Narrator: In 1648, King Charles was in flight from the wrath of Cromwell
& his Roundheads. Only two men remained faithful, risking certain
death by their fidelity to the crown. One was the sole descendent
of a great historical English dynasty -- his name, Sir Edmund
Blackadder. The other was the sole descendent of an unfortunate
meeting between a pig-farmer & bearded lady. History has, quite
rightly, forgotten his name.
[Blackadder Hall; November 1648]
Edmund: [coming into the hall (same set as Blackadder's quarters in BA3)]
Baldrick: [cutting heads off fish] Yes, sir?
Edmund: [throws his hat down; rubs his hands together] Get me some mulled
ale, will you? I'm freezing.
Baldrick: How's the King, sir?
Edmund: Erm, about as comfortable as can be expected for a man who's
spending the winter in a blackcurrant bush.
Baldrick: [dropping spices into an ale goblet] Do you think the Roundheads
will find him? [gives ale goblet to Edmund]
Edmund: Certainly not. I've assured him that he is as likely to be caught
as fox being chased by a pack of one-legged hunting tortoises.
Baldrick: [challengingly] Is that true?
Edmund: Yes, of course it's true. Have you ever known me to lie to the
[Edmund quickly puts down his ale, grabs Baldrick from across the
table, picks up a knife and holds it to him.]
Edmund: Exactly. He is absolutely safe as long as you keep your fat mouth
Baldrick: You can trust me, sir.
Edmund: [laughs; lets go; puts down knife] Right, Baldrick; I'm off to
answer the call of nature. [heads for stairs] If, by any freak
chance, Oliver Cromwell drops in here for a cup of milk in the next
ninety seconds, remember: [points at Baldrick from the top of the
stairs; speaks insistently] The King is not hiding here.
Baldrick: Yes, sir. [goes back to chopping fish heads; begins to sing]
[Oliver Cromwell drops in. He is accompanied by a Roundhead.]
Cromwell: Good evening, citizen! I am Oliver Cromwell. My men have
surrounded your house, and I am looking for royalist scum.
[draws his sword; points it at Baldrick] Is the King hiding here?
Baldrick: Erm... [thinks ... thinks ... thinks ...] No.
Cromwell: [points sword up to Baldrick's throat] On pain of death and
damnation, are you absolutely sure?
Baldrick: Yes, I am.
Cromwell: I see. [sheaths sword] Well then, my proud beauty [puts his hand
behind Baldrick's head], you won't mind if my men come in from the
cold, will you...
Roundhead: [shouts out the door] Men! Come in from the cold, will you!
Cromwell: [picks up a purple cup and the milk jug] Now; we shall all have
a cup of milk by your fireside.
Baldrick: All right, but don't touch the purple cup.
Cromwell: Why not?
Baldrick: That's the King's.
[Two Weeks Later. The Tower of London.]
[King Charles is praying at the foot of the bed. The door opens, and
he stands and turns as Cromwell and a guard enter.]
Cromwell: [to guard] Thank you, citizen. You may leave me alone with
[The guard bows and exits.]
King: Ah, Mr Cromwell! How delightful to see you again. [shakes Cromwell's
hand] Um, [don't get up?]. Tell me: Er, have you come far?
Cromwell: I have, sir! from country squire to Lord Protector of England!
King: Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating. Erm, tell me: Er, what exactly
does a Lord Protector do, as it were?
Cromwell: He spells your doom, sir!
King: He spells my doom? Wonderful! Well, that's particularly exciting,
because so many people these days can't spell at all! er,
as you know, in the inner cities, which is my area of interest.
Cromwell: Pretty speech, sir! But all your fine words won't save you from
[A cowled priest has entered]
King: [to Cromwell] Jolly good! Fascinating! Carry on...
Cromwell: A priest, sir, to help you make your peace with God before you
King: [to priest] Ah, hello!
Edmund: [for the priest is he] Your Majesty, I can arrange for certain
monies to be paid, to allow you to escape. [removes cowl]
King: Blackadder! You're dressed as a priest! How dangerous and stupid
and perverted! It's just like school! [mumbles something]
Edmund: Sire, this is a matter of life and death.
