Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Baldrick is a fictional character featured in the television series Blackadder. He serves as the servant, sidekick, and frequent punching bag of Edmund Blackadder, and is played by the actor Tony Robinson. Just as Blackadder exists in many incarnations throughout the ages, so does Baldrick; wherever there is a Blackadder there is a Baldrick serving him. Initially Baldrick was the smart one and Blackadder the idiot, but as Blackadder's social status has fallen so has Baldrick's intelligence, while Blackadder's rises with each series.
Intelligent or not, Baldrick is always one for inventing "cunning plans", which are generally ridiculed by Blackadder, who nevertheless ends up using them.
Other traits shared by all Baldricks (except possibly the first one) are sheer disgustingness and an obsession with turnips.
The character is named for the baldric.
Baldrick, Son of Robin the Dung Gatherer - Series 1
The mediaeval Baldrick was probably the only Baldrick of the four who could really be described as clever. Baldrick, an ex-dung shoveller (a respected position, which he had worked very hard to get - earlier jobs include milking pigs and mucking out lepers), first met Prince Edmund at the feast before the Battle of Bosworth Field. The two, along with Lord Percy, toasted their new friendship, unaware that from that point onwards, their descendants' lives would be eternally entwined.
Although cleverer than the Prince, Baldrick holds him in some sort of awe. He often leads cheers in the Prince's honour (along with Lord Percy, who tries hard to join in), fills his head with illusions of grandeur, and often ends up doing his dirty work. This included carrying the decapitated body of Richard III and sleeping with the Spanish Infanta, Edmund's fiancée, so that Edmund didn't have to. The latter task resulted in several injuries, including a seriously blackened eye. When Baldrick is abandoned by Edmund in the final episode, a tear falls from his eye.
It was this Baldrick who suggested the title 'The Black Adder' for Prince Edmund, which his descendants later adopted as a surname.
Baldrick - series 2
The Elizabethan Baldrick is the servant and bondsman, rather than a friend, to Lord Blackadder, who mistreats him, and, Baldrick claims, at first tried to kill him. He has a bedroom in Blackadder's house, but has also been forced to sleep in the gutter and on the roof. He has a tendency to eat dung. Baldrick has been in Lord Edmund's service longer than either of them care to remember. Yet although his master treats him with the sort of contempt reserved for lepers, he remains intensely loyal.
This Baldrick, whilst perhaps not as dim as his descendants, is much stupider than the original. A kindly soul, Baldrick's lack of formal education is compensated for by his basic streetwise cunning. Whilst his 'cunning plans' do sometimes have a strange, twisted and often perverse logic and cunning to them (one suggestion was that Blackadder repay his debts by making money as a male prostitute, another is to disguise a 'mad, wild, killer bull' as a rooster and entering it in a cock fight), he does show an entertaining display of stupidity. In one episode, Blackadder attempts to teach Baldrick how to add. Baldrick's conclusions, which include 'two beans plus two beans equals some beans', 'two beans plus two beans equals three beans... and that one' and 'two beans plus two beans equals a very small casserole', leads Blackadder to comment 'to you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it.'
It was also in this series that the first signs of Baldrick's love of turnips was shown, in the episode 'Beer', where he and Percy famously discover a turnip shaped like a 'thingy'. Baldrick later describes the incident as 'triffic'.
Baldrick once went on an 'all mouse diet' by hanging a piece of cheese off of the end of his nose and lying with his mouth open, hoping that mice would scurry in. He later tried the same thing, with a mouse on the end of his nose to catch a cat, for variety.
Baldrick was also bridesmaid at Lord Blackadder's wedding. Queenie kept him as a pet calling him Lassie (Baldrick didn't complain) and he stuck two pencils up his nose, so that he could attended a Royal fancy dress party as a pencil case.
