The arrival of the "Whole Damn Dynasty" (released by Penguin books circa 1999) was just in the nick of time to save us from the ritual torture of the family holiday.
On wet evenings, faced with endless games of charades ("oh it's a scythe!"); uninspired suppers ("it is mud, we ran out of coffee thirteen months ago"); forced conversation ("Contrafibularities sir, it's a common word down our way")and excuses for attempting to avoid savage games of monopoly ("is that genuinely mad or has he just put his underpants on his head and stuffed two pencils up his nose")this book became our saviour. A chunky paperback offering, the weight of an average turnip, it holds between its hallowed pages the full scripts of all of the Blackadder programmes, including stage directions. Written by Messrs Curtis and Elton, the amusement within is purest green.
Scuffles ensued over who got to play whom, because you just have to act this all out. A system developed whereby character names were put into a hat and we assigned roles without bloodshed. When our voices gave way to croaks, we lovingly gathered around to gaze at the humourous illustrations, including excerpts from Dr Johnson's dictionary, Baldrick's school report and the Blackadder family tree. The more musically inclined could indulge in singing the end credit songs, the lyrics of which are amusing indeed.
Time simply flew by and by the end of the holiday, I had to agree that my daughter's spending of ten pounds on this tome was as "cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University".
Hey, and I still had a bubble when they went over the top
Lord Percy: My Lord, they say that the Infanta's eyes are bluer than the famous Bluestone of Galviston.
Blackadder: And have you ever seen this Bluestone of Galviston Lord Percy?
Lord Percy: No, My Lord.
Blackadder: And have you ever seen the Infanta's eyes?
Lord Percy: No, My Lord.
Blackadder: So what you are telling me Percy, is that something you have never seen is -slightly- bluer than something else you've never seen?
Lord Percy: ........yes My Lord.
Blackadder- The Whole Damn Dynasty is a collection of all the Blackadder scripts across the four series set in Medieval, Elizabethan and Georgian England and the trenches of the First World War, and the book's immense readability and character is testament to how well written the scripts are and how memorable the performance of its cast members has proven.
Each episode's script is presented alongside well-written scene descriptions and stage directions that add depth and flow, whilst the scripts are decorated with illustrations relevant to the era in which each is set: etchings of witchburnings and mischievous demons; Elizabethan suits of armour and huge galleys; gentlemen in extravagant Georgian dress and finally rifles, biplanes and lots of barbed wire.
The scripts are immensely entertaining and hugely re-readable, and the authors have also blolstered the material by including generational histories of the various Blackadders in between the series as well as other little tidbits such as a menu from Mrs Miggins' Pie Shop and a list of the duties of the Georgian Prince Regent (Attending the Privy Council, Lunch), the duties of the Royal Butler of the Household (Clearing up huge mounds of the Prince Regent's cock-ups, and his underwear) and the duties of the Butler's Underscrogsman (shit-shovelling, unblocking the mulch-cleats and trimming the scrogs). There's also a detailed diagram of Baldrick's family tree, which includes primeval slime, glossops, polyps, fungi and Hollywood Executives.
The new material is unsuprisingly no match for the original stuff but its lovingly created and bolsters the original material nicely. There are also numerous posed photos of the cast in their various period costumes, and the book ends with an index of Blackadder's finest insults, bringing things to a suitably witty and scathing close. 'The Whole Damn Dynasty' as an entertaining book that can be returned to again and again, and makes a great companion to the the series themselves.
"I'm quite pleased with my definition of 'Dog'."
"Not a cat."
Baldrick and Blackadder
(Blackadder the Third: Ink and Incapability)
Blackadder. Without doubt one of the BBC jewels of the crown in the 1980s, this comedy series starred Rowan Atkinson as the despicable Blackadder and Tony Robinson as his smelly underling Baldrick in four series from 1983 to 1989.
Although the series lasted only 24 episodes, the series was immensely popular, being re-run on television countless times and selling well on both video and DVD.
In the late 1990s, Penguin Publishers released a script book, Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty (ISBN 0140280359), containing the scripts for all four series and this book is the subject of my review.
Most of us (if not all) are familiar with Blackadder so it's not as if we are seeing these scripts for the first time (although there is something lost by not having the rubbery face/sarcastic tones of Rowan Atkinson on screen). The question is, is the book worth buying?
The book is divided into four main sections with many other features dotted throughout.
