Atkinson signs Up For Blackadder Set in Future

Another series of BBC comedy ‘Blackadder’ is set to begin filming in June and it will be set in a future London of 2145. The BBC say it is ‘excited’ about the project.

“We are happy to announce that a 5th series of the show will air on BBC 1 in November” said BBC spokesman Eddie Yates. “So far Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Stephen Fry and Hugh Lauire have all signed up to the cast.”

However Blackadder himself will be played by former Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Brom manager, Ron Atkinson.

“We got an intern at the BBC to mail out the contracts,” explained Yates. “He sent Rowan’s to Ron. Ron signed it so we are obligated to have Ron as the main lead. Sorry about that.”

Atkinson (Ron) is delighted. “I love Blackadder, and I reckon I’m as funny as Atkinson (Rowan). I can’t wait to drive that green mini.”

“Sorry about that” said Yates, again.

Blackadder costumes go to the Angels

The BBC’s archive of coats, dresses and frilly shirts has been bought by Oscar-winning costume house Angels. It ends a period of uncertainty for the BBC costume department, which ceased trading in February after initial attempts to sell its collection failed.

More than one million items from shows such as Ashes To Ashes and Blackadder will be transferred to Angels’ HQ in Hendon, north London, from next week. Angels is the UK’s biggest supplier of costumes to the film and TV industry.

The family-run business has provided tunics to Star Wars, loincloths to Gladiator and ruffs to Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It won its first Oscar for costume design with Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet in 1948, and has picked up a further 29 Academy Awards. Among those were prizes for films such as Titanic, Gandhi, Memoirs of a Geisha and The English Patient.

‘Chuffed’

The BBC costume department began life on the third floor of Television Centre in west London as a store for the collars and cuffs worn by early TV presenters and newsreaders. Over the next 50 years, it grew into an operation hiring out 15,000 outfits a year, with a turnover of around £1.3 million.

Last year, the BBC announced it was to sell the department as part of a wide range of cuts at the corporation. However, an early bid – thought to be from prop hire company Superhire – fell through. The deal with Angels means that the archive of costumes will remain available for use by British film industry professionals and international productions in the UK.

The BBC’s collection of around 10,000 wigs has been sold separately to a new company formed by former employees of the costume department.

Chairman of Angels the Costumiers, Tim Angel, said he was “very excited” by the acquisition.

“I’ve been working in the costume business for 40 years and one of my first briefs was to try and get BBC work,” he said.

“So I’m quite chuffed we’ve managed to buy the stock, because it keeps it all together, and I think that’s important”.

Angels will also take on four staff from the BBC’s costume department to “provide continuity”. Around 20 staff worked in the department before it closed in February, and several have been made redundant. It will take about six weeks to transfer the costumes to Angels’ warehouses, which already contain six-and-a-half miles of costumes.

Blackadder takes third spot in most influencial Brit comedy Poll

It’s… Monty Python’s top honour for comic genius

It gave us the dead parrot sketch, the lumberjack song and the Spanish Inquisition.

Now Monty Python’s Flying Circus has done a silly walk to first place in a poll of the most influential comedy series in British broadcasting history.

The programme, which ran from 1969 to 1974, blew a big raspberry at modern shows such as The Office and The Vicar Of Dibley in a poll of 4,000 viewers.

They were asked to choose from a shortlist of 30 sitcom, sketch, panel and satirical shows assembled by a panel of comedy performers and writers such as Barry Cryer.

Python, written and performed by John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones, was chosen by 26 per cent of those who took part.

Respondents praised the way in which the show revolutionised television comedy by incorporating strands of animation and doing away with traditional techniques such as punchlines.

Others said it “single-handedly created a new language for comedy” and encouraged the first wave of alternative comedians throughout the following decade.

In second place is the long-running David Jason sitcom Only Fools And Horses, which was praised for creator John Sullivan’s strong writing and its memorable catchphrases such as “lovely jubbly”.

