OK, so I may once have complained about US-Centricness on Everything but that doesn't mean I think we should go all the way in the other direction and produce writeups that are meaningless to those not raised on Elton/Atkinson comedy.

Baldrick is a character from the hugely popular (in Britain at least) BBC television comedy series, "Blackadder". Played by Tony Robinson, in the first Blackadder series (set in Medieval England), Baldrick was the servant of Prince Edmund Blackadder. Despite being regarded as something lower down on the evolutionary scale than a tapeworm, the Baldrick of these programmes was blessed with an ability for remarkable insight into complicated situations; an ability that saved his master's life on more than one occasion.

In later series of Blackadder, Baldrick's character shifted slightly. He was made into a straightforward receptacle for all the one-liners and slapstick from Blackadder, whose social standing slipped as the centuries passed: from a prince, to a courtier to Queen Elizabeth, to the Prince Regent's butler and finally to a mere captain in the trenches of Flanders. No matter how low things got for Blackadder, however, there was always a Baldrick lurking somewhere further down the evolutionary tree, and always in Blackadder's service.

The Baldrick of Blackadder series 2 and 3 was a stereotypical village idiot; rarely capable of showing any flashes of insight and concerned with little more than where his next turnip was coming from. In the 4th series, Blackadder Goes Forth, something of the original Baldrick shines through: for once, some of his cunning plans could actually prove to be quite useful.

Tony Robinson's genius at playing the character of Baldrick has been at least as much the reason behind the success of Blackadder as that of Rowan Atkinson. The small, stupid but ultimately big-hearted fool that he turned Baldrick into helped make the concept an instant classic, and most of the truly great Blackadder moments involve him in some way or other.

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