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Complete Black Adder [VHS]

4.8 out of 5 stars 243 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Elspet Gray
  • Format: Box set, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 8
  • Studio: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • VHS Release Date: October 17, 1995
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (243 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303631991
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,962 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


One of the best comedy series ever to emerge from England, Black Adder traces the deeply cynical and self-serving lineage of various Edmund Blackadders from the muck of the Middle Ages to the frontline of World War I. In his pre-Bean triumph, British comic actor Rowan Atkinson played all five versions of Edmund, beginning with the villainous and cowardly Duke of Edinburgh, whose scheming mind and awful haircut seem to stand him in good stead to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury--a deadly occupation if ever there was one. Among tales of royal dethronings, Black Death, witch smellers (who root out spell makers with their noses), and ghosts, Edmund is a perennial survivor who never quite gets ahead in multiple episodes. Jump to the Elizabethan era and Atkinson picks up the saga as Lord Edmund, who is perpetually courting favor from mad Queen Bess (Miranda Richardson) and is always walking a tightrope from which he can either gain the world or lose his head. Subjected to bizarre services for her majesty (at one point, Edmund is asked to do for potatoes what Sir Walter Raleigh did for tobacco), Edmund--as with his ancestor--can never quite fulfill his larger ambitions. The next incarnation we encounter is in late-18th-century Regency England. This time, Blackadder is a mere butler to the idiotic Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie in a brilliantly buffoonish performance) and is caught in various misadventures with Samuel Johnson, Shakespearean actors, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and William Pitt the younger. With a brief stop in Victorian London for a Christmas special, the series concludes with several episodes set during the Great War. The new Edmund is a career Army officer, but a scoundrel all the same. Shirking his duties whenever possible and taking advantage of any opportunity for undeserved reward, this final, deeply sour, and very funny Blackadder negotiates survival among a cadre of fools and dimwits. No small mention can be made of Atkinson's supporting cast, easily among the finest comic performers of their generation: besides Laurie and Richardson, Stephen Fry, Tony Robinson, and Tim McInnerny. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas H. Uphill on July 2, 2001
Format: DVD
If you are reading this, then you already love Black Adder, so I'll answer my biggest question before I bought these: "What's on the DVD's?"
Each series gets it's own DVD.
The fifth is a single episode from 1999 called "Back and Forth". Unfortunately the "Making of Back and Forth" is better than the episode. Luckily the "Making" is included on the disc.
Each series has biographies for the principle characters (Rowan and others have the same biography on each disk). These are read by Tony Robinson (Baldrick).
Each series has a short history of the principle events from that series episodes, these are also read by Tony. The blurbs are short but informative and interesting.
Series Three has the Christmas Carol on it as an extra feature.
The box has a few pictures and a short text on each series. That's about it for Extra Features.
It is definitely a complete set. All the Black Adder material I've ever seen is on these disks. The episodes are crisp and clean, a good transfer.
I would have liked to see some interviews with Tony and Rowan and possibly the script from the "Lost Pilot", other than that, this is a great Box Set, definitely worth the price of admission.
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Format: DVD
I'm a big fan of British comedy and consider Black Adder to be the greatest of them all, and that's saying something. The British have produced some great ones: Benny Hill, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf, Ab Fab - and those are just the most famous titles. There are numerous other great shows out there, yet Black Adder is a cut above them all. It's very witty, hilarious, and expects the viewer to have knowledge of British history.

This set includes just about everything (there are bits and pieces not on the five discs). Let's review all of them.

Black Adder I is set at the end of the 15th Century and is based on the premise that Henry Tudor was a liar, that Richard III was a good King and was succeeded by his nephew, who became Richard IV. The first series is the weakest of the lot, though it is still quite good and contains two of the entire series best shows. The first two episodes (The Foretelling and Born to be King) are funny, but do not contain the side-splitting laughs common to the series. The show really hits its stride in the third episode, The Archbishop, one of the funniest episodes of the entire series. The success continues through the fourth and fifth episodes (The Queen of Spain's Beard and Witchsmeller Pursuivant), though the show dips in the final episode a bit. Brian Blessed is terrific, though can be a bit much at times. Tim McInnerny and Tony Robinson do great jobs, as they would throughout the series.

Black Adder II is set in Elizabethan times. Many would claim it to be the funniest of the four series, and that argument can most definitely be made. I, however, think that each successive series gets better. Every episode in the second series is a winner; every single episode is a stand out.
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Format: DVD
If you are a Blackadder fan, chances are the you have seen all of these episodes countles times. The amazing thing is that, like Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, these episodes are always fun to watch over and over again. Rowan Atkinson is at his best, while support from Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, and Miranda Richardson make this series on of the best to ever come out of the UK.
But this review isn't about the episodes themselves, it is about this particular DVD set, so here goes:
The layout of the DVD set is nice and neat (the casing is cardboard, more durable casings would have been nice). It folds out into 5 sections, each containing a DVD with their respective series. Series 1-4 are included, as well as the 1999 special "Back and Forth", which is a reunion of sorts, about Blackadder and Baldrick building a time machine. Not the best Blackadder outing, but a laught riot nonetheless. Each DVD has special features, including all the specials including "Blackadder's Christmas Carol" and the rare sketch "The Cavalier Years". Other extras include cast bios and historical footnotes (read by Tony Robinson), karaoke singalong, trailers, and other neat stuff. The interactive menus make getting to your desired episide easy.
The only complaint I have is the lack of cast interviews, outtakes from the series itself, and behind-the-scenes specials. The only such things are on "Back and Forth" and a Richard Curtis interview. But all that aside, this is the jewel of my DVD collection, and will provide many ours of entertainment in the future.
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Format: DVD
This DVD series contains the complete collection of Black Adder TV episodes, made by the BBC. Black Adder aired as four individual series of six episodes each: The Black Adder, Black Adder II, Black Adder the Third and Black Adder Goes Forth.
Black Adder stars Rowan Atkinson, an absolute comic genius who is also the star of Mr. Bean. The screenplays were written by Richard Curtis (Mr. Bean, Not the nine o'clock news) and Ben Elton - possibly one of the funniest modern writers.
In the first series, Rowan Atkinson plays a weak chinned, effeminate heir to Richard, Duke of York. Set in medieval England, we are introduced to two of the most often recurring characters in Black Adders live(s) - Percy and Baldrick. Lord Percy is an eager to please, high strung dolt. Baldrick, an filthy peasant that is under qualified to be the village idiot, acts as Black Adder's golfer. Although funny, the first series may miss an American audience with some of it's historical references.
In the second series, Black Adder's next descendant is no longer heir to the throne but remains one of Queen's dearest friends. Set in Elizabethan England, we get to follow Black Adder as he plots to carouse, fornicate and steal his way to pleasure. Even funnier than the first series, Black Adder gets far more clever. We are also introduced to two additional, recurring characters - Melchett and Flash. Melchett is a pompous, over bearing palace sycophant and Flash is fast moving ladies man with more than just a sword hanging between his legs.
Black Adder's fortunes have considerably fallen by the Third Series, where he is now serving a butler to the Price Regent of England, the stupidest man in the land. Again, the clever Black Adder schemes to raise himself at the expense of everyone around him.
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