Richard Curtis & Ben Elton: Blackadder II: The Tudor Years

Repertory’s final production for 2015 is Blackadder II: The Tudor Years. Based on the classic BBC TV series, Blackadder II is set during the Elizabethan era (1558–1603).

“This will be a rollicking play for Rep, and suitable for an end-of-year pre-Christmas production”, says director Dimitri Gibara. “On a purely personal front, it has been too long since I have been involved with Repertory. This production comes with a set of challenges to test me and the company and I look forward to that.”

The principal character, Edmund, Lord Blackadder, is the great-grandson of the original Black Adder, and is now a member of the London aristocracy. Unlike his forefather, he is both dashing and intelligent, although he is still scheming and cynical in his outlook.

Blackadder II follows Edmund’s attempts to win the favour of the childish Queen Elizabeth I. As before he is aided, and often hindered, by two less intelligent sidekicks, his servant Baldrick, and Lord Percy Percy, heir to the Duchy of Northumberland, with whom Blackadder has a grudging friendship.

Throughout the action, Blackadder’s chief rival is Lord Melchett, the Queen’s pretentious and grovelling Lord Chamberlain. Melchett is himself in fear of upsetting the Queen, and thus attempts to outdo Blackadder by supporting the Queen in whatever current fad she is interested in. Comic relief in the Court is provided by the Queen’s demented former nanny, Nursie.

Baldrick, who in the first series was the most intelligent of the main trio, became more stupid, an idea proposed by Ben Elton to make him “the stupidest person in the history of…human beings”, and to act as a foil to Blackadder’s new-found intelligence. The series was also the originator of Baldrick’s obsession with the turnip, although this apparently arose from a botanical error on the part of Elton, who confused the vegetable with the “amusingly shaped” parsnip.


Edmund Blackadder
Kate/Bob, Mollie, Torturer
Father, Bishop, Guard, Uncle
Aunt, Crone, Mrs Pants
Dr Leech, Arthur, Guard, Piddle
Flashheart, Mr Pants, Ludwig, Monk
Leonardo, Partridge
Wisewoman, Messenger, Beggar

Production team

Dimitri Gibara