Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

Blackadder's Christmas CarolDickens’ classic tale of kindness, truth and virtue completely mucked up and ruined by having a member of the Blackadder family involved. Also Baldrick, of course, the man you can rely on to turn a Christmas dinner into a dog’s dinner, as long as the dog isn’t particularly fussy.

Stuffed with deeply horrid people (many of whom are gigantically fat) and groaning with cartloads of seasonal bottom jokes, it manages to squeeze in not only a Victorian Black Adder but also his famous Elizabethan, Regency and Space Age relatives into a huge pie of entertainment that will satisfy all but the most discriminating viewers.

Not suitable for beadles, orphans, nieces, or long dead members of the Royal Family.

I have included the transcript on this site because it is not available in book form. But it is still available to buy on DVD in the UK. You will find it on the Blackadder Remastered Collection DVD boxset; available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Use the search box on the left to look for it or click on the shop link at the top.

For those of you wishing to know, this special was first broadcast on December 23rd 1988.


Later releases of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol had some slight cuts to it – most obvious is the reference to nailing up the dog. I expect this was to stop any complaints from animal lovers around the world. Now, if you’ve not seen the clip, here it is for your enjoyment.


The Cast:
Blackadders – Rowan Atkinson
Baldricks – Tony Robinson
Queen Elizabeth I / Asphyxia XIX – Miranda Richardson
Lords Melchett / Frondo – Stephen Fry
Princes Regent / Pigmot – Hugh Laurie
Spirit of Christmas – Robbie Coltrane
Queen Victoria – Miriam Margolyes
Prince Albert – Jim Broadbent
Nursie / Bernard – Patsy Byrne
Beadle – Dennis Lill
Mrs Scratchit – Pauline Melville
Lord Nelson – Philip Pope
Millicent – Nicola Bryant
Ralph – Ramsay Gilderdale
Enormous Orphans – David Barber / Erkan Mustafa / David Nunn

[No credits are given for Boy and Granny. Judging by the voice and that he was in a Blackadder III episode, I’d say the Boy was played by Dominic Martelli. Granny was played by Barbara Miller; although her one line was said with a silly voice, her mouth was visible and recognisable.]

Other people who could be quite important:
Music – Howard Goodall
Sung by – Sally-Anne Marsh, Costandia Costi, Natalie Cramer, Lydia Cumber
Graphic designer – Tom Brooks
Properties buyer – John Watts
Technical co-ordinator – Mike Chislett
Camera supervisors – Chris Glass, Roger Goss
Visual effects designer – Steve Lucas
Vision mixer – Angela Beveridge
Videotape editor – Chris Wadsworth
Lightning director – Henry Barber
Sound supervisors – Alan Machin, Peter Barville
Costume designer – Richard Croft
Make-up designer – Vicky Pocock
Production assistant – Jayne Spooner
Production secretary – Hilary Charles
Production manager – Sarah Gowers
Assistant floor manager – Lindsay Trenholme
Designer – Antony Thorpe
Director – Richard Boden
Producer – John Lloyd

Written by Ben & Dick. Although Charlie did help with quite a lot of the actual story.


The Script:

Narrator:
In the reign of good Queen Vic, there stood, in Dumpling Lane in old London town, the Moustache Shoppe of one Ebenezer Blackadder — the kindest and loveliest man in all England.

[opening theme]

He’s kind and gen’rous to the sick
He’d never spread a nasty rumour
He never gets on people’s wick
And doesn’t laugh at toilet humour
Blackadder! Blackadder!
He’s sickeningly good
Blackadder! Blackadder!
As nice as Christmas pud

[as this is sung, we see a man merrily enjoying some carolers, and nicking something from their donation bin (I think that’s what it is, at least); also, a boy wanders through the streets, picking pockets]

[Scene: inside the Moustache Shoppe. Baldrick is dusting off a mustache which is on a stand.]

Ebenezer:
[from outside the main door] Humbug! Humbug!

[enters, holding a bag of sweets and holds out the bag, in offering] Humbug, Mr Baldrick?

Baldrick:
Oh, thank you very much. [takes one]

Ebenezer:
Well, I’ve got all the presents…

Baldrick:
…and I’ve nearly finished the Christmas cards.

Ebenezer:
[taking off his tall hat] Oh, splendid! Let me see… [opens up a card he has picked up from the desk] “A Very Messy Christmas.” I’m sorry, Mr Baldrick — shouldn’t that be `merry’?

Baldrick:
“A Merry Messy Christmas”? All right, but the main thing is that it should be messy — messy cake; soggy pudding; great big wet kisses under the mistletoe…

Ebenezer:
Yes… [going to hang up his coat and scarf] I fear, Mr Baldrick, that the only way you’re likely to get a big wet kiss at Christmas — or, indeed, any other time — is to make a pass at a water closet. However, be that as it may… [Baldrick gives him the card again] “A Merry Messy Christmas.” `Christmas’ as an H in it, Mr Baldrick.

Baldrick:
Oh…

Ebenezer:
…and an R. Also an I, and an S. Also T and M and A… …and another S. Oh, and you’ve missed out the C at the beginning. Congratulations, Mr Baldrick! Something of a triumph, I think — you must be the first person ever to spell `Christmas’ without getting any of the letters right at all.

[He takes the bag of presents he brought from outside into the back room.]

Baldrick:
[following Ebenezer] Well, I was a bit rushed. I’ve been helping out with the workhouse nativity play.

Ebenezer:
Oh, of course! How did it go?

Baldrick:
Well, not very well — at the last moment, the baby playing Jesus died!

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear! This high infant-mortality rate is a real devil when it comes to staging quality children’s theatre. What did you do?

Baldrick:
Got another Jesus.

Ebenezer:
Oh, thank goodness. …and his name?

Baldrick:
`Spot’. There weren’t any more children, so we had to settle for a dog instead.

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear… [moving toward and eventually sitting on a chair near the fireplace] I’m not convinced that Christianity would have established its firm grip over the hearts and minds of mankind if all Jesus had ever said was “Woof.”

Baldrick:
[as Ebenezer removes his shoes] Well, it went all right until the shepherds came on. See, we hadn’t been able to get any real sheep, so we had to stick some wool–

Ebenezer:
…on some other dogs.

Baldrick:
Yeah… and the moment Jesus got a whiff of them, he’s away! While the angel’s singing “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Mankind,” Jesus scampers across and tries to get one of the sheep to give him a piggyback ride!

Ebenezer:
Scarcely appropriate behaviour for the son of God, Mr Baldrick. Weren’t the children upset?

Baldrick:
Nah, they loved it. They want us to do another one at Easter — they want to see us nail up the dog.

Ebenezer:
Ah, the playful young scamps, eh? Still, what a lovely thought it is: at this very moment, all over the country, from the highest to the lowest, through those charming plump folks somewhere in the middle, everyone is enjoying Christmas.

[Scene: A room in Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria enters, followed by the butler, and approaches Prince Albert, who is wrapping something. He speaks with a ridiculous accent.]

Victoria:
[knowing that Albert’s wrapping a present for her] What are you doing, Albert?

