He’s not been seen since he unveiled his time machine at the Millennium Dome 12 years ago, but the dastardly Edmund Blackadder made a surprise return to the stage last night and revealed that during the last decade or so he’s become a banker*.
Yes, Rowan Atkinson revived his much-loved comedy creation yesterday evening as part of the Prince’s Trust’s We Are Most Amused benefit show at London’s Royal Albert Hall and was joined on stage by Tony Robinson in character as Baldrick.
Their sketch saw Blackadder – now Sir Edmund after buying a knighthood in the Parliamentary gift shop – as the head of the Melchett, Melchett and Darling bank, which had managed to get into £20bn of debt under his leadership.
Hauled before a select committee made up of Miranda Hart, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Helen Lederer, Blackadder was asked to atone for his bank’s part in the global economic crisis. His response? “How can I be in crisis? I own half of Kensington.”
Blackadder then called his gardener, the exotically-named Sodov Baldrick (though Tony Robinson sadly didn’t attempt a Baltic accent), as a witness, before blaming him and other ordinary people for the world’s economic woes after running up debts for “luxury items such as fuel and food”.
Ever the optimist, Baldrick chimed in and said that he had – wait for it - a cunning plan to help Britain out of its financial mire. Blackadder opined that this plot would have to be “so brilliant that it would win a place at Oxford University – even if it had a Northern accent” and, alas, the plan came to nothing.
The event was hosted by Blackadder writer Ben Elton, and We Are Most Amused also featured appearances from Jimmy Carr, Joan Rivers, Steven K Amos and Ed Byrne.
In 2011, Atkinson hinted that he might be open to the idea of making a fifth series of Blackadder for TV. Speaking at the time, he said: “[Blackadder] could be reprised in some form or other. I think there is a possibility of a fifth series.
“Generally speaking, Blackadder seemed to work best when there was a sort of claustrophobic world and a hierarchy. So if you can think of any situations in which they are dominant – then I think there is a possibility of a fifth series.”
Could last night's performance be a hint of the classic sitcom's imminent return? Only time (or possibly several hundred phone calls to Atkinson's agent) will tell...
* (By the way, not to appear boastful, but we suggested that a banking Blackadder would be jolly good fun back in October 2011. Not that we’re after royalties – just saying…)