The first section introduces the Blackadder dynasty with a short piece on it's origins from 800 BC up to the 15th Century, written by writers Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and producer John Lloyd, who also write the other features in the book. This is pretty average stuff, aside from the mention that Baldrick's earliest ancestor can be traced back as far as the construction of Stonehenge, when he was called Bald Reek :)
Then we have the scripts for the first series, The Blackadder, set during medieval times in the 15th Century, which cover Blackadder's attempts to grasp power and eventually become King. This is generally regarded as the weakest of the four series and the scripts show this, lacking the sharp wit that would later be prevalent. The writing team haven't quite got the hang of things yet but at times you can see the direction the series would eventually take ("You ride a horse rather less well than another horse would"). There are two other features called 'Instruments of Torture' and Medieval Medicine', both meant to be amusing but which aren't funny, or necessary.
The second section covers Blackadder II. There is another short chapter on the Blackadder Dynasty up to the early Tudors and then it's straight into the second series scripts. It is set during the Elizabethan/Tudor Era in the 16th Century and deals with Lord Blackadder's attempts to curry favour with the Queen of England, Elizabeth I. This is when the series really started to hit it's stride. The scripts are excellent (and Atkinson seemed more at ease than he did in the first series, pileing on the sarcasm and not having to pull the silly faces he used to do). Blackadder is less of a bumbling oaf, far more cunning and a lot more sarcastic and insulting ("He looks like what he is, a dungball in a dress"). The character continued to be written this way for subsequent series. The only extra feature is 'The Favourites of Queen Elizabeth I', again this is a poor filler and not really needed.
The third section starts with another chapter on the family dynasty (once more surplus to requirements), taking us right up to the scripts for Blackadder the Third. This series is set in Regency times during the 18th Century when Blackadder is serving as Royal Butler to his Highness the Prince Regent. Blackadder is usually to be found trying to extricate himself from problems caused by either the Prince Regent ("He's got a brain the size of a weasel's wedding tackle") or Baldrick ("If I wanted to talk to a vegetable I would have bought one at the market"). Generally regarded as inferior to series 2 and 4 but my personal favourite, especially the script 'Ink and Incapability' which sees Blackadder desperately trying to rewrite the very first copy of the English Dictionary because Baldrick burnt the original manuscript.
There are five more very short features in this section. They fill barely six or seven pages in total and again they're not much cop: 'The Menu in Mrs Miggins` Coffee House', 'The English Class System in the Eighteenth Century', 'The Prince Regent's Laundry List' (yup, socks), 'Dr Johnson's Dictionary' and 'Baldrick`s Family Tree'.
Finally we reach the fourth section beginning with the inevitable family dynasty chapter (inevitably silly, that is) followed by the scripts for Blackadder Goes Forth. By this point we have reached World War I and Captain Blackadder is a soldier in the British Army on the front line in France. Unfortunately he has been stuck in the same trench for three years! The writers are really on top form here, with Blackadder coming out with some great lines ("We've been sitting here since Christmas 1914, during which time millions of men have died and we've moved no further than an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping"). They even manage to make the last episode quite touching as Blackadder and co. go to their certain deaths in No Man's Land.
Three other features are included in this section - 'The Great War', 'Baldrick's School Report' and Captain Darling's Transfer Application'. These are probably the best of the bunch but that isn't saying much.
Finally a mention for the back pages of the book which has a short list of 'Blackadder's Finest Insults'. This is probably the best 'extra' of the book and saves you scouring endless pages for one particular line. Also the final few pages have a short summary of each Comic Relief event since it began in 1985. A nice idea in principle but each event only gets a couple of sentences.
All the little features mentioned above came across as poor filler material to flesh the book out and make it more attractive to buy. Instead of all this nonsense I'd much rather have seen... well, carry on reading.
I've always wondered what, exactly, is the point of a TV script book. To budding script writers it might give them a few ideas in their early careers. They can also be interesting if the TV production is no longer in existence (such as the lost Dad's Army episodes that were junked by the BBC in the 1970s), was never produced for some reason, or is not readily available for you to enjoy on TV or DVD.
Reading a script isn't like reading a novel: scripts just don't 'flow' like novels do. A reader wants more detail, some fleshing out of the story. I'd definitely rather watch the Blackadder shows than read the scripts, unless of course you're looking to memorize loads of one-liners to impress friends in later conversation (No, I did not try this :)).
If the book had lots of little-seen or hard-to-find material, then it would be a different matter. It becomes a more interesting read. Which brings me to my problem with this script book.
It purports to be 'The Whole Damn Dynasty' of everything Blackadder that was ever written.
To which I say: twaddle.
What is most apparent to sad old anoraks like me is the number of glaring omissions in this book. When it purports to be 'The Whole Damn Dynasty', you'd expect it to be a pretty complete guide to all that ever was Blackadder.
It's probably fair to say that pretty much everyone here could quote a few bits of these scripts, and a smaller number could quote verbatim even more. A smaller number than that would know it all off by heart, we've seen it so many times. But what we'd *really* have enjoyed is flicking through the scripts of the OTHER Blackadder material, which we'd forgotten but which is just as damn funny as the four series.