King: Nonsense, Blackadder -- I don't think there's a jury in England that
would bring in a verdict of `guilty' against >me<.
[There's a knock on the door, and the guard returns, delivering
a piece of paper to Edmund.]
Guard: Your Majesty -- the verdict of the jury. [exits]
King: So, what does it say? Er, `Guilty', or `Not Guilty'?
Edmund: [looks at it] I'll give you two guesses.
King: Er, `Not Guilty'?
Edmund: One more guess.
[Blackadder Hall. Baldrick is holding a fish in his right hand, and
whacking at its head with a wooden rod. He then puts the rod down
and inserts a knife down the fish's `neck'. Edmund enters.]
Edmund: Oh, damn -- one measly civil war in the entire history of England,
and I'm on the wrong bloody side!
Baldrick: Something wrong, sir?
Edmund: Yes, Baldrick, yes, there is. Don't you realise that, if the King
dies, we royalists are doomed? We will enter a hideous age of
puritanism -- they'll close all the theatres; lace handkerchiefs
for men will be illegal; and I won't be able to find a friendly
face to sit on this side of Boulogne. If they so much as suspect
our loyalties, our property will be forfeit and we'll be for the
Baldrick: Ooh, I love chops...
Edmund: Baldrick, your brain is like the four-headed man-eating haddock
fish-beast of Aberdeen.
Baldrick: In what way?
Edmund: It doesn't exist. Oh god, what are we going to do?
Baldrick: Don't despair, sir -- something will pop up.
Edmund: Not under puritanism, it won't. We must do something, otherwise
the Blackadders are as doomed as that ant.
Baldrick: What ant?
Edmund: [picks up a meat tenderiser, bangs it against the table, then holds
up the tenderiser for Baldrick to see] That one.
[January 30th. The day of the Execution of King Charles the First.]
[The Tower of London. King Charles sits on the bed.]
King: So this is the day of the execution of Charles the First...
Edmund: [tossing an orange from the fruit basket to himself] Absolutely
Your Majesty! Those Roundhead traitors have one final hurdle that
they will never straddle.
King: How fascinating! Erm, what is that, exactly?
Edmund: They will never find a man to behead you. They'd have hundreds of
volunteers to cut Cromwell's head off -- he's such an ugly devil.
He's got so many warts on his face that it's only when he sneezes
that you find out which one is his nose. But they will never find
a man to execute you.
King: [stands] Well, you see, I find that absolutely tragic! You know,
there are so many young people who would leap at a chance like this.
Oh, I don't know ... all they need is the initiative, somehow.
I suppose, in a sense, that's what my [?] Scheme is all about.
King: Yes. On the other hand, of course, I don't >want< my head cut off...
Er, it's a question of balance, isn't it? like with so many things.
Edmund: Shut up -- with the greatest respect -- Your Majesty.
King: Thank you.
Edmund: They will never find an executioner, and if they do, may my
conjugal dipstick turn into a tennis racket.
[There is a knock on the door. Edmund puts the cowl over his head
as the guard enters with a message, giving it to Edmund.]
Guard: A message for the King. [leaves]
Edmund: [reads the message] Ah... [He drops his orange; it bounces back up
as though hit by a tennis racket. He looks a bit confused, and
his eyes downward.]
[Blackadder Hall. Baldrick is singing while chopping heads off fish.]
Baldrick: "There's a tavern in the town -- IN THE TOWN!"
Edmund: For God's sake, stop that, Baldrick! It's bad enough having one's
life in utter ruins without being serenaded by a moron with all the
entertainment value of tap-dancing oyster.
Baldrick: I'm sorry, sir -- I can't help it. See, I've just had a little
Edmund: Baldrick, I've told you before: If you're going to do that, go into
Baldrick: No -- I mean I've come into some money.
Edmund: Really... Family inheritance?
Baldrick: No. I ate that ages ago.
Edmund: Oh yes, of course; your thoughtful father bequeathed you a turnip.
Baldrick: No, it was fifty pounds, actually -- it was delicious. But this
is just a little something that fell in my lap.
Edmund: Not the first time that there's been a little something in your lap,
Baldrick: No... But this one is a job.
