Rowan Atkinson and the cast of legendary comedy series Blackadder are back for this one-off documentary special to mark 25 years since the original BBC transmission in 1983. Featuring ... See full summary »
It is 1917, and lunatic General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett is leading the British troops at the front lines against the Germans, while everyone waits for Field Marshall Haig's big push. There are various emotions throughout the camp about it. For Captain Kevin Darling, Melchett's bull-dog-like right-hand man, it makes no difference, as it appears he will be safe and sound with the general when the big push occurs. For Lieutenant George Colhurst Saint Barleigh, he is overly excited at thrashing the Germans. For Private S. (probably for Sod-Off) Baldrick, it's a terrifying experience he is not looking forward to. For Captain Edmund Blackadder, however, it's something he's too cowardly too face. Self-centered, arrogant, and sarcastic, Blackadder is always constantly searching for a way out of this silly war, and will try various, often crazy, variations on escape, all of which will take a turn he never expected. Sharing a dugout with George and Baldrick, his main obstacle for ... Written by
Tim McInnerny had declined to continue his role as Lord Percy or take the part of the foolish Prince George in Black Adder the Third (1987), for fear of being typecast as an idiot; as a consequence, his part in the fourth season is much more shrewd and wicked than any of his earlier characters. See more »
Throughout the series, Blackadder and George, both front-line officers in the trenches, are show with their rank insignia displayed on their cuffs, whereas Melchett and Darling, staff officers, are shown with their rank insignia on their shoulders. In reality, this would have been reversed: Cuff insignia was the standard, but front-line officers were allowed to wear theirs on their shoulders to make them less conspicuous to snipers. Shoulder insignia eventually became an army-wide personal option in 1917, and made permanent in 1920 when the cuff insignia was abolished completely. See more »
In the opening credits, Captains Blackadder and George lead a battalion in parade past General Melchett and Captain Darling (with Private Baldrick in the marching band playing a triangle). The closing credits are a grainy 1920s newsreel of the same battalion heading into battle, with Melchett and Darling walking casually but quickly in the other direction... See more »
While I can think of plenty of WWII comedies, comedies about WWI are few and far between. Okay, there is Chaplin's Shoulder Arms, but then I fail to think of anything - apart from these glorious 6 half-hour long pieces of British Comedy. There are reasons for this scarcity, most notably that hardly anything happened during the war, except that millions of soldiers died in their muddy trenches. Not much room for a comedy writer to get his teeth into, is there?
Well, watch this and you'd be surprised how much one can squeeze out of that setting. The main angle is the absurdity of it all, which our hero, Edmund Blackadder, is fully aware of. Alas, he's the only one and so his cynicisms and sarcasms remain undetected by the other characters. The highlights of the series are thus Blackadder's one-liners (well, often a bit longer than one line).
If you have grown up watching TV comedy US style only then you may find the conclusion of the series rather disturbing.
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