TV Series | TV-PG | | Comedy, War
Stuck in the middle of World War I, Captain Edmund Blackadder does his best to escape the banality of the war.
The writers researched World War I and thought it made a very apt fitting for a comedy: "All the buildup to the First World War was very funny, all the people coming from communities where they'd never bumped into posh people, and all being so gung-ho and optimistic... the first hundred pages of any book about the World War are hilarious, then of course everybody dies." Rowan Atkinson further explained that the trenches of WWI were perfect: "We wanted a place and time that could reproduce to an extent the claustrophobia and sordidness of medieval England, the best way to do that was to set it in the middle of a war."
But this is brave, splendid and noble...
Lieutenant George: ...Sir
Captain Blackadder: Yes, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant George: I'm scared, sir
Private Baldrick: I'm scared too, sir
Lieutenant George: I'm the last of the tiddly-winking leapfroggers from the golden summer of 1914. I don't want to die... I'm really not over keen on dying at all, sir...
Throughout the series, Blackadder and George, both front-line officers in the trenches, are show with their rank insignia displayed on their cuffs, whereas Melchett and Darling, staff officers, are shown with their rank insignia on their shoulders. In reality, this would have been reversed: Cuff insignia was the standard, but front-line officers were allowed to wear theirs on their shoulders to make them less conspicuous to snipers. Shoulder insignia eventually became an army-wide personal option in 1917, and made permanent in 1920 when the cuff insignia was abolished completely.
The titles of the first five episodes are puns, pairing a military rank with a word summing up the episode's theme. The final episode, "Goodbyeee", was the title of a period song
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