The Blackadder Wiki
The Black Seal
The Black Seal title card
The Black Adder, Episode 6
Written by Richard Curtis & Rowan Atkinson
Directed by Martin Shardlow
Guest stars Patrick Allen;

Rik Mayall (uncredited)

Original airdate 13th July 1983
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Witchsmeller Pursuivant" "Bells"
List of episodes

"The Black Seal" is the final of six episodes of the first series of The Black Adder.


On Saint Juniper's Day, 29 January 1498, King Richard IV snubs Prince Edmund, taking away his Duchy and Scottish lands while awarding his brother Harry with several important titles. Finally reaching his breaking point, Edmund declares that he will take over the kingdom. He fires Percy and Baldrick, and begins his quest for glory, aided by a retired Morris dancer.

In a parody of the opening of the film The Magnificent Seven, Edmund sets forth into England in search of the six other "Most Evil Men in the Kingdom,":

Edmund plans to ride home and then send for them all through a black-haired messenger. They are to gather in the tavern of the recently deceased old Jasper (slain by Friar Bellows), before heading out to seize the royal courts and thus the kingdom.

After his comrades disperse, Edmund's plan hits a severe setback. The Morris Dancer casts off his disguise to reveal himself as Edmund's childhood rival, Philip of Burgundy, nicknamed "The Hawk" (Patrick Allen). Philip has just arrived in England after 15 years of exile in France, an exile for which Edmund was apparently responsible. As revenge, Philip locks Edmund in a prison cell, to be devoured by snails. There is another inmate in the cell, Mad Gerald (Rik Mayall), who has been incarcerated for 20 years and whose best friend is a rat. After 12 months of rambling insanely to a bored Edmund, in late December Gerald shows the Prince a key he had made from his own teeth. Edmund seizes the key, successfully opens the cell door and escapes. Gerald opts not to follow him, instead complaining that Edmund had not closed the door behind him.

The first person Edmund meets after escaping from prison is a man seeking to sell five black homing pigeons and one black homing chicken. While the seller's initial asking price is six shillings, he generously invites Edmund to beat him up, tie him to a tree and steal the pigeons, an offer the Prince gratefully accepts. Edmund promptly sends the pigeons to fly to his fellow conspirators. Philip of Burgundy, however, beats the gang to the royal castle, and, when they arrive, promptly persuades them to abandon Edmund and adopt him as their leader. Edmund's protestations that Philip is a twisted, ruthless killer who murdered his own family only increases Philip's standing in their eyes. Philip then forces Edmund into a torture chair, in which he is horribly mutilated. Just then, Percy and Baldrick, disguised as serving wenches, serve the conspirators poisoned wine, killing them.

As Edmund lies on his deathbed with the entire court mourning over him, his father wakes him up by loudly shouting "EDMUND!" Edmund, surprised that his father had, for the first time, got his name right, mutters "Father, you called me Edmund." Richard answers "Sorry, Edgar" and proposes a toast for his son. Asked by Edmund to call him by his nom de guerre, Richard calls a further toast, to "The Black Dagger". As Percy had unwittingly poisoned the entire batch of wine, the entire royal court dies after drinking the wine. Edmund correctly deduces that the wine was what killed them, but foolishly decides to take a sip to check. Believing the wine is not the killer, as he has not immediately died, he declares himself King of England, only for the wine to kill him moments later.

After the credits, Percy and Baldrick run in to stop the court drinking the wine, only to find it is too late.

And now at last I shall be King of E--.



  • Prince Edmund's brief ascension to the throne is referred to in the Elizabethan minstrel's song at the end of "Head":
His great grandfather was a king, Although for only thirty seconds.