blackadder's christmas carolBLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL – Balladeer’s Blog’s 13th Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Long-time readers know what a big fan I am of Rowan Atkinson’s work – especially his Blackadder programs. Hell, I’m even an enormous fan of his more serious work in Full Throttle. And I never tire of telling anyone who will listen that I think he’d make a perfect Dikaiopolis in Aristophanes’ comedy The Acharnians

As to why it took me so long to finally get around to reviewing Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, it’s the same reason that applied to the George C Scott version: I wanted to handle some of the more obscure Carols before hitting the well-known ones.

This Christmas Special is set in Victorian England with Atkinson starring as Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop. Tony Robinson is on hand as yet another member of the Baldrick family line.

In typically perverse Blackadder fashion the storyline reverses the usual sequence of events. Ebenezer starts out as a kind-hearted and generous soul but soon the Christmas Spirit (Robbie Coltrane) shows him visions of Blackadders Past, Present and Yet-to-Come.    

Ebenezer comes to admire the selfishness and sardonic wit of his ancestors as he sees them in new comedy skits featuring Atkinson and other characters from Blackadder II. We also get a bonus member of the Blackadder bloodline in the form of Ebenezer’s father. 

In the present day Ebenezer reflects on how all his profits go to dubious charities and con artists whose dishonest nature he is at last aware of now that he has witnessed the snarky way that earlier Blackadder men dealt with the world.

For Christmas Yet to Come, Coltrane shows Ebenezer competing visions: one in which he continues his pleasant, giving ways and his descendants wind up as slaves to the Baldrick family line … and one in which he becomes as ruthless as his forebears, letting his descendants wind up as Darth Vaderish rulers of a Galactic Empire complete with a sexy wife.

Ebenezer’s Christmas Morning conversion finds him as nasty and sardonic as his ancestors, treating one and all with disdain. I won’t spoil the closing joke for you if you’ve never seen this Holiday Special.

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol features plenty of memorable gags, many of which are catch-phrases for us Blackadder geeks (“Well baste my pudding!”) as well as the infamous reference to crucifying a dog for an Easter pageant.

Obviously if you’re not a fan of British comedy, especially of the Blackadder/ Absolutely Fabulous kind, this will not find its way into your yearly rotation of Christmas Carol versions. +++  


© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 




8 responses to “BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1988)

  1. I saw this one years ago (I am a Blackadder fan) but this has prompted me to try and see it again!

  2. Pingback: BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1988) BALLADEERS BLOG – El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso

  3. I forgot about this Black Adder special. I might finally check it out. The are just so many Scrooge retelling, maybe a couple of new ones every year.

    I have yet to read his OTHER Christmas stories, I think any of them would beat yet another rehashing of A Christmas Carol. Here is some info on the other four ..

    Trivia: “The Cricket in the Hearth” has a Rankin Bass adaption (with voices by Paul Frees, Danny Thomas, and Roddy McDowell) and a Russian theater adaption that Lenin hated so much he left early (per George Orwell).

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m just a sucker for any version of A Christmas Carol. Thanks for that article about some of Dickens’ other Christmas stories! I’ve read Cricket on the Hearth and The Chimes, but not the other two. Interesting anecdote about Lenin’s reaction to that stage adaptation of Cricket on the Hearth. There’s also a surviving silent movie version and I used to watch that Rankin Bass version as a kid. There’s also Dickens’ Christmas story that he included in The Pickwick Papers about the Goblins and the Sextant. Like The Chimes, Dickens cannibalized concepts from it when he wrote A Christmas Carol.

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