Albert:
[hiding something] Nothing…

Victoria:
Oh yes you are, you naughty German sausage! [sits] Tell me what you’re doing…

Albert:
I just said; I’m not doing anything! Really, woman — when you’re busy ruling India, you don’t tell me what you are doing… So why should I tell you what I am doing when I am busy wrapping up this cushion for your surprise Christmas present? Damn… Now I have only two surprise presents for you…

Victoria:
Oh, dear Alby, don’t worry — I don’t mind.

Albert:
I do… I love surprises. [Hugs her, resting his head against her bosom; she enjoys it very much] Christmas without surprises is like the nuts without a nutcrack. [has a realisation, rushes to the tree, and begins unwrapping something] …which is why I have bought you this surprise nutcracker– Damn… Damn…

Victoria:
Oh, darling Bobo, don’t worry. [stands] Besides, haven’t you forgotten something?

Albert:
What?

Victoria:
Our traditional Christmas adventure!

Albert:
Oh, yes! Of course! The traditional Christmas adventure! Huzzah!!!…what traditional Christmas adventure?

Victoria:
You silly soldier! You know: when we disguise ourselves as common folk and go out amongst the people to reward the virtuous and the good…

Albert:
Oh, yes! Of course! Dummkopf! [stands] How could I forget? [he shouts something in German and he reaches down, to pick up something and starts unwrapping it.] For it is for precisely such an outing as this that I have bought you my finest surprise present: this muff which I am going to give you tomorrow– Damn… Damn… Damn… [As he falls to his knees, Victoria pushes his face into her bosom.]

[Scene: Back to Ebenezer’s living room. He and Baldrick have just finished setting things on the table.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, excellent, excellent. What a splendid spread: nuts, turkey and presents. What more could a man desire at Christmas?

Baldrick:
Well, a tree…

Ebenezer:
Oh, of course — I’d quite forgot. [he heads to the front, shop room] I dropped in on Mr Thicketwistle’s Garden Emporium, and, I think you’ll agree, got quite a bargain [he opens the front door and steps out to fetch something] on this special Christmas Twig. [steps back in, closes the front door]

Baldrick:
It’s a bit of a tiddler, ain’t it?

Ebenezer:
Yes, but size isn’t important, my friend — it’s not what you’ve got; it’s where you stick it. [sticks the twig into an empty candle stand] Besides, look: we’ve got a whole year’s profits to spend on fun and larks!

Baldrick:
How much is it?

Ebenezer:
Seventeen pounds and a penny.

Baldrick:
It’d be a lot more if you didn’t give away so much money to the poor.

Ebenezer:
Well, yes, but in the feeling-good ledger of life we are rich indeed.

Baldrick:
Yeah, I just wish we weren’t doing so well in the bit-short-of-prezzies-and-feeling-a-gullible-prat ledger.

[The doorbell rings.]

Ebenezer:
Well, bless my ten toes! Who could that be on this cold night?

[Baldrick opens the door. Mrs Scratchit enters, carrying a basket.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, Mrs Scratchit! Greetings to you on this merry Yuletide Eve.

Scratchit:
[crying] Oh, Mr Blackadder!!! How can I be merry when we are so poor we shall have nothing to eat on Christmas Day? except what Grandfather can scrape from under his big toenail… No goose for Tiny Tom this year!!!

Ebenezer:
Mrs Scratchit, Tiny Tom is fifteen stone and he’s built like a brick privy! If he eats any more heartily, he will turn into a pie shop. [this is all said in the nicest way possible]

[Scratchit bawls]

Ebenezer:
[As he walks around the counter] Oh, pardon me, but, look, look, there must be something we can do… [points inside her basket] Ah! That box of matches in your basket is just the thing I need. How much did they cost?

Scratchit:
[holding up the box, suddenly not crying] A quid a match.

Ebenezer:
Mrs Scratchit, I suspect that to be a lie of sorts…[Scratchit puts on her crying act again]

Ebenezer:
[rushing round the counter] …oh, but, but it’s Christmas Eve, so here: take ten pounds.

Scratchit:
So you don’t want all the matches, then — there’s seventeen of them!

Ebenezer:
Mrs Scratchit, you have the body of a weak woman, but the mind of a criminal genius! Here: seventeen pounds, then.

Scratchit:
[quite happy, speaking rather like having completed a swindle that she has done many times before] Lovely! [leaves]

Ebenezer:
[calls after her] …and my best wishes to your massive offspring!

[Baldrick closes the door]

Baldrick:
So: we had seventeen pound and a penny, and we’ve given Mrs Scratchit seventeen pounds, so that leaves…

Ebenezer:
[sighs, holding up the penny] Yes, come on, Mr Baldrick; seventeen pounds and a penny minus seventeen pounds leaves…?

Baldrick:
[looks at the penny while thinking, then speaks with confidence] Thirty-eight pounds, eight shillings, fourpence!

Ebenezer:
Not bad, Mr Baldrick. The answer is in fact a splendid shining penny.

[The door opens; a boy steps in and speaks]

Boy:
Merry Christmas Eve, Mr Slackbladder — I mean Blackadder!

Ebenezer:
[approaching] Ah! and to you, young urchin!

Boy:
A penny for Christmas cheer, sucker — I mean sir?

Ebenezer:
[looks at his penny, knowing it’s all he has] Erm, well…

[Boy fakes a tantrum]

Ebenezer:
Well, certainly! Here! [tosses penny over]

[Boy catches it and immediately runs off]

Ebenezer:
[steps out, calling after Boy] Er, going to buy some cake and pie for yourself and your silver-haired mother?

Boy:
Nah, sod that — I’m off to the gin shop.

Ebenezer:
[returning inside] Che! They grow up so fast these days, bless ‘em. Oh well — another year without profit! Still, it is Christmas; and let us remember, Mr Baldrick [he takes the candle stand which holds the twig, and returns to the back room], that, be we as stony as a biblical execution, it is still the season of good cheer, and we have all our Christmas treats: nuts, turkey and presents…

[A ghastly high-pitched cackle pierces the air.]

Ebenezer:
[looking out the back window] Oh! and my God-daughter, Millicent! [he takes picks up a pair of ear muffs] Er, secure the ornaments, Mr Baldrick [he puts the ear muffs on], and let her in. [while Baldrick is gone, he speaks to himself] So, we’ll put all our presents under our little tree: A scarf for me; a pair of gloves for Mr Baldrick; and a hat for Millicent.

[Millicent cackles as she enters. Baldrick comes in a short while later, with handkerchiefs stuffed in his ears.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, Millicent! To what do I owe this excellent pleasure?

Millicent:
Oh, I just thought I pop round, you know, just on the off chance. Well, you know, Christmas is a time traditionally connected with presents…

Ebenezer:
It is indeed, and, look: [picks up the hat] a lovely hat for my dear God-daughter.

Millicent:
[quickly snatching it from his hands] Oh, thanks. [looks at the items still on the table] Oh! and look: [picking up things as she mentions them] a scarf and a pair of gloves to match! Well, that’s not bad, I suppose. [cackles]

Ebenezer:
[making sure his earmuffs remain in place] Yes, jolly good.

Millicent:
I’m sorry I can’t stop. I thought perhaps I might come back tomorrow at lunchtime…

Ebenezer:
Oh, what a splendid idea!

Millicent:
It’ll just be little me and my teensy boyfriend — so cook a couple of extra turkeys! Thanks for all the prezzies…

Baldrick:
[sarcastic] Why don’t you take the flipping tree?

