The Black Adder – The Archbishop, 1983

It’s hard to believe that Black Adder first hit our screens 35 years ago.  To many the original series falls short of the standard of what was to come.  However it remains this writer’s favourite, particularly the episode entitled “The Archbishop”

“The Archbishop” was the third episode from series one and contains some classic comic moments.

The script itself is a nod to the real-life 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket who was murdered in 1170.

The episode won an International Emmy Award in 1983 in the ‘Popular Arts’ category.


November 1487, the Duke of Winchester, the greatest landowner in the kingdom, is on his deathbed, with King Richard and Godfrey, who is Archbishop of Canterbury, sitting beside him.

Winchester initially plans to leave his lands to the Crown in his will, but Godfrey threatens him with the “eternal torments of Hell” unless he leaves his estate to the Catholic Church.

Moments after the will is signed, Winchester dies, and his lands pass on to the Church. Enraged, the King has the Archbishop murdered.  Edmund finds himself appointed to the position.

Look out for some glorious comic moments as Edmund and his friends look at ways of making money and as Edmund gives the wealthy Lord Graveney a very different picture of heaven and hell to prevent meeting the same fete as the previous Archbishop.







Edmund Black Adder – Rowan Atkinson
Baldrick -Tony Robinson
Lord Percy – Tim McInnerny
King Richard – Brian Blessed


Channel: BBC1
Written By: Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis
Original Transmission Date: 29th June 1983


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