S. Baldrick - Series 3
The third Baldrick is much more noticeably stupid and disgusting than those previous to him. He is also more childlike. There is not the slightest sign of 'cunning' in any of his plans, which include:
- escaping the guillotine by waiting until your head has been cut off, then 'springing into action' and running 'around and around the farmyard, and out the farmyard gate', in the style of a chicken, and
- replacing the burnt first copy of the dictionary by taking the string, which has been salvaged, and putting in some new pages (Blackadder clarifies that Baldrick is suggesting that he re-write the entire dictionary in a single night).
Although he is now on a similar social standing to Blackadder, he still receives the same level of abuse as his Elizabethan ancestor. Edmund punches him, kicks him, breaks a milk-jug over his head, threatens to cut him up into strips and tell the prince that he walked over a very sharp cattle grid in an extremely heavy hat and promises five minutes of hellish tortures involving a small pencil.
However, despite his noticeable disabilities, this Baldrick has more success than any of the others. In an election rigged by Blackadder, he is elected MP for Dunny-on-the-Wold, a rotten borough, although he was intended to be a puppet for Blackadder to manipulate. He is later made a Lord by Prince George, and is, therefore, eligible to sit in the House of Lords (although whether or not he ever does so is another matter). He also succeeds where no Baldrick has succeeded before or since, in calling Blackadder a 'big nosed, rubber faced, bastard'.
Baldrick uses the money he received as a Lord to buy his dream turnip. Blackadder later destroys it.
Baldrick isn't given any sort of first name until the third series, when he speculates that it might be "Sod Off", since his childhood friends would say "Sod Off Baldrick". A diplomatic Blackadder opts to record him as "S. Baldrick". This name appears to have been adopted by his descendants.
Private S. Baldrick - Series 4
Equally as disgusting as the third Baldrick, Private Baldrick is, without a doubt, the stupidest of the Baldrick dynasty to date. His 'cunning plans' verge on those of an insane person. Examples include carving his name on a bullet, in relation to the old saying 'a bullet with your name on it', his explanation being that if he owns the bullet, it won't ever kill him as he won't ever shoot himself ('shame' comments Captain Blackadder), and the chances of there being two bullets with 'Baldrick' on them are 'very small indeed'.
Private Baldrick's hobbies include cookery, his specialities including:
- Rat au Van (a rat that's been run over by a van),
- Filet mignon in sauce bearnaise (dog turds covered in glue),
- Plum duff (a mole hill decorated in rabbit droppings),
- Cream custard (cat's vomit), and
- A sort of coffee which consists of hot mud, spit, dandruff and rather dubious 'chocolate sprinkles'.
- More rat; Saute, which involves:
- taking the freshly shaved rat and marinading it in a puddle until it is drowned
- stretching it out under a hot lighbulb
- getting within dashing distance of a latrine
- wolfing it down!
- Rat fricase, which is the same as above, but a slightly bigger rat
This Baldrick is also a poet. His greatest poem is, without a doubt, 'The German Guns'. The words are:
Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.
Despite his stupidity, Private Baldrick (however inadvertently) delivers the most profound speech of the lot. In preparation for 'the final push', tension is high, and Baldrick demands, "Why can't we just stop sir? Why can't we just say 'no more killing, let's all go home'? Why can't we pack it in? Why?". Neither Captain Blackadder nor Lieutenant George are able to come up with a good answer.
It is believed that Private S. Baldrick was killed going 'over the top' in 1917.
Other members of the family have been seen in various Blackadder specials. They generally appear to be similar to the character seen in Blackadder the Third, possibly suggesting that he has become the "definitive" Baldrick. They are:
- Baldrick, servant to Sir Edmund Blackadder in Blackadder, the Cavalier Years. Like his Elizabethan ancestor he moonlights as an executioner, although in his case it is part of a cunning plan to save the life of Charles I of England by replacing his head with a pumpkin. He is the son of a pig-farmer and a bearded lady.
- Mr Baldrick, assistant in Ebeneezer Blackadder's moustache shop in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. While still stupid, it seems that having to work for the exceedingly naïve Mr Blackadder has forced him to develop some of the savvy of his earlier ancestors. He remains the only person to be fooled by Tiny Tom Scratchitt's alleged lameness, however. He is also possibly the only person to spell "Christmas" without getting any of the letters right.
