Article prined in the Sunday Telegraph on 8th November 1998
By Jacqui Thornton
MILLENNIUM Dome chiefs have a cunning plan to attract visitors: a welcome by the caddish and conniving Edmund Blackadder. The television comedy character created by Rowan Atkinson is being wooed to welcome visitors in a 20-minute film to be shown at the Baby Dome, the entertainment centre next to the exhibition. It is thought that the historical nature of Blackadder, who appeared on television screens in four different centuries, would be an ideal and entertaining introduction to the exhibition.
Although nothing has been signed, negotiations have started and it is understood that the comedian is the first choice of Millennium Dome executives. A senior director said last week: “It will be hilarious.” Blackadder and his sidekick Baldrick, played by Tony Robinson, have appeared in four series, set in medieval, Elizabethan and Georgian times and the First World War.
It is undecided which of these would be used in the film, but the historical nature of the characters is understood to be fitting for the theme of time chosen for the Millennium celebrations. It has already been mooted that Blackadder could be resurrected for the Millennium. The comedian is understood to be in talks with Richard Curtis, who wrote the show with Ben Elton, for a biblical setting. The Dome film would be an ideal way of promoting it. It is not known whether the BBC would make the film or whether it would go to BSkyB, the satellite television channel which is sponsoring the Baby Dome.
Last month the company transferred its £12 million funding from the Serious Play zone. Twelve million people are expected to visit the Baby Dome in the year 2000. Its two 2,500-seat cinemas will be used to explain to visitors what they are about to see in the main exhibition. A spokesman for the New Millennium Experience Company said nothing had been decided about the film, but one source involved in the production said: “There is a cunning plan, and using Rowan is a distinct possibility.” A BBC spokesman said: “If the writers and performers of Blackadder wanted to do something special the BBC would be delighted and look forward to seeing them reach some sort of agreement.”