Plan A: Captain Cook - S4-E1

Corrected entry: Both Captain Blackadder and Captain Darling make references to facetious conversations with Pope Gregory IX. Obviously they didn't speak to the pontiff, but it is not even a joke that way because Gregory IX was pope from 1227-1241; if they wanted the Pope reigning at the time of the Great War, they meant to say Benedict XV (1914-1922).

Correction: That's rather the point in Blackadder's case - he's being facetious, referring to a conversation that's hardly likely to happen. Picking the name of a Pope who's been dead for nearly seven hundred years is entirely in character. And as for Darling, as is established on many occasions throughout the series, he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, so he doesn't pick up on it when Blackadder claims to be the wrong Pope.


Season 2 generally

Corrected entry: The episode "Bells" and the episode "Head" appear to be inversed in their order - Lord Percy has a beard at the beginning of "Bells," and shaves it off. However, in "Head," he's got it back. In all of the other episodes, he has no beard. Also, the song at the end of "Head" mentions Lord Blackadder's origins (it mentions Edmund's great-grandfather), which makes it more a follow-on from the 1st series.

Correction: Very much your opinion though. The episodes do not necessarily follow directly on from one another (remember, due to the later episode Potato, the beginning and end of the series are separated by several years), giving a fashion follower like Lord Percy plenty of time to grow a beard and shave it off again. These episodes have not been re-ordered on the subsequent DVD releases, or in the book 'Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty' (written by the show's writers Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and John Lloyd), as they surely would have had it been a broadcast error. It must therefore be assumed to be intentional on the part of the makers and not a mistake. Equally, the song only mentions Edmund's ancestor because it fits vaguely in with the idea of Blackadder achieving a little bit of power again, and would have fitted anywhere in the series.


Show generally

Corrected entry: In 'Black Adder's Christmas Carol': It is obvious that all the money we see is fake, it is the wrong shape to be real money and is blank on one side.

Correction: As money was in those days. See, amongst others.

Correction: Character error.


Chains - S2-E6

Corrected entry: Queen Elizabeth asks Percy "play awhile, to calm my spirits" and he starts singing clapping games and nursery rhymes. One of these is "Ring o' ring o' roses", a song which was not written until the late 1800's (and which, contrary to urban legend, has nothing to do with the bubonic plague - see for more detail).

Correction: This is one of the most frequently submitted (& also frequently corrected) mistakes on the whole site. The programme is written and performed in contemporary English, using language that the general public will understand. Ben Elton & Richard Curtis are highly intelligent well educated men and it is very unlikely that they were unaware of this anachronism (they used 'Happy Birthday' at a different point in the series, for which royalties had to be paid). I think they should be given the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Correction: The whole point of this show is that Blackadder and Baldrick are blundering about with a time machine, changing history as they go. The timeline of Shakespeare's literary output was just one of those changed.

The Foretelling - S1-E1

Corrected entry: Several times in this episode reference is made to Bosworth Field as the battle site, but at the time of the actual battle in 1483 it was known as Redmore or Dadlington Field.

Correction: Historically-set programmes and films routinely update the language, terms and names used in order to be understandable by present-day audiences. This is simply an example of this standard convention and thus cannot be considered a mistake.


Show generally

Corrected entry: In the Christmas Carol, Queen Elizabeth claims she cannot reverse a death warrant. But in series 2, episode "Potatoe" Walter Raleigh is let off, and in episode 2-2, "Head", she also gives a pardon from death sentence.

Correction: And during the entire series she changes her mind on numerous different issues depending on what mood she is in that day, or even that moment. One of the aspects of her character is the fact that she is inconsistent and changes her mind with child like frequency, as and when the feeling takes her. So hardly a mistake, just a character trait.

Mad Ade

Money - S2-E4

Corrected entry: When Edmund realises he can't pay the bishop his debt and returns home after giving his £85 to the queen from losing his bet. Baldrick gives Edmund a drink which spills over his right leg, which no one seems to notice.

Correction: Er, so? How is spilling your drink a mistake? Edmund's got bigger things to worry about - his impending death for one - than a bit of damp on his leg.


Season 1 generally

Corrected entry: Edmund is the son of the King of England and his title is Duke of Edinburgh. However the Dukedom was first created on July 26 1726 so there was no Duke of Edinburgh during the period in which Series 1 is set.

Correction: The whole series is a ridiculous re-writing of English history. The character and his position are entirely fictional creations of the writers. Just as there was no King Richard IV of England or Archbishop of Canterbury called Edmund.

Beer - S2-E5

Corrected entry: In the episode "Beer", set in the 1560s, the "Happy Birthday" song is sung by several characters. This song was not written until 1893 by two American school teachers, copyrighted in 1935. Neither is the song in the public domain. It still earns significant fees to the copyright holders each time it is recorded for sale, i.e. in a movie or on television. In most of the episodes, the various historical inaccuracies are intentional. This one, though, appears to have been an accident, a genuine mistake on the part of the writers. It should be noted that unintentional historical errors are very rare in Blackadder, "unintentional" being the key word.


