Friday Film Review: Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol
Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol (1988)
“Bad guys have all the fun.”
No, right now I’m not in a very serious Christmas mood. Let’s have some fun with it, I say. And what better way than with
Edmund Ebneezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), his trusty sidekick Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and most of the regular Blackadder cast of Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, Miriam Margolyes, Robbie Coltrane, Jim Broadbent, Patsy Byrne plus a few other assorted gits.
Ebneezer Blackadder is the kindest man in all England. He never laughs at bathroom humour and gives out humbugs, the sweet not the saying, to all. But after visits from extortionary Mrs. Scratchit, gin shop boozer children, a screeching god-daughter and fat gits, Blackadder and Baldrick are picked clean. Their only hope for any Christmas prezzies is if Father Christmas, as he comes down the chimney, can overcome the fumes from Baldrick’s stocking. Still, nothing can dampen the Christmas spirit for Ebneezer Blackadder. That is until the Spirit of Christmas visits Blackadder in his sleep and shows him how awful Blackadder’s ancestors were and what might be in store for Blackadder’s descendants should Blackadder not change his ways. It’s an eye opener to say the least. Will Blackadder remain the kind spirited, generous man he is – or will he have a change of heart?
Well, peel my tangerines and baste my steaming puddings but this one is fun. It’s a complete send up of “A Christmas Carol” in the Blackadder style. Actually, it’s a little unnerving to initially see Blackadder being so kind. I keep expecting him to punch Baldrick or let loose with his usual pithy insults to the morons and idiots around him. But as soon as the Scottish Spirit of Christmas shows up in Blackadder’s dreams and the scenes change to, first Blackadder’s Elizabethan ancestor keeping his head and getting Melchitt to lose his, then a Georgian Blackadder trying to squeeze prezzies and the silver service from a thick Regent and, finally, to a future Blackadder who might end up ruling the universe if he is ruthless enough, things felt right at home. I’m glad that they avoided revisiting Blackadder the First – which I’ve always disliked – and can see why a trip to the trenches of WWI would be a downer for a Christmas special – though if anyone could make that funny then it’s Blackadder.
The Victorian setting is hilarious too. Due to the high infant mortality, Spot ends up playing the baby Jesus in the workhouse nativity play and Blackadder’s Christmas tree twig ends up making Charlie Brown’s tree look downright magnificent in comparison. But as Ebeneezer says, “it’s not what you’ve got, it’s where you stick it.” Then there’s the visit from Vickie and her German sausauge….