Black-Adder II E3. “Potato”

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With a teleplay written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, seemingly keeping with a theme of oddly titled episodes, the third instalment of the British historical period comedy “Black-Adder II” was given the title “Potato.”

Televised in the British Isles on Thursday, 23 Jan. 1986, we find Mandie Fletcher once again in the director’s chair.

In addition to Rowan Atkinson in the title role of Edmund, Lord Blackadder, the regular cast for this series is Tim McInnerny, Tony Robinson, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry and Patsy Byrne as Lord Percy, Baldrick, Queen Elizabeth I, Lord Melchett and Nursie, respectively.

Joining the cast as special guests were Tom Baker, Simon Jones and Tony Aitken appear as Captain Rum, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Minstrel, respectively.

Baker

For long-time-Whovians, if the name Baker does not ring a bell in your TARDIS, you should seriously consider handing in your “Doctor Who” Fan Club Membership Card. Between 1974 and 1984, the actor donned one of the longest scarves ever knitted for a fictional character.

Since appearing in “Potato,” Baker has been quoted to have saying his performance in the “Black-Adder II” episode was “appalling” … Someone should have taken away [his] Equity Card. It was terrible, and the buggers keep playing it.”

Jones

To impress Queen Elizabeth I, Lord Blackadder sets out to prove he is every bit as courageous as Sir Walter Raleigh when he embarks on his own voyage of discovery to what was then seen as the New World.

If you were still wondering why it is this episode has the title it does, it is a reference to Raleigh having presented Elizabeth I with the first potato ever seen in England. He had apparently brought it back with him on his voyage from Virginia.

Raleigh returned to the Britain in 1586. It is reported the explorer had the potato with him when he disembarked his ship at Portsmouth.

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Shain E. Thomas, a contributor to the Handbook of Texas Online, is a University of North Texas graduate student majoring in Library Information Science.

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