|“Blackadder's Christmas Carol”|
|Written by||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton|
|Directed by||Richard Boden|
|Featured music||Howard Goodall|
|Original airdate||23 December 1988|
|List of episodes|
Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third (1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), and is narrated by Hugh Laurie. Produced by the BBC, it was first broadcast on BBC One on 23 December 1988.
Ebenezer Blackadder, the Victorian proprietor of a "moustache shop", is the nicest man in England. He is everything that Ebenezer Scrooge was by the end of the original story; generous and kind to everybody, and sensitive to the misery of others. As a result, everybody takes advantage of his kindness, and all but Mr. Baldrick view him as a victim, although even he is slightly more cynical than his ancestors. His business turns no profit, all his earnings going to charity and to con artists, and he lives a lonely, miserable life.
All this changes one Christmas Eve, when the Spirit of Christmas (Robbie Coltrane) makes the mistake of calling round to congratulate him for his ways. The spirit lets him see shades of the past: his ancestors Lord Blackadder and Edmund Blackadder, Esq., the butler of the Prince Regent. Instead of being convinced that he is better than them, he grows to admire them and their wit and asks the spirit to show him what could happen if he became like them. He sees a vision of a distant future where his distant descendant Grand Admiral Blackadder is a successful, if ruthless, official of a Universe-spanning Empire about to marry the similarly ruthless and insanely ambitious Queen Asphyxia XIX. Blackadder asks the Spirit what will happen if he stays kind. As an answer, he sees an alternate vision of the same future era where his descendant is a semi-naked slave of the incompetent Admiral Baldrick.
Blackadder makes his decision, proclaiming, "Bad guys have all the fun." He wakes up a different man: bitter, vengeful, greedy for money, and insulting to everyone he meets. Although he is now more in control of his life, he misses a golden opportunity when he insults two strangers who had come to reward him for his reputed generosity. These are Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort, Albert who were about to award him £50,000 and the title of Baron Blackadder for being the nicest man in England, they leave without doing so after being ridiculed by Blackadder. The episode ends with Blackadder looking startled when he is told the victims of his brushing-off were the royal couple, thus creating a better future for Grand Admiral Blackadder, but hurting his own, getting across the same message as the original Christmas Carol but in the opposite way.
There is sometimes an edit towards the beginning of the episode, after Baldrick talks about the dog in the Nativity Play. Blackadder asks him "Weren't the children upset?" and Baldrick responds "Nah, they loved it. They want us to do another one at Easter. They want to see us nail up the dog." Most of this line is cut from video and most DVD releases. The earliest known case of this edit was on 2 January 1998, the same version being used for later terrestrial broadcasts at Christmas 2007, 2008 and in 2010. Broadcasts on Gold keeps the original broadcast intact.
- Rowan Atkinson as Ebenezer Blackadder and his ancestors and descendants.
- Tony Robinson as Mr. Baldrick and his ancestors and descendants.
- Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett and Lord Frondo.
- Hugh Laurie as Prince George and Lord Pigmot.
- Miranda Richardson as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Asphyxia XIX.
- Robbie Coltrane as the The Spirit of Christmas.
- Miriam Margolyes as Queen Victoria.
- Jim Broadbent as Prince Albert.
- Patsy Byrne as Nursie.
- Denis Lill as Beadle.
- Pauline Melville as Mrs. Scratchit.
- Philip Pope as Lord Nelson.
- Nicola Bryant as Millicent, Blackadder's goddaughter.
- Ramsay Gilderdale as Ralph, Millicent's fiancé.
- David Barber, Erkan Mustafa and David Nunn as the Enormous Orphans.
- In the scene where Blackadder and the Prince Regent play charades, Blackadder holds up two fingers to indicate that a word has two syllables. In reality this would mean two words - two syllables would be indicated by placing two fingers on one's arm.
- In addition, since the entire main cast of Blackadder II is killed off in the series finale, Chains, it is possible that Queenie changed her mind about executing Melchett off-screen.