Millicent:
[taking it] Oh, you are sweet!!! [turns to leave] Thanks… [cackles as she leaves]

Ebenezer:
Bye! [removing the earmuffs] My, what a jolly young girl.

Baldrick:
Yeah… pity she nicked all the presents.

Ebenezer:
Yes, but I thought you and I would be spoilt enough with the turkey and [picking up a bowl of nuts] this mountain of nuts we have…

[The doorbell rings.]

Ebenezer:
Well, peel my tangerines! This is a suprise!

[In the front room, Beadle enters, followed by three extremely fat orphan boys, whom he warns to stay behind him and not push.]

Ebenezer:
[from the back room] Ah, Beadle! Charmed, honoured, and lovelied in every possible way!

[Baldrick hides the turkey in his coat as Beadle and the orphans enter the back room.]

Beadle:
[to the shoving orphans, who all are trying to fit into the room] Get back! [to Ebenezer] Felicitous compliments of the gorging season to you, sir. Peace on Earth, and fat tums to all men.

Ebenezer:
Well, indeed, indeed… and what of your little orphan charges?

Beadle:
Well, I don’t think I charges them enough, as a matter of fact. Luckily, you’re here to cover up the shortfall, Mr Blackadder. They’re looking forward to coming tomorrow; perhaps bringing a little surprise for you…

Ebenezer:
Oh, surely not another totally unexpected rendition of `God Rest Ye Merry Mr Blackadder’…

Beadle:
Not for me to say, sir. All I can say is that it’s Christmas as usual; except, sadly, we’ve managed to polish off all our nuts before the big day… [he and the orphans all lean toward the bowl of nuts. Baldrick, behind the orphans, jumps up and down trying to see.]

Ebenezer:
Oh, well, what luck! As fate would have it, we have some. Here, help yourselves. [the orphans all prepare to grab them]

Beadle:
[stopping them] No, sir! No, sir, I couldn’t possibly take them from you! Absolutely not! [picks up the bowl] Is this all, is it?

Ebenezer:
Yes…

Beadle:
Well, it’ll have to do, then! [gives bowl to orphans, who scramble hungrily around it] See you tomorrow! [laughs as he and orphans leave]

Ebenezer:
Well, what a jolly fellow!

Baldrick:
Looked like a fat git to me.

Ebenezer:
Well, yes, Mr Baldrick; but you mustn’t judge people from outward appearances. Strip away the outer layers of a fat git, and, inside, you’ll probably find a–

Baldrick:
thin git. Here; those orphans were a bit fat, too.

Ebenezer:
Well, there’s some truth there. [goes to sit in fireside chair] Certainly, when I go and visit them, I do tend to remove all sharp objects for fear of bursting one of them and getting showered in two dozen semi-digested pies… But what of it? As long as they’re happy…

Baldrick: [removes turkey from his coat, puts it on table] Well, at least we’ve still got our turkey! [goes over to Ebenezer] And — who knows? — Christmas is a time for miracles, so, maybe, if we screw up our eyes really tight and pray to the big pink pixie in the sky, someone will come and reward us… come on!

Ebenezer:
[complying, reluctantly] Oh, dear innocent Mr Baldrick…

[After a short pause, the doorbell rings.]

Baldrick:
See?

Ebenezer:
Well, baste my steaming puddings!

[He and Baldrick go into the front room. Baldrick opens the door; Victoria and Albert are there, badly disguised. The chair bearer also is there (sans chair). Sappy “good-news” music plays.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, good evening, sir and madam.

Victoria:
Good evening. We have come here on a mission to reward the virtuous this Christmas Eve.

[Baldrick smiles.]

Ebenezer:
Good heavens! [looks at Baldrick, rather stunned]

Albert:
[not hiding his accent] …and we have heard many stories of your kindness and generosity.

Ebenezer:
Oh, well, one tries…

Victoria:
So, please…

Ebenezer:
Yes?

[Sappy music stops suddenly.]

Victoria:
Give us ten pounds for the virtuous old lady next door.

Ebenezer:
Ah, well, we’d love to oblige, but I’m afraid we haven’t anything to give.

Albert:
Surely you must have something… What about a goose?

Victoria:
[slightly turned on] Oh, Albert!

Baldrick:
Well, we’ve only got a turkey, see…

Victoria:
Oh, that sounds ideal!

Baldrick:
[in a disappointed whine] Oh…

Ebenezer:
Well, there’s a bit of luck! Mr Baldrick, fetch the turkey! [while Baldrick is fetching it, he makes idle conversation, and speaks to Albert] Er, I detect from your accent, sir, that you are not from round here…

Albert:
Ah, nein! [slowly, trying to enunciate] I am from…Glasgow.

Ebenezer:
Ah, a fine city! I love the Gorbals!

Albert:
Ah… Yes… The Gorbals… I love them, too — a lovely couple; lots of fun.

Baldrick:
[having returned, holds the turkey out to Albert] Bye bye, birdy…

Victoria:
Very well done indeed. Good evening. [leaves]

Ebenezer:
Good evening…

Albert:
[before he walks out] …and if I bump into Mr and Mrs Gorbal, I’ll give them your regards.

[Ebenezer returns to the back room. Baldrick is hanging a stocking from the fireplace. An unaccompanied violin plays the Blackadder theme slowly.]

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear, Mr Baldrick; it looks as though we’re in for a bit of a thin Christmas…

Baldrick:
Don’t you worry, Mr B — I’m hanging my sock up so Santa will come down the chimney.

Ebenezer:
Mr Baldrick, I guarantee that if there’s one thing liable to stop Santa coming down the chimney, it’s your sock waiting for him at the end of it.

Baldrick:
Well, if I don’t hang my sock out, how will Santa fill it?

Ebenezer:
Mr Baldrick, if you do hang your sock out, Santa will be dead before he gets within a hundred yards of it! Don’t you have any other socks?

Baldrick:
I’ve got one other… [raises a leg]

Ebenezer:
Oh, don’t worry about it, my dear fellow. Take one of mine from the linen cupboard. I’m off to bed — there’s nothing else to stay up for. Good night, Mr Baldrick.

Baldrick:
‘night ‘night. Oh! By the way — I forgot to mention: When you were out there… [the violin is now replaced with spooky noises] …there was this enormous ghostly creature coming here saying, “Beware! for, tonight, you shall receive a strange and terrible visitation!” [the spooky noises stop suddenly] I just thought I’d mention it. [spooky noises start up again] It come through the wall, it said its piece, and then it sodded off. [noises stop again]

Ebenezer:
[chuckles] Oh, fine. Goodnight, Mr Baldrick. [he leaves into the stairway to his bedroom]

Baldrick:
‘night ‘night. [he goes to sleep in the chair]

[Scene changes to Ebenezer’s bedroom. He is lying in bed, and is woken by someone saying a spooky “Woo!” The door to the room falls in, as steam and green light comes through. Also coming through is a large bearded man holding his hands out, wiggling his fingers spookily, saying the “Woo!” He steps in and laughs deeply, and begins to thrust his arms about, then does more, quicker, “Woo!” noises, getting sillier. Eventually, Ebenezer, rather unfazed, speaks to the man (`Spirit’).]

Ebenezer:
Can I help?

