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Plan A: Captain Cook
4, Episode 1
Written by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
Directed by Richard Boden
Original airdate 28th September 1989
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"Captain Cook" is the first episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, the fourth series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.


The episode starts with Blackadder and Baldrick discussing the latter's latest feeble cunning plan: namely, Baldrick carving his name on a bullet to get around the fact that "there's a bullet with his name on it" since he won't ever shoot himself ("shame", comments Blackadder). Lt. George enters and provides Blackadder with a copy of the propaganda magazine King and Country, which Blackadder uses for toilet paper, and a new service revolver. Blackadder deduces that an advance against the Germans is imminent. Baldrick suggests that they take up cooking at HQ to get out of the assault, which Blackadder deems a brilliant plan save for one tiny flaw; Baldrick is the worst cook in the entire world.

Shortly afterwards, Blackadder is called to the office of General Melchett for a special mission: Field Marshal Haig's supreme tactical plan (where the men climb out of their trenches and walk slowly towards the enemy... A plan they've used 18 times before) is weakening the men's morale, and he needs something to cheer them up. Blackadder sarcastically suggests Haig's resignation and suicide as the obvious solution, but Melchett takes it literally and has it noted down. Melchett then reveals that he is looking for a particularly inspiring piece of art for the front cover of King and Country. Blackadder is uninterested until he learns that the artist needs to leave the trenches for Paris, and attempts to paint a work of art by himself. He and Baldrick both fail, but when George reveals he can paint surprisingly well, Blackadder gets him to paint a picture of a British soldier (resembling Blackadder) standing next to a body of a dead nun in a ruined French village.

However, when Melchett and Captain Darling arrive to inspect the work, Blackadder switches his painting "War" with George's, the former being the first in line. George tries to speak out, but since he and Baldrick are only to speak when permitted by Blackadder, the Captain denies hearing it. The next painting is Baldrick's "My Family and Other Animals," which shows vomit, which Melchett rejects. Blackadder proceeds to take credit for George's painting, earning himself the position of war artist.

Melchett then reveals that the King and Country cover story was just a ploy: instead of Paris, the chosen artist will in fact go into no man's land and draw the enemy positions. With help and hindrance from George and Baldrick, who fail to correctly interpret the meaning of the phrase "minefield", he returns with a sketch illustrating immense fictional enemy defensive capabilities, including large numbers of armament factories and elephants (when preparing to head back to the trench, George asks what they should do if they step on a mine and Blackadder gives him the normal procedure, which is to jump 200 feet into the air and scatter oneself over a wide area). Darling and Blackadder suggests that the push should be canceled. Melchett responds by saying that would be exactly what the enemy would expect... and what they won't do, in order to make the Germans think that the British intelligence is rotten. Melchett orders the attack anyway, which the three avoid by dressing up as Italian chefs and substituting themselves for Melchett's chef. After serving Baldrick's poisonous cuisine to Melchett and Darling, the three escape back to the trenches, where Blackadder asks Baldrick how he managed to get so much custard out of such a small cat.


  • This is the only episode from all four series to feature no one other than the regular cast.

Historical references and inaccuracies[]

  • When Captain Blackadder receives a phone call and Private Baldrick asks who was on the line, Blackadder replies that "Funnily enough Baldrick that was Pope Gregory IX aboard his steamship The Saucy Sue currently wintering in Montego Bay with the English Cricket XI and the Balinese Goddess of Plenty." The Pope in World War I was Pope Benedict XV - Gregory IX had in fact died in 1241.