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The Shakespeare Sketch
Shacke adder
Live Sketches, Episode 1
Written by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
Guest stars Hugh Laurie
Original airdate
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This non-canonical sketch was performed on stage at the Sadlers Wells Theatre on 18 September 1989. It was written for and performed at an AIDS benefit concert directed by Stephen Fry, and features Hugh Laurie as "Bill" Shakespeare and Rowan Atkinson as his agent or manager, whose name is not mentioned in the sketch. They discuss cutting various sections of Hamlet – in particular the "To be or not to be" soliloquy. Shakespeare is very reluctant to cut any dialogue, but ultimately, Rowan Atkinson's character talks Shakespeare down from an over-long speech to the familiar 'snappy' phrase. Because the agent's name is never given, it is not certain he is an incarnation of the Blackadder family, although he is often identified as a Blackadder. However, Richard Curtis later stated that it was never intended as a Blackadder sketch. The sketch was available on video as part of Hysteria 2 – The Second Coming, released by Palace Video on 21 May 1990.


The Black Adder And Shakespeare Rare


  • In the sketch, Rowan Atkinson's character is wearing a watch.
  • Rowan Atkinson has denied that this is meant to be a Blackadder Sketch.
    • However, it was included in the audio CD "Blackadder: The Complete Collected Series"