What is that I hear you say? Other Blackadder material?
Yes indeed, and there has been plenty of it - but it isn't in this book. Which is rather odd as it was all written by the same writers - that is, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis - and starred the same actors, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry et al. I'm not talking about unused scripts, but material that was recorded and actually shown on television. This is the stuff that would have interested the most, because as I said we're all familiar with the series scripts anyway.
The book doesn't even get past first base by omitting Blackadder's Christmas Carol for a start.
I could understand the decision to include only the 'main' Blackadder material (see below) in the book but if so, surely 'Christmas Carol' counts in that category? It wasn't a short sketch but a full 50 minute special! Written after Blackadder the Third, and set at the turn of the century, this sees a kindly but poor Blackadder being visited by a ghost who shows him what his ancestors (and future descendants!) got up to during Christmas. It includes all of Blackadder's earlier incarnations which is a treat, as we only got them for six episodes in earlier series. So not including this script leaves a bit of an obvious gap in the book.
And we can go further... Blackadder: The Cavalier Years from Comic Relief? Nope. What about the original pilot that was never shown (with a different actor playing Baldrick, and hence probably slightly different scripts?). Not a sign. And call me picky, but I thought the Blackadder/Baldrick/Terry Wogan interview sketch from Children in Need - which incidentally was one of the funniest Blackadder sketches ever - might have merited inclusion. (Don't try looking this up on the web - I couldn't find a mention of it anywhere... but it did happen - really!).
I wondered where the Millenium Special, Blackadder Back and Forth, was. This was first shown in the Millenium Dome in 2000 and eventually transmitted on television. It wasn't until later that I realised this edition of the book was from 1999, before it was made... but it must have been in the works by then and a mention wouldn't have hurt.
The last Blackadder material to date was at the 2003 Royal Variety Performance where Atkinson portrayed a modern Blackadder in charge of arranging the Queen's Golden Jubilee concert so this is really the only material I can understand not being alluded to.
The book is, however, attractively priced. It's brick-sized (400 pages), and the RRP £10.99 isn't such a bad price to pay (although if you order it from WHSmith Online (the cheapest option), it would only cost £7.69 postage free!). Plus all the cast/crew royalties from the sale of the book go to Comic Relief.
In conclusion, it is not a book I can recommend. I'm not saying the presentation of the book was poor or the scripts were bad (far from it!)... but with all the material they could have included, it's a bit of a lost opportunity.
The four series are preceeded by fully detailed cast lists, and the pleasant 'additions' to the book are the frequent articles inspired by episodes and characters between some episodes. These include double page spreads on topics such as "Medieval Medicine," the options of which are apparently 1. herbs, 2. leeches, 3. saw it off, "Duties of an Underscrogsman" and the hilarious "Baldrick's Family Tree." The book ends with a very useful and entertaining list of "Blackadder's Finest Insults"- usually following the 'stickiest situation since sticky the stick insect got stuck to a sticky bun' formula, and a brief history of the BBC?s Comic Relief, to which some of the book's profits go toward.
This book of the collected scripts for all four Blackadder series, titled The Black Adder, Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth respectively, was an inevitable and important release which was handled incredibly well.
For a start, the book is illustrated and themed to suit each relevant series, with interesting introductory designs and production photographs to each episode and small illustrations within the text to keep the pages interesting. The scripts of the Blackadder series were incredibly well written, despite the occasional obvious joke and the poorer quality of the first series before Ben Elton satirically aided the writing process, and reading it allows a long-time fan to remember famous lines, or newer fans to appreciate episodes and series they have yet to come across. This book kept me entertained on a very uninteresting family holiday several years ago.
Aided by a large number of black and white and colour photos, and very impressive covers on the hardback version, this book unfortunately falls short of perfection only due to the Blackadder episodes that it 'misses'; Blackadder and Baldrick's transitions between each series are described in detail, although no mention is made of the Blackadder specials "The Cavalier Years," a fifteen minute civil war Comic Relief special from the late 1980s, or "Blackadder's Christmas Carol." Considering that these special one-offs could conceivable fit into Blackadder's continuity between the third and fourth series, the fact that they receive no mention is something which maybe ought to have been remedied, although the lengthy scripts already contained certainly make the book an essential purchase to anyone who loves to quote great programmes. And there are certainly few modern comedies which even come close to rivalling the whole damn Blackadder dynasty.
It has also been very helpful in providing modern day comedy quips about the Great War for my eventual A-level English Literature exam. I hope to get some Iron Maiden lyrics in there as well. I would also recommend the complete Blackadder series on DVD, one of the finest comedy series of all time.