Next, on 6 per cent each, come Blackadder, Little Britain and The Royle Family. Blackadder fans cited its strong characterisation, such as the revolting Baldrick, and its innovative use of different historical periods.

They also pointed out how the series pushed many of its cast and crew including Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson, Ben Elton,

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie to greater success.

Little Britain was praised for its global popularity and strong characters.

The Royle Family was widely admired for its innovation in creating a half- hour sitcom simply out of a family sitting in their living room and watching television.

The rest of the top ten was made up of The Morecambe And Wise Show, Spitting Image, The Young Ones, The Office and The Vicar Of Dibley.

Shows which narrowly missed out on a top ten place in the poll commissioned by UKTV Gold included Hancock’s Half Hour, The Day Today, Brass Eye, Not The Nine O’Clock News and Have I Got News For You?

James Newton, channel head of UKTV Gold, said: “The list clearly shows the massive breadth and depth of British comedy and is a celebration of the abundance of UK talent.”

The Red Adder

Hi, all… With the Bean sequel opening in the UK this weekend, there’s been lots of the usual puff stories in the British press concerning Rowan Atkinson. The only new Blackadder tidbit is in today’s edition of the Sun. Atkinson brings up BA at one point, which I quote in full: “He says: “There was a plan for a film set in the Russian revolution, a very interesting one called The Red Adder. He would have been a lieutenant in the Secret Police. “Then the revolution happened and at the end he is in the same office doing the same job but just the colours on his uniform have changed. “It was quite a sweet idea and we got quite a long way with it but in the end it died a death.” The success of Blackadder and the affection with which the series is held gives Rowan just as much satisfaction as the worldwide success of Mr Bean. He adds: “I have been amazed that Blackadder has stayed in the public consciousness even though it is years since we finished making it. And I think it will continue to do so. I get equal satisfaction from the show and Mr Bean.” To my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve been given the title of Ben Elton’s idea for a film set during the Russian Revolution. I wish RA had mentioned the Colditz/WWII idea as well. I’ve been wondering for ages what they’d intended to call that.

The Pilot Episode gets a UK airing (except it doesn’t)

Unfortunately, due to a mix up in the UK Gold programming dept. UK Gold will not be showing the pilot episode. It seems that when asked if they had clearance to broadcast it, they said yes in reference to the The Cavalier Years, and not the pilot episode. Now, call me silly, but Pilot Episode and Cavalier Years sound nothing like each other.

BBC Radio 4 Documentary rescheduled

The BBC has settled a dispute over the rights to Blackadder that had forced it to drop a radio tribute.
I Have a Cunning Plan: 20 Years of Blackadder was to be broadcast on Radio 4 two months ago, but was pulled at the last minute when negotiations over the airing of clips hit a stalemate. The rights to the show belong to writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton and producer John Lloyd, who were unhappy at the amount the BBC had offered to pay for footage. But the dispute has now been settled, and the show will air on Saturday August 23 at 10.30am.

The radio programme features interviews with the key players behind the enduring sitcom, as well as classic clips.

Blackadder@20 UK Gold Weekend news

UK Gold will be broadcasting a Blackadder weekend in June to celebrate the 20th birthday of The Black Adder. Filming of a series of interviews with cast and fans has now taken place and will be broadcast over the weekend.The broadcast dates are as follows – Weekend of June 14th / 15th. The weekend will be split into two different parts

Saturday 14th June (9:00pm – 1:20am) – The Story of Blackadder – The first of two compilations to mark the 20th anniversary including Blackadder’s Christmas Carol and a Comic Relief special – The Cavalier Years which hasn’t been shown for 15 years. Plus the first ever episode.