Spirit:
[speaks with Scottish dialect] No thanks, no, no no… I just popped in to say `hello’. [shakes Ebenezer’s hand] Spirit of Christmas; how do you do. Just doing my usual rounds, you know: a wee bit of haunting, getting misers to change their evil ways. But you’re obviously such a good chap [pats Ebenezer on the knee], there’ll be no need for any of that nonsense, so I’ll just say `cheery-bye’. Cheery-bye! [turns to leave]

Ebenezer:
Well, can I get you a cup of tea or anything?

Spirit:
You wouldn’t have anything a wee bit more, er, medicinal…?

Ebenezer:
Oh, I see… I’ve only got some of Nurse McCready’s Surgical Bruise Lotion. [motions where it is]

Spirit:
[picks up bottle] Oh, nothing but the best at this house, eh? [eagerly opens it, sits `backward’ in the chair next to a mirror and dresser, begins drinking] Mmm! Delicious. Well, this is a nice change from all those skinflints. You know that old fellow down the road? Bags of money! I caught him trying to cut down on his heating bills by using his John Thomas as a draught excluder!

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear… old people today, eh? Tell me: How do you get them to change their ways?

Spirit:
Well, it’s all visions these days. We used to use black-and-white line drawings, but the visions are more effective.

Ebenezer:
Well, what sort of thing?

Spirit:
Well, it depends, really. With some people, it’s just a glimpse of their behaviour at school behind the penny-farthing sheds… Er, some other people, well, we just show them how rotten their ancestors were. Of course, with your ancestors, it would have to be the full one-hour-ten vision with a break and ice cream.

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear! That bad, were they?

Spirit:
Och — did nobody tell ye? Stinkers to a man! Oh, perhaps you’d like to see… [waves his free hand about and twiddles his tongue]

[Scene changes to Elizabethan England. Lord Edmund Blackadder looks very bored at his servant, Baldrick, who is offering him a Christmas cracker. They are just outside the throne room.]

Baldrick:
Come on, My Lord! Give it a little pull! You know you want to! It’ll be ever so exciting!

Edmund:
[gives in] Oh, God… [he pulls the cracker as Baldrick winces in anticipation of the crack, but there’s only a little squeak] Yes — terrifying.

Baldrick:
And, look, there’s a surprise present for you inside. It’s a novelty death warrant, and you give it to a friend.

Edmund:
Oh, just what I’ve always wanted. [crumples it]

Baldrick:
Have you got anything for me?

Edmund:
Oh, it’s nothing, really.

Baldrick:
[charmed] Oh, Sir…

Edmund:
No, it’s really nothing. I haven’t got anything for you. [walks to a large curtained object] I spent all my cash on this damn thing for the Queen. [pulls the curtains open, to reveal a portrait of the Queen] She’d better she’ll bloody like it — she dropped enough hints. [shuts the curtains] Gah, that woman’s about as subtle as a rhinocerous horn up the backside. [lifts the portrait] Door.

[Inside, Queen Elizabeth I and Nursie are tearing apart coloured paper chains. Edmund enters, carrying the curtained portrait.]

Edmund:
Good morning, Your Majesty. Christmas again, eh? What joy. [puts the portrait down] Don’t you just love it?

Elizabeth:
No — I hate it! In fact, I’ve just abolished it.

Edmund:
I’m sorry…?

Elizabeth:
I ought to block up the chimneys, burn all the crackers, and kill anyone I see carrying a present. [looks at the portrait]

Edmund:
Oh. [lifts the portrait and prepares to leave]

Elizabeth:
[points at portrait, speaks demandingly] What’s that, Edmund?

Edmund:
This? … It’s a window…

Elizabeth:
A window?

Edmund:
Yes, but you seem to have one here; so, sorry to disturb you… [exits, leaving her baffled (Nursie just grins brainlessly)]

[Outside, Edmund hands the portrait to Baldrick, who holds it from the bottom, so it covers his face. Edmund closes the door, and pulls open the portrait’s curtains.]

Edmund:
Well, so much for that. [punches the Queen’s face in the portrait; his hand goes through the canvas and hits Baldrick’s face. He then motions to Lord Melchett, who approaches] Ah, Melchett! Greetings! I trust that Christmas brings you its traditional mix of good food and violent stomach cramp.

Melchett:
…and compliments of the season to you, Blackadder. May the yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down.

Edmund:
I’m glad I saw you — I feel it only fair to warn you that the Queen has banned the Christmas, so I wouldn’t get her a present this year.

Melchett:
Oh, I’m indebted to you for that advice, Blackadder, and I shall, of course, follow it to the letter, the day I get my brain replaced by a cauliflower. [exits]

Edmund:
[claps his hands once] Hah! Got him with my subtle plan!

Baldrick:
[lowering the portrait finally] I can’t see any subtle plan.

Edmund:
Baldrick, you wouldn’t see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing “Subtle Plans Are Here Again.” It’s what we call a double-bluff. Melchett will undoubtedly do the opposite of what I tell him, go and get an enormous present, give it to the Queen, and then [runs his finger across his neck and makes a quacky noise].

Baldrick:
What, he’ll turn into a duck?

Edmund:
Yes… [walks off; Baldrick follows, with the portrait]

[In the throne room, Nursie continues to tear apart paper chains, while Elizabeth is looking out the window.]

Nursie:
Pity about this, Tinky-wink. You always used to love this time of year…

Elizabeth:
[turns round; she is fondling a Christmas pudding] I know — leaving a little mince pie and a glass of wine out for Father Christmas, and then scoffing it because I was a princess and could do what I bloody well liked. [sits in throne]

Nursie:
…and wondering if your father’s wife would last until Boxing Day without having her head cut off.

Elizbeth:
We knew; if he gave her a hat, she’d probably be all right.

Nursie:
Happy days…

Elizabeth:
Yes… Maybe I was a little rash…

[Edmund and Melchett enter and bow.]

Elizabeth:
Ah! Boys! Welcome back! [hands the pudding to Nursie] But, Melchett, what have you got under your coat?

[Edmund raises his eyebrows, smiling slyly.]

Elizabeth:
[demandingly] It’s not a present, is it?

Melchett:
A present, Majesty? but of course! [reveals a crown; mutters to Edmund] You’re so painfully transparent, Blackadder.

Edmund:
Am I…

Elizabeth:
Oh, that’s fab!!! I love presents!

[Edmund rolls his eyes, unhappy about the Queen’s wishy-washiness.]

Elizabeth:
[to Melchett] You know, for a moment I took against Christmas, but I’m completely dippy about it again. In fact, I’d like to marry you! …if you weren’t as unattractive as a giant slug!

Melchett:
[laughing] Oh, pish, Majesty!

Elizabeth:
But, anyway, to reward you, I’m going to give you lots of presents! Um, fancy a castle?

Melchett:
Well, Windsor, Majesty…

Elizabeth:
…title?

Melchett:
Duke of Kent?

Elizabeth:
…anything else?

Melchett:
Well, a devilish saucy wife would be fun.

Elizabeth:
[thinks] Lady Jane Pottle!

Melchett:
Oh, yummy!

