Potato (Blackadder)

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Blackadder episode
Episode no. Series 2
(Blackadder II)

Episode 3
Directed by Mandie Fletcher
Written by Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Original air date 23 January 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Tom Baker (Captain Rum)
Simon Jones (Sir Walter Raleigh)

Episode chronology
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List of Blackadder episodes

"Potato" is the third episode of the BBC sitcom Blackadder II, the second series of Blackadder, which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603.


The episode opens with Blackadder at home, preparing to go to court to celebrate the return of Sir Walter "Oooh what a big ship I've got" Raleigh (Simon Jones). Blackadder is typically sarcastic and embittered, refusing to join in the festivities and endures much taunting from children outside his house, to which he retaliates by shooting one with an arrow.

Melchett arrives and offers Blackadder a potato, the last having just been discovered by Raleigh on his voyages; Melchett plans to smoke his. Blackadder declines, scoffing that "people will be eating them next". At the court, Raleigh's tales of discovery greatly impress the Queen. Blackadder attempts to upstage him by declaring his intention to circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope, a journey Raleigh believes is impossible, stating that sailors do not count it as part of the "Seven Seas" owing to its treacherousness. Blackadder enquires of Raleigh which sailor would be insane enough to captain such a voyage, and is told where to find Captain Redbeard Rum.

Rum (Tom Baker) is insane, legless, and has no navigation skills whatsoever. Nursie however, is quite taken with him, and agrees to marry him once he returns. Once their journey starts, Rum admits that he does not know the way to the Cape of Good Hope, and intended to resort to his usual trick of circling the Isle of Wight until everybody gets dizzy. Blackadder then reveals that his actual plan is to go to France for a few months, then go back home and falsely claim to have sailed to the Cape of Good Hope. Unfortunately, they soon run into a serious problem; Rum does not know how to get to France either, and in fact does not know how to navigate at all.

Utterly lost, they run out of food and water and are reduced to drinking their own urine (joining Rum, who's been swigging his with abandon even before the water ran out) when their ship runs aground on a desert island with lava streams, mangrove swamps and cannibalistic natives.

Two years later, they somehow land back in Britain, but are greeted by a Queenie distinctly fed up of explorers, having spared Raleigh execution only because he "blubbed on his way to the block". After breaking the news to Nursie that her beloved Rum had been eaten by the savage natives, they give her his beard as a memento. Blackadder offers Queenie a stick that, when thrown away, comes back. She is displeased until she witnesses an offhanded throw of the boomerang return and strike Percy in the back of the head. Having been commanded to also present Melchett and Raleigh with a gift, Blackadder offers a bottle of "fine wine", which Blackadder states is in inexhaustible supply (seeing as how it is actually Baldrick's urine).


As in credits


Tom Baker has described his own performance in this episode as "appalling". Baker was quoted: "Someone should have taken away my Equity Card. It was terrible and the buggers keep playing it."[1]


  1. ^ "Tom Baker wants Eddie Izzard for Doctor Who". Metro. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 

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