Actor Sir Tony Robinson has addressed TV legend Rowan Atkinson‘s absence as Blackadder in an upcoming sketch for Comic Relief.
Sir Tony said the ‘beautifully crafted’ script had been written for his character, Baldrick, and that while Rowan Atkinson wouldn’t be involved, he ‘always contributes’ to the charity appeal.
The 76-year-old presenter told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that he had received a text from Richard Curtis after being reunited at a Claridge’s party.
A short sketch which features Baldrick, Blackadder’s bumbling sidekick, whose famous phrases include ‘I have a cunning plan’, has been written and Sir Tony Robinson is onboard to reprise the role.
It comes after director and writer Richard Curtis announced on the Radio 2 Breakfast show on Tuesday that the series would be returning for Comic Relief.
Sir Tony Robinson attending a party at Claridge’s at the end of January. He said after the event he had a text from Richard Curtis about the Baldrick sketch
Rowan Atkinson, who starred as the eponymous Blackadder, will not return for the skit for Comic Relief but is expected to be involved in the charity appeal ‘in some way or another’
The veteran broadcaster said on Wednesday morning that plans for the special had moved quickly after he attended a Radio Times celebration at the end of January.
‘It was quite extraordinary. It happened very fast. Last week I was at some posh do at Claridges, where they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the front covers of the Radio Times and I went there to receive an award for a cover that Blackadder had done all those years previously.
‘Very early the following morning I was woken up by a text from Richard Curtis saying: “Lovely to have seen you,” and it included this script for a piece for Baldrick to do and he said: “Would you do it?”
‘It was extraordinary for me, this is a character that I haven’t played for 25 years and I suddenly got this beautifully crafted script, and I said, “Yeah, yeah, try and keep me away from it!”’
Committed fans of the Blackadder series may rest assured that many of Baldrick’s famous unintentional witticisms will feature in the skit.
‘The word turnip does appear in it a number of times. I can’t lie about that. There may even be a description of some sort of plan in it.’
Addressing concerns that Mr Bean actor Blackadder would not be returning for the eponymous role, Sir Tony said the script was specifically for Baldrick – but that Rowan Atkinson would be involved in the charity appeal.
Committed fans of the Blackadder series may rest assured that many of Baldrick’s (Sir Tony, right) famous unintentional witticisms will feature in the skit
The actor played the bumbling sidekick throughout the Blackadder series and was the source of many popular quotes
‘This just happens to be a script for Baldrick but Rowan always contributes to Comic Relief. I am sure he will be there in some form or another.’
But fans hoping for a full new series of the popular satirical comedy will do well not to get their hopes up.
‘The argument always is that however good a new series might be, the people who are watching it wouldn’t be in the same state of mind and same state of emotions as they were when they watched the first series.
‘They wouldn’t feel as warm about it, they wouldn’t feel as good about it. Even if it was absolutely great they’d go: “It’s not like the old series, is it?”
‘So I think that’s one of the main reasons why no one has ever seriously thought about writing another series,’ Sir Tony explained.
The actor didn’t completely rule out new episodes but said it ultimately wasn’t his decision.
‘But who knows, who knows? It’s not down to me, it’s down to Richard and Ben [Elton].’
He added that audiences enjoyed his ‘brainless turnip-head character’ as a contrast with cleverer characters like those played by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
‘He is every man, isn’t he? Listening to the interview with the Defence Secretary [Ben Wallace] just now, we are living in such gloomy times where people feel under such enormous pressure that I think a character like Baldrick speaks for the survival instincts in all of us.’
Director Richard Curtis has confirmed the news that has been much rumoured and Baldrick will return for a Comic Relief skit
Blackadder appeared on screens from 1983 to 1989 for 24 episodes which included three specials and starred a host of famous actors including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
Radio 2 presenter Gary Davies asked the writer Richard Curtis on Tuesday: ‘What’s happening on the telly show..? You were telling me something about Blackadder…?’
Richard replied: ‘God I’m really nervous about saying this but.. For the first time in 20 years, Baldrick is going to be giving some kind of performance.
‘We’re just conspiring about it now, so I think there’s going to be a marvellous, turnip-based thing with Tony Robinson now back in action, so I’m excited about that.’
‘With Rowan [Atkinson]?’ Gary enquired?
Richard replied: ‘No (laughs). Rowan’s far too serious to do any of that!’
‘Things are looking up,’ Richard continued before teasing more from this year’s Red Nose Day.
‘We got this amazing Ghosts with Kylie Minogue that’s going to be fantastic and we’re actually going to South Africa to do our own Love Island sketch which is fabulous as well. It’s going to be a very good night.’
The news comes after it was reported The BBC has slapped warnings on episodes of Blackadder because of jokes which viewers may find offensive.
Fans watching the comedies on iPlayer will now be greeted with a message at the start of the offending episodes.
TV show: Blackadder stars (from left): Tim McInnerny, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Tony Robinson and Hugh Laurie
Blackadder, first aired in 1983, uses a slur in its second episode which the BBC decided warrants the warning.
In the episode, Rowan’s character clashes with Dougal MacAngus who has just returned from the Crusades and is awarded Blackadder’s land as a result of his good service.
Blackadder says: ‘You come in here fresh from slaughtering a couple of Chocos when their backs were turned and you think you can upset the harmony of a whole kingdom.’
The slur, derived from chocolate to describe a black person’s skin colour, landed football pundit Richard Keys in trouble when he used it to describe a player in 2011.
Another episode of the sitcom also uses a derogatory term for a Spaniard.
The BBC told MailOnline: ‘We want classic shows and series on BBC iPlayer.
‘Attitudes and language change over time and our approach, just like other streaming services, is to tell viewers when a show includes something that may be offensive, inappropriate or outdated and because some people aren’t offended, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t.’