- Baldrick, slave to Grand Admiral Blackadder of the Dark Segment in the future section of Blackadder's Christmas Carol. He doesn't actually get to do much except stand around in a posing pouch. In an alternate future in which he is the Grand Admiral, he manages to destroy his own forces.
- Baldrick, septic tank cleaner to the 21st century Lord Blackadder in Blackadder: Back & Forth. His first appearance is serving Blackadder's millennium dinner, which he does wearing nothing but an amusing apron, on a whim. His cooking is similar to Private Baldrick's; he prepared dinner by coughing over an avocado. His underpants may date from the 18th century, or in any case smell as though they do, and turn out to be the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. Rather surprisingly he builds a working time machine, making him "the greatest genius who ever lived". Or it would do, if he knew how it worked. Following his master's rewriting of history, he becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- Legionary Baldrickus, soldier under Centurion Blackaddecus in the Roman Britain section of Blackadder:Back & Forth. Part of the forces defending Hadrian's Wall. He is apparently bilingual (although it's possible he's a local conscript and doesn't really understand Latin). He wears his helmet back to front, and was presumably killed by the attacking "Scots" (although they would actually have been Picts).
Dialogue between Blackadder and Baldrick
... KATE The word is that your servant is the worst servant in London. BLACKADDER Mmmmm. That's true. Baldrick, you're fired. Be out of the house in ten minutes. ... BLACKADDER Sorry, Baldrick. Any reason you're still here? BALDRICK I've got nowhere to go, my lord. BLACKADDER Oh, surely you'll be allowed to starve to death in one of the royal parks? BALDRICK I've been in your service since I was two and a half, my lord. BLACKADDER Well, that must be why I'm so utterly sick of the sight of you. ...
Blackadder the Third
BLACKADDER Right now, all you have to is fill in this MP application form. Name? BALDRICK Baldrick. BLACKADDER First name? BALDRICK Not sure. BLACKADDER You must have some idea. BALDRICK Well, it might be Sod Off. BLACKADDER (irritated) What? BALDRICK When I used to play in the gutter I used to say to the other snipes 'Hello, my name's Baldrick' and they used to say 'Yes, we know, Sod Off Baldrick'. BLACKADDER Right. Mr S. Baldrick. Now, any distinguishing features? (He thinks it through) None. BALDRICK Well, I've got this big growth in the middle of my face here... BLACKADDER That's your nose, Baldrick.
Blackadder Goes Forth
(In probably the most poignant scenes of the series, Blackadder, Baldrick, and George sit in the dug-out, waiting for the big push. There is a real sense of time being on their hands)
BALDRICK Permission to ask a question, sir. BLACKADDER Permission granted Baldrick, as long as it isn't the one about where babies come from. BALDRICK No. The thing is - the way I see it, these days there's a war on, right? And ages ago, there wasn't a war on, right? So there must have been a moment where there not being a war on went away, right, and there being a war on came along, right? So, what I really want to know is how we went from one case of affairs to the other case of affairs. BLACKADDER You mean, how did the war start? BALDRICK Yes, sir. GEORGE The war started because of the vile hun and his villainous empire-building. BLACKADDER George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think we can be entirely absolved from blame on the imperialistic front. .... BALDRICK I heard it started when some chap called Archie Duke shot an ostrich because he was hungry. BLACKADDER I think you mean it started when the Arch-Duke of Austro-Hungary got shot. BALDRICK Nah - there was definitely an ostrich involved. BLACKADDER Well possibly. But the real reason for the whole thing is that it would be too much effort not to have a war... you see, Baldrick, in order to prevent a war in Europe, two super blocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast, opposing armies, each acting as the other's deterrent. That way, there could never be a war. BALDRICK Except, well, this is sort of a war, isn't it? BLACKADDER That's right, there was one tiny flaw in the plan. GEORGE Oh, what was that? BLACKADDER It was bollocks. BALDRICK So the poor old ostrich died for nothing.
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