I'm probably the wrong person the review this book because I cannot step back and be either objective or critical.My favourie comedies of all time would be Fawlty Towers and the Blackadder series (I couldn't possibly choose between the two!!) closely followed by Red Dwarf and Only Fools and Horses.Given to me as a christmas present - '98 I believe - by my younger brother,this book has to be a prized possesion. My hardback edition,published in 1998,is 460 pages long that not only contains the full and original scripts to all four series of this legendary comedy but also many illustrations photos of the characters and additional sections dubbed 'The Other Bits' which nestling between the scripts are comic pieces relevant to the scripts within which they lie. The cover is a plain black with 'Black Adder' written large in yellow in the style of the first series dwarfing in plain print but also yellow 'The Whole Damn Dynasty' above four framed photos of Rowan Atkinson as Edmund - one from each series.Underneath the photos,in white is '1485-1917'.Open the main cover to you'll see,hidden by the inner dust jacket and on the reverse of the cover a photo of Edmund from the original series brandishing a sword while on the oppsoite page is a ensemble photo of the main characters of the second series including 'Bernard'(Nursey) and the ravashing Queenie.The inner dust jacket sums it up 'Are you looking for a book that is as cunning as a fox that has just been made Professer of Cunning at Oxford University?Look no further......'and at the bottom of the jacket it goes on to explain that all the royalties from the sales of this book will go to Comic Relief,if you possibly needed another excuse to buy it,followed by the price - extremely good value for money at £15.99. After the publishing data etc. the contents begin with the 'The Scipts' with the series headings each follow
ed by the individual script title then 'The Other Bits' which include a comic background piece to each series dubbed 'The Blackadder Chronicles' parts one to four and individual gems such as 'Instruments of Torture In The Late Middle Ages' or 'Baldrick's Family Tree' finally the 'List of Illustrations' which contain a list of photos and drawings. After the contents we find the first of the chronicles 'The Blackadder Chronicles Part One : From The Dawn Of History To 1484' which descibes British history tainted by the Blackadder dynasty from the coming of man to these isles,the first recorded Blackadder - Edmun the Druid,the construction of Stonehenge,the Roman conquest through to The Crusades and The Hundred Years War until we arrive shortly afterwards in 1484.On the opposite page headed 'The Black Adder' there is a list of the individual episodes,turn the next page for a complete series cast list.Now we come to what is the true brilliance of the book,the scripts themselves. Series 1 - The Black Adder.'History has known many great liars.Copernicus.Goebbels.St Ralph the Liar.....'.The Foretelling begins with the narrative introduction from the first episode which goes on to explain that contrary to Tudor propaganda,King Richard III not only won the Battle of Boswoth Field but was neither killed by Henry Tudor nor proceeded by him as king.King Richard's son,Richard Duke of York became king after the battle and it is this episode that reveals how all this came about and who really killed King Richard III.It is during the fictitious reign of Richard IV that the series is set and it is the quality of the scripts which set the tone for the entire Blackadder series to come.Opening on the eve of the battle,Bosworth Field,this episode and the series is full of cleverly and historically altered Shakespearian quotations from his plays Richard III and Henry V amongst others - 'Now
is the summer of our sweet content made overcast winter by these Tudor clouds.' or 'Once more unto the breach my friends,once more.Consign their parts most private to a Rutland tree....',Curiously though Edmund seems,in contrast to the following series,to display less wit than Baldrick,though Lord Percy is as wet and brainless to start with as in the next series.Like after King Richard III's death and the crowning of his father,Edmund while trying to decide on a suitable name to call himself triumphantly shouts '..Or,as I shall be known from now on....heroic pause.....The Black Vegetable!' to which Baldrick replies '...wouldn't something like the Black Adder sound better' and an immortal comic character is born. The first series,in which Edmund,King Richard IV's second and scarecly noticed son revolves mainly around Edmund's attempts to gain real power and be recognised by his father over his rather prim and mild-mannered older brother,Prince Harry.The king who's an explosive,bombastic and a true battle hungry Middle Ages monarch in the ever-conquesting Edward I mould rarely even remembers his name calling him Edna,Edwin or Osmund.He finds himself engaged to the awful Spanish Infanta,made Archbishop,organising the 'Frolics' for St Leonards Day,nothing ever goes right for Edmund and it's his devious attempts to wriggle out of these situations that also create the comedy.For me,one of the highlights has to be the 'Witchsmeller Pursuivant' episode where he finds himself on trial for witchcraft. Series 2 - Blackadder II.With Queenie,Lord Meltchett,Nursie along with the first appearences of Bob and the legendary Lord Flashheart,the second series will keep you laughing from start to finish.Edmund in wise,smug and sarcastic mode which he is now so familiar for spends his time avoiding be-heading at the hands of the gloriously child-like yet at times both vicious and magnaminous Qu
