Television history is about to be made as the “lost” Blackadder pilot airs on Gold this Thursday.
Essentially the same as the first episode of The Blackadder, the show has rarely been seen aside from poor VHS-to-VHS copies that eventually made it onto YouTube.
A different Blackadder
But what is so special about the unseen Blackadder pilot? Well, two things. One, it feature Robert Bathurst (Joking Apart, Cold Feet) as Harry, the eldest son of John Savident’s Richard IV.
But most crucially, it doesn’t feature Tony Robinson. Instead, the part of Baldrick was initially cast as actor Philip Fox.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there is another key difference in this Blackadder pilot. The main character is closer to the Edmund Blackadder seen from Blackadder II onwards, rather than the cowardly, snivelling fool we all feel slightly annoyed about.
The result appears – from the trailers, at least – to reveal a pilot far more in keeping with what we know and love as Blackadder.
Tony Robinson’s there anyway
In addition to the pilot episode, Gold is broadcasting a documentary on the lost Blackadder, presented by the “real” Baldrick, Tony Robinson. He told the British Comedy Guide:
“The production knew the rights to the pilot existed but obtaining the rights after 40 years was a nightmare, so they asked if I would be interested in being involved if they were able to get the rights. I replied I’d love to be involved. The production knew the rights to the pilot existed but obtaining the rights after 40 years was a nightmare, so they asked if I would be interested in being involved if they were able to get the rights. I replied I’d love to be involved.
What I didn’t realise was, by saying all that, I was pitching to be the presenter of the show. They said to me, ‘Why don’t you present the documentary if you really don’t know that much and you’re hungry to learn? Why don’t we just let you off your leash?’ I was really pleased to be asked.”
Promising to be a rare televisual feast, Blackadder: The Lost Pilot airs on Gold this Thursday (June 15th) at 9pm with a scheduled repeat on Saturday at 9:35pm.