Head (Blackadder)

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Blackadder II episode
Episode no. Series 2
(Blackadder II)

Episode 2
Directed by Mandie Fletcher
Written by Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Original air date 16 January 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Holly de Jong
Bill Wallis
Linda Polan
Patrick Duncan

Episode chronology
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List of Blackadder episodes

"Head" is the second episode of the BBC period comedy Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603.


Blackadder is attempting to teach Baldrick the basic concepts of addition when he is appointed Lord High Executioner and Minister for Religious Genocide (because the previous incumbent signed his name on the wrong dotted line). To give himself the middle of the week off, he makes a simple change by moving up the date of execution for Lord Farrow (from Wednesday to Monday).

However, this simple change goes completely awry when the Queen allows Farrow's wife to visit her husband in prison on Tuesday, the day before his originally scheduled execution, not aware that he has already been executed. As he is already too late, Blackadder pretends to be Farrow, disguising himself with a bag over his head, as the Queen had given Lady Farrow a death warrant to give to Edmund should he refuse her. He is nearly thwarted, first when he discovers that Farrow had many individual traits, such as a deep voice, being much taller than him, and missing half an arm, and then when Lady Farrow attempts to take the bag off his head. Nevertheless, he manages to go undetected.

Afterward, the Queen decides to pardon Farrow, saying 'He probably is innocent anyway', and everything looks bleak for Blackadder. Deciding that the only way to get around this problem is to pretend that they had been taking Farrow to see the Queen, when he said something traitorous in the hallway, and he and Percy had cut his head off there. Upon searching for the head in Traitor's Cloister, they realise the plan will not work, as the head already looks decomposed. However, Lord Percy notices that the head that Blackadder found on Farrow's spike is not actually Lord Farrow's, but rather that of Lord Ponsonby, another death row inmate whose execution was scheduled for Friday, meaning that Baldrick had killed the wrong man.

Blackadder is relieved, until he remembers that the Queen is on her way to the prison at that very moment to visit Lord Ponsonby, and he hurries there just in time to pretend to be Ponsonby for the Queen, just as he had done with Farrow, despite Ponsonby only having one leg and a speech impediment.


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