What a cunning plan: The real Blackadder, Baldrick, Darling And Mrs Miggins Gather At The Tower Of London

Blackaddder

Thursday 6 April

  • Members of The Public with genuine Character Names From Classic Comedy Blackadder Meet To Launch New Season On Yesterday That Celebrates The History Behind The Series

  • The Real Blackadder Reveals Family's Battle Of Britain Hero - And Unlike 'Kevin Darling', The Real Ww1 Darling Was A Brave Soldier Who Received Decorations

  • Blackadder's History Starts From Monday 10 April To Friday 21 April, 7pm, On Yesterday And Available To Catch Up On UKTV Play

The REAL Blackadder, Baldrick, Darling and Mrs Miggins met at the Tower of London today to launch a new season of programmes celebrating TV sitcom Blackadder through a historical lens.

The Yesterday channel is running the Blackadder's History season starting Monday 10 April from 7pm and available to catch up on UKTV Play, featuring all episodes of the classic series next to documentaries about each era.

And in a fascinating parallel to their namesakes from the show, four members of the public - Robert Blackadder, Luke Baldrick, Kevin Darling and Hayley Miggins - gathered at the Tower of London, a reoccurring location throughout the four series, to reveal their personal connections.

Robert Blackadder, 22, from Romney Marsh, Kent, is a qualified pilot who was inspired by his great great uncle William Francis Blackadder, one of 'The Few' - the name given by Winston Churchill to the brave Allied airmen of the Royal Air Force who fought the Battle of Britain in the Second World War.

He said

I have been brought up with the Blackadder series, and certain phrases are part of the family vernacular - especially when it comes to having 'cunning plans' and 'sensible policies for a happier Britain.

"The whole family are huge fans and I can recite huge chunks of the Blackadder scripts. Blackadder is an old Berwick name and the ancestry can be traced back for centuries, most firstborn are called Robert, David or John rather than Edmund. It's strange being called Blackadder - most people have heard of the show and call you 'Slackie, Blackie, Slackbladder or whatever. We are very lucky to have a surname associated with one of the most well-loved comedy series ever made, people tend not to forget your name - it can be burden though as sometimes people don't believe you or think you're joking.

"My great great uncle William Francis Blackadder joined the auxiliary air force in 1936, becoming part of 607 Squadron and saw action in Northern France at the start of World War Two, before flying fighters during the Battle of Britain. He survived the war and lived until 1997 - and his story has been absolutely inspirational in firing my passion for aviation in general and vintage WW2 aircraft in particular.

"I regard it as an absolute privilege to able to fly in the same skies over Kent where he served and to be able to follow in his footsteps. It is my ambition to one day fly a spitfire over the Capel-Le-Ferne memorial in his honour."

The series, which starred Rowan Atkinson in the title role and Sir Tony Robinson as his faithful servant Baldrick, first appeared on BBC1 in 1983 - and ran to four series and three specials before the final episode aired in 1989.

The fourth was set in World War One - and student Luke Baldrick, 22, revealed that his great grandfather David Baldrick also served in the Great War, returning home after suffering a shrapnel injury to his leg.

Luke, a third year business studies student at Liverpool John Moores University, originally from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, said: "David Baldrick was a farmer near Derry from back home in Ireland, who went to fight for his country. There's certainly not been too many of us Baldricks ever since, although I've a met a couple in America via Facebook."

The final Blackadder Goes Forth series also featured 'Captain Kevin Darling' played by Tim McInnerny - and Kevin Darling, 59, a construction consultant specialising in land and construction disputes, from Upminster, Essex, describes himself as 'a pen pusher, just like the other Darling.'

He said,

I love the series despite having people regularly say to me, 'not now, Darling' for the past 28 years. And having traced my family back several generations, I've discovered that my grandfather Albert Darling, who was born in 1891, also served in World War One. Our family history goes back 13 generations, to 1565 - and I've discovered that we had Darlings in the military well before my namesake in Blackadder Goes Forth.

Each Blackadder series was set in a different period of British history, beginning in 1485 and ending in 1917, and comprised six half-hour episodes. The first series was called The Black Adder and was set in the fictional reign of 'Richard IV'.

The second series, Blackadder II, was set during the reign of Elizabeth I. Blackadder the Third was set during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the reign of George III, and Blackadder Goes Forth was set in 1917 in the trenches of the Great War.

One of the most popular characters was 'Mrs. Miggins', played by Helen Atkinson-Wood and famous for her pies and other wares at her coffee shop - and Hayley Miggins, 32, from Preston, Lancs., describes herself as a lover of pies thanks her traditional home town cooking.

She said,

Lancashire is the home of the meat and potato pie, and pies don't come any better than that. And I've always been a great foodie, not least because my mum is from Italian descent.

"Although unlike Mrs Miggins, sadly I've never owned a pie shop - in fact I'm more closely linked to the final series set in World War One, as I work in the defence industry.

"And to this day the name 'Mrs Miggins' is always likely to be mentioned whenever I give my name - although as a family we've always loved being recognised in the same breath as such a comedy classic as Blackadder."

Sir Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in every episode of Blackadder, said: "I am so proud of being part of the Blackadder team. I think it's one of the highlights of my working life.

"The fact that people come up to me almost every day and say that either they learned about history because they were inspired by Blackadder or their kids learned about history for the same reason makes me bristle with pride."

Adrian Wills, general manager for Yesterday, added,

Blackadder is one of the greatest British TV creations of all time, and the Yesterday channel is excited to celebrate Blackadder's legacy through a uniquely historical viewpoint which we hope will fascinate our viewers."

Blackadder's History starts from Monday 10 April to Friday 21 April, 7pm, on Yesterday. It features all episodes of the legendary sitcom Blackadder, next to documentaries about each era.

ENDS

For more press info, pictures or interviews: - Howard Bowden (07720 839 852 / Howard@generation-media.co.uk) at Generation

About the Blackadder's History season

Yesterday is celebrating Blackadder this Easter in the context of history.

Blackadder's History season starts from Monday 10th April to Friday 21st April, 7pm, on Yesterday. All episodes of the legendary sitcom Blackadder, next to documentaries about each era.

Watch the nation's best-loved episodes of Time Team and David Starkey's Monarchy from 7pm, new and exclusive documentaries such as The Man Who Killed Richard III from 8pm all followed by a triple bill of classic comedy Blackadder from 9pm on Yesterday and available to catch up on UKTV Play.

About Yesterday

Sky 537, Virgin 206, Freeview 19, BT and TalkTalk 019 and on demand via UKTV Play

Showcasing UK premieres series such as Impossible Engineering, Forbidden History, and Private Lives of the Tudors, Yesterday provides fascinating factual stories. The channel also features dynamic nature and science programming including David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities and Wonders of the Universe, as well as classic shows from the past such as Blackadder and Porridge. Ancient history is also featured in series including Medieval Dead, plus seminal war documentaries such as World at War.

yesterday.uktv.co.uk | @yesterdaytweets

About UKTV

UKTV is the biggest multichannel broadcaster in the UK.

The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £319m and EBITDA of £82m. It invested £148m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.

UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.

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