Friday, 29 January 2010

Blackadder's Missing Episode- As Forgotten as a Goldfish with Alzheimer's

Blackadder - The Unaired Pilot Episode-Part 1 of 5

Gold is struck here, as we see the unaired pilot of historical comedy sitcom "Blackadder"(created by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson), with the most glaring difference being, no Tony Robinson as Baldrick, who is so enamoured with that role, is being played by Phillip Fox. A more normal looking, cleaner looking and less dishellved younger man. It's funny, because you almost feel outraged it's not Tony Robinson, but back then it was only a fully formed idea, waiting for viewer judgement. Rowan Atkinson is still Edmund Blackadder, however it is very much different from the following first series, but a closer representation of the second series, as this pilot is set in Elizabethan times, wheras the first series is set in the dark/middle ages. Edmund's character here is a mixture of the weasly but arrogant first series Edmund Blackadder, but with some of the conviction and wittiness of the second series Blackadder, and you could say his recurring roles along the timeline in the third and fouth series. The pilot also features future Blackadder regular and seconadary joke-bait to Baldrick, Tim McInnerny playing as servant Percy. The other cast members to survive from the pilot were Scottish actress Elspet Gray, who retained her role as a Queen in the first "Blackadder"series, this time as Gertrude of Flanders, and gruff-voiced Alex Norton, future lead star of "Taggart", playing the role of Scots warrior McAngus.

Hosting one-off appearances, most notably, is John Savident who came to future prominence as Coronation Street's Fred "I say, I say" Elliott in the 90's. Prince Harry was played by Robert Bathurst, to be be replaced by Robert East in the actual series.

The first series of "Blackadder" or "Blackadder the First" wasn't a huge success, and was not hugely funny. The set and widely varied location settings rather than studio sets, for outdoor means, were hugley expensive. Baldrick , this time played by Tony Robinson, came across as the smart one while, Blackadder came across as more immature, stupid but with some degree of ruthlessness, that later ancestors would have. However, after having to take a large budget cut, the second series with some new blood like Stephen Fry. Miranda Richardson and a more sarcastic, and acid-tongued Edmund Blackadder returned, an immensely stupid Baldrick, in the settiing of the Elizabethan period, like the pilot, but better. Blackadder retained the perfect composition of Blackadder and Baldrick, through the other 2 series, with some changes and coming going from the surrounding main cast. The Third series set in the 18th Century, this time introducing new cast member Hugh Laurie, as the Prince Regent. Between the third and fourth series, there were 2 one-off specials of Blackadder, that although not chronologically, it filled out some of the gaps in time periods between the second and fourth. The fourth seres was set during the First World War, taking place in mostly Blackadder's trench, mirthing and satrising the issues of war. Of course we can talk about more in another post...


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