I’ll use my new title with abandon to highlight the causes I believe in, particularly the importance of culture, the arts and heritage in our society, and the plight of the infirm elderly and their carers,” said the former host of C4′s Time Team, which was axed last year.

“I also pledge that from this day on I’ll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help,” he joked.

He also said that he was ”thrilled, flattered and a little gob-smacked” at the recognition.”

While slightly less noble, but no less thrilling or deserved, Rowan has been awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for services to drama and charity. Of this, Rowan said the CBE came as a “genuine surprise” and a “great honour”.

Speaking exclusively to Blackadder Hall via his translator, Blackadder creator Richard (where’s MY bloody knighthood) Curtis said “Congratulations to sir Sodoff Baldrick. And commiserations to Lord Blackadder on his puzzling demotion.”

It’s all rather exciting and I offer my utmost congratulations to them both.

As Prince George would say “Huzzah!”

Tony Robinson up for another Blackadder outing

In a recently published interview over on the Radio Times website, Tony Robinson has spoken about being up for another Blackadder outing.

When asked whether there would be another Blackadder series, Tony commented “It’s entirely up to writers Richard [Curtis] and Rowan [Atkinson]. If they decided that they wanted to do another series, I would definitely say yes.”

New Blackadder Clip Surfaces

This 3.32 minute clip of the most recent Blackadder outing has recently surfaced on the internet; thanks to Johan for bringing this to my attention.

Blackadder @ The Prince’s Trust from Henry Elliss on Vimeo.

You can watch the original clip (uploaded by Henry Elliss) here: http://vimeo.com/55153435

If you’ve not been keeping up to date with all things Blackadder, a Blackadder sketch written by Ben Elton and starring both Rowan Aktinson and Tony Robinson was performed on Nov 28th at a special charity gala event “We Are Most Amused” in aid of the Prince’s Trust. The 13 minute sketch was all about the banks, bankers and banking crisis.