Blackadder goes Forth was the fourth and final series of Richard Curtis and Ben Elton’s popular comedy. There would be one final outing for the character but that was 11 years away, to celebrate the millenium.
The series continued it’s historical theme, this time set during the final years of the First World War (1914 – 1918).
Despite concerns that the comedy series might trivialise the events of 1914—1918, the series won widespread acclaim on its release, and won the British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy Series in 1989. It has gone on to become the most popular of the series and in 2000 it ranked 16th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programs compiled by the British Film Institute.
However, it has come in for regular criticism by historians for presenting an oversimplified view of the war, reinforcing the popular notion of “lions led by donkeys”
On a serious note, despite it’s popularity as a sitcom, it surely deserves note that whatever your view, aside from the comedy, it serves to remind us 100 years to day since the outbreak of the war, of just how grim life was for those who served in the trenches and as events were so long ago this can be no bad thing.
We find the now well established characters of Blackadder, Baldrick and George in a trench in Flanders during World War I. The series follows their various doomed attempts to escape from the trenches to avoid certain death under the misguided command of General Melchett. The series was particularly noted for its criticism of the British Army leadership during the campaign, and also references a number of famous figures of the age. Perhaps the series is best remembered for the poignant ending of the final episode.
Channel: BBC 1
Written By: Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Produced By: John Lloyd
Original Transmission Dates: 28th September 1989 – 2nd November 1989