Elizabeth:
I think she’s Blackadder’s girl at the moment, but that doesn’t matter, does it, Blacky…

Edmund:
No, of course not, Ma’am… and perhaps Lord Melchett would like to whip me naked through the streets of Aberdeen…

Melchett:
Oh, I don’t think we need go that far, Blackadder…

Edmund:
Oh, too kind…

Melchett:
No — Aylesbury’s quite far enough.

Elizabeth:
Super. Well done, Melchy. And, now, Blackadder, what have you got me?

Edmund:
Erm…

Elizabeth:
I WANT A PREZZY!!! Give me something nice and shiny; and if you don’t, I’ve got something nice and shiny for you, and it’s called an axe!

Edmund:
Erm, well, well… [looks down at his person hoping to find something]

Elizabeth:
Right! That’s it. Any last requests, Blackadder, before I chop your block off and put it on top of the crimble tree?

Edmund:
[still searching his person, comes across the novelty death warrant] Er, well, there is one, actually, Ma’am: You know how much I’ve always been a great admirer [motions his hand to and fro between she and Melchett] of you both — I was wondering if I could just have your autographs, erm, to keep me company during the final, tragic, lonely hours… [he has already handed her a quill]

Elizabeth:
Oh, all right. [signs]

Edmund:
Ah, there. Thank you, Ma’am. [moves to Melchett] And, Lord Melchett [gives him the quill]…just there… [Melchett signs] Thank– [looks astonished] Oh! Dear me!

Elizabeth:
What is it?

Edmund:
Why, this piece of paper that Your Majesty has just signed turns out to be some sort of death warrant!

Elizabeth:
Oops. …and I can’t go back on it without destroying the whole basis of the British Constitution…

Edmund:
I fear not!

Elizabeth:
Is there a name on it?

Edmund:
Well, yes, there is, actually… It says, “Lord”… er, I can’t read this terrible childish writing… er, “Lord…Mel…chett” … “Lord Melchett”; that’s it.

Melchett:
[trying to grab the paper from Edmund] Ma’am! Ma’am! Ma’am! It’s a trick! You’ve been tricked!

Elizabeth:
Oh, good! Christmas is a time for tricks and japes and larks of all kinds. Tell you what, Blackadder: that’s so brilliant, I’ll execute Melchett instead!

Edmund:
You’re very kind, Ma’am.

[Nursie looks at Melchett and laughs maniacally]

Elizabeth:
…and I suppose that means that everything of Lord Melchett’s becomes yours.

Edmund:
I suppose it does. [he presents a hand to Melchett and snaps his fingers; Melchett gives him the crown; he gives the crown to Elizabeth, who is delighted] Merry Christmas, Ma’am…

[Scene changes back to Ebenezer’s bedroom.]

Ebenezer:
[with a slight grin] Good lord!

Spirit:
Horrible, eh? [stands, goes to the bedside] What a pig!

Ebenezer:
Yes, although clearly quite a clever, charming pig. [Spirit is shocked] But, no, as you say, his behaviour…disgraceful.

Spirit:
Ah, you’re a great improvement on them all. [pats Ebenezer’s knees again] You’re a good boy…

Ebenezer:
`Them’? Are there more?

Spirit:
Oh, yes! Have a shufti at this! [waves his arm and makes “Woo!” noise]

[Scene changes to Regency England. Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince Regent, enters the vestibule outside the Prince’s quarters with his own servant, Baldrick. He is carrying a red sack.]

Edmund:
Right, Balders… [puts sack on a chair] I’m sick of getting no presents and the Prince Regent getting the lot, so this is the plan: We play our traditional game of charades, and, when he gets bored and asks for a story, you come out here [lifts the sack up a bit], stick the dress and the hat on, and then knock on the door. I’ll take it from there. Have you got it?

Baldrick:
Got it…

Edmund:
Yes, well, you certainly will get it if you mess this up.

[Inside, Prince George tries to wake Lord Horatio Nelson, who sits in a chair, holding a drink in his left (and only) hand, with an eyepatch over his left eye. Edmund and Baldrick enter.]

Prince:
Ah, hurrah! Welcome, lads! Oh, this is the stuff, eh? Christmas sherry and charades with honest manly fellows. I mean, for Heaven’s sake, what can I do with a girl that I can’t do with you, eh?

Edmund:
I cannot conceive, Sir…

Prince:
Yes, well, there’s that, I suppose. Now; who’s first up for the game? I’d ask old Horatio here, but he’s out of it, I’m afraid; so it’s, er [points at Baldrick], what, it’s the little monkey fellow first, then, is it?

Edmund:
It is indeed, Sir.

Prince:
Ah, excellent! Oh, I love charades… [goes over to sit in a chair]

Edmund:
OK, off you go, Baldrick.

[Baldrick steps in front of them, then opens his arms like a book.]

Edmund:
It’s a book…

Baldrick:
Well done, Mr B! I didn’t think you’d get it >that< quickly.

Prince:
Well, I must say, Bladder, that was damn clever!

Edmund:
Yes, another great Christmas tradition: explaining the rules eight times to the Thicky Twins. The round hasn’t in fact started yet. It’s got to be a specific book. For instance, if it was The Bible, I would go like that [holding up two fingers] to indicate that there are two syllables in it…

Prince:
Two what?

Edmund:
Two syllables.

Prince:
Two silly bulls? I don’t think so, Blackadder — not in The Bible. I can remember a fatted calf, but, as I recall, that was quite a sensible animal. Oh, ah! It’s it, um, er, Noah’s Ark, with the, er, two pigs, two ants, and two silly bulls? Is that it?

Edmund:
Two syllables.

Prince:
What?

Edmund:
Look, we’re getting confused; let’s start again, shall we?

Prince:
No, let’s not, Blackadder. I think the whole game’s getting a bit sylla, to be honest. How about a nice Christmas story instead?

Edmund:
Oh, what a good idea, Sir. [motions at Baldrick] I’ll just get rid of the servant, shall I? There’s a limit to how long the smell of roasting chestnuts can blot out the aroma of Baldrick’s trousers. [as he shows Baldrick out, he mutters to him] Don’t forget the dress and the hat, Baldrick. [he returns to the Prince] So, shall I begin the Christmas story?

Prince:
Absolutely, as long as it’s not that terribly depressing one about the chap who gets born on Christmas Day, shoots his mouth off about everything under the sun, and then comes a cropper with a couple of rum coves on top of a hill in Johnny Arab land.

Edmund:
You mean Jesus, Sir…

Prince:
Yes, that’s the fellow. Keep him out of it — he always spoils the X-mas atmos.

Edmund:
Certainly, Sir. Instead, I shall tell you a story about–

Nelson:
[wakes] Ah! Oh my god!!! I’ve gone blind! blind!!!

[Edmund moves Nelson’s eyepatch to the right eye.]

Nelson:
Oh, that’s better. [falls back to sleep]

Edmund:
As I was saying: This is a story about a handsome young prince…

Prince:
Ah, now, this is more like it. What; good looking, [points at his wig] lovely hair perched on top of his head like an exceptionally attractive loaf of bread?

Edmund:
Exactly.

Prince:
Yeah, I can imagine him — excellent fellow.

Edmund:
Well, it is a tale about him and a sad, lonely, old granny who’s dying of cold on a cruel Christmas night.

Prince:
Not a comedy, then…?

