Rowan Atkinson – Then
It’s been over three decades since the show first aired, but there’s no doubt that Blackadder was a conveyor belt for some of the most talented comedians ever seen on British TV. It was Rowan Atkinson’s hilarious writing skills that set the tone for this iconic and timeless British comedy. The talented comedian was the main protagonist of the show, playing a number of different roles in a variety of eras throughout the seasons as Edmund Blackadder.
Rowan Atkinson – Now
Rowan Atkinson has made a fortune from playing a variety of dim-witted characters over the years. There is no doubt that his most memorable example came in the form of Mr. Bean, with Atkinson starring as the loveable buffoon in a hit series as well as a number of successful movies. However, the actor also hit the jackpot when he played the spoof spy character Johnny English. In 2018, Atkinson will reprise the role in the upcoming blockbuster Johnny English Strikes Again.
Miranda Richardson – Then
Blackadder was renowned for recasting its long list of talented comedians in a variety of roles, from season to season. One prime example of this came from Miranda Richardson, who played two notable roles during her time on the show. Her most iconic performance came as Queen Elizabeth I in Blackadder II. While reports about the monarch’s real personality vary, Richardson’s portrayal of the Queen made her look pretty nefarious. She also played Nurse Fletcher-Brown in Blackadder Goes Forth.
Miranda Richardson – Now
Make no mistake about it; there is so much more to Miranda Richardson than just her time spent on Blackadder. Not only did she once host Saturday Night Live, but Richardson went on to star in classic movies such as Sleepy Hollow, Chicken Run, and The Hours, to name a few. One of the actress’s most recent roles saw her star alongside Brian Cox as the wife of Winston Churchill, Clementine, in the biopic aptly titled, Churchill.
Stephen Fry – Then
There were two Blackadder series that Stephen Fry was best remembered for. Like Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder, Fry played different iterations of the character Melchett in a number of series. In season two, he was Lord Melchett, who was essentially one of Queen Elizabeth I’s advisers. Then, in season four, Melchett became a general, serving in World War I alongside Captain Blackadder. That’s not all though. Fry also made a cameo in Blackadder the Third as the Duke of Wellington!
Stephen Fry – Now
Stephen Fry has undoubtedly been one of the most beloved figures on British TV for the last three decades. He couldn’t get enough of working with Hugh Laurie and the duo made a name for themselves post-Blackadder, with their own shows, A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. Not only has he been the regular host of the popular quiz show QI, but Fry also broke into Hollywood, starring in movies such as V for Vendetta, as well as The Hobbit franchise.
Miriam Margolyes – Now
Not only did Blackadder act as a huge stepping stone in the careers of stars such as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, but it also attracted actors and actresses who were already established as British TV giants. Take Miriam Margolyes, for example, who had already made guest appearances on a number of British shows. She played the Spanish Infanta and Lady Whiteadder in The Black Adder, and Blackadder II, respectively. In the latter, she is a relative of Blackadder’s who simply wants some inheritance.
Miriam Margolyes – Now
Having already established herself as a talented actress before her time on Blackadder, Miriam Margolyes has continued to add impressive roles to her resume. With performances in movies such as Romeo + Juliet, Babe: Pig in the City and even an uncredited role in the Paul Thomas Anderson classic Magnolia, Margolyes has plenty of reasons to be respected in the acting world. One of her most recent roles came in the Christmas special of popular series Call the Midwife.
Tony Robinson – Then
If there is one character in Blackadder who had some radical changes throughout the show’s run then it was Tony Robinson’s Baldrick. A loyal sidekick to Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund, Baldrick starts off an intelligent individual who always seems to be the voice of reason. However, this only ended up being the case in the first season, and for the rest of the show, Robinson’s character was pretty dim-witted in nature and was often the subject of much criticism from Edmund.
Tony Robinson – Now
While Tony Robinson has been in and out of the world of acting over the last few decades, nothing has really eclipsed the success he had on Blackadder. The most high-profile movie he had a role in after starring in the pseudohistorical comedy was in The Neverending Story III. However, Robinson has become extremely active from a political standpoint and is a staunch member of the Labour Party. In 2013, Robinson was knighted for public and political service.
