In The Black Seal it is 1498 and Edmund hatches a plot to dethrone the King with the help of the seven most evil men in the land. First he sacks Baldrick and Percy, attributing Percy’s dismissal partly to the fact that ‘you ride a horse rather less well than another horse would.’
Next Edmund recruits his gang of nasties, including Sean the Irish Bastard, Three-Fingered Pete and someone even worse than Canon Jack Smollett, senior archdeacon and entrail-eating heretic of Bath and Wells. The man in question is Unspeakably Violent Jack, the bull-buggering beast killer of no fixed abode. Edmund also encounters Mad Gerald who more than lives up to his name.
But the greatest threat comes from Edmund’s childhood rival, Philip of Burgundy, alias the Hawk. And just as Edmund is about to claim the throne, he makes the fatal mistake of drinking poisoned wine. All in all, not the black adder’s shrewdest move.
Edmund: Duke of Edinburgh
With his twisted countenance, feeble frame and pudding-basin haircut that even a blind medieval prison barber with the shakes would have bettered, Edmund looks more like a travelling leech salesman than heir to the throne. Indeed there are times in the original series when he bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain Mr. Bean. That he chose ‘The Black Adder’ as his title is no fluke. For he is dark of thought, dark of deed, slippery as a reptile, utterly poisonous and he wears quite a lot of black. That his sinister skullduggery should ultimately result in his own death is poetic justice. And news of his demise would surely have warranted the briefest mention in the town crier’s weekly announcement — just after the morris dancing results.
Guest Star: Rik Mayall
Rik MayallWhen he appeared as wild-eyed Mad Gerald in The Black Adder, Rik Mayall was just starting to emerge as one of the bright young things in the so-called ‘alternative comedy’ world. Following his anorak-wearing Brummie, Kevin Turvey, in A Kick Up the Eighties, he had gone on to star as manic Cliff Richard fan Rick in The Young Ones which debuted in 1982. At the same time, he was a key member of the Comic Strip team. Filthy Rich and Catflap, The New Statesman and Bottom were waiting in the distance. Mayall went on to play Lord Flasheart in Blackadder II and Blackadder Goes Forth.
UK / BBC One / 1×30 minute episode / Broadcast 20 July 1983
Series: The Black Adder Episode 6 of 6
Rowan Atkinson as Edmund
Tony Robinson as Baldrick
Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy
Elspet Gray as The Queen
Brian Blessed as The King, Richard IV
Robert East as Prince Harry
Rik Mayall as Mad Gerald