een Elizabeth.Cruelly putting down Lord Percy,Lord Meltchett and anyone who crosses his path,Lord Edmund displays a sharp wit that keeps him out of all sorts of scrapes.Full of one off characters like Sir Walter Raleigh,Catpain Redbeard Rum as fodder for Edmund's tongue the second series is prefection. Series 3 - Blackadder III.Losing his idiot friend Lord Percy in this series the third installment is possibly even funnier than the second.Finding himself as the Prince Regent's valet we see who really pulls the royal strings in Regancy Britian.Dr Samuel Johnson,Lord Wellington,Byron,Shelley,Coleridge and Pitt the Younger are some of the famous,historic names fioled by Edmund along with the Scarlet Pimpernel and the parody of Dick Turpin,The Shadow who turns out to be far more than Edmund bargained for.In the last episode we get a possible glimpse of why Britain became great after the Prince's duel with Wellington. Series 4 - Blackadder Goes Forth.After the two previous series it would be understandable if the next one failed to outshine them but the last series is possibly the funniest if most piongant of them all.This is not only extremely funny but has a tragic quality that raises it above just pure comedy.Set in the trenches of First World War,Captain Edmund Blackadder aware of the futility and waste that trench warefare has descended into plots and schemes to get out of the 'over the top' attacks that he knows he and his companions have no hope of surviving.The staff officers,brilliantly portrayed in the shape of,the out of touch private schoolboy gone mad,General Meltchett and the genious comic creation,the spineless and simpering Captain Darling,always manage to keep Blackadder and Baldrick along with the ever enthusiastic Lieutenant George from escaping the horror of the trenches.With the welcome return of Bob and Lord Flashheart this series although one of a truly classic comedy series stands on its own.The close o
f the series while sad,they don't escape the final attack,seems to fit the subject matter because for all the mocking and sideswipes of the First World War the comedy does descend into what could have been a disrespectful tone towards what was a violent and horrific period of history.Indeed the photo on the opposite page to the end of the script from the last episode of poppies displays the sort of respect that should be shown for the fallen of this war.This series gets fifteen out of ten. The Other Bits - Here we have pieces medieval medicine,a menu from Mrs Miggins Coffee House,the Prince's Laundry List and Baldrick's School Report but to list a few.These and the illustrations add to what is hugely funny book and entertaining book.Along with the comic pieces dispersed throughout the book like 'Index of Blackadder Finest Insults' the last few pages describe Comic Reliefs work up until publication,christmas 98 in the case of my edition.This is a marvelous book full of comic writings and drawings and a fine addition to the series themselves.I recommend it highly to anyone who loves Blackadder and for those that know nothing of the series,if that's possible,could do worse than to pick up this volume and gain an insight to what is possibly the funniset comedy to ever come from these shores,in other words the funniset comedy of all time because no one does comedy as well as Britian.
This book of the collected scripts for all four Blackadder series, titled The Black Adder, Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth respectively, was an inevitable and important release which was handled incredibly well. For a start, the book is illustrated and themed to suit each relevant series, with interesting introductory designs and production photographs to each episode and small illustrations within the text to keep the pages interesting. The scripts of the Blackadder series were incredibly well written, despite the occasional obvious joke and the poorer quality of the first series before Ben Elton aided the writing process, and reading it allows a long-time fan to remember famous lines, or newer fans to appreciate episodes and series they have yet to come across. This book kept me entertained on a very uninteresting family holiday several years ago. The four series are preceeded by fully detailed cast lists, and the pleasant 'additions' to the book are the frequent articles inspired by episodes and characters between some episodes. These include double page spreads on topics such as "Medieval Medicine," the options of which are apparently 1. Herbs, 2. Leeches, 3. Saw it off, "Duties of an Underscrogsman" and the hilarious "Baldrick's Family Tree." The book ends with a very useful and entertaining list of "Blackadder's Finest Insults"- usually following the 'stickiest situation since sticky the stick insect got stuck to a sticky bun' formula, and a brief history of Comic Relief, to which some of the book's profits go toward. Aided by a large number of black and white and colour photos, and very impressive covers on the hardback version, this book unfortunately falls short of perfection only due to the Blackadder episodes that it 'misses'; Blackadder and Baldrick's transitions between each series are described in detail, although no
mention is made of the Blackadder specials "The Cavalier Years," a fifteen minute civil war Comic Relief special from the late 1980s, or "Blackadder's Christmas Carol." Considering that these special one-offs could conceivable fit into Blackadder's continuity between the third and fourth series, the fact that they receive no mention is something which maybe ought to have been remedied, although the lengthy scripts already contained certainly make the book an essential purchase to anyone who loves to quote great programmes. And there are certainly few modern comedies which even come close to rivalling the whole damn Blackadder dynasty.
