The Blackadder Wiki
Nationality British
Occupation Minstrel/Balladeer
First appearance Bells
Last appearance Chains
Episode count 6 episodes
Played by Tony Aitken (uncredited)
Jeremy Jackman (vocals, uncredited)

The Minstrel (referenced as "Merry Balladeer") was a minor character that appeared in Blackadder II. As his name suggests he is a musician, who at the end of each episode, sung a derogatory serenade about Lord Edmund Blackadder's exploits, whilst playing his lute.

He was portrayed by Tony Aitken, but his vocals were provided by Jeremy Jackman[1][2].


The Minstrel is a rather short man, dressed in a peasants outfit. His clothes are brown and appear to be extremely torn. This suggests that he is rather poor.


The mans entire life seems to revolve around tormenting Lord Edmund Blackadder, who he would sing insulting songs about. Since he only appears at the end of the episode, it is not known how he even heard about Blackadder's exploits. It is possible that he lives in Blackadder's garden as he was frequently shown hiding the shrubs and would jump out at Lord Blackadder's approach.

Role in the series[]

Each episode of Blackadder ii showed Lord Edmund Blackadder taking a stroll through his garden. Blackadder would briefly turn back to the audience and wave, before continuing on his way. At this point, the balladeer (who was already singing) would leap out from his hiding place and start hounding Blackadder, despite the latter's efforts to get away.

Episode One - Bell's

After Lord Flashheart eloped with Blackadder's fiance Kate, Lord Edmund took a walk in his garden. Leaping out of the shrubs from the left hand side of the path, the balladeer started dancing around him. As Blackadder tried to run away, the minstrel taunted Edmund about his failed relationship and how he would now remain a bachelor. The musician then sung about his admiration for Lord Flashheart and how he wished he was the star of the show instead of Blackadder.

Episode Two - Head

Following Edmund's failed exploits as a headsman, the singer once again ambushed the Elizabethan Lord. This time the balladeer leapt out from the right hand side of the path, before once again proceeding to chase after Edmund whilst dancing around him. The opening verse taunted Blackadder about how his great grandfather had been a King (albeit a short lived one). The rest of the song meanwhile was about how yet another of Blackadder's attempts to earn fame and fortune had backfired, and that nothing he did ever worked out the way he planned.

Episode 3 - Potato

Having returned to England following an extensive journey oversea, Blackadder returned to both England and his estate. This time however, Lord Edmund kept his eye out for the musician that taunted him. Interestingly, the balladeer did not leap out at Blackadder on his occasion. For reasons unknown, the musician was standing on the edge of the fountain at the centre of Blackadder's garden, his lute held at the ready like a club. Surprisingly, Blackadder did not notice him until the last second, at which point the balladeer knocked him out cold with a single bonk to the head. Edmund collapsed to the floor, at which point the unconcerned singer proceeded to dance and sing around Lord Blackadder's unconscious body.

His latest song revolved around Blackadder's attempt to follow in the footsteps of great explorers in a desperate bid to achieve fame and glory. The musician mocked the fact that despite his extensive travels, Blackadder accomplished nothing. He even declared that Edmund would have been better off staying at home.

Episode 4 - Money

This was the only episode in which the balladeer appeared on-screen before Lord Edmund. It also marked a turning point in the singers fortunes. In the previous episodes, he was the one hounding Blackadder. From this point onward, Lord Blackadder would be the one chasing him. From a look he gave the audience, it was clear that Edmund had finally had enough of the balladeer's insults and planned to teach him a lesson.

Of course, none of this stopped the musician from singing another derogatory song about Blackadder. The opening verse carried a warning about the dangers of borrowing and lending out money. The rest of the song pointed out how Blackadder's latest exploits were a perfect example of this and how the Tudor Lord had put his life in serious danger because of it. However, the minstrel cruelly pointed out that not a single person had cared about Edmund's situation or predicament.

Episode 5 - Beer

Blackadder was shown entering the garden with a stick. As the balladeer started to sing his latest song, Edmund began probing the nearby foliage, intending to flush the minstrel out and beat him. To Edmund's frustration, despite his best efforts, he could not locate the man.

Whilst Edmund carried out his search, the balladeer mocked Blackadder for his famous inability to hold his liquor. The musician also admitted that like everybody else in the episode, he too was drunk. After comparing Blackadder unfavorably to Robin Hood, the minstrel provided what turned out to be a bit of grim bit of foreshadowing, noting that he had heard a rumor that Edmund had died. Having seen the proof that this wasn't true, the inebriated musician appeared in front of the camera, revealing that he had in fact been hiding at the front of the garden entire time. He then broke the fourth wall, by saying the writers had lied, before once again running off-screen.

At this point, Lord Edmund spotted him and tore back up the path, his stick raised threateningly. It is never said whether or not he caught the minstrel and punished him.

Episode 6 - Chains

In what would be his final appearance, the musician sung his last taunting song about Blackadder and his rivals. Whilst he did mock Prince Ludwig for underestimating Blackadder, the minstral made it clear that in his opinion, Lord Edmund only beat the villain through sheer dumb luck. With his opinion of Blackadder clearly unchanged, the singer proceeded to instead praise Edmund's rival, Lord Melchett for his noble bearing.

The credits once again opened with Blackadder entering his garden. This time however, he did not turn back or wave at the audience. Instead, Blackadder marched purposefully up the path towards one of the hedges. Disappearing behind it momentarily, Lord Edmund finally caught the man that had mocked and taunted him so relentlessly. Dragging the still singing man towards the center of his garden, Blackadder took revenge, by repeatedly dunking the balladeer's head into his fountain. At no point however, did this prevent the minstrel from finishing his insulting song.

What happened to the musician after this final ballad is not known, but it is heavily implied that Lord Blackadder drowned him.


  • The musicians name is never revealed.