Update 27/04/23: While the exact broadcast dates have not yet been confirmed, Gold have stated that the new commissions will air the week of the anniversary, 15th June.
TV channel Gold is set to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic British sitcom Blackadder with two new documentaries that offer insights into the making of the show. The channel will air Blackadder: The Lost Pilot and Blackadder: A Cunning Story, as well as episodes from all four series of the show.
In Blackadder: The Lost Pilot, Sir Tony Robinson (who played Baldrick in the show) takes viewers on a personal journey to uncover the story of the never-before-broadcast 1982 pilot episode which interestingly didn’t star Sir Tony in the now iconic role of Baldrick. Robinson speaks with series co-creator Richard Curtis and writer Ben Elton (who joined from Season 2 onwards), among other comedy greats, to learn more about where the show really began. The climax of the program will be a special screening of the lost pilot.
Robinson has described his journey of discovery as “wonderful”, stating that Blackadder holds a special place in his heart and in the nation’s heart. He is delighted to be a part of the 40th-anniversary celebrations on Gold, and to chat with some of the biggest names in comedy who made it all happen.
The second documentary, Blackadder: A Cunning Story, features contributions from Jack Whitehall, Sarah Hadland, Ardal O’Hanlon, Nina Wadia, and other “biggest fans” of the show. It takes a look back at the making of the entire Blackadder series, commemorating the 40th anniversary. The program promises to offer fascinating insights into how this legendary series was made and why it still stands up today. As one of the biggest fans of the show, having appeared in previous Blackadder TV specials on both Gold and BBC1, and as someone that has been running a Blackadder website since 1997, and probably the original online source for information about the pilot episode, I’m a bit disheartened not to have been asked to appear as I’ve certainly had conversations with someone from the production team about this very programme.
Aside from the two new documentaries, Gold will also air episodes from all four series of Blackadder throughout June, with the new commissions airing during the week of the anniversary, from June 15th. Gerald Casey, UKTV’s channel director, described Blackadder as “beloved by our Gold audience and still going strong on the channel.” Casey added that Gold viewers could expect “big laughs guaranteed.”
Blackadder fans have been eagerly awaiting news of new content, with the show having last aired in 1989. The lost pilot episode is particularly exciting for fans, as while it has been viewable online for many years and information about the episode has been on this very website since before the millennium, the new documentaries promise to offer a unique insight into the making of the series, including interviews with key cast and crew members.
Gold’s celebration of Blackadder’s 40th anniversary is sure to be a treat for fans of the show, as well as for anyone interested in the history of British comedy. With its clever writing, unforgettable characters, and enduring popularity, Blackadder is a true icon of British television.