Obviously, if you don't like the TV series, you won't like this. If you have never seen the TV series - how? If you've seen and enjoyed it - go out and buy this book immediately. Part of the proceeds go to Comic Relief, which is really good. In any case, this book is a must have for all fans of comedy. In addition to all the scripts from all four series of the Blackadder dynasty, you also get photo's and added extras. If you love the theme tune as I do, then for the third series all the lyrics for each episode are given. Other extras include the menu at Mrs Miggins tea shop, duties of Blackadder in series three, the first edition of the dictionary and Darling's application to be transferred to the Womens Auxillary Balloon Corps. Great! I have always thought that the first series is the weakest and the 4th series is a masterpiece and this book allows you to replay your favourite episodes whenever you want. If you are a big fan of the show, it's impossible to read without hearing the actors in your head (or do I just need therapy?)
This book is very cunning, firstly because some of the proceeds go to Comic Relief - so that's reason enough in my mind to buy it! Secondly, it's an excellent way for the audience to enjoy the Blackadder series' at their own leisure. For those of you who may not know (and I hate writing this bit in opinions, because things like Blackadder are surely familar to most people who will read a review of it. It's not like it's newly released - anyway...) this book contains the scripts from all 4 series: The Blackadder, Blackadder 2nd, 3rd and Blackadder Goes Forth. I've always thought that the first series, although still very enjoyable, is the weakest. In this series Rowan Atkinson plays the Black Adder, son of King Richard IV. The Adder is a sad little creature and Baldrick in this first series is actually cunning. In the 2nd series, Atkinson is Lord Blackadder who swans around the court of the mad queen (with more than a passing resemblance to Liz I). The third series sees him as the Prince Regent's (Hugh Laurie) man and finally in the last series, Adder is a captain in the 1st World War. This book has more than just the scripts and cast lists - it also houses various tit-bits - transcripts of songs, lists of duties of the Prince's (3rd series) servants etc. So, not only can the adder fan delight in acting out the series in their head, you also get a few added extras that provide even more amusement and damned good fun. The Blackadder's are brillantly written, with a sparkling wit running through them all, terrible similies and farcial fun throughout. Totally enjoyable and if you are well-versed in the TV series, you can imagine it all as you've seen it before. Great. Oh - if you are a big fan try http://www.blackadderhall.co.uk/
BlackAdder, The Whole Damn Dynasty 1485-1917 is a superb addition to any book collection. One of the funniest books I have had the pleasure of reading, the humour starts on the dust cover with a quote from the great Edmund Blackadder himself "The greatest work of fiction since vows of fidelity were included in the French marriage service", and the stupid, but much loved, Baldrick whose opinion of the book is simply "Not bad". The book is a collection of the scripts written by Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, John Lloyd, and Rowan Atkinson, for the Blackadder series'. The first series 'The Black Adder' came to our screens in 1983, followed in '85 by my personal favourite 'Blackadder II'. 1987 saw 'Blackadder the Third' and finally in '89 'Blackadder goes Forth'. Presented as four main chapters, one for each series, the forewords of chapter one give some background to history before we are actually introduced to Edmund Blackadder in 1485, (the start of series one). We learn a little about the family history, "The first recorded Blackadder was probably a Druid named Edmun. He worked as an overseer on the construction of Stonehenge...", and the first mention of Baldrick is "..a certain fellow known as Bad Reek, on account of the noxious gases that escaped from his every orifice." - The first chapter "The Black Adder" is set in the Dark Ages. As in each chapter, a full cast listing for the series is included along with the six episode scripts. Small illustrations adorn the pages, and some still shots from the TV screenings are typical representations of Rowan Atkinson's bizarre facial expressions that brought Blackadder to life with such hilarity. Included at the end of chapter one is a double page spread that is titled "Instruments of Torture in the late Middle Ages". Needless to say, this covers some very ingenious methods o
f torture such as "Pruty's Lathe", a "Machine for carving the buttocks into wafer-thin slices and then using them to wallpaper the victim's cell". We are also introduced to "Medieval Medicine", with the only cure for disease and illness being a choice of Herbs, Leeches, or Sawing it off! - "Blackadder II", the second chapter takes basically the same format. We are given some historical background info to fill in the time lapse between this saga, set in Elizabethan times, and the previous one. Again the pages are enhanced visually with illustrations, and there are some screen shots, this time of the key characters of series two. Each script is ended with the 'Ballad' that featured in the title music of that particular episode screening. As if each episode itself is not funny enough, these witty ditty's add to the humour. - Chapter three, "Blackadder the Third" is the Regency period. The same style as before...fill in history, full cast listing and scripts. Extras here include "Mrs Miggins's Coffee House Bill of Fare", although I'm sure that I wouldn't fancy any of the dishes offered such as a starter of "Greyish Lumps with Tubes and Veins in (according to season)", or an entree of "Horses Willy du Jour". You can also read the job descriptions of the Prince Regent, Butler of the Royal Household, and the Underscrogman, which include "Being log-slammed by the rollickers on Shreeve Monday". Needless to say, Baldrick was this Underscrogman. With reference to Baldrick, his family tree also features at the end of this chapter, and relatives include Tony Blair, David Beckham, and Ronald and Nancy Regan! There is also a page from "Dr.Johnson's Dictionary" with definitions such as "Lady..A female gentleman", and "Lee..A small word with several 'e
