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Blackadder: Ultimate Collection: DVD Review


Blackadder: The Ultimate Edition - Remastered

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Entertainment/ BBC
Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnery, Miranda Richardson

Ah Black Adder, the bastion of comedy quotes since it first began back in 1983 and much loved still, despite being just shy of its thirtieth birthday.

It was the sitcom which saw Rowan Atkinson charm the public (before he goofed around as bumbling idiot Mr Bean) and watching this wonderfully remastered collection of all four series and three after show specials, it's easy to see why.

From the brilliant wordplay to the continuing lunacy - and indeed poignancy - the show's got an enduring urbane appeal and is guaranteed to make you laugh time and again.

Admittedly, the first series was not one of the best -but by the time, Richard Curtis had found his feet in the Elizabethan years, BlackAdder was guaranteed a place in Television history.

And this set should be guaranteed a place in a) TV on DVD history and b) on your shelves at home. Not only content with remastering each of the quartet of series, there's a whole host of interviews/ behind the scenes footage and documentaries for the most ardent of fan to delve into. And if you're not a fan, you'll pretty much be guaranteed to be one at the end of the set.

It's difficult to pick one stand alone moment from the set - from Tony Robinson's suffering buffoon Baldrick to Hugh Laurie's performances throughout, there's more than enough to ensure repeat viewing.

But it's hard to beat the closing moments of BlackAdder Goes Forth when it comes to poignancy - having suffered the idiocy of life in the trenches during World War I, the gang finally goes over the Top to certain death. There was not a dry eye in the house back in 1989 when it first screened - and 20 years on, it still puts a lump in your throat.

If the series are great, then it's a testament to why it never worked 100% afterwards - while the specials are good, they don't hold a candle upto the originals (and certainly the ill conceived BlackAdder Back and Forth shows that) but for a completist, this 6 disc set (which clocks in at over 16 hours) is the perfect way to wile away any spare time you may have.

Extras: Too numerous to list here - but commentaries and extended interviews from the cast and Richard Curtis, Costumes Revisited, an hour doco celebrating the show's 25th anniversary are just a few of the goodies on offer here.

Rating: 9/10


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