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  • The Blackadder - The Historic First Series [1983] [DVD]
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The Blackadder - The Historic First Series [1983] [DVD]

57 customer reviews

Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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The Blackadder - The Historic First Series [1983] [DVD] + Blackadder 2 - The Entire Second Series [1986] [DVD] + Blackadder 3 - The Entire Historic Third Series [1987] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Elspet Gray, Tim McInnerny, Tony Robinson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Nov. 1999
  • Run Time: 190 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZS8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,550 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The entire first series of the historical sitcom, created by Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. Atkinson plays the scheming member of a 15th century royal court, with Tony Robinson as his witless sidekick Baldrick. The episodes are 'The Foretelling', 'Born to Be King', 'The Archbishop', 'The Queen of Spain's Beard', 'Witchsmeller Pursuivant' and 'The Black Seal'.

From Amazon.co.uk

The classic first series of BlackAdder was slightly different to its successors--Ben Elton was not yet part of the writing team, and Shakespearean parody featured prominently. Rowan Atkinson was at his best as a would-be Machiavellian medieval intriguer while Brian Blessed plays his gloriously over the top blustering militarist father.

The episodes collected here are: "The Foretelling", in which Richard III, played by Peter Cook in a brilliant parody of Olivier, wins Bosworth only to get in an unseemly argument about a horse; "Born to be King" in which Edmund, lumbered with providing bearded ladies, morris dancers and eunuchs for a festival, discovers some indiscreet love letters; "The Archbishop" in which after his father has the Archbishop of Canterbury killed, Edmund starts his intrigues again; "The Queen of Spain's Beard" in which Blackadder's father's international schemes call for Edmund to make a dynastic marriage to Miriam Margolyes as the Infanta of Spain, and Jim Broadbent plays a peculiarly irritating interpreter; "Witchsmeller Pursuivant" in which Edmund falls foul of the demonic witchsmeller, played with more gusto than is quite credible by Frank Finlay; and "The Black Seal", wherein Edmund assembles a group of villains as his personal retinue (Rik Mayall plays a mad prisoner).

On the DVD: No extras here at all, aside from subtitles in English, SDH, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and chapter points within each episode. --Roz Kaveney

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Craig Taylor VINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
The original series of The Blackadder is one of my favourite comedies ever made, ok it may be completely different from the other Blackadders and in some respects it maybe isn't as funny as the later series, but as a stand alone sitcom this is brilliant.
The series gives an alternative take on history, with each episode following on from the other. The character of Blackadder is far sillier than his future descendants with Rowan Atkinson's skill for physical comedy used throughout, but his aim of wanting to outsmart the 'rulers' and 'commanders' is the same, and as always Baldrick, albeit smarter, is right behind along with the fabulous Lord Percy. Rowan Atkinson's skill for physical comedy is used very well.
Another noticable difference between this and the later series is the overall quality of the production. THe Blackadder was film entirely on location and this gives the comedy a great edge allowing it to set up some extravagant set pieces and plots within each episode. The supporting cast for each episode is always in double figures and you'll see many a familiar faces that crop up in the full Blackadder series over the years including Rik Mayal, Marim Margoyles and Jim Broadbent.
Give this series a go, and if you watch it with an open mind you'll absolutely love it.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nonny on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD
There's a commonly held belief that "The Black Adder" ( not "Blackadder" or even "The Blackadder" ) is the weakest of all 4 series. Even Atkinson himself is quoted as saying "a haircut & a codpiece do not a funny character make" & the unaired pilot has more in common with "Blackadder II". However, for more discerning viewers, the first series will remain the best.

The inclusion of Ben Elton in the writing process reduced the show to a predictable farce. A succession of cheap bum jokes, tiresome puns & saccharine sentimentality. Worst of all was the decision to invert the relationship between Edmund & Baldrick and therefore the relationship between Baldrick & Percy. No doubt it made scripting the show a much easier task as the characters became caricatures, but to suggest that subsequent series were funnier as a result is nonsense...unless you prefer characters to behave entirely predictably. One script fits all as far as series 2,3 & 4 go.

The audience for the first series is naturally smaller...it took time for the masses to latch onto the show & once they did, the otherness of the first incarnation was too much for them. A series for those with the imagination to appreciate dark humour rather than juvenille punning & for those who prefer Atkinson's grotesque & occasionally moving performance, rather than the smarmy, one dimensional character he later became.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Meadows on 3 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD
This first series of Blackadder (although it was properly called The Black Adder in this first series) is the often forgotten genesis of what was to become one of the greatest comedies of all time. One of the great unknowns was how it managed to get a commission for a second series, given how unsuccessful the first one was. But does that mean it was necessarily bad? By no means! While character of Edmund was underdeveloped and by the far the worst thing about the series, it is still quite a good series of programmes.

First of all, credit has to be given to the premise. Revisionist history is a dangerous thing and has been all too prevalent, so it was fitting that The Black Adder mocked revisionism by itself mocking the history it sought to revise. There are moments in the first series that hint at what was to come; with Edmund launching a volley of insults at Percy (later, generally, to be directed at Baldrick) in the final episode, and the 'relics' sketch from The Archbishop episode standing out as genius writing.

Strangely, this is actually the Baldrick I love the most. He is not the over-done simpleton that he became in later episodes, and it allows Tony Robinson the most acting freedom he had over the course of the 4 series. Brian Blessed gives one of the performances of his life (arguably on a par with his role as Voltan in Flash Gordon) and an honourable mention should be given to the late Peter Cook whose Richard the Third in the opening episode was sublime.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
It's a long time since I saw the first series of Blackadder, which I remembered as being somewhat dull compared to subsequent ones. On re-watching, however, it proved to be funnier than I expected. The best episode is probably 'The Queen of Spain's Beard', which deals with Blackadder's attempts to get out of marrying an extremely ugly Spanish princess. Worth mentioning is Brain Blessed, who is hilarious as the fictional King Richard IV.

'The Blackadder' has surprisingly high production values and special effects compared to later series. Another key difference is Blackadder himself, who is far less intelligent than his descendants. Baldrick, on the other hand, is more intelligent...indeed he is almost normal! One of the best things about watching the series' sequentially is seeing the lead character's cunning and sarcasm develop, just as his social status goes down from Prince to Captain.

While still the least effective of Blackadder's various incarnations, this opening series is definitely worth watching, and if you are new to Blackadder you should probably watch it first, as it sets the scene for much of what follows.
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