Sunday, August 22, 2010

Now Showing - "Black Adder: The Foretelling"

As history the first episode in the first series of Blackadder functions almost as well as William Shakespeare's Richard III (meaning accuracy matters less here than entertainment); fortunately, as entertainment it succeeds beautifully. Entitled The Foretelling, it stars Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, and special guest star Peter Cook as Richard III. Written by Atkinson and Richard Curtis, it originally aired in June 1983.

Having overslept (and thus nearly missed the Battle of Bosworth Field) the hapless Prince Edmund hurries thence; along the way he discovers someone trying to steal his horse, and kills him. The fact that this someone is swathed in ermine and royal purple, wearing a helmet with three feathers on it, and generally looking exactly like the King means nothing to this dull plodder, who only realizes too late that he's committed yet another cock-up. Hilarity (if not exactly history) ensues...

This segment features Elspet Gray as the entirely fictional (although altogether probable) Gertrude of Flanders, Edmund's mother and a Belgian nymphomaniac to boot; it also boasts a fine example of the superb yelling skills of Brian Blessed, who at the end of it is crowned King Richard IV - rather than Perkin Warbeck or Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York (one of the unlucky Princes in the Tower whom history tells us died at the hands of Richard III) instead his childless uncle's protege and heir.

Despite heaping ill-begotten honours upon himself by generally weaselly means, the misfortunes just keep piling up for Prince Edmund; not only does the wealthy man he's nursing back to health for the reward money turn out to be Henry Tudor, he's suddenly haunted by the headless ghost of the dead King, who keeps calling him Edna. I just hate it when that happens...

In the end, of course, Edmund manages to slither out of things pretty neatly, bumbling through history for a total of 27 classic episodes in all. As the action closes on the first chapter, Edmund is summoned to a misty moor by three witches, who foretell of his one day becoming King. To see if he succeeds, well, you'll just have to spend a mere 13 and a half hours watching the entire clever schamozzle unfold...
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1 comment:

Daniel said...

It's impossible to choose one, but I love the weaselling old rubber-face does in this series.
"They don't call me Clever Pete, at all" ahaha.
The externals were filmed at Alnwick Castle, just a few miles from my childhood home.
Now more famous, of course, for the CGI abortion that is Hogwarts. And, for a bit of gossip from an insider... Th scene for Posh and Becks' son's birthday party... The date was already booked for a wedding, but the happy couple were even happier to have their mortgage paid off for changing the date.

My kid will be kicking a football before he's on to solids, I swear to that.