Here’s the line up:
Series 1, Ep 1 (The Foretelling)
Series 2, Ep 3 (Potato)
Series 3, Ep 4 (Sense and Sensibility)
Series 4, Ep 6 (Plan F: Goodbyeee)
The Cavalier Years
Blackadders Christmas Carol

Sunday 15th June (9:00pm – 1:00am) – The best of – selected episodes from series 2,3,4

Here’s the line up:
Series 4, Ep 1 (Plan A: Captain Cook)
Series 2, Ep 6 (Chains)
Series 3, Ep 2 (Ink and Incapability)
Series 2, Ep 1 (Bells)
Series4, Ep 2 (Corporal Punishment)

Remember, in between each episode are some intersticials (short bits) with interviews from cast and fans.

Strange that Beer isn’t being broadcast!

Blackadder 005?

The following article was printed on the BEEB website on Friday 3rd April 1998. It was in the Funny Talk section in the Comedy Zone.

Dear Danny,
Okay, please tell me…what do you know about a new series of Blackadder? Where and when will it be set?
Vegard Heimdal

Dear Danny,
Like you’re going to be able to answer this – will there be a new series of Blackadder?
Tell me something I don’t know!
Mad Gerald

Vegard, Gerald…
Have faith in me, boys. All I can tell you is this – it’s largely unconfirmed, as rumours tend to be – but I’m a fairly trusting bloke and I think it’s quite likely… The fifth series of Blackadder will be called ‘Blackadder MI5′. It’ll be set in the sixties, and revolve around a Bond-style spy called… Edmund Blackadder. Remember the credit card ads Rowan Atkinson did? That should give you some idea…
PS. You both have very strange names, by the way.

Blackadder bad news

The following article was printed on page 11 in cult.tv magazine March 1998 issue.

Despite reports in the Daily Mirror, Blackadder’s incarnation for the millennium has yet to be decided. A story in the paper on 29th January suggested Rowan Atkinson was due to return to Blackadder, a scheming 13th disciple of Jesus.

The BBC has categorically denied the story calling the report “absolutely and categorically untrue”, as has Rowan Atkinson’s agent who had no knowledge of where the story sprang from. She did say, however, that there were discussions going on regarding Blackadder’s future and that Atkinson and writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton had agreed, “Never to say never again.”

Richard Curtis, in an exclusive interview with cult.tv, confirms that there are plans for a millennial Blackadder, though nothing yet has been decided. He also denied the widespread reports of a Blackadder movie saying that neither he, Ben Elton or the cast have time at present to concentrate on a feature version of the BBC comedy.

Blackadder goes Biblical

Daily Mirror – January 29th 1998.
Blackadder Series 5 – Rowan returns as TV Edmund but now he’s the 13th disciple of Jesus

EXCLUSIVE
By CHRIS HUGHES
Funnyman Rowan Atkinson is bringing Blackadder back to life – as a scheming 13th disciple of Jesus. Atkinson, star of Mr Bean plans to launch the new £1million TV series in time for the millennium. And there is bound to be controversy as dastardly Edmund Blackadder is shown using his villainous way to try to con his new leader.

A BBC TV insider said last night: “This is something the original Blackadder team have been discussing for some time. They really like the idea of a biblical plot, even though it might cause a bit of a storm. “Now it looks like going ahead. Trying to manipulate Jesus will be Blackadder’s ultimate challenge. It’s sure to result in a very funny story.”

The show will feature Blackadder’s Baldrick sidekick, Tony Robinson. There will also be guest appearances from comedy stars Ben Elton, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Tony, 52, said yesterday: “I know many of us have gone on to do other work. But when it comes to Blackadder it’s very much a mates thing for us. Reunion

“It’s a bit like asking your friends to come back for a fun reunion – which will really mean something in 2000.” Blackadder – set in medieval, Elizabethan and Georgian times and also in the First World War – was launched 10 years ago.

The first series was panned. But Edmund soon became a national hit. Atkinson, 43, is Britain’s highest-paid actor earning more than £11million in 1997. His Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie is a worldwide success taking £136million last year. The star lives in a £500,000 18th-century rectory in Oxfordshire with his wife Sunetra and their two children. He also owns a £650,000 house in London’s Chelsea.