The Army Years

This monologue was performed at the Dominion Theatre, London for the Royal Variety Performance 2000. Ben Elton, as compere of the Royal Variety Performance introduced the sketch.

Blackadder – The Royal Variety Performance 2000

Written and Introduced by Ben Elton
Transcribed by Adam Pritchard

Ben Elton:
So ladies and gentleman for something rather different. Tonight we are celebrating a great British tradition and tradition is something we do very well in Britain. Some of our noblest families go back many, many centuries, and some popped over from Germany a lot more recently. Perhaps our oldest and most celebrated family of all is the Blackadder dynasty and now representing the current generation of malcontents please welcome from Her Royal Highness?s regiment of shirkers Captain, the Lord Edmund Blackadder.

(Blackadder Theme tune, Blackadder enters the stage in a modern army uniform)

All right, settle down, settle down. Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentleman. The world is changing and Her Majesties Armed forces must change with it. Consider Britain and it’s position in the world today.

At the beginning of the last century just 200 years ago, Britain kept the peace in a quarter of the entire globe. The sun they say never set on the British Empire. Now what have we got? The Channel Islands… The Germans have bought Rolls Royce… All the newsreaders are Welsh, although that may not be relevant. And most foreigners think that the Union Jack is based on an old dress design for one of the Spice Girls.

So what is to be done? Well the answer to my mind is very simple. If we are to re-establish our position in the world, the army must return to its traditional role, the very reason for which it exited in the first place. We must invade France.

No No, No No I’m serious. Our advanced guard of Mad Cows has already done a superb job. And the French are in disarray. Now is the time for actual occupation. Now you may say why France? Well that’s a very good question. But I can think of three reasons.

Firstly whenever we try to speak their language the sneer at us and talk back to us in English. God they are so irritating. Secondly they deliberately won the world cup by maliciously playing better football than us. And thirdly, simple political strategy, look at the history books whenever Britain fought the French we were top dog.

For 500 years from Agincourt to the Battle of Waterloo, Britain went from strength to strength and gained the greatest empire the world has ever known. The minute we start getting chummy with the garlic chewers, within three short decades we’re buggered.

Hello obvious connection alert!

So that’s the secret, if Mr Blair wants us to be at the heart of Europe, let us simply go to the heart of Europe. Gather together those submarines, which don’t leak; prime those rifles, which do not jam. Get the army to Waterloo Station buy 15 thousand tickets on the Eurostar and invade France…

Or, we could just wait for the Euro to drop a bit more and then simply buy the place. It?s just a thought sir, just a thought.

(Exits, theme playout)

Ben Elton:
Lord Blackadder ladies and gentleman, great treat to see him back.

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