Blackadder's Christmas Carol
|Blackadder's Christmas Carol|
Title screen of Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
|Genre||period comedy, sitcom|
|Written by||Richard Curtis
|Directed by||Richard Boden|
|Theme music composer||Howard Goodall|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||n/a (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Picture format||PAL (576i)|
|First shown in||23 December 1988|
|Preceded by||Blackadder: The Cavalier Years|
|Followed by||Blackadder Goes Forth|
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third (1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), and is narrated by Hugh Laurie. Produced by the BBC, it was first broadcast on BBC One on 23 December 1988.
Ebenezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), the Victorian proprietor of a "moustache shop", is the nicest man in England. He is everything that Ebenezer Scrooge was by the end of the original story; generous and kind to everybody, and sensitive to the misery of others. As a result, everybody takes advantage of his kindness—Mrs.Scratchit and an orphan, who take all his money, Beadle who takes his food, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert—and all but Mr. Baldrick (Tony Robinson) view him as a victim, although even he is slightly more cynical than his ancestors. His business turns no profit, all his earnings going to charity and to con artists, and he lives a lonely, miserable life.
One Christmas Eve, Blackadder's destiny changes when the Spirit of Christmas (Robbie Coltrane) makes the mistake of calling round to congratulate him for his ways. The spirit lets him see shades of the past: his ancestors Lord Blackadder and Mr. E. Blackadder, Esq., the butler of the Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie). Instead of being convinced that he is better than them, he grows to admire them and their wit and asks the spirit to show him what could happen if he became like them. He sees a vision of a distant future where his distant descendant Grand Admiral Blackadder is a successful, if ruthless, official of a Universe-spanning Empire, with Baldrick as a thong-wearing slave, about to marry the similarly ruthless and insanely ambitious Queen Asphyxia XIX (Miranda Richardson) after getting rid of her Triple husbandoid. Blackadder asks the Spirit what will happen if he stays kind. As an answer, he sees an alternate vision of the same future era where his descendant is a semi-naked thong-wearing slave of the incompetent Admiral Baldrick.
Blackadder makes his decision, proclaiming, "Bad guys have all the fun." He wakes up a different man (i.e. a typical Blackadder): bitter, vengeful, greedy for money, and insulting to everyone he meets (technically letting out all of the anger he had kept bottled up while his compassion had always backfired in his face, now with sufficient justification). Although he is now more in control of his life, he misses a golden opportunity when he insults two strangers who had come to reward him for his reputed generosity. These are Queen Victoria (Miriam Margolyes) and her Prince Consort, Albert (Jim Broadbent) who were about to award him £50,000 and the title of Baron Blackadder for being the nicest man in England, they leave without doing so after being ridiculed by Blackadder. The episode ends with Blackadder, while sitting down to an extravagant Christmas dinner with Baldrick, looking startled when he is told the victims of his brushing-off were the royal couple after Baldrick shows the royal seal.
Most versions of this special edit Baldrick's line about a dog being used as Jesus for the Nativity play to remove an additional line where Baldrick mentions the dog will be nailed to a cross for Easter. The earliest known case of this edit was on its first rerun in December 1989. The same version was used for later terrestrial broadcasts when the special aired on Christmas in the years 1998, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012. The edited version is also seen in the Blackadder Ultimate Edition DVD set. The original uncut version can be seen on the channel Gold, the Region 1 U.S. DVD set, and on the U.S. version of Netflix.
- Rowan Atkinson as Ebenezer Blackadder/Lord Edmund Blackadder/Mr. E. Blackadder/Grand Admiral Blackadder
- Tony Robinson as Mr. Baldrick and his ancestors and descendants
- Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett/Lord Frondo
- Hugh Laurie as Prince George/Prince Pigmot
- Miranda Richardson as Queen Elizabeth/Queen Asphyxia XIX
- Robbie Coltrane as the Spirit of Christmas
- Miriam Margolyes as Queen Victoria
- Jim Broadbent as Prince Albert
- Patsy Byrne as Nursie
- Denis Lill as Beadle
- Pauline Melville as Mrs. Scratchit
- Philip Pope as Lord Nelson
- Nicola Bryant as Millicent, Blackadder's goddaughter
- Ramsay Gilderdale as Ralph, Millicent's fiancé
- David Barber, Erkan Mustafa and David Nunn as the Enormous Orphans
- Blackadder's Christmas Carol at BBC Programmes
- Blackadder's Christmas Carol at the Internet Movie Database
- Transcript at Blackadder Hall.com