Blackadder II: Behind the scenes

After the expensive and uneven first series, the BBC told writer Richard Curtis that the show had to be scaled down if it was to continue. This meant cheaper sets, fewer locations and a smaller cast. The result was a more focused and much funnier second series.

Blackadder II: Benind the Scenes

A cunning plan

Tony Robinson was an unknown at London's Central School of Speech and Drama when he was approached by Richard Curtis to play Baldrick. It was Curtis who helped to make Robinson feel comfortable amongst the (predominantly) Oxbridge cast members.

Ben Elton, Mr Everything

After sharing scriptwriting duties with Richard Curtis on the first series, Rowan Atkinson wasn't keen to continue writing so the multi-talented Ben Elton was brought in. As well as earning his cash co-writing some of the best-ever comedy scripts, Elton often doubled up as the studio warm-up man to get the audience amused before filming began.

Rooted in error

In the episode Beer, writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton slipped up when it came to describing root vegetables. For the infamous 'vegetable shaped like a thingy', they used a turnip, when a more realistic choice would have been a parsnip. However, nobody seemed to notice at the time.

Bill, Ben and Bob

Gabrielle Glaister, the actress who played Bob the 'manservant' whom Edmund falls in love with, went to school with Ben Elton. Also, William Greeves, the name on the tombstone in Money, was Richard Curtis's neighbour at the time. Curtis had promised him he'd write him into the script.

Good Queen Bess

Miranda Richardson, who played Queen Elizabeth in such an unforgettable fashion, was thrilled to be offered the part, as she relished the chance to do comedy. She said about the Queen: 'I played her for laughs, it was her infantilism that I so enjoyed!' She was also the voice of the child who sings 'Sourpuss, grumpy face' outside Blackadder's window in 'Potato'.

The Wonderful Mr Curtis

Richard Curtis admits that he ditched a whole episode of Blackadder II that was to have been a murder mystery, simply because he felt it didn't work. He also says that setting each series in a different location and historical period was influenced by the Flashman books.