Biblical Blackadder Uncovered in NEW Book!


A draft script for a Christmas episode of Blackadder has come to light during research for a new book about the BBC’s classic comedy series.

Blackadder in Bethlehem sees Rowan Atkinson’s character as the owner of the inn where Joseph and Mary seek a bed for the night.

The story also features Baldrick, the Three Kings – and a talking turkey.

Written in 1988, the script was given to comedy historian Jem Roberts by writer Richard Curtis.

Roberts describes it as “completely unofficial Blackadder”.

Fragments of the unfinished script appear in his book, The History of the Black Adder, which is published later this week.

In the book, Curtis that he abandoned the idea “for fear it would cause too much offence”.

Instead, it was the Dickensian-themed Blackadder’s Christmas Carol that went into production, and was broadcast on 23 December 1988.

Blackadder ran for four series between 1983 and 1989, starring Atkinson as Blackadder and Tony Robinson as his dogsbody Baldrick.

There were also some stand-alone stories, the last of which was Blackadder: Back and Forth in 1999.

“When you write a book about a comedy world, there is a dream that you’ll be invited into this Ali Baba’s cave of unbelievable archive material,” Roberts told the BBC. “I always presumed that would never be the case with Blackadder.”

But Roberts was amazed when he was handed the previously unseen script while interviewing Curtis at his offices in Notting Hill.

“He printed out a document from his computer and said, ‘see what you want to do with this’.

“My jaw dropped when I saw I was holding a lost Blackadder script.

Roberts added: “He wrote on the script that one of the reasons it didn’t get used was because it was a strange cross between Fawlty Towers and Life of Brian.

“He didn’t think he was going to make it compare to either of them. That’s his reason for it never getting any further than it did.”

Set on 24 December at the Blackadder Inn in Bethlehem, the opening scene features an exchange in the foyer between Blackadder and Baldrick about getting a turkey for the “most important night in the history of this hotel”.

In the next scene, Baldrick is in the kitchen with a turkey which starts to remonstrate with him about being plucked and eaten.

Later, Joseph arrives looking for a room. Blackadder offers him Baldrick’s lodgings.

BLACKADDER: How about I offer you this young man’s room?

JOSEPH: That sounds excellent.

BLACKADDER: Yes. It’s not that excellent – less of a room, more of a manger.

“It wasn’t a huge script, there were massive amounts missing,” explains Roberts. “It’s the rough workings of a comic genius.”

The author said he wanted to write the history of Blackadder from the point of view of a “devoted fan”, to mark the 30th anniversary of the first pilot episode of The Black Adder.

The book was written with the co-operation of writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, producer John Lloyd and the cast and crew.

Roberts’s previous book was The Fully Authorised History of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’.

But what did Roberts think of the talking turkey scene in Curtis’s re-discovered script?

“In the Blackadder universe there are ghosts and witches, so there could have been talking turkeys – why not?”

“If they had made Blackadder in Bethlehem, it would have been very off-the-wall.”

New Blackadder Book – Just in time for Xmas

Published on October 11th to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the first pilot episode of The Black Adder, The True History of the Blackadder: The Unadulterated History of the Creation of a Comedy Legend is the complete history of the series with the co-operation of writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, producer John Lloyd, cast and crew. Including hitherto unseen material including extracts from a previously unseen and unproduced Christmas special.

Written by J. F. Roberts, comedy historian and author of The Fully Authorised History of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’, This True History will be the very first in-depth examination of the creation of a British institution like no other, arguably the greatest sitcom of all time – not to mention the first scholarly historical investigation into the lives of the Blackadder family, one of the nation’s most vilified dynasties.

With the participation of John Lloyd, Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed and many more, this will be the definitive history of the epic comedy. Using all existing archive footage and rare literature, plus new revelations from personal interviews with the makers themselves, historian J.F. Roberts relates the full scope of the tale of how the 70s alumni of three great universities – Oxford, Cambridge and not Hull, but Manchester – discovered a unique chemistry that would see them build a timeless comic masterpiece.

This is the TRUE History of The Black Adder in which Blackadder fans can, at last, uncover THE most cunning plan of all, in its full hideous hilarity.

The book is published on October 11th by Preface Publishing and is available from all/some good/rubbish book sellers including in the UK.

Blackadder The Third – 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th anniversary since Blackadder The Third was first aired on television.

To celebrate this momentous  occasion, I will be wittering on about the series on BBC Radio Oxford today.

Happy birthday Blacky!

Rowan Returns To West End

Source: What’s on Stage

Rowan Atkinson will return to the West End early next year to play the title role in a revival of Simon Gray’s Quartermaine’s Terms.

