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Blackadder the Third

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Blackadder the Third
Blackadder the Third

Created By

Richard Curtis & Ben Elton

Theme Music Composer

Howard Goodall

No. of Episodes

6

Producer(s)

John Lloyd

Running Time

30 Minutes

Preceded By

Blackadder II

Followed By

Blackadder: The Cavalier Years

Blackadder the Third was first broadcast in 1987, and was set in the Regency era. The show follows the life of Mr Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince Regent.

CharactersEdit

RegularsEdit

GuestsEdit

PlotEdit

Blackadder the Third is set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a period known as the Regency. For much of this time, King George III was incapacitated due to poor mental health, and his son George, the Prince of Wales, acted as regent. During this period, he was known as "the Prince Regent".

Although the Regency was in place between 1811 and 1820, the historical events and persons depicted and referenced appear to date the series before this time; anywhere between 1755 (the publication of the first English Dictionary) and 1805 (just before the Battle of Trafalgar).

In the series, E. Blackadder Esquire (Rowan Atkinson) is the head butler to the Prince of Wales (Hugh Laurie), a spoiled, foppish idiot. Despite Edmund's respected intelligence and abilities, he has no personal fortune to speak of. According to Edmund he has been serving the Prince Regent all of his life, ever since the Prince was breastfed (when he had to show the Prince which part of his mother was "serving the drinks").

Baldrick (Tony Robinson) remains similar to his Blackadder II predecessor, and although his "cunning plans" cease to be even remotely intelligent, he is the most aware of political, religious, and social events. As Blackadder himself is now a servant, Baldrick is labelled as Blackadder's "dogsbody". In this series, Baldrick often displays a more belligerent attitude towards his master, even referring to him once as a "lazy, big-nosed, rubber-faced bastard".

There are three main sets: the Prince's quarters, which are large and lavish, the below-stairs kitchen hangout of Blackadder and Baldrick, which is dark and squalid (though in fairness, very large and with a very high ceiling), and finally Mrs. Miggins' coffeehouse. Mrs. Miggins' pie shop was a never-seen running gag in Blackadder II; she — or at least, a descendant of hers — is now finally shown, played by Helen Atkinson-Wood.

The plots of the series feature a number of then-contemporary issues and personalities, such as rotten boroughs, Dr. Samuel Johnson (played by Robbie Coltrane), the French Revolution (featuring Chris Barrie) and the Scarlet Pimpernel, over-the-top theatrical actors, squirrel-hating female highwaymen, and a duel with the Duke of Wellington (played by Stephen Fry).

The last episode of the series also features Rowan Atkinson in the role of Blackadder's Scottish cousin MacAdder, supposedly a fierce swordsman; this leads to a dialogue in which Atkinson is acting both parts. Following the aftermath of this episode, Blackadder finds fortune and ends up (permanently) posing as the Prince Regent after the real Prince Regent, disguised as Blackadder, is shot by the Duke of Wellington.

The setup and the characters of Prince George and these incarnations of Blackadder and Baldrick (plus Admiral Horatio Nelson) are revisited in the one-off special, Blackadder's Christmas Carol.

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