Gabrielle Glaister – Then
There are a number of characters in Blackadder that remain fairly consistent throughout the show’s run. One of these is Gabrielle Glaister’s “Bob,” who first appears in Blackadder II as a young lady who wants to prove her worth by joining the army. However, she pretends to be a man in order to make some money and eventually, Bob becomes romantically involved with Lord Blackadder. Two seasons later, in Blackadder Goes Forth, Glaister plays a similar character called Private Bob Parker.
Gabrielle Glaister – Now
If you are a fan of British TV in any way whatsoever, you are bound to have seen Gabrielle Glaister’s face at some point. Ever since her time with the Blackadder crew came to an end, the actress has starred in some of the biggest TV shows and soap operas in UK history. These include the likes of Brookside, which she had a role in for five years, and Coronation Street. In 2017, Glaister had a guest appearance in the Benedict Cumberbatch-led Sherlock.
Hugh Laurie – Then
One of the late bloomers of the Blackadder franchise, Hugh Laurie made his first appearance in the final episode of the second season. Then, in the following two seasons, the talented young actor would hold down a regular role, firstly as Prince George, who was known for being fairly dim-witted. In season four, Laurie played another character on the slow side of life, Lieutenant George. He developed a strong camaraderie with Stephen Fry and this would be the start of a beautiful working relationship between the two.
Hugh Laurie – Now
Arguably the most successful to star to come out of Blackadder is the incredibly talented Hugh Laurie. He had notable roles in movies such as 101 Dalmatians, The Man in the Iron Mask and Stuart Little, to name a few. However, Laurie was catapulted onto the international stage when he landed the title role of Dr. Gregory House on the medical drama House. Laurie achieved universal acclaim for his performances, and since then has starred in other shows such as Veep and Chance.
Helen Atkinson-Wood – Then
There is no denying that Edmund Blackadder was at the center of some truly hilarious romantic encounters throughout the show’s run. One of those was with the eccentric pie shop owner Mrs. Miggins, who was played by Helen Atkinson-Wood. While the young lady develops a crush on Rowan Atkinson’s character, he develops very different feelings for Mrs. Miggins; mainly of frustration and hatred. Before her role on Blackadder, Atkinson-Wood starred in shows such as O.T.T. and 1984’s Young Ones.
Helen Atkinson-Wood – Now
One of the show’s stars who has had a fairly quiet life post-Blackadder is Helen Atkinson-Wood. Although she has sporadically starred in stage productions such as Chekhov’s The Seagull and Moliere’s The Miser, Helen Atkinson-Wood’s on-screen resume is virtually non-existent after her time on Blackadder came to an end. In his book, American on Purpose, chat show host Craig Ferguson claimed that he had been in a five-year-long relationship with the actress and that she had helped improve his life considerably.
Tim McInnerny – Then
A Blackadder episode without dim-witted characters is simply not a Blackadder episode. One of the classic characters of the show who was known for doing things a little slow a lot of the time was Lord Percy, played by Tim McInnerny. Another one of Edmund’s sidekicks, Percy starred in the first two seasons of the show. Despite failing to reprise his role as Percy in Blackadder the Third, McInnerny was eventually cast in a very different role in the fourth season as the antagonistic Captain Darling.
Tim McInnerny – Now
It seems like Blackadder was the perfect springboard for Tim McInnerny and the actor has never looked back since last starring alongside Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry in 1999. When it comes to TV, McInnerny has had roles, both large and small, in some of the biggest shows to have come out of the UK. These include the likes of Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Game of Thrones, to name a few. He recently starred alongside Hugh Jackman in the movie Eddie the Eagle.
Robbie Coltrane – Then
To play the creator of the first ever English dictionary must have been a tall order for Robbie Coltrane. Nevertheless, he played Dr. Samuel Johnson in Blackadder the Third with an incredible amount of conviction and got many laughs out of the British public in the process. That wasn’t all though. Coltrane also played another important historical figure, albeit a mythological one. When Blackadder’s Christmas Carol aired, viewers were surprised to see the actor play the Spirit of Christmas.