Produced by Michael Codron and directed by Richard Eyre, it opens at Wyndham’s Theatre on 29 January 2013 (previews from 23 January) following runs at the The Theatre Royal Brighton (8 – 12 January) and the Theatre Royal Bath (14 – 19 January).

Set in the 1960s in an English language school for foreigners, Gray’s 1971 play is a humorous and poignant account of several years in the lives of seven teachers.

At the heart of the group is St John Quartermaine (Atkinson) – kind, pleasant and agreeable, but utterly hopeless as a teacher. An almost permanent feature in the staff room, he’s always available to listen to the problems of his self-obsessed colleagues. But when a new Principal is appointed, Quartermaine’s future looks precarious.

Quartermaine’s Terms will mark Rowan Atkinson’s first appearance in a play for almost 25 years. He first appeared in the West End in 1981 in Rowan Atkinson in Revue, also produced by Michael Codron and subsequently in The New Revue, The Nerd, The Sneeze and most recently as Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of the musical Oliver!, for which he received a Award.

Blackadder voted best British TV show EVER!

While this is something I have always known, it seems others also share this belief as Blackadder has been voted the best British TV show ever in a recent poll ahead of such classics as Sherlock, Dr. Who and Father Ted.

Two more comedies –  Fawlty Towers and Father Ted – came second and third respectively in the poll of 13,500 people carried out by the film subscription service LoveFilm.

Here’s the top ten for your enjoyment:

1. Blackadder
2. Fawlty Towers
3. Father Ted
4. Only Fools and Horses
5. Dr Who
6. Sherlock
7. Have I Got News For You
8. Red Dwarf
9. The Inbetweeners
10. Top Gear

David Nunn – 1962-2012

David NunnIt is with sadness that I write to inform you that actor David Nunn, who appeared in three episodes of The Black Adder and for me is most fondly remembered as the fat orphan in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, passed away earlier this week; he was aged 49.

His friend, Robert Taylor who contacted me, said “Dave was a friend of mine and a lovely man and will be missed by all”.

My thoughts and condolences to family, friends and those that knew him.


Baldrick wants a reunion but can’t afford a House

Original story: Daily Express

TONY ROBINSON has revealed he wants to make a new Blackadder series but there’s a drawback: “We can’t afford Hugh Laurie’s salary.”

The 65-year-old actor, who played Baldrick in the TV comedy for six years during the Eighties, told Day & Night that he has been longing for another stab at the show and is confident that creator and lead star Rowan Atkinson fancies reuniting.

“Yes I would but I don’t think we’d be able to afford Hugh Laurie’s salary do you?” he told us at the Chortle awards this week. “Rowan’s said he’d be up for it. The story always was that we’d do one where Rowan, aka Blackadder, was the bastard son of Queen Elizabeth II who used to hang around the King’s Road in the Sixties and had his own rock band including a drummer with no hair called Bald Rick. If ever that happened I’d certainly be up for that.”

Robinson says he was riddled with self-doubt when making the series but now can see its worth as a British comedy great.

“I always used to beat myself up because I thought I was terrible and it was terrible. Just occasionally I’ll catch a glimpse of it on TV and think, ‘I’m quite proud of that!’ It’s a nice feeling to have.”

However the Time Team host adds: “Every decade people say, ‘Comedy isn’t what it used to be’ and I think that’s totally disproved. The amount of good work on TV is fantastic.”

Blackadder Fandom USA-Style

I just wanted to share with you an image sent in from a Blackadder fan over in the U S of A..

Not content with buying all the DVDs, books and videos, this mad bint has got her own personalised car registration plate.

I for one think its bloody brilliant and shows dedication to the Blackadder cause.

number plate

Thanks for sharing. If you’re in Connecticut and you spot it, do honk your horn!

Blackadder duo Curtis and Elton reunite

After more than 10 years since they last collaborated on Blackadder Back & Forth, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton are writing new material together.

“I’ve just started working on a new project with Richard,” Elton explained at the first night of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem at the Royal Albert Hall. “It’s been a long time since we worked together so it is fun.”

Curtis, who went on to write and direct, is, however, unlikely to be creating another series of Blackadder with Elton.

“It is so lovely that everyone wants it back that it’s almost a shame to do it and ruin that,” says Elton. “The new stuff will be original, but I can’t reveal anymore than that.”

– end

I originally saw this story on the telegraph, but they incorrectly stated that it had been over 20 years since they had worked together. What’s funny is that they lead the story with a still from Blackadder Back & Forth.