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28 October 2014

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Blackadder II

Blackadder, Baldrick and a sailor

The second chapter of the historical sitcom transports us to Elizabethan England and to a particularly cunning member of the Queen's court, a certain Edmund, bastard great-great-grandson of the Blackadder of series I.

But while the two may be related, this Blackadder turns out to be an altogether different beast, making up for what he lacks in royal lineage and incompetence with a biting wit, greed and cowardly cunning.

The last of these comes in particularly useful in trying to appease the wildly swinging moods of the Queen, who could be on the point of either marrying or beheading him.

At court, Blackadder must counter Lord Melchett (Stephen Fry), the Lord Chamberlain and a rival for the Queen's affections who often sees through Edmund's scheming.

Rowan Atkinson and Tim McInnerney in Blackadder II

Meanwhile, in his household Blackadder has to cope with the unwanted adoration of the cowardly Lord Percy and with being waited on by the worst servant in London, namely another member of the Baldrick family who manages to be even filthier and more idiotic than his ancestor.

With Rowan Atkinson stepping down from co-scripting duties with Richard Curtis to be replaced by Ben Elton, the newly Machiavellian Blackadder was a wonderful creation and Atkinson revelled in the role, gleefully delivering his stream of hilarious one-liners.

He was matched by consistently funny storylines taking in subjects from Walter Raleigh's adventuring to Puritanism, and so strong was the new formula that for many Blackadder fans this is where the classic sitcom really begins.

Miranda Richardson & Patsy Byrne in Blackadder II

Bringing the story to life was a sensationally talented cast, including regulars Tony Robinson and Tim McInnerny as well as Miranda Richardson's wonderful portrayal of the histrionic Queen and Patsy Byrne as her attendant: Nursie.

Also cropping up throughout were barnstorming turns by guest stars; especially Rik Mayall as Court favourite Lord Flashheart (in the episode Bells) and Hugh Laurie as the evil Prince Ludwig, The Indestructible (in Chains).

If there had been any doubts about Blackadder after the first series they were now banished by the unfettered brilliance of this follow-up.


Tony Robinson
Miranda Richardson
Queen Elizabeth I
Rowan Atkinson
Lord Edmund Blackadder
Tim McInnerny
Lord Percy
Stephen Fry
Lord Melchett
Patsy Byrne


Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Mandie Fletcher
John Lloyd

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