Black-Adder II: E5. “Beer”


In the penultimate Mandie Fletcher directed episode of the 1986 televised historical comedy series “Black-Adder II,” we find writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton continuing to provide their British audience with a hilarious interpretation of the Elizabethan period.

Titled “Beer,” this fifth episode sees guest appearances from Miriam Margolyes, Hugh Laurie, Roger Blake, William Hootkins, Daniel Thorndike and Tony Aitken as Lady Whiteadder, Simon Partridge, Geoffrey Piddle, Monk and the Minstrel, respectively.

This fifth episode, originally televised in the British Isles on Thursday, 13 Feb. 1986, saw regular cast members Rowan Atkinson, Tim McInnerny, Tony Robinson, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry and Patsy Byrne in their usual respective roles Edmund Blackadder, Lord Percy, Baldrick, Queen Elizabeth I, Lord Melchett and Nursie.

In this episode, there is a somewhat embarrassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a religiously fanatical Puritan aunt which royally leads to a much ado about nothing in Lord Blackadder’s household.

Relative to the “Blackadder” franchise, “Beer” marks the first appearance of Laurie. People familiar with the franchise will know the actor will go on to become a series regular from the beginning of the 1987 series “Black Adder the Third.”

If we are keeping count, this episode makes Margolyes’ second appearance in a “Blackadder” episode. Margolyes’ first appearance came in the 1983 Martin Shardlow directed “The Black Adder” episode “The Queen of Spain’s Beard” where the actress played “Infanta Maria Escalosa of Spain.”

While the actress’ credited acting career began in 1965 with the television series “Theatre 625,” Americans might be more familiar with Margolyes’ work on the “Harry Potter” franchise. In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002) and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (2011), Margolyes can be seen playing Hogwarts’ professor herbology Pomona Sprout.

Margolyes was of course not the only “Blackadder” actor to have made an appearance in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

Further to Margolyes, other “Blackadder” acting talents to appear in one or more “Harry Potter” instalments includes Richardson, Robbie Coltrane and Shirley Henderson as “Daily Prophet” journalist Rita Skeeter, groundskeeper (and later professor) Rubeus Hagrid and the murdered Hogwarts student Moaning Myrtle, respectively.