Robbie Coltrane – Now
A decade after he first starred in Blackadder, Robbie Coltrane saw himself in James Bond classics such as Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough, playing Russian gangster Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky. However, it is his role as Hagrid in the Harry Potter film franchise that most casual filmgoers will remember him for. Robbie Coltrane has also been a prolific voice actor, lending his voice to animated movies such as The Tale of Despereaux and most recently, Brave.
Jim Broadbent – Then
With an already impressive resume in the world of acting under his belt, Jim Broadbent did a fine job when he starred in the first season of Blackadder as Don Speekingleesh, an ever-present interpreter for the Infanta Maria Escalosa of Spain, who was played by Miriam Margolyes. Although it seemed like this would be a brief cameo by Jim Broadbent, he ended up reappearing on the show in the one-off Blackadder’s Christmas Carol as Prince Albert, of all people.
Jim Broadbent – Now
Arguably one of the most prolific actors on this list, Jim Broadbent has starred in at least three movies per year since the turn of the millennium. These include the likes of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Moulin Rouge! and Gangs of New York, to name a few. He even had a minor role in the most recent entry in the Indiana Jones franchise. One of Broadbent’s most recent roles came in 2017 when he starred in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Brian Blessed – Then
While he only appeared in the original series, The Black Adder, Brian Blessed was a regular throughout that first season. Known for playing larger than life men with loud, eccentric personalities, Blessed’s role as Richard IV was no different. Despite his performance as a royal figure, his actions and character traits were far from the noble, with the King often professing his love for all things ale-related. To make things even more hilarious, he played the father of Edmund Blackadder!
Brian Blessed – Now
There is no doubt that Brian Blessed’s most high profile movie role came in 1999 when he starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He played the CGI character in the form of Boss Nass, the leader of the Gungans. He has also delved into the world of video games, having roles on projects such as Invizimals and LEGO Dimensions. In 2016, Blessed was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to arts and charity.
Patsy Byrne – Then
While many of the characters of Blackadder play either a variety of different characters, or similar characters set in different eras, Patsy Byrne was one of the only performers to portray the same character throughout her entire time on the show. She played Nursie in Blackadder II and was primarily Elizabeth I’s nurse. It seemed though that her only reason for existing was for the Queen to poke fun at her the whole time. Byrne reprised her role as Nursie in the last two editions of Blackadder.
Patsy Byrne – Now
After her time on the show came to an end, Patsy Byrne had a few minor roles in shows such as Watching, in which she starred as the mother of the main character, Malcolm. Her last role in a movie came in 2000 where she had a minor role in the Harry Enfield-led comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large. In June 2014, Patsy Byrne became one of the first main characters from Blackadder to pass away at the age of 80.
Adrian Edmondson – Then
Although he only showed up in Blackadder Goes Forth, it would be a shame to not include the legendary Adrian “Ade” Edmondson on this list. Just as memorable as any of the main characters on the show, he played the German officer, Baron von Richthofen. His defining moment during the season sees Baron shoot down Edmund and Baldrick’s plane. After expressing an interest in learning about British humor, the officer threatens our heroes to teach economics to a bunch of German girls.
Adrian Edmondson – Now
Similar to the way that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie hit it off after their time on Blackadder, Ade Edmondson also found a comedic partner in the form of Rik Mayall. The dynamic duo worked together on the hilarious show Bottom. Since then, the talented comedian has appeared on Celebrity Masterchef and ended up winning the 2013 series. In 2017, Edmondson had a minor role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, starring as an incompetent general of the First Order.
Tom Baker – Then
It may have been just one episode, but nevertheless, Tom Baker made a huge impression during his brief time on Blackadder II. In the episode “Potato,” the Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who plays a sea captain by the name of Redbeard Rum. He is a crazy pirate with no legs and an inability to navigate a ship. Ultimately, Rum pays the price for his incompetence and is eaten by natives on a remote island. But what is Tom Baker doing nowadays?
Tom Baker – Now
Many casual fans might not realize this, but Tom Baker was actually the narrator of Matt Lucas and David Walliams’s classic comedy series Little Britain! With a number of cameo appearances in his trademark Doctor Who series, Tom Baker is primarily involved in voice work, seeing that he is in the twilight of his career. In 2016, Baker was cast as the god-like figure The Bendu in the animated series Star Wars Rebels. He has been married to Sue Jerrard since 1986.
