Richard IV of England
|King Richard IV of England|
|First appearance||The Foretelling|
|Last appearance||The Black Seal|
|Portrayed by||Brian Blessed|
|Title||King of England|
|Relatives||Edmund Blackadder (great-great-grandson)
E. Blackadder (descendant)
Ebenezer Blackadder (descendant)
Edmund Blackadder (descendant)
Edmund III (descendant)
King Richard IV of England, Scotland and Ireland is a fictional character in the BBC comedy series The Black Adder (series 1), played by Brian Blessed. He is the father of Prince Edmund Plantagenet and serves as the main antagonist in the series. The character is very loosely based on the historical figure Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, one of the Princes in the Tower who disappeared in 1483.
In the alternate chronology of The Black Adder, King Richard III of England (played by Peter Cook) is introduced as being a "kind and thoughtful man" who cherishes his nephews (the two princes) placed into his care, in contrast to the common historical portrait of Richard III as a usurper who murdered the princes. Richard, Duke of York grew into "a big strong boy" and becomes his uncle's favourite, reflected by his being seated at the side of the king at the banquet on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth Field, which Richard wins. As such, Richard supports the House of York during the Wars of the Roses.
Marriage and issue
Richard is married to Gertrude of Flanders. Their marriage is not particularly happy; Gertude describes her husband as a "steaming great ox", complains of his sexual demands and stating that she wishes she'd married a eunuch. She is sometimes affectionate to her husband, however, as shown after his recovery from the plague. Richard believes his wife to be "insatiable".
They have two sons, Harry, Prince of Wales and Prince Edmund. Of the two sons, Richard enjoys a close relationship with his eldest, Harry, of whom he is extremely proud and who he takes time to tutor in the ways of fighting, statecraft and diplomacy. Harry is shown fighting and seated at his father's side and has numerous titles and honours bestowed upon him by Richard. When Richard is unable to govern his country due to absence or ill-health, he leaves Harry acting as his regent, something which breeds immense resentment in Edmund.
The younger son is Prince Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh, of whom the king is oblivious at best, utterly contemptuous at worst. In "The Archbishop", he claims that he has "always despised" Edmund, and says that comparing Edmund to Harry "is as comparing excrement to cream". In "Born to be King", it is implied that Edmund may be illegitimate, and therefore not the son of Richard. However, from the middle of the events of "The Archbishop", Richard begins to recognise Edmund as his son and the love that he feels for him, shown when he appoints Edmund as the Archbishop of Canterbury, entrusts him with marrying the Spanish Infanta in order to secure an alliance with Spain, and later relieves him of his duchy in the final episode (he does this to relieve Edmund of his heavy task, but unwittingly breeds utter resentment in Edmund for this). A running joke in the series is that Richard often gets Edmund's name wrong, be it Edner, Edward, Edgar, Edwin, Egbert, Osmond, or simply 'the other one' or 'the slimy one.' In the final episode, Richard does finally call him Edmund, mostly because Gertude and Harry were uttering his name at the time, but when Edmund points this out, he apologises and calls him Edgar. When Edmund asks to be called by his nom de plume, The Black Adder, he mishears it and calls him The Black Dagger. On Edmund's deathbed, Richard's love for his youngest son is established, since he shows genuine concern for Edmund, consoles him by telling him his spirit will live in Heaven forever, and has the entire court drink a toast in his honour.
In the series, Richard ascends to the throne in 1485 after Edmund accidentally kills Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He is known to shout "Chiswick! Fresh horses!" to his courtier Lord Chiswick.
Richard revels in crusades and, in "Born to be King", defeats an entire Ottoman horde armed only with a small fruit knife. He despises the Turks and deliberately mis-quotes the Bible as saying "Love thy neighbour as thyself. Unless he's Turkish, in which case, kill the bastard!" In "The Witchsmeller Pursuivant", he catches the bubonic plague and goes temporarily insane; he attacks everyone he sees, believing them to be Turks.
Richard, along with the rest of his court, is accidentally poisoned in the series' final episode, "The Black Seal". Henry Tudor then usurps the throne and re-writes history so that the reign of King Richard IV of England would be eradicated from history.
- Curtis et al. 1999: 1
- Curtis et al. 1999: 8, 21
- Curtis et al. 1999: 91
- Curtis et al. 1999: 8
- Curits et al. 1999: 2
- Curtis et al. 1999:
* Curtis, R., Elton, B. Atkinson, R. and Lloyd, J. (1999). Black Adder: The Whole Damn Dynasty, 1485 - 1917. Penguin Books, London. ISBN 0-14-028035-9