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Plan C: Major Star
Major Star
Episode 3
Written by Ben Elton, Richard Curtis
Directed by Richard Boden
Guest stars Gabrielle Glaister
Original airdate 12 October 1989
Episode chronology
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"Corporal Punishment" "Private Plane"
List of episodes

"Major Star" is the third episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, the fourth series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.

SummaryEdit

The Russian Revolution produces two more appalling results: an offensive by Germany and a really offensive Charlie Chaplin impression by Baldrick.

PlotEdit

Blackadder is feeling bored, so George suggests a Charlie Chaplin film to cheer him up, but Blackadder says they are about 'as funny as getting an arrow through the neck and then discovering there is a gas bill attached to it.' Baldrick then gets a newspaper saying the Russian Revolution has started. The Russians have pulled out of the war as a result of the revolution. George is initially delighted, until he's reminded the Russians were on their side, and Blackadder is dismayed, since it will mean 'three quarters of a million Germans leaving the Russian Front and coming over here, with the express purpose of using my nipples for target practice!'. Blackadder decides to desert, but is stopped when General Melchett comes into the trench (ironically mentioning that he needs Blackadder to help him shoot some deserters). Melchett, reminding Blackadder of the Mutinies in the French Army the previous year, where the top suffered from tremendous uprisings to the bottom (which Blackadder says was traced to a shipment of garlic eclairs), and the recent Russian uprising, is determined to prevent the same thing happening in the British Army. To prevent an uprising, he asks Captain Blackadder to organize a cabaret to boost the men's morale, something that Blackadder eagerly accepts when a possible tour is mentioned (which would allow him to leave the trenches). Melchett also asks his driver, Corp. "Bob" Parkhurst, to aid Blackadder. Blackadder immediately notices that "Bob" is a girl in disguise, something of which Melchett remains entirely unaware; however, Bob persuades Blackadder not to give the game away.

The show, which features Baldrick's Charlie Chaplin impression (featuring a dead slug as Baldrick's "moustache"), which Melchett thinks is a slug-balancer, and Lieutenant George's drag act, "Gorgeous Georgina", is a success on its first night, but unfortunately Melchett falls in love with "Georgina," takes her to the Regimental Ball, and proposes to her. Worst of all, George says yes because he thought he might have been court-martialed for disobeying a superior officer.

Blackadder is called to Melchett's office and it's reveal the marriage is to take place on Saturday and the General wants him to be his best man. Consequently, he informs Melchett that there is something wrong with Georgina. At first Melchett is worried she is welsh, but Blackadder then informs him of Georgina's "death" from stepping on a cluster of landmines. At first, Melchett mourns deeply for his "perfect woman," but seconds later, he recovers by saying "Oh well. Can't be helped. Can't be helped." He then refuses to continue the show, citing that Georgina was the only good thing about it, but Blackadder says he has already found a new leading lady. These words place Blackadder in "the stickiest situation since Sticky the Stick Insect got stuck on a sticky bun!"

All of George's suggestions as to who to replace him as leading lady are rejected as being too short, too old or too dead. Baldrick offers to take up the role, but Blackadder quickly dismisses the idea, considering "a two-legged badger wrapped in a curtain" to be unsuitable (in truth, Baldrick's plan was to marry Melchett and be a Trojan Horse' -or 'frozen horse' as he refers to it- to bring down the aristocracy). He then realizes he has had a leading lady in his presence all the time and replaces George with Bob. In spite of Bob's more convincing and better received 'drag' act, and Baldrick's now seemingly "feeble impression of Buster Keaton," Melchett proclaims the second night's show a disaster, recognising Bob and still not realising she is a female, and immediately stops any possibility of a tour (and Blackadder leaving). He instead declares that with the arrival of the Americans into the war (6 April 1917), morale will be boosted by endless showings of Charlie Chaplin films (with Blackadder as projectionist at a personal request from Chaplin himself which Darling reads out, much to his annoyance). Captain Darling revels in Melchett's displeasure with Blackadder, causing Blackadder to offer him "liquorice" (Baldrick's slug), which he accepts.

If I should die, think only this of me...I'll be back to get you.

TriviaEdit

  • At one point in the episode, Blackadder says, "If I should die, think only this of me...I'll be back to get you." This is a reference to the first verse of Rupert Brooke's famous war poem The Soldier.
  • The plot device of including a character who is a woman dressed as a man had previously been utilised in past series of Blackadder; in Series 3's "Amy and Amiability", where Miranda Richardson portrayed the villainous Amy posing as a Highwayman, and in Series 2's "Bells", where Gabrielle Glaister portrayed a young woman disguised as a man named Bob, a part she reprised for this episode.


Anachronisms Edit

  • This episode depicts Russia as having pulled out of the war before the USA entered it. In actual fact, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which marked the Russian exit from the war, was signed in March 1918 - nearly a year after the Americans entered the war, and shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. The revolution that took place before the American entry was the February Revolution, which merely marked the end of the Tsarist era.
  • During the final scene, General Melchett insists that Baldrick is now doing an impression of Buster Keaton. However, Keaton wasn't known in 1917 and his first film (in which he played a supporting role to Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle) hadn't even been released when America joined the war.

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