Edmund:
No, Sir. …and when she thought that all was lost, and that she would die on Christmas night and be swept up on the Boxing Day morning, mistaken for a huge dirty handkerchief–

[Prince cries into his handkerchief]

Edmund:
…then she knocked on the door of a handsome young prince, named George, who gave her all his massive collection of Christmas presents, and she lived happily ever after.

Prince:
[he cries some more] Oh, my Satan’s Sausage, Bladder! What a fine tale! I’m quite moved to tears, don’t you know…

Edmund:
Oh, good…

[The doorbells ring.]

Edmund:
[obviously] I wonder who that could be?

Prince:
…on a cold, dark, cruel Christmas night… tricky one… It could be a robin…

Edmund:
[who has moved to the door] Why, Sir! Rather coincidentally, it is a sad, lonely, old granny who’s dying of cold. Shall I fling her from your door, Sir, saying that there is no room in our Christmas for a sad, virtuous, silver-haired, old, elderly angel like her?

Prince:
No, Blackadder, you swine! Bring her in!

[The doors open from the outside, as a cart-pushing human figure in red old woman’s clothes barges in and starts taking all the presents off the table, putting them into the cart.]

Edmund:
[mutters to Granny] [??????], Baldrick.

Prince:
Take all you want, Granny! You have found Georgy-Porgy, your handsome prince!

Granny:
Thank you, Sir…

Edmund:
Shall I show her to the door, to make sure she doesn’t steal the silver on the way out?

Prince:
Oh, no — tell her to take it!

Edmund:
Oh, you’re very generous, Sir. [bows and closes the door]

[He finishes closing the doors and turns round to an empty vestibule.]

Edmund:
Excellent, excellent, Baldrick! A triumph! [pause] Baldrick? Baldrick!

[Baldrick enters, wearing white old woman’s clothes.]

Baldrick:
Sorry, Mr B — I was just showing a sweet old granny to the door. Are we ready yet, Sir?

Edmund:
[serious] What?

Baldrick:
Well, I answered the door and it was this sweet old granny collecting for charity, so I let her in.

Edmund:
Aaaaaaaagh…

Baldrick:
Something wrong, Mr B?

Edmund:
No, don’t worry — I should have known not to trust a man with the mental agility of a rabbit dropping.

Baldrick:
Sorry, Mr B.

Edmund:
Oh, it’s perfectly all right — it’s not your fault. [punches Baldrick in the face; Baldrick falls over] Still, I fear for a frail elderly woman, laden with valuables, travelling through the inadequately lit streets of London…

Baldrick:
[having just got back on his feet] Yeah — she’s not safe, Sir.

Edmund:
Well, not from me, certainly. [punches Baldrick in the face; exits]

[Back in Ebenezer’s bedroom; Spirit now is lying beside Ebenezer.]

Ebenezer:
Hah hah! Very amusing!

Spirit:
In what way?

Ebenezer:
Er… the wigs… very amusing wigs. But his behaviour, as you say…disgraceful. But, he actually got the presents!

Spirit:
Yyyyyyes, yes…

Ebenezer:
So, there is actually something to be made out of being bad…

Spirit:
Er, technically… technically… yes… yes… But that’s not the point, is it? It’s the the soul…the soul

Ebenezer:
As a matter of interest, what would happen in the future if I was bad?

Spirit:
Erm… Heavens! Is that the time? I really must be off…

[stands up, but Ebenezer grabs his arm]

Ebenezer:
I’d love to see Christmas Future…

Spirit:
No no no no no no no no… It’s terribly melodramatic…

Ebenezer:
Look; just show it…please…

Spirit:
All right… [wiggles his fingers a bit and makes a reluctant “Nyeu” sound]

[Scene changes to the distant future. Queen Asphyxia XIX sits in her throne area as her three husbands — Lord Frondo, Prince Pigmot and Bernard — have just materialised. Bernard is on a raised platform behind Asphyxia, and is just a head with a huge life-support system. Pigmot is to the right of Asphyxia, and Frondo is in front of Pigmot. Behind them, a hologramme display shows either a spinning green oscilloscope design or a close-up of whoever speaks.]

Husbands tutti:
Hail Queen Asphyxia, Supreme Mistress of the Universe.

Asphyxia:
…and hail to you, my Triple-Husbandoid. I summon you here to group-greet our swift imperial navies home. [calls] Approach, Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment and Lord of the High-Slung Bottoms of Zob!

[Commander Blackadder walks forward, with all sorts of metal bits attached to his leather. He holds his space helmet, and wears and metal eyepatch over his left eye. His breastplate armour bears the age-old Blackadder symbol.]

Blackadder:
[militaristically] ‘morning.

Frondo:
To you, Blackadder — thrice-endowed Supreme Donkey of the Trouser-Pod — this much greeting [he raises a hand up to his forehead and lowers it with two and a half vertical waves].

Pigmot:
[speaks with American dialect] I, too, bold navigator [he gives four vertical waves], cringe my dribblies at your resplendent pofflesnu!

Blackadder:
Yes, well, that won’t be necessary, thank you.

Asphyxia:
Approach your slave: Baldrick!

[Baldrick steps forward, wearing leather highboots, a studded leather collar, studded leather wristbands, and a leather bikini brief with a single stud. He stands in a dramatic pose.]

Blackadder:
For God’s sake, Baldrick — if you’re going to wear that ridiculous jockstrap, at least keep your legs together.

Baldrick:
[salutes] Wilco, Skipper! [adjusts his stance]

Blackadder:
Majesties, I give you this much greeting [he puts his hand to his forehead and lets it drop straight back down].

Frondo:
What news of the foul Malmydons?

Blackadder:
Scattered to the Nine Vectors, My Lord.

Frondo:
…and the Sheepsqueezers of Splatican Five? Have they been suckcreamed as a Qvarnbeast’s nobbo?

Blackadder:
Well, they’re dead, if that’s what you mean.

Pigmot:
Plus, Commander, did you vanquish the Nibblepibblies?

Blackadder:
No, My Lord Pigmot, I did not vanquish the Nibblepibblies; because you just made them up.

Asphyxia:
Hah hah hah hah hah! Excellent, Commander! You have most pleasantly wibbled my frusset pouch. Bring forth the gift with which you honour me.

Blackadder:
Majesties; from a place where the stars begin and end, I bring you this! [he holds up a silver rod with two equally-sized spheres at the ends; a nob at the bottom of the lower one and a spike at the top of the higher one. The higher sphere also has numerous rods protruding from the equator]

Bernard:
Oh, lovely — an ashtray!

Pigmot:
[kneels beside Asphyxia] Come, Majesty — he wastes our time. I yearn to attend “Twenty Thousand Years of The Two Ronnoids” on the

.

Frondo:
Yes! Send him to the sprouting chamber!

Asphyxia:
No, wait! [to Blackadder] What is it, Commander?

Blackadder:
Well, I’ll show you, shall I? [he raises the object; it fires a ray at the husbands, who are dematerialised; Asphyxia looks around, shocked] And now, Your Majesty, I must respectfully insist that you hand over to me the supreme command of the universe, sew a button on my spare uniform, and marry me this afternoon.

[He has walked forward; he removes a glove from one hand. Asphyxia also has walked forward. The two now are on opposite sides of a plasma sphere.]

Asphyxia:
I thought you’d never ask.