Correction: There is no way this mistake could have been overlooked in the production process. For starters the producers would have had to pay the royalties. This is entirely a deliberate gag by the writers.

Head - S2-E2

Corrected entry: Nursey says that ointment is what's needed when your head's been cut off and that's what she used with Queenie's "sister Mary when they done her." Mary, Queen of Scots, was the only close relative of Elizabeth that was beheaded and called Mary but she was a cousin. Elizabeth's half-sister Mary was not beheaded, she was queen (as Mary I) before Elizabeth and died of influenza and cancer. Also, Mary was beheaded in 1587 when Elizabeth was 54, Miranda Richardson hardly seems 54 and in "Potato," Sir Walter Raleigh has just returned from America and mentions that he left Plymouth in spring of 1552 so Mary is over thirty years away from her beheading.

Correction: Nursey is a complete barmpot who is prone to talking absolute nonsense.

Beer - S2-E5

Corrected entry: I know Percy's not that bright, but he adds "Cardinal Wolsey" to the list of party guests. Given that Wolsey died in 1530, and Queen Elizabeth ruled from 1558 onwards (she wasn't even born until 1533), he must have been dead for at least 28 years by this point (even in the Blackadder world of history). Obviously it's done for the joke, but it's still wrong.

He's My Brother

Correction: A self-correcting mistake. Percy is an idiot. He said the first name that came into his head without stopping to realise Wolsey is dead.

Show generally

Corrected entry: In the first series the lead character's name was written as two words, "The Black Adder" (well, technically three words), and in subsequent series it was written as one word, "Blackadder". This is not a mistake, however; this is the normal way that languages evolve. The name evolved from the two word pseudonym used by Prince Edmund into the one word name used by his descendants.


Correction: This is not valid trivia. It's obvious to anyone who watches the show, or even just reads the title.

The Black Seal - S1-E6

Corrected entry: At the end of the episode, all are drinking poisoned wine. When they have drunk the wine, everybody falls off. When they show BlackAdder, one of the man lifts his head up. He's supposed to be dead.

Correction: However, as was shown in a previous scene (with one of the members of The Black Seal), not all people are killed outright by one cup of poison and survive for a short while after.

Show generally

Corrected entry: In 'Blackadder back and Forth', we hear George ask Blackadder for a pair of old underpants so that he'll pay him the £10,000. However, after Blackadder returns from the past the first (and second) times, he has not got the underpants, so why is George giving him the money?

Correction: I suspect it's because they asked Blackadder to prove his time machine worked, by gathering the things they asked for. Two out of 3 isn't bad, so George accepts that the machine works.

Correction: The exact wording is that he lay on his back and stuck his foot over the edge. That doesn't exclude the possibility that he was lying on top of something.


Season 4 generally

Corrected entry: In the opening sequence, watch the members of the band who aren't in the main cast - there are at least two shots where one or more of the band are obviously smiling/laughing at what the main cast members are doing at the time (most noticeably is when Blackadder yells the "Eyes Right" command - there's a guy a short distance behind Blackadder who grins during the salute.

Correction: I've watched the opening a few times now and can see nobody who is obviously smiling or laughing and especially not during the moment mentioned.


Its when George yells eyes right. One bloke has a huge grin on his face and is slow to react.

Chains - S2-E6

Corrected entry: How does the Spanish guard know that Blackadder gets the charades clues wrong at first, and then starts getting them right? He doesn't speak any English and would have no idea whether he was making the right connections or not.

Correction: Many people can understand a language far better than they can speak it - the guard is presumably able to understand enough to know when Blackadder's along the right lines (although it isn't good enough to understand Blackadder's rather involved insults).


Plan E: General Hospital - S4-E5

Corrected entry: Blackadder makes the joke, "I imagine he went to one of the great Universities, Oxford, Cambridge, Hull." This is probably around 1916, but Hull University didn't exist until 1927. We cannot put it down to the joke either, as he explains later the nurse failed to point out its quality, not its existence.

David Mercier

Correction: The original question by Blackadder was not a joke, it was a deliberate mistake to trick Nurse Mary. As for the explanation later when he reveals her to be the spy, his exact words are that only two of them are great universities. The mistake is only valid if he had emphasised the word universities which he does not. His words can easily be interpreted as saying that only two of them are universities which was, at the time, true.


More mistakes in Blackadder

Plan B: Corporal Punishment - S4-E2

Blackadder: I remember Massingbird's most famous case - the Case of the Bloody Knife. A man was found next to a murdered body. He had the knife in his hand, thirteen witnesses had seen him stab the victim and when the police arrived he said 'I'm glad I killed the bastard.' Massingbird not only got him off, he got hom knighted in the New Year's Honours list, and the relatives of the victim had to pay to get the blood washed out of his jacket.

More quotes from Blackadder
More trivia for Blackadder

Answer: His first name is "Sod Off". Blackadder asks him in series 3 where this came from, and he replies "Well, when I was a kid, living in the gutter, I'd go up to the other kids and say 'Hello, I'm Baldrick'. And they'd say, 'Yes, we know. Sod off, Baldrick.'"


More questions & answers from Blackadder

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