lizetta loves


I often say I’m not a fan of comedy as I find a lot of the comedians on TV these days desperate and resorting to crass humour. When I was younger I remember comedy being far cleverer – and Rowan Atkinson is one such comedian who created some iconic comedic characters. The fact that you can buy Mr Bean’s Teddy from every tourist shop in London shows how well that series has lasted across the generations.

We’ve been talking about rewatching Blackadder for a long time. On a pre-Christmas charity shop crawl with my aunt in December, I managed to find the complete series, including specials, for bargain price of £5! A perfect stocking gift.

We’ve just finished watching the four series and it was perfect nostalgia TV watching. Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder the conniving ‘hero’ trying and failing to save himself from numerous predicaments, to the potential detriment of others, and Tony Robinson as his dim witted sidekick. “I have a cunning plan” must be one of the most quoted lines of the series.

With series regulars Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny and Miranda Richardson accompanied by the likes of Brian Blessed as King Richard IV, Patsy Byrne as Nursie and the marvellous Miriam Margoyles, some classic characters of British sitcom were made. The late great Robbie Coltrane made an appearance in the third series and the irreplaceable Rik Mayall made short but memorable appearances in two series with his catchphrase “Woof”. Apparently Tim McInnerny declined to appear in the third series for fear of being typecast, before returning as Captain Darling in the final series.

I don’t remember the first series Black Adder, but Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth brought back many childhood TV memories.

As the last scenes of Blackadder Goes Forth played out last night, I felt as emotional as when I last saw it many years ago. Yes it’s comedy but set against real events in the not to distant past, it all feels a little too real. It doesn’t surprise me that in 1999 it came number 9 in TV’s 100 Greatest Moments just behind Live Aid. The whole series came 16th in the BFI TV 100 list compiled in 2000, just ahead of Absolutely Fabulous.

I met Rowan Atkinson once. It was when I was working at the ABC Cinema (now Odeon) in Oxford in the late 1990s. He was with his two children. I have no idea what they were seeing but I served them their refreshments which somehow I remember to this day – a bottle of water and a bag of chocolate raisins.

We’ve still got the specials to watch, none of which I ever recall seeing, and then maybe we’ll rewatch Mr Bean.

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