Rik Mayall – Then
The rich pool of British comedic talent goes deeper and deeper. Amazingly, Rik Mayall wasn’t even the main character of the show. However, after studying with the show’s writer Ben Elton, it was inevitable that Mayall would have some sort of role on the show. His first role on Blackadder came as Lord Flashheart, a womanizer who, on Edmund’s wedding day, ends up running away with his bride! Then, in Blackadder goes Forth, Mayal played a similar character by the name of Captain Flashheart.
Rik Mayall – Now
With classic roles in movies such as Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso, Rik Mayall has maintained a reputation as one of the most talented comedians in British history. He also had a minor role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was actually cut from the final edit. Sadly, Mayall is one of the only main characters in Blackadder to have passed away. On June 9, 2014, he was jogging near his home and suffered a heart attack shortly after. Patsy Byrne passed away just over a week later.
Denis Lill – Then
Although the size of his role was relatively small, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that seasoned actor Denis Lill had a part to play in Blackadder‘s success. Having starred in movies such as The Eagle Has Landed and The Scarlet Pimpernel, the New Zealand-born actor eventually joined Rowan Atkinson and company in Blackadder the Third, playing the Member of Parliament Sir Talbot Buxomly. Despite having an on-screen death, Lill was later cast as the Beadle in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.
Denis Lill – Now
Denis Lill has had minor roles in a number of classic movies such as Bad Blood and Batman, to name a few. In 1995, he was credited in the film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Richard III, which starred the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, and Robert Downey Jr. This was followed by a minor role in 1996’s Evita, which starred Madonna in the title role. In more recent times, Denis Lill has resided in Dorset with his wife, Vanessa.
Nigel Planer – Then
It was Nigel Planer who played the role of Lord Smedley in the Blackadder the Third episode “Nob and Nobility.” Smedley is George’s very annoying friend, together with Lord Topper form the Scarlet Pimpernel. After he dresses up as Madama Guillotine to rescue Edmund and Baldrick, the former inadvertently kills him after planting a suicide pill inside his drink. Before his role as Lord Smedley, Planer starred in movies such as Terry Gilliam’s Sci-Fi dystopian flick Brazil.
Nigel Planer – Now
Since appearing in that one episode as Lord Smedley, Nigel Planer has spent more time in the theater, starring in a number of stage productions such as Wicked and Hairspray, to name a few. However, he has also had a number of notable TV roles, starring as Matt LeBlanc’s lawyer in the popular sitcom Episodes. After having children from two previous marriages, it seems like it might be third time lucky for Planer after tying the knot with Roberta Green in 2013.
Chris Barrie – Then
This is probably the most minor Blackadder role that you will find on this list. Make no mistake about it though, the man who played this role is a real force to be reckoned with in the world of TV. Chris Barrie played a French Revolutionary in the episode “Nob and Nobility” from Blackadder The Third. Despite having such a brief role, Barrie’s character does something pretty tremendous, throwing Edmund, Baldrick, and Frou Frou in jail at the same time.
Chris Barrie – Now
Shortly after his minute role as a French Revolutionary on Blackadder the Third, Chris Barrie became a key character in another show, playing the hologram/human hybrid Arnold J. Rimmer in the cult classic sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf. He starred in every single season and has been a regular at sci-fi conventions ever since. Barrie also featured in two of the Angelina Jolie-led Tomb Raider movies. His most recent work on TV saw him host the Channel 5 show Car Crash TV.
Geoffrey Palmer – Then
Having already been a regular in sitcoms such as The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Geoffrey Palmer brought plenty of experience to his role as Field Marshal Douglas Haig. After being mentioned throughout the series, the character finally appears in the finale of Blackadder Goes Forth. Edmund asks Haig for advice on how to get out of the trenches. However, his words of wisdom are anything but helpful. It was a hilarious, albeit a brief cameo.
Geoffrey Palmer – Now
Another actor to have appeared on Blackadder who has gone on to do even bigger and greater things, Geoffrey Palmer is no stranger to box office smashes. He has starred in huge flicks such as A Fish Called Wanda and the James Bond classic Tomorrow Never Dies. In 2004, the well-respected actor was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama. Most recently, he starred in the live-action motion picture Paddington.