Mr. E. Blackadder
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|Edmund Blackadder Esq.|
|First appearance||Dish and Dishonesty|
|Last appearance||Blackadder's Christmas Carol|
|Portrayed by||Rowan Atkinson|
|Relatives||Richard IV (ancestor)
Ebenezer Blackadder (grandson)
Edmund Blackadder (great-grandson)
Edmund III (descendant)
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The series was set in the reign of George III of the United Kingdom (1760–1820). The character is in keeping with the trend of the series Blackadder is lower in rank in this series, but more intelligent (speaking French and a little bit of Mongolian). It appears that the Blackadder dynasty has fallen upon hard times. The Blackadder of this period, although of noble blood, is butler to the Prince Regent, Prince George. George has absolute, but completely misplaced trust in Blackadder, largely because he is completely unable to do even the most basic things himself. Blackadder seems to make a living from stealing and selling the Prince's valuables (especially his socks). Indeed, George's wallet is often to be found in Blackadder's top pocket. Furthermore, he seized on the opportunity when he learned that his master believed that the rules of gambling involved trying to be the first player to give away all of his money. Although few have mentioned it to his face, Blackadder is one of the most respected people in the land, with several guests to the prince, including the Duke of Wellington mentioning having heard that the Prince Regent is idiotic and his butler being highly respected.
Throughout the centuries since his ancestor Lord Blackadder, the Blackadders seem to have maintained their rapier wit, and their penchant for theft, corruption, lies and insults. This Blackadder also seems slightly more ruthless than his ancestors and willing to engage in criminal behavior (such as a highway robbery, and extortion), being directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of a number of innocent and less-than-innocent people. The Blackadder dynasty also seems to have maintained a close link with the Baldrick family line. Baldrick, by this stage, has lost whatever cunning his ancestors once had, and reached a level of childlike stupidity that is familiar to most viewers.
At one point, Blackadder expresses unveiled contempt for the cultus of Lord Nelson. Mocking the Admiral's signal at the Battle of Trafalgar, Blackadder announces that Nelson used a similar signal at the Battle of the Nile: "England knows Lady Hamilton is a virgin. Poke my eye out and cut off my arm if I'm wrong."
On the upside of things, somewhere between the Elizabethan period and the Regency period, Blackadder does seem to have managed to shake off Lord Percy's descendants. However, in his place stands the even more stupid Prince George, whom Blackadder now has to serve. The relationship between the two is a fine example of how figureheads often act as puppets whose strings are pulled by those behind the scenes. Although, Blackadder did sometimes have a hard time preventing those strings from becoming tangled.
As butler to the royal household, Blackadder's jobs include announcing, supervising the linen maids, opening and closing doors and cleaning up the Prince's cock-ups. Most of his other duties appear to have been delegated to Baldrick. He also receives assistance from Mrs. Miggins, who appears to do much of the baking for the palace.
Politically this Blackadder is a monarchist but his reasons for supporting the prince all relate to keeping the prince in power so he can take advantage of it. As a result, he is often required to guide George so that he appears respectable to society. This includes speech writing, election rigging, wooing potential brides and advising the Prince on patronages. This often leads Blackadder into worse trouble, including trying to re-write Dr Johnson's dictionary in one night, being robbed by the elusive "Shadow" and being captured by an evil revolutionary.
Blackadder actually seems rather content to be middle class, with "the toffs at the top, the plebs at the bottom, and me in the middle making a fat pile of cash out of both of them." He dreams of being young and wild, middle aged and rich, and old and annoying people by pretending to be deaf. Edmund is also an author: Under the pseudonym 'Gertrude Perkins' he wrote "Edmund: A Butler's Tale," "a giant roller coaster of a novel in 400 sizzling chapters. A searing indictment of domestic servitude in the eighteenth century with some hot Gypsies thrown in." Johnson believes it to be the only book better than his own A Dictionary of the English Language, and it looks like Edmund is going to be rich until Baldrick mistakenly throws the book on the fire. Other than this, he is eager to be remembered by the public, breaking the fourth wall in the process.
|“||I want to be remembered when I'm dead. I want books written about me, I want songs sung about me. And then hundreds of years from now I want episodes from my life to be played out weekly at half past nine by some great heroic actor of the age.||”|
At the same time, Baldrick thinks that he himself would be played by "some tiny tit in a beard" (even though this incarnation of Baldrick does not have a beard).
In the final episode, after a saga which involved Edmund and the Prince swapping coats and assuming each other's identity to protect the Prince from the vengeance of the Duke of Wellington, Blackadder is shot at point-blank range by a cannon, but survives because of a metal cigarillo case that the Duke had given him. In the interim, George is shot dead by the Duke, who believes him to be a 'tiresome butler.' Blackadder, having conversely earned the Duke's respect and thus an amicable settling of the Prince's accounts, leaps on the opportunity to claim that he is Prince George, and supposedly goes on to become George IV of the United Kingdom. This Blackadder is one of three members of the family who definitely does not die at the end of the adventures (the others being Ebenezer Blackadder and the future Edmund III). He is the second Blackadder to rise to the throne (after his ancestor Prince Edmund who held the throne for only 30 seconds at the end of series one, The Black Adder), reigning from 1820–1830, though if he is the historic George IV then he died without legitimate issue, preventing the Blackadder line from retaining the throne after his death, (though his descendant Edmund III would regain the throne by 1999 through use of time travel). This Blackadder delivers perhaps one of his most famous lines in this episode, that effectively sums up his character:
|“||A man may fight for many things: his country, his principles, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn!"||”|