The Black Adder was a television show broadcast in four series by the BBC. The first series, The Black Adder, takes place at the end of the 15th century and was first broadcast in 1983. The second series takes place during the reign of Queen
Elizabeth I (1558-1603) and was broadcast in 1986. The third series is set in the reign of King George III (the bloke what lost America)
and was broadcast in 1987. The fourth and final series takes place in 1917, on the Western Front in World War I and was first broadcast in 1989.
The series were written by Rowan Atkinson (series 1), Richard Curtis (all) and Ben Elton (series 2, 3 and 4).
The episodes are:
- The Black Adder
- "The Foretelling"
- Richard III is defeated at Bosworth Field and his son,
Richard IV, the father of Prince Edmund
(The Black Adder), becomes the king.
- "Born to be King"
- While the king, Richard IV, is off on a crusade,
the court is thrown into crisis by charges of
- "The Archbishop"
- Prince Edmund is appointed the
Archbishop of Canterbury after the previous
archbishops prove to be intractable for
the king's purposes.
- "The Queen of Spain's Beard"
- Prince Edmund is forced to marry
an eligible, young princess.
- "Witchsmeller Pursuivant"
- Prince Edmund is accused of being a
witch and is nearly burned at the stake.
- "The Black Seal"
- His ambition to become king thwarted,
Prince Edmund plots to steal the
throne, which he does. Briefly.
- Blackadder II
- Edmund Blackadder hires Bob, a page boy, only
falls in love with "him".
- Edmund is appointed the
Lord High Executioner and accidentally executes
the wrong man (or, rather, the right man but at the
- Edmund travels the world in an
attempt to show up the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh.
- Edmund finds himself in debt to the
Baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wales
and has to weasel his way free.
- Edmund needs to put on two parties
at once -- a raging kegger for his friends and a
tea party for his relatives.
- Edmund is captured by interrogators
of the Spanish Inquisition and held for ransom
and need to escape.
- Blackadder III
- "Dish and Dishonesty"
- The new prime minister threatens to bankrupt
Edmund's master, the Price Royal,
and he must meet the PM's challenge
- "Ink and Incapability"
- Dr. Samuel Johnson approached the Prince to
be the patron of his new book, The Dictionary.
- "Nob and Nobility"
- Edmund tries to rescue a nobleman from the
Reign of Terror during the French Revolution
- "Sense and Senility"
- The Prince hires a pair of actors to help him
improve his elocution only to suspect that they are
- "Amy and Amiability"
- The Prince is broke and Edmund has
to find a commoner for him to marry.
- "Duel and Duality"
- Edmund has to take the Prince's
place in a duel with the Duke of Wellington.
- Blackadder Goes Forth
- "Captain Cook"
- Edmund schemes to get a cushy
position as a war artist instead of being a
- "Corporal Punishment"
- After he eats a prize carrier pigeon,
Edmund is put on trial.
- "Major Star"
- In another attempt to escape the front,
Edmund puts on a music hall
show for the troops.
- "Private Plane"
- Edmund joins the flying corps
only to be captured by the Germans.
- "General Hospital"
- When a spy is suspected of being in the hospital,
Edmund is send to investigate.
- In the waning days of the
First World War, Edmund
and his company are sent over the top.
In addition to the twenty-four regular episodes, there were two specials, "The Cavalier Years" (which I've seen) and a Christmas Special (which I haven't). "The Cavalier Years" takes place at the tail end of Charles I's rule.
[Editor's Note, 6/1/2002: adjusted some links.]
[Editor's Note, 13th June 2002: corrected details of who wrote which series.]
[Editor's Note, 11th March 2007: Corrected the titles of the latter three series.