[They both place a hand on the plasma sphere.]

[Back in Victorian times, Ebenezer Blackadder laughs.]

Ebenezer:
So, let’s get this straight: If I was bad, my descendents would rule the entire universe!

Spirit:
Maybe… Maybe… But would you be happy? Being ruler of the universe is not all it’s cracked up to be — there’s the long hours… I mean, you wave at people the whole time… you’re no longer your own boss.

Ebenezer:
But, but, so, what if I stayed good? When then does the future hold?

Spirit:
Ah, well, I really must put my foot down here. I’ve got four hauntings and a scare-the-bugger-to-death to do before morning.

[Ebenezer lifts a hand, wiggles his fingers and goes “Woo!”]

Spirit:
No! No! [tries to bat away the incoming vision]

[Back to the future]

Husbands tutti:
Hail Queen Asphyxia, Supreme Mistress of the Universe. Asphyxia: …and hail to you, my Triple-Husbandoid. I summon you here to group-greet our swift imperial navies home. [calls] Approach, Grand Admiral of the Dark Segment and Lord of the High-Slung Bottoms of Zob!

[Commander Baldrick walks forward, with all sorts of metal bits attached to his leather. He holds his space helmet, and wears a metal eyepatch over his left eye. His breastplate armour bears the age-old Blackadder symbol.]

Baldrick:
[raising his left arm] Hail!

Asphyxia:
…and your slave…

[Blackadder steps forward, wearing leather highboots, studded leather collar, studded leather wristbands, and a leather bikini brief with a single stud. He stands in an upset, bored pose.]

Asphyxia:
What’s his name?

Baldrick:
I can’t remember, Your Majesty.

Frondo:
No matter, Supreme Marshall of the Smells. What news of the foul Malmydons?

Baldrick:
Good news…

Asphyxia:
Excellent!

Baldrick:
…for the Malmydons — they wiped out our entire army. Sorry; I got a bit confused and dropped a bomb on our own lot.

Asphyxia:
Silence, squidling! Bring forth the gift with which you honour me.

Baldrick:
Oh, damn, I forgot the bloody present and all.

[Blackadder looks quite fed up.]

[The vision ends. Ebenezer is now standing.]

Ebenezer:
So: one way, it’s glory everlasting; the other, it’s wearing Baldrick’s posing pouch!

Spirit:
Well, it’s not as simplistic, but it does at least point a very clear lesson.

Ebenezer:
Namely…?

Spirit:
Namely…that the rewards of virtue are largely spiritual, but all the better for it.

Ebenezer:
You don’t think it points the very clear lesson that bad guys have all the fun?

Spirit:
No! No! Absolutely not! The rewards of virtue are infinitely more attractive! [stands, puts an arm around Ebenezer] Picture it: Quiet evenings in your hovel alone; a Bible; your own turnip!

Ebenezer:
Oh, well, that makes all the difference!

Spirit:
So you’re going to be a good boy, then?

Ebenezer:
Oh, absolutely.

[Spirit looks at him intently]

Ebenezer:
Would I lie to you?

[Spirit turns, starting his “Woo!” some more, and steps backward through the doorway, steam pouring out. The door raises back into place (the entrance video run in reverse).]

[Christmas morning. Ebenezer wakes up.]

Baldrick:
[from outside the room] Mr Blackadder! [enters, holding a sock] Looks like Father Christmas just forgot about me this year.

Ebenezer:
[stands] Oh, dear me… [takes sock, and begins reaching inside it] But don’t be too unhappy; because, if you look very carefully, there’s something in this stocking from me…

Baldrick:
Oh!

Ebenezer:
In fact, it’s something I made for you…

Baldrick:
Well, that’s the kind of prezzy that shows the most love! What have you made for me, Mr B?

Ebenezer:
I’ve made you… [takes his hand out] …a fist.

Baldrick:
A fist?

Ebenezer:
Yes — it’s for hitting [punches Baldrick in the face]… and what’s wonderful about it is that you can use it again [punch!] and again [punch!] and again [punch!]. Well, what do you say…?

Baldrick:
[weakly] Thank you, Mr B…

Ebenezer:
Think nothing of it, Baldrick — I, after all, think nothing of you [punch!].

[Hanging onto the window, calling through, is the young boy.]

Boy:
Oi! Gitface! How about a penny for the season?

Ebenezer:
Hark! Do I hear the voice of a darling little cherub at the window?

[Ebenezer walks to the window and opens it, causing the boy to fall down with a scream.]

Ebenezer:
[looks outside, then shuts the window] No — I must have imagined it.

[The doorbell rings.]

Baldrick:
Shall I get that, sir?

Ebenezer:
No, Baldrick — leave them out in the snow until I get dressed. I’ll only be about forty minutes.

[Forty minutes later, in the front room, Baldrick stands by the door as Ebenezer finally comes downstairs, dressed.]

Ebenezer:
Door.

[Baldrick opens the door. Leaning into the doorway, now with icicles hanging from their noses, are Beadle and the three fat orphan boys.]

Beadle:
[holding a tiny Christmas pudding] Compliments of the season, sir. We have come to sing merrily and to make you a gift of a small pudding. [to orphans] …3, 4… Beadle and orphans: [singing] God bless Mr B at Christmas time and maybe Jesus too If we were little pigs we’d sing “Piggywiggywiggywiggywoo!” And “Piggywiggywiggywiggywiggywiggywiggywiggy “Wiggywiggywiggywiggywoo! “O! Piggy wiggy wiggy woo! “Piggywiggywoo! “O! Pig wiggywiggywiggywiggywiggywiggywoo!”

Ebenezer:
[applauds slowly] Utter crap.

Beadle:
Thank you very much, sir.

Orphan3:
Do we get a Christmas treat now?

Ebenezer:
Yes, indeed you do.

Orphan [1 or 2?]:
What is it?

Ebenezer:
It’s a door in the face. Here you are! [slams the door]

Baldrick:
[shocked] Oh, Mr B! You can’t send them out into the world with nothing but a small pudding!

Ebenezer:
Ah, how right you are, Baldrick. Door.

[Baldrick opens the door; Beadle and the orphans are in the exact same place they were before, Beadle still holding out the pudding.]

Ebenezer:
[takes the pudding] Thank you. [slams the door]

Baldrick:
You know what I’m hoping?

Ebenezer:
What are you hoping, Baldrick?

Baldrick:
I’m hoping that this is all a merry Christmas jape, and, in a moment, you’re going to go “Yo ho ho!” and give me a mince pie.

Ebenezer:
[grins] Close your eyes, Baldrick…

[Baldrick closes his eyes.]

Ebenezer:
Open your mouth…

[Baldrick opens his mouth.]

Ebenezer:
Yo ho ho. [sticks the leafed end of the pudding into Baldrick’s mouth]

[Doorbell rings.]

Millicent:
[from outside] Cooeee!

[Baldrick opens the door; Millicent cackles as she enters, and is followed by her boyfriend, Ralph — a paradigmatic twit.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, my dear Millicent come for her dinner. [looks at Ralph] …and she seems to have brought the fish course with her.

[Millicent and Ralph are confused.]

Ebenezer:
Who, my dear, is the huge halibut in the trousers?

Ralph:
I think…it’s me!

Millicent:
This is Ralph — he’s my fiance.

