Production Date: November 2018
Directed by: Richard Dreyer
Blackadder began life as a historical comedy back in 1983, set in medieval times. It was more History than Comedy and Rowan Atkinson had not found the character that would come in later series, with Edmund being closer ta Mr Bean and Baldrick almost his intellectual equal.
By the second series set in Elizabethan times there was more humour and the characters had started to bed in, with Blackadder becoming more charismatic.
The third series was set in the Regency period, where Hugh Laurie had joined the main cast. There was more of a focus on the class system with Baldrick (Working Class), Blackadder (Middle Class) and the Prince Regent (Upper Class) and their foibles.
The fourth series built on this naturally with the Privates, Officers and Generals and bravely for a comedy was set in the trenches of WWI. This final series was really where Richard Curtis and Ben Elton reached their comedy writing peak, finding dark humour within the most hellish of backdrops. They had to be careful to be respectful to all those that had lost their lives, but it was clear they were punching upwards to the Generals who sent so many men to die for inches of land. This is clear from lines such as when Melchett blusters about being ‘Behind you’ and Blackadder quips ‘About thirty five miles behind you.’
Though the fourth series was arguably the funniest, it also contained a memorable finale, which really brought home the senseless tragedy of ‘going over the top’, and stayed with viewers long after the birdsong