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Plan D: Private Plane
Private Plane
Episode 4
Written by Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Directed by Richard Boden
Guest stars Gabrielle Glaister
Rik Mayall
Adrian Edmondson
Original airdate 19 October 1989
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"Private Plane" is the fourth episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, the fourth series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder.


The episode begins with an ongoing artillery attack that is disturbing Blackadder's rest, and which he says will not help as 'Jerry is safe underground'. Shortly after it stops, an air raid begins. After Blackadder leaves an angry message for the head of the Flying Corps ("Message reads 'Where are you, you bastard?'"), believing that it was a German air raid, he is not thrilled to learn that it was simply a display by the Flying Corp. Shortly afterwards, the brash and egocentric Squadron Commander, Lord Flashheart (Rik Mayall), crash lands by the dug-out. Baldrick and George are enraptured by Flashheart, though Blackadder is completely unimpressed. As Flashheart leaves with Bob, Flashheart offers George a place in the Royal Flying Corps. Initially uninterested, Blackadder is more agreeable when he learns of the "20 Minuters" squadron, so named because - according to the caption in Lt. George's Brooke Bond Book of the Air - new pilots only spend 20 minutes in the air.

At Staff HQ, Blackadder tries to join the Flying Corps; Captain Darling tries to stop him, but General Melchett allows the transfer. At basic training the next day, Blackadder learns that the flight instructor is Flashheart, and that the actual reason for the name 'Twenty Minuters' is because the 20 minutes is the life expectancy of a new pilot. Darling at this point assures Blackadder that so long as he has a good navigator, he'll be fine. However, much to Darling's glee, the navigator is Baldrick.

Shortly after takeoff, both Blackadder and Baldrick are shot down by a red plane, and captured by Baron von Richthofen (Adrian Edmondson), who wants to learn the subtleties of British humour. He informs them of their fate, which entails teaching home economics to young German girls in a convent outside Heidelberg, which he thinks will be a fate worse than death to a British soldier; Blackadder feigns sorrow, but he is, of course, overjoyed.

George, in the meantime, attempts to rescue Blackadder with the help of Darling and Melchett, but is informed that it would be pointless. He is shown a map showing the land they have recaptured — 17 square feet, in actual size. He is more successful in recruiting Lord Flashheart, who swiftly rescues Blackadder and Baldrick. Blackadder tries to stall them and get himself recaptured, but Flashheart is not fooled and forces Blackadder out the door. Unfortunately, Richthofen appears and confronts Flashheart, comparing the nobility and majesty of their calling. In response, Flashheart shoots von Richthofen and calls him "a poof".

Back at HQ, Blackadder and Flashheart confront Captain Darling. Flashheart headbutts Darling into unconsciousness to get back at him for not rescuing them sooner. He then leaves, advising Blackadder to take something if he wants it (a principle he demonstrates with Bob). Melchett appears, at which point Blackadder asks for some time off to recuperate. Melchett agrees, stating that Blackadder's commanding officer would have to be mad to refuse. However, when Blackadder reminds Melchett that he is Blackadder's commanding officer, Melchett refuses.


  • When Flashheart and Bob make their "woofs," Blackadder remarks "It's like Crufts in here." According to the DVD commentary, this line was supposed to be, "It's like Battersea Dogs' Home in here." However, Atkinson found himself unable to say the line due to his stutter, and so "Crufts" was substituted for "Battersea Dogs' Home" in the final version at the request of John Lloyd after many failed takes with the new line getting a huge laugh from the studio audience.
  • This was the first re-appearance of the Lord Flashheart character, since the second series premier "Bells". While he did not reappear under that name, Rik Mayall used the same characterisation in his portrayal of Robin Hood in Blackadder: Back and Forth.
  • The aerial scenes were footage re-used from the 1976 film Aces High.
  • Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Tony Robinson all appeared in The Young Ones episode "Bambi". Although he did not act in this episode, Ben Elton appeared in "Bambi" and co-wrote both series.
  • Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall appear together. The pair appeared together in many TV shows as well as stage plays and movies.
  • George's lines in praise of the Royal Flying Corps make reference to the theme from the 1965 film Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.

Filming errors[]

  • When Blackadder and Baldrick are captured, they are first visited by von Gerhardt. When Gerhardt is looking away and Blackadder is making fun of him, he suddenly turns and hit Baldrick. When Baldrick falls on the wall, the wall moves at least 10 centimeters.
  • Shortly before they are captured, while they are flying, a white car can be seen driving on the ground.