Blackadder's Christmas Carol [1988]

Among the many films and TV shows that add a new twist to Charles Dickens's classic tale, Blackadder's Christmas Carol is the most ingenious. It was made between Blackadder the Third (1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), and its inspired concept is to recast the self-serving Edmund Blackadder (Rowen Atkinson) not as Dickens's misanthropic miser but as the most kindhearted man in England. Tony Robinson's Baldrick is as moronic as ever, while Robbie Coltrane plays the Spirit of Christmas like a forerunner to his Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies, showing Edmund visions of past and future to not quite the desired effect. Hugh Laurie returns as the Prince Regent from Blackadder the Third, and the entire court from Blackadder II (1986) is reassembled for japes involving a merry seasonal death warrant. Miranda Richardson is outrageously capricious as Elizabeth I, then takes the character a stage further in a decadent space-opera future that also sees Patsy (Nursie) Byrne as an android. Though not quiet as laugh-out-loud funny as the regular Blackadder series, this is an excellent Yuletide special. --Gary S. Dalkin

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