Edmund: Really... [paying more attention to the message delivered in the
previous scene] I just don't understand it. Where on Earth did
they find a man so utterly without heart and soul, so low and
degraded as to accept the job of beheading the King of England?
[He pauses, looks into the camera, and turns to Baldrick.]
Edmund: That little job that fell into your lap...
Edmund: It wasn't, by any chance, something to do with an axe, a basket,
a little black mask, and the King of England...?
Edmund: Go on.
Baldrick: I couldn't find a basket...
Edmund: You very small total bastard! [grabs him and picks up the axe from
Baldrick: Oh, please, sir! Don't kill me! I have a cunning plan to save
Edmund: Well, you'll forgive me if I don't do a cartwheel of joy -- your
family's record in the department of cunning planning is about as
impressive as Stumpy O'Leg McNoleg's personal best in the Market
Harbour Marathon. All right... What's the plan? [puts down axe]
[Baldrick picks up a pumpkin, and smiles.]
Edmund: A pumpkin is going to save the King...
Baldrick: Aah! [puts down pumpkin] But, over here, I have one that I
prepared earlier. [picks up another pumpkin; one with eyes, nose,
moustache and beard painted on, and with some hair placed on top]
I will balance it on the King's head, like this. [demonstrating]
Then, I will cover his real head with a cloak, and then, when I
execute him, instead of cutting off his real head, I will cut off
the pumpkin, and the King survives!
Edmund: I'm not sure it's going to work, Balders.
Baldrick: Why not?
Edmund: Because, once you cut it off, you have to hold it up in front of the
crowd and say, "This is the head of a traitor," at which point, they
will shout back, "No it's not -- it's large pumpkin with a pathetic
moustache drawn on it."
Baldrick: I suppose it's not one hundred percent convincing.
Edmund: It's not >one< percent convincing, Baldrick. However, I'm a busy
man, and I can't be bothered to punch you at the moment. [he holds
his arm up with his hand clenched] Here is my fist. Kindly run
towards it as fast as you can.
Baldrick: Yes, sir. [He does so.]
Edmund: I just don't understand it! What possessed you to take the job?
Baldrick: Oh, I'm sorry, sir -- it was just a wild, silly, foolish plan.
I thought, with the money I got from executing the King, I could
sneak out and buy a brand-new king when no-one was looking, and
pop him back on the throne without anyone noticing.
Edmund: Your head is as empty as a eunuch's underpants. You'd do anything
for thirty pieces of silver, wouldn't you...
Baldrick: It was a thousand pounds, actually, sir -- plus tip! [holds up
bag of money]
Edmund: [takes bag] Well, I suppose somebody's got to do it, hadn't they!
And if it's going to be done, it's got to be done in a single stroke
by someone who actually owns an axe. We don't want you hacking away
at it all afternoon with that cheap pen-knife of yours. It would be
so embarrassing to have King Charles staggering around Hampton Court
tomorrow morning with his neck flapping like a fish's gills.
Baldrick: Sir, you don't mean...?
Edmund: Yep -- >I'm< doing it. Lend me your costume, then go immediately
to the King and inform him that Sir Edmund Blackadder cannot be
with him tomorrow. [points at Baldrick] And make sure you think
up a bloody good excuse.
[The Tower of London]
Baldrick: ...so that's why he can't be here. Sorry. [leaves]
King: I see. Well, I quite understand, yes...
[Cromwell and the executioner (Edmund, hooded) enter.]
Cromwell: Sir, the moment has arrived! Are you ready to meet your maker?
King: Well, I'm always absolutely fascinated to meet people from all walks
of life, but, er, yes, particularly manufacturing industries...
Cromwell: Well then, have a quick walk and talk with your executioner, and
let's get on with it. [leaves]
King: Right. [He buzzes a bit, then slaps his hands together as though
squashing a fly. Meanwhile, Edmund has closed the door
Well, I'm sorry, my friend, I'm alone here today -- I had hoped that
my good, loyal chum, Sir Edmund Blackadder, would be here with me,
but, unfortunately, his wife's sister's puppy fell into the straw-
berry patch, so, naturally, he can't be with us.
