I really should thank Scav for posting this on his LiveJournal. New Blackadder! Well, we can at least hope…
March 27, 2005
Baldrick! The BBC’s plotting to revive us
The BBC has a cunning plan. Senior executives are hoping to bring back the hit comedy Blackadder, possibly as early as the autumn.
They are planning a new story in which Captain Edmund Blackadder, the character from the fourth series Blackadder Goes Forth, survives the first world war.
In the final episode Blackadder and his army comrades were presumed to have died while following General Melchett’s order to “climb out of the trenches and walk very slowly towards the enemy”.
Watched by 14m viewers when it was first shown in 1989, the episode ends with Blackadder wishing his comrades luck before shouting “charge” and heading off into no man’s land.
BBC executives are keen to revive the character, played by Rowan Atkinson, in a post-war setting. The fate of his colleagues, Private Baldrick, Captain Darling and Lieutenant George, has not been disclosed.
The story is expected to continue the anti-war message of Blackadder Goes Forth. BBC executives hope the revival will help to educate younger generations about the war, as well as being entertaining.
Plans for the return have been boosted by the appointment of Peter Fincham as the new BBC1 controller. He is thought to be keen to revive the series. Mark Thompson, the director-general, wants the BBC to focus on producing good comedy.
Tony Robinson, the actor turned television presenter who played Baldrick in all four series, said last week he had heard the rumours of a return “bubbling up” and he would love to do it.
He believes that Atkinson is also keener than in the past to revive the comedy. “It would be lovely, like a reunion of mates. But it’s not really down to me.”
Blackadder began in 1983 as a prince in the court of the medieval King Richard IV, and returned for a second series as Lord Blackadder, a scheming nobleman in the court of Elizabeth I.
In the third, Mr E. Blackadder was butler to the eccentric Prince Regent, played by Hugh Laurie. Other regulars have included the actors Stephen Fry and Tim McInnerny.
The comedy made a fleeting return in a special episode made for the Millennium Dome called Blackadder Back and Forth but subsequent rumours that Blackadder might return in the guise of a Conservative MP or even an astronaut have proved unfounded.
Part of the problem has been the other commitments of the show’s writers: Richard Curtis has become much sought-after following his box-office hits, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill; and co-writer Ben Elton has become a playwright and a bestselling novelist.
Robinson added: “Richard and Ben have mega careers and we have to make sure it is high enough in their priorities.”
The BBC will also have to convince the famously shy Atkinson and Tiger Aspect, an independent production company whose chairman Peter Bennett-Jones is Atkinson’s agent and which owns the rights to the show.
There have been rumors for years of Blackadder‘s return, from “The Blackadder Five” (a take-off on the Beatles), to “Blackadder MI-5” (which was what Johnny English basically was), to even an idea where a Blackadder ancestor was the Thirteenth Disciple (though wasn’t that really Rufus?).
I don’t know that I’m keen on the idea of a series that is a continuance of a previous series. On the other hand, if we presume that, as in real life, fifteen years have passed since the end of Blackadder Goes Forth, then seeing where Captain Blackadder finds himself in the mid-1930s could be interesting and would, when you think about it, make a new series something completely different than Goes Forth.
All we can do is wait and see. If the BBC can bring back Doctor Who after a lengthy hiatus, then surely Blackadder can’t be that far behind.