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Amy and Amiability
Amy and Amiability.jpg
Title card, illustrating the episode's highwayman storyline.
Episode 5
Written by Ben Elton & Richard Curtis
Directed by Mandie Fletcher
Guest stars Miranda Richardson, Warren Clarke
Original airdate 15 October 1987
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"Amy and Amiability" is the fifth episode of the Blackadder the Third series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.


Mr. E. Blackadder is in serious debt. Baldrick suggest that he becomes a highwayman to make money to pay off his bills; however, Blackadder, having "no desire to get hung for wearing a silly hat", simply decides to ask the Prince Regent for a raise. Unfortunately, the Prince is also broke, having been tricked out of it by his drinking buddies during games of "cards" (he was tricked into believing that the aim was to lose all of one's money). He is therefore forced to search for a rich wife and hence a sizable dowry. Unfortunately, of the 262 princesses in Europe, only two are possible matches, as of the other 260, 165 were over 80, 47 were under 10 and 39 were mad (Baldrick says that they sounded ideal but unfortunately they had all been married to a horse in Munich the previous week): Grand Duchess Sophia of Turin, who is unlikely to marry the Prince on account of the fact she's met him, and Caroline of Brunswick, a woman with the worst personality in Germany, which Blackadder says is up against some pretty stiff competition.

Amy Hardwood (played by Miranda Richardson), daughter of a powerful, if bad-tempered, industrialist, seems the only option despite the fact that she is incredibly childish and soppy, or as Blackadder puts it; "wetter than a haddock's bathing costume". The Prince seems unlikely to succeed on his own, given his fixation on sex, so Blackadder helps out by "playing Cyrano" for George.

The flirtation and engagement seems to be going well until Blackadder discovers that Amy's father is broke, upon which he breaks the engagement, though too late to prevent the Prince spending several thousand pounds on wedding gifts. Blackadder saddles up Baldrick and turns to the life of a highwayman. He soon discovers that Amy Hardwood is in fact herself the notorious highwayman, The Shadow. She pretends to be in love with Blackadder to steal the Prince's money and the wedding gifts, but Blackadder turns her in for a £10,000 reward. The Prince, now in love with Amy, is crushed to discover that she has been hanged, but is warmed by the fact that he discovered "so much money I don't know what to do with it!", having accidentally found Edmund's reward money. The episode ends with Blackadder convincing the Prince to play a game of "cards" with him.

Mrs M, if we were the last three humans on Earth I'd be trying to start a family with Baldrick.

Historical and cultural references[]

  • This episode contains a reference to the Prince's eventual real-life bride, Caroline of Brunswick, who is dismissed as a candidate for having a horrible personality. The real George did in fact marry Caroline of Brunswick and the marriage was an unmitigated disaster.
  • The balcony scene is adapted from a scene in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which Christian de Neuvillette uses Cyrano's words to court the beautiful Roxanne.
  • The episode also anachronistically alludes to criticism of The Times in the 1980s.
  • At one point, when asked by Baldrick if he is becoming a highwayman, Blackadder sarcastically replies 'No, I'm auditioning for the role of Arnold the Bat in Sheridan's new comedy!', a reference to (for that time) contemporary British comedic playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan.


  • The number of deducted princesses is miscalculated. 262-165-47-39 = 11. Which leaves 9 princesses unaccounted for.


  • The criticism of The Times.
  • The mention of Germany, as it had not actually become a country. Thus, Caroline would be princess of the royal family of Brunswick, not Germany.

Character error[]

As confirmed by the credits, the highway robber's victims are the Duke of Cheapside and Miss Cheapside, his daughter. The daughter of a Duke has the title 'Lady' followed by her forename and surname.


  • Miranda Richardson previously played the regular role of Queenie in Blackadder II. She also appears in the series four episode "General Hospital" wherein she plays a similar role of a seemingly soppy nurse who turns out to be more cynical than she lets on.
  • On its first screening, the episode was erroneously billed in the Radio Times under its working title of "Cape and Capability".
  • It is revealed that Mrs. Miggins loves Blackadder and that she hopes: "one day, you'll settle down and we get married and that together we might await the slither of tiny Adders," to which Blackadder replies: "Mrs M, if we were the last three humans on Earth I'd be trying to start a family with Baldrick."