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A cunning plan! Could Ben Elton bring back Blackadder?
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A cunning plan! Could Ben Elton bring back Blackadder?

Name: Blackadder.

Age: The first episode of Blackadder aired in June 1983, so just shy of 41.

“Black Adder! Black Adder! With many a cunning plan! Black Adder! Black Adder! You horrid little man!” You remember, then?

Remember? It’s comedy gold, one of the greatest of all time. The sitcom, written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, starred Rowan Atkinson (who co-wrote the first series), Tony Robinson, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. It ran for four seasons, each set in a different historical period, from the middle ages to the trenches of the first world war – and the show certainly ranks highly in all the best TV lists.

I’m guessing there might be a cunning plan to bring it back? “As cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed professor of cunning at Oxford University.”

Ha! That’s what Edmund Blackadder said to Baldrick in Blackadder Goes Forth, I believe. But go on. Ben Elton has hinted that it might make a return.

Seems to be a thing at the moment – I saw that Mike Myers was teasing a possible return for Austin Powers. Not quite the same. That would be a fourth Austin Powers movie, but Blackadder would return as a play.

Just like John Cleese has adapted Fawlty Towers for a stage show and the musical version of Only Fools and Horses has hit the West End? Much closer. Though Elton is keen to point out that this wouldn’t be an adaptation of the series, but an original play with new material. He did the same with his other sitcom Upstart Crow.

And would Atkinson be lured back, plus the rest of them – Fry, Laurie, Richardson etc? “If they want to be in it, that’s up to them,” Elton told the Sun. Tony Robinson seems to have moved into archaeology. Sorry, that should be Sir Tony Robinson – Baldrick the servant got ennobled before his lord!

Is it a good idea, though? Difficult one. On the one hand it was, as already mentioned, brilliant. On the other hand, younger generations might shrug and go: “Really?” Elton is wary of damaging the legacy. “I’m very clear in my mind we do not want to fuck up something as loved as Blackadder by going back to it.”

And would it be appropriate? I’m thinking of Lord Melchett’s comedy breasts … Me too! But let’s not get into culture wars here.

Do say: “Give the likes of Baldrick the vote and we’ll be back to cavorting druids, death by stoning and dung for dinner.”

Don’t say: “Doesn’t anyone have any new ideas?”

Source: theguardian.com