's in it". - The final chapter, "Blackadder goes Forth", is set in World War I. Placed amongst the scripts and pics, lays Baldrick's school report from "The Fagin School". "AGE: 6.4 (approx)" his ability in most areas was somewhat lacking, but he excelled in "Corporal Punishment". "Good. Baldrick is more enjoyable to beat than many other boys because of the satisfying pigletty squeals he emits. We look forward to seeing more of him next term!". A full page titled "The Great War: A Graphic Illustration of the Front Line December 1915 and June 1917" is highly funny. This supposedly detailed drawing is just a basic picture showing the boundary line between German and British Forces. The only difference in the two is the location of the HQ building. In 1915, its approx 50 miles from the frontline. In 1917 its moved further away from the frontline by somewhere in the region of 100 miles. Maybe the most poignant thing in this final chapter is the picture on the last page. A poppy field. Feeling perhaps a little saddened by the end of the reign of Blackadder, turn the page and before you is a double page spread that will lift your spirits back up. "The Index of Blackadder's Finest Insults". Although hard to choose from a mass of such quality verbal assault, my favourite, I think, would have to be this one. "God made man in his own image, and it would be a sad look out for Christians throughout the globe if God looked anything like you Baldrick". Due to publication of this book being in 1998, there is of course no reference to the latest one off production, commissioned for the Millennium Dome, 'Blackadder Back and Forth', but don't let that put you off. A classic in British comedy writing, the book is surpassed in humour only by the TV series itself. The casting of Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder and a great
support cast including Tony Robinson (Baldrick) and Rik Mayall (Flashheart), was sheer genius, although to mention all the actors to whom credit should be given would simply mean listing the entire cast. Should you decide to purchase this book, you can also feel good in the knowledge that you are helping others less fortunate than yourself as the artists' royalties go to Comic Relief. Currently available from http://www.amazon.co.uk Paperback - 480 pages new edition (4 November, 1999) Publisher: Penguin Books ISBN: 0140280359 List Price: £10.99 Sale Price: £8.79 (Please note: The use of quotes, I felt, was necessary in order to convey the true humour and quality of the script writing. Therefore text in speech marks is as it appears in the book.)
Everybody loves Blackadder, and as far as I know there is no exception. The genius of Richard Curtis and Ben Elton (and Rowan Atkinson in the first one) is so unbelievable. There are perhaps no more than a few seconds in a whole 30 minute program when you are not laughing. So here is the script book. Ok, perhaps the delivary of the Blackadder jokes are important, and yes reading the scrips is no where near as funny as watching the TV series. But it is still damm funny, at least ten thousand times funnier than a shakespeare comedy! The greatest thing to be said about this book is; once you have read it through, you can start quoting sections to your friends. They believe that you are a Blackadderholic (which I am anyway) and you instantly gain infinate respect. The best thing is not to give away your secret, do not tell anyone you own the book, just pretend you watch so much of the series that you can repeat lines over and over again. It is great fun. My favourite series has to be the second (Elizabethan) one. When Ben Elton joined the force the jokes began to improve to no end. It has to be said that the first series was fairly useless, and to put it simply rarely comical. However, with this book you can skip this series moving straight onto the funnier three series. But thats not all. Not only does the book contain scripts of the entire three (four, sorry I don't tend to read the first but it is there) series but it gives you much more. Each series has an accompaning section telling you all the info that a Blackadderholic needs to know - including who played the Baby bishop of Bath and Wells in the second series (money). Then there are the extra segments that have been specially put into the book to add the hilarity: Baldrick's Family Tree (beginning with Primeval Slime, then steadily devoluting!) How to burn Dr Johnson's dictionary How to make Baldrick's flem cappicino I
