|Mr. Edmund Blackadder, Esq. |
The Scarlet Pimpernel
|Occupation||Butler to the Prince Regent, Highwayman, King|
|First appearance||"Dish and Dishonesty"|
|Last appearance||"Duel and Duality"|
|Episode count||6 Episodes, 1 Special|
|Played by||Rowan Atkinson|
Edmund Blackadder, Esq. (1762–1830) was the butler to the Prince Regent, George, the main character of the third series and the third Blackadder shown in the series. Unlike Prince Edmund and Lord Edmund Blackadder this Blackadder wasn't a royal himself, rather he served one, the idiotic Prince Regent George. However after he and George swapped coats and assumed each other's identities, and George killed by the Duke of Wellington due to his annoying nature, Blackadder would continue pretending to be the late prince and eventually become King George IV.
Mr. Blackadder, Esq. is lower in rank (a butler rather than a Prince and then a Lord) but more intelligent (speaking French and a little bit of Mongolian). It appears that the Blackadder dynasty has fallen upon hard times. The Blackadder of this period, although of noble blood, is butler to the Prince Regent, Prince George. George has absolute, but completely misplaced trust in Blackadder, largely because he is completely unable to do even the most basic things himself (it takes him over a week to put on a pair of trousers). Blackadder seems to make a living from stealing and selling the Prince's valuables —particularly his socks. Indeed, George's wallet is often to be found in Blackadder's top pocket. Furthermore, he seized on the opportunity when he learned that his master believed that the rules of "cards" involved trying to be the first player to give away all of his money.
Throughout the centuries since his ancestor Lord Blackadder, the Blackadders seem to have maintained their rapier-like wit, and their penchant for theft, corruption, lies and insults. This Blackadder also seems slightly more ruthless than his ancestors and willing to engage in criminal behaviour (such as highway robbery, murder and extortion), being directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of a number of innocent and less-than-innocent people. The Blackadder dynasty also seems to have maintained a close link with the Baldrick family line. Baldrick, by this stage, has lost whatever cunning his ancestors once had, and reached a level of childlike stupidity that is familiar to most viewers.
On the up-side of things, somewhere between the Elizabethan period and the Regency period, Blackadder does seem to have managed to shake off Lord Percy's descendants. However, in his place stands the even stupider Prince George, whom Blackadder now has to serve. The relationship between the two is a fine example of how figureheads often act as puppets whose strings are pulled by those behind the scenes. Although, Blackadder did sometimes have a hard time preventing those strings from becoming tangled.
As butler to the royal household, Blackadder's jobs include announcing, supervising the linen maids, opening and closing doors and cleaning up the Prince's cock-ups. Most of his other duties appear to have been delegated to Baldrick. He also receives assistance from Mrs. Miggins, who appears to do much of the baking for the palace.
Politically this Blackadder is a monarchist but his reasons for supporting the prince all relate to keeping the prince in power so he can take advantage of it. As a result, he is often required to guide George so that he appears respectable to society. This includes speechwriting, election rigging, wooing potential brides and advising the Prince on patronages. This often leads Blackadder into worse trouble, including trying to re-write Dr Johnson's dictionary in one night, being robbed by the elusive "Shadow" and being captured by an evil revolutionary.
Blackadder actually seems rather content to be middle class with "the toffs at the top, the plebs at the bottom, and me in the middle making a fat pile of cash out of both of them." He dreams of being young and wild, then middle-aged and rich and then he wants to be old and annoy people by pretending to be deaf. Edmund was also an author. Under the pseudonym 'Gertrude Perkins' he wrote "Edmund: A Butler's Tale," "a giant roller coaster of a novel in 400 sizzling chapters. A searing indictment of domestic servitude in the eighteenth century with some hot gypsies thrown in." Dr Johnson believed it to be the only book better than his own A Dictionary of the English Language, and it looked like Edmund was going to be rich until Baldrick mistakenly threw the book on the fire.
Unlike his previous ancestors, this Blackadder is generally well-respected and admired by the populace, but is also friendless, only having Baldrick, the Prince and the pie shop owner, Mrs Miggins, for company, none of which he likes.
In the final episode, after a saga which involved Edmund and the Prince swapping coats and assuming each other's identity, to Baldrick's great confusion, to protect the Prince from the vengeance of the Duke of Wellington, Blackadder was shot at point-blank range by a cannon, but survived because of a metal cigarrillo case that the Duke had given to him. In the interim, George was shot dead by the Duke, who believes him to be a 'tiresome butler.' Blackadder, having conversely managed to earn the Duke's surprised respect and thus an amicable settling of the Prince's accounts due to his competence and intelligence (including a suggestion that Nelson's navy ambushes Napoleon at Trafalgar rather than the North Pole) leaps on the opportunity to claim that he is Prince George, and supposedly went on to become George IV of the United Kingdom (although George IV had only one heir, a daughter who died in childbirth, giving birth to a stillborn son, so the Blackadder dynasty was unable to capitalise on its newly-acquired power and status for long).
This Blackadder is the only Blackadder that does definitely not die at the end of the series. He was known to have recreated the title the Duke of Blackadder for his son when Edmund became the King.
All-in-all, Blackadder appears to be extremely cynical, manipulative, Machiavellian, rigid, sarcastic, arrogant and fierce-tempered. He is an opportunist who takes advantage of the Prince's stupidity.
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