Blackadder the Third

Blackadder the Third

Infobox Television
show_name = Blackadder the Third

caption = Title screen of "Blackadder the Third"
format = Situation comedy
camera =
picture_format = 4:3
audio_format = Monaural sound
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
developer =
producer = John Lloyd
executive_producer =
starring = Rowan Atkinson
Tony Robinson
Hugh Laurie
Helen Atkinson-Wood
voices =
narrated =
theme_music_composer = Howard Goodall
opentheme =
endtheme =
country = United Kingdom
location =
language = English
network = BBC One
first_aired = 17 September 1987
last_aired = 22 October 1987
num_series =
num_episodes = 6
list_episodes =
preceded_by = "Blackadder II"
followed_by = "Blackadder's Christmas Carol"
related =
website =
imdb_id = 0092324
tv_com_id =

"Blackadder the Third" [Presented as "Black Adder The Third" on the title screen, but referred to as one word by the BBC] is the third series of the BBC situation comedy "Blackadder", written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987.

The series was set during the English Regency, and saw the principal character, Mr. E. Blackadder serve as butler to the Prince Regent and have to contend with, or cash in on, the fads of the age embraced by his master.

The third series reduced the number of principal characters again compared to the previous series, but instead included a number of significant cameo roles by well-known comic actors.Lewisohn, Mark, [ "Blackadder the Third] at the former BBC Guide to Comedy, URL accessed 03 June, 2007]

The programme won a BAFTA award for Best Comedy Series in 1988 and received three further nominations. [ [ Awards at IMDb] , URL accessed 04 April, 2008]


"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. From 1811 until his father's death in 1820, he was known as "the Prince Regent".

In the series, E. Blackadder Esquire (Rowan Atkinson) is the butler to the Prince of Wales (Hugh Laurie), a complete fop and 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 their lives, since they were both breastfeeding (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, although his "cunning plans" cease to be even remotely intelligent. As Blackadder himself is now a servant, he 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 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 McAdder, supposedly a fierce swordsman. Interesting enough, 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 series aired for six episodes broadcast on Thursdays on BBC One at 9.30pm between the 17 September 1987 to 22 October 1987. The titles of the episodes are always a noun paired with another, derived from an alliterative cognate adjective. Example: "Sense and Senility" (based on the Jane Austen novel "Sense and Sensibility").


* Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder
* Tony Robinson as Baldrick
* Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent
* Helen Atkinson-Wood as Mrs. Miggins Although this series reduced the size of the show's cast, the programme featured a number of guest appearances in each episode. Three of the regular cast members from "Blackadder II" (Tim McInnerny, Stephen Fry, and Miranda Richardson) all appeared in guest roles. Fry and McInnerny would return as regular performers for the fourth series of "Blackadder".

Music and titles

The opening theme is this time played on a harpsichord, oboe and cello over close-ups of Blackadder searching a book-case. [ [ Official Howard Goodall website] , URL accessed 17 March, 2007] The credits and title appear on the books' spines, and each has a condition and script to match each character, for example Baldrick's is plain and in poor condition. Other amusing interspersed titles include "From Black Death to Blackadder", "The Blackobite Rebellion of 1745", "The Encyclopædia Blackaddica" and "Landscape Gardening" by Capability Brownadder. [ [ Trivia] at, URL accessed 03 June, 2007] . Hidden inside a hollow book, he finds a romance novel (complete with steamy cover art) bearing the episode's title. The closing credits are presented in the style of a theatre programme from a Regency-era play, and with an entirely new closing theme.


The programme won a BAFTA award for Best Comedy Series in 1988. In addition the series was nominated for three further awards; Rowan Atkinson for "Best Light Entertainment Performance", Antony Thorpe for "Best Design" and Victoria Pocock for "Best Make Up". [ [ Awards at IMDb] , URL accessed 04 April, 2008] The four series of "Blackadder" were voted into second place in the BBC's "Britain's Best Sitcom" in 2004. [ [ The final top-ten of Britain’s Best Sitcom] , URL accessed 04 April 2008]


External links

* [ "Blackadder the Third"] at the former BBC Guide to Comedy (archive)
* [ "Blackadder the Third"] at the new BBC Comedy Guide

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