Edmund: [disguising his voice] Uh huh...
King: All I can do is bid you do your duty well.
Edmund: Well, thank you, Your Majesty. And may I say how much I mourn for
your lot, and bid you remember others before you who have died
King: Thank you. I take great solace from that.
Edmund: Sir Thomas More, for instance: A great, generous man to the last.
He apparently tipped his executioner handsomely... [turns up a
King: Oh, I'm so sorry -- I thought service was included. I beg your
[reaches in a bag of money] Um, here you are. [places a coin in
Edmund: [looks at coin] Hmm. And then there was the Earl of Essex...
King: Was there...
Edmund: A truly great man -- they still sing his famous ballad down the
King: What ballad is that?
Edmund: [sings] "The Earl he had a thousand sovereigns, hey nonny no!
He gave them all away to the man with the axe ... oh!"
King: [looking at his bag] A thousand sovereigns?
Edmund: Well, you can't take it with you, Your Majesty...
King: Very true. Well, there you are. [gives bag to Edmund] Do keep the
Edmund: Thank you, Your Majesty. [puts coin back into bag]
[fake voice slips a bit] Right; should we go?
King: Just a moment! [stops Edmund from leaving] That voice has
a strangely familiar ring ... and so does that finger! [he removes
the hood] Blackadder!
Edmund: [acts surprised] Hello, Your Majesty!
King: You cunning swine!
Edmund: Er, yes, well, er, er, er...
King: Marvelous! Splendid! You duped Cromwell and you've concocted a
plan to help me and my infant son escape to France!
Edmund: [as though he'd forgotten] Ah yes! That's right, yes...
King: So, let's put your cunning plan into operation straight away!
Edmund: Yes, let's... Er... Well... You start the ball rolling.
King: No, no -- after you.
Edmund: Er, yeah, right, yes... [thinks; remembers something] Er, oh yes!
Yes, right! and it's a very good plan! It's a staggering, bowel-
shatteringly good plan!
[Ten Minutes Later]
[Edmund is hooded. Baldrick stands next to him. Cromwell enters.]
Cromwell: Is the King ready?
Edmund: [fake voice again] He is. [calls to the back of the room]
Come, Your Majesty!
[King walks forward. He has a hood over his head, and is balancing
a pumpkin with a face drawn on it. Cromwell, King and Edmund
leave. Baldrick listens to the goings on ... ]
[There is a drum roll. It ends with the sound of a chop.
The crowd cheers. Baldrick smiles. The crowd suddenly sounds
disappointed. Baldrick suddenly stops smiling.]
Edmund: This is the head of a traitor!
Crowd: No it's not -- it's a huge pumpkin with a pathetic moustache drawn
Edmund: Oh yes -- so it is! Sorry! I'll try again.
[There is a drum roll. In ends with the sound of a chop.
The crowd cheers.]
[Blackadder Hall. Edmund is cradling a baby boy.]
Baldrick: Well, sir, they can't say you didn't try. Now the future of
the British monarchy lies fast asleep in your arms, in the
person of this infant prince. And, with the money you've earned,
you and he can escape to France.
Edmund: [wiping a hand on his shirt] Well, quite.
Baldrick: On the other hand, you can stay here, and, as a known loyalist,
the Roundheads will come and cut your head off.
Edmund: [stands] Exactly, Baldrick!
[There is a pounding on the door.]
Edmund: Oh my god!
[A voice outside shouts. (Sounds like "Do you want the house burned?")]
Baldrick: Oh no! We're surrounded! What'll we do?
Edmund: Well, at times like this, Baldrick, there is no choice for a man
of honour. He must stand and fight, and die in defence of his
[looks at baby] future sovereign.
[More pounding on the door.]
Edmund: Fortunately, I'm not a man of honour... [tosses baby to Baldrick;
pulls off his long black hair to reveal short blond hair; removes his
moustache and beard, too]
[a Roundhead breaks in and enters.]
Edmund: [to Roundhead] Thank God you've come! [points at Baldrick]
Seize the royalist scum!!!
[The Roundhead, sword drawn, approaches Baldrick, who looks hopeless,
dangling the baby from its swaddling clothes.]