t even has a whole segment on Blackadder's finest insults. And...little segmants on how the story line links the series together (ie: what happened between series) It is a great laugh to read through, I particularly enjoyed Baldrick's School report: "HEADMASTER'S COMMENTS: Baldrick is a happy little chappy with wish him well ect ect" I were to quote every part of the book that I found hilarious then I would have to type up half the whole book. And no i am not going to, that would be plagarism or something simalar! So to put is simply: If you are a Blackadderholic and do not own this book...you should do, why have you not already bought it? If you are only mildly interested in Blackadder (then you have a twisted sense of humour) you should still buy it. If you never really liked Blackadder still buy it this could be your introduction. But so far I have only found it in hardback, and that means forking out more of your hard earned cash. But it is worth it for the measely price of £15.99. I will leave you with the priceless review that baldrick gives this book: "Not bad" - Baldrick
For many people under 35, their most vivid glimpses of Britain's illustrious history have been through the Blackadder chronicles which brightened television screens from 1983 to 1989. Their constantly reborn protagonist, Edmund Blackadder, flounced through a bloody Middle Ages, a campy Elizabethan court, even camper Regency revels, and the rat-infested trenches of the Great War, armed with only his repulsive servant Baldrick, and a fine line in complex insults ("you would bore the leggings off a village idiot"; "he's got a brain the size of a weasel's wedding tackle"). Now you can brush up your Blackadder with a fine collection of the complete scripts, interspersed with useful titbits on medieval torture instruments, the menu in Mrs Miggins' coffee house, and the Prince Regent's laundry list. Bereft of their familiar faces and voices, television comedy scripts often fall flat--and Blackadder without the rubber-faced consonant-spitting of its hero Rowan Atkinson is surely unthinkable. But here the Blackadder oeuvre, penned by Richard Curtis and various collaborators, stands up wonderfully. Curtis's bizarre, surreal take on English history takes up where 1066 and All That left off, wickedly skewering venerable historical personages, and hilariously literalising the classic clichés of textbook history (marvel again at the Puritan Whiteadders sitting on spikes so they won't enjoy their dinner). Classily produced, and with royalties going to the entertainment charity fund, Comic Relief, this is one TV tie-in well worth getting. Synopsis: A collection of complete scripts from all four of the "Blackadder" television series. From Medieval times through the Elizabethan and Regency periods to World War I, Edmund Blackadder and his downtrodden sidekick Baldrick veer from one calamity to another.
Wow, wow and um, wow again. As you can see my descriptive writing isn't quite up to high standard achieved by Mr Elton, Mr Curtis and Mr Lloyd. I'll admit it - I like script books. I'll also admit that I adore Blackadder. This book had to be the perfect combination for me. However, even I didn't realise just how excellent this book would turn out to be. Every single episode comprising every line of dialogue and every stage action is entered along with comprehensive cast lists and little history lessons of the Bladder family along the way. There are some wonderful pictures of the cast - don't get me wrong, I don't find Rowan Atkinson the least bit attractive but (whispers) check out pg 236! Ah well, could be worse - could be Balders! In short: If you want to smirk, buy the book. If you want to grin, buy the book. If you want to laugh out loud, buy the book. If you buy the book and do none of the above, I suggest a humour transplant. (If you're not laughing I believe the NHS will do a free operation as the condition is so rare and feels so sorry for the deprived individual concerned!) At the back of the book, you will also find a list of Blackadder's finest insults (could come in *very* handy!) and all of the artists' royalties from the book go to Comic Relief. What more do you want?!?
Someone said to me as they gave me this book "Its not great, just the scripts" i was immediately hooked, this being one of the best comedy series ever made (read my review) The book is indeed full of the scripts from all the episodes of all the seies of Richard Curtis' and Ben Elton's masterpiece. These are essential reading for any Blackadder fan as they contain lots of the lines that you miss while laughing at the previous joke, only die hard fans will have heard them all, and even for them they are funny enough to read again. The book has other features too, ficticious documents such as the menu from Mrs Miggins pie shop or an index of the finest insults and putdowns blackadder ever used (useful to learn for a night out) Its a big thick book and is best read after seeing the relevant episode so you can picture the action, but for any blackadder (or comedy) fan this is essential reading, especially now its out in paperback at a lower price.
To be honest the title speaks for itself... Covers the orginal Blackadder (1484) up to Blackadder goes forth (World War One) - the complete script. This is very useful if you want to quote a few of Edmond`s more witty lines ("Certainley Sir, I shall return before you can say Antidisestablishmentarianism") or if you`re after any putdowns for any Baldricks you may know. It`s good being able to read over and over the bits you like (everbody has their own favourite part)and i find when reading, rather than watching on television, you get more out of the script. Recommended for all who have seen the TV program, and anyone who is too young to have missed it - comedy at it`s finest.
Scripts of the TV series with a few extras.