Ralph:
We’re in love!

[Ralph laughs; Millicent cackles]

Ebenezer:
Oh, dear… Ill-conceived love, I should warn you, is like a Christmas cracker: One massively disappointing bang, and the novelty soon wears off.

[Ralph laughs; Millicent cackles]

Ebenezer:
Shut up.

Millicent:
[shocked] Oh, Mr Blackadder! What’s happened? You’ve changed from the nicest man in England into the…the horridest man in the world!

Baldrick:
I was thinking the same thing myself.

Ebenezer:
[hits Baldrick in the back of the head] …when spoken to. [to Millicent] I would explain, my dear, but I fear that you wouldn’t understand — blessed as you are with a head that is emptier than a hermit’s address book.

[Millicent smiles as though that was a compliment.]

Ebenezer:
[to Ralph] As for you: Are you sure that you can keep my God-daughter in the manner to which she is accustomed?

Ralph:
Oh, yes! Absolutely! [gives his wallet to Ebenezer]

Ebenezer:
Oh, splendid. [takes it, looks at all the money inside] [Ralph holds his hand out as though expecting Ebenezer to return the wallet.]

Ebenezer:
Congratulations. Good day. [shakes Ralph’s hand]

[Ralph and Millicent smile, then slowly start laughing/cackling.]

Ebenezer:
OUT!

[Ralph and Millicent begin crying, and leave.]

Ebenezer:
[holding the money that was in the wallet] Baldrick, I want you to take this and go out, and buy a turkey so large you’d think its mother had been rogered by an omnibus. [gives the money] I’m going to have a party, and no-one’s invited but me. [Baldrick heads for the door; Ebenezer heads for the back room. When Baldrick opens the door, Mrs Scratchit enters.]

Scratchit:
Cooo!

Ebenezer:
[returning to the counter] No peace for the wicked… Scratchit: Ah, Mr Ebenezer… I was wondering if you had perhaps a little present for me…? or had found me a little fowl for Tiny Tom’s Christmas…?

Ebenezer:
I’ve always found you `foul’, Mrs Scratchit — and more than a little.

[Mrs Scratchit is stunned.]

Ebenezer:
As for Tiny Tom’s Christmas: he can stuff it up his enormous muscular backside.

Scratchit:
But he’s a cripple!

Ebenezer:
He’s not a cripple, Mrs Scratchit. Occasionally saying “Phew! My leg hurts!” when he remembers to wouldn’t fool Baldrick!

Baldrick:
It did, actually.

Ebenezer:
However, if you want something for lunch, take this. [he reaches down and lifts up a bucket with some faecal-brown stain running down the side] It’s a pound a lump, and, as luck would have it, there are seventeen lumps left. [takes his seventeen pounds back from her basket] Thank you.

Scratchit:
But what about my Tiny Tom?

Ebenezer:
If I was you, I’d scoop him out and use him as a houseboat. Good day.

[Scratchit cries and leaves]

Baldrick:
[closes the door once more] Mr B… Where’s the milk of human kindness?

Ebenezer:
It’s gone off, Baldrick — it stinks.

[Doorbell rings.]

Ebenezer:
Get that; and, whoever it is, slam the door in their faces — or I’ll slam your face in the door. [goes to the back room] [Baldrick opens the door and finds Victoria, Albert and the chair-bearer (sans chair again).]

Alfred:
Hello, small dwarf fellow. Is this the house of the great philanthropist and all-round softy, Ebenezer Blackadder?

Baldrick:
[confused] What, Mr Blackadder lives here?

Alfred:
Ah, that is good, because we have a wunderbar secret!

Baldrick:
What secret?

Alfred:
Hah! I’ve I were to tell you that we’re going to give him an enormous fortune for being so generous, then it would not longer be a secret — Damn… I’m so stupid! Damn…

Baldrick:
What would no longer be a secret?

Victoria:
[leaning forward, half bowing] We are Queen Victoria.

Baldrick:
What, all three of you?

Victoria:
[charmed] My dear little hobgoblin… Here is our Royal Seal. [holds out the seal; Baldrick takes it and slowly kneels] We have come to present your master with fifty thousand pounds, and the title of Baron Blackadder, for being the kindest man in England.

Baldrick:
Nummy, Your Majesty!

Ebenezer:
[returning from the back room] Baldrick, what did I tell you I’d do if you didn’t slam the door in the faces of these scrounging loafers?

Baldrick:
But… [Ebenezer moves him aside and grabs the door] Mr Blackadder — [Ebenezer opens the door wide, into Baldrick’s face, then slams the door shut]

Ebenezer:
I’m not at home to guests. [Ebenezer returns to the back room, where the scene now takes place. He sits in the fireside chair. Albert, Victoria and the chair – bearer walk in.]

Albert:
I flatter myself; we are rather special guests, sir…

Ebenezer:
Oh, of course! [stands] I must apologise! It’s not often that one receives a Christmas visit from two such distinguished guests.

Albert:
Ah, so you recognise us at last.

Ebenezer:
Yes. [to Victoria] Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’re the winner of the Round Britain Shortest, Fattest, Dumpiest Woman Competition. And for her to be accompanied by the winner of this year’s Stupidest Accent Award is really quite overwhelming.

Victoria:
Sir! I cannot be —

Ebenezer:
Cork it, Fatso! Don’t you realise that this is the Victorian Age, where — apart from Queen Piglet Features herself [Albert covers Victoria’s ears] — women and children are to be seen and not heard?

Albert:
“Queen Piglet Features”?!

Ebenezer:
Yes — `Empress Oink’, as lads call her. The only person in the Kingdom who looks dafter than her is that stupid Frankfurter of a husband [Albert covers his own ears]. `The Pig & The Prig’ we call them. [approaches them, forcing them back into the front room] How they ever managed to produce their one hundred and twelve children is quite beyond me. The bedchambers of Buckingham Palace must be copiously supplied with blindfolds.

Victoria:
Sir! We have never been so insulted in our entire lives!

[all three of them are now outside the shoppe]

Ebenezer:
[leans out doorway] Well, all I can say is: you’ve been damned lucky. [goes inside and slams the door]

[Later, in the back room, Ebenezer is feasting. Baldrick is pouring a drink.]

Ebenezer:
Ah, Baldrick, this is excellent, excellent — all the riff-raff and the spongers dealt with, and gargantuan quantities of tuck to be gobbled. [slices off a piece of turkey] Here; have a wishbone. [gives wishbone to Baldrick]

[Baldrick breaks the wishbone.]

Ebenezer:
What do you wish?

Baldrick:
I wish there was some meat on this.

Ebenezer:
Those last two were particularly satisfying — it felt just like having a go at the real Queen and Prince Albert.

Baldrick:
It was the real Queen and Prince Albert.

Ebenezer:
Don’t be ludicrous, Baldrick — what would the Queen be doing here?

Baldrick:
Well, she’d come to visit you to reward you for being the nicest man in England, by giving you fifty thousand pounds and the title of Baron Blackadder.

Ebenezer:
Baldrick, it couldn’t have been the Queen; because, when she visits people, she leaves them her Royal Seal.

Baldrick:
What, like this one? [takes seal out of a pocket]

Ebenezer:
Yes, just like tha– [he stares at it in disbelief]