Bells (Blackadder)

Bells (Blackadder)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Bells
Series = Blackadder

Caption = Bob and Blackadder
Airdate = January 9, 1986
Writer = Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Director = Mandie Fletcher
Guests = Rik Mayall
Gabrielle Glaister
John Grillo
Edward Jewesbury
Barbara Miller Young
Episode list = List of Blackadder episodes
Season = 2
Episode = 1
Prev = The Black Seal
Next = Head

"Bells" is the first episode of the BBC sitcom "Blackadder II", the second series of "Blackadder", which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603. Although "Bells" was the first to be broadcast on BBC 2, it was originally destined to be the second episode. [ Blackadder Hall], URL accessed January 13, 2008] It was the only episode of the series to feature location filming, at Wilton House in Wiltshire.

The episode also marks the first appearance of the Bob/Kate and Flashheart archetypes that appear again in "Blackadder Goes Forth". Rik Mayall, who played Lord Flashheart allegedly designed the character's costume himself. [ [ Bells] at the Internet Movie Database] John Lloyd has said that Mayall virtually rewrote his part to feature "loads of jokes", which annoyed the writers, Curtis and Elton." [ Britain's Best Sitcom - Blackadder] ", 2004 BBC Television documentary, presented by John Sergeant]

The plot of the episode, of a young woman disguising herself as a man to go into service and falling in love with her employer, is particularly based on a significant plot thread of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". [ [ Blackadder: Bells] at]


Kate, an attractive young woman, is attempting to comfort her father for her mother's death. Her father replies that Kate's mother is not dead but has run off with her uncle, and that it is their poverty that has him so upset. He suggests that Kate become a prostitute to solve their money troubles. Kate refuses indignantly and decides to go to London to seek her fortune, over her father's objections ("Why walk all the way to London when you can make a fortune lying on your back?!")

Lord Blackadder is at home, target practicing with his bow and arrow (his servant, Baldrick, is holding the target). Hanger-on Lord Percy enters and announces that he is in love with Jane Harrington. Blackadder asks, "Jane 'Bury Me in a Y-Shaped Coffin' Harrington?" and then remarks casually that he and Baldrick had both slept with her, which throws Percy's aim off and he shoots Baldrick:

Kate enters, disguised as a boy, introduces herself as "Bob," and asks to be accepted into Blackadder's service. Blackadder hires her on the spot (although he has to fire Baldrick).

Over the next few weeks Lord Blackadder finds himself strangely attracted to his new servant and spends a great deal of time with "Bob". Lord Melchett and the Queen are concerned by this, and even Blackadder himself begins to worry after he nearly kisses "Bob" during a friendly tussle. He seeks advice from a doctor, who prescribes leeches, [ [ Official Hansard section 9285 (pdf)] . Retrieved November 29, 2007 ] and (on Baldrick's advice) consults the Wise Woman, who gives him three options: 1) kill Bob; 2) commit suicide; or 3) go ahead and sleep with Bob but to ensure no one ever finds out, kill everyone in the entire world.

With no other options Blackadder orders Bob out of his service, but the truth is revealed (along with "Bob's" breasts) and after a "very" brief sexual encounter Blackadder asks Bob/Kate to marry him. She accepts, and the Queen consents, after being reassured that Kate's nose isn't prettier than hers. Baldrick is chosen as Kate's bridesmaid (Lord Percy, unable to recognize Baldrick in a dress, kisses him). Edmund's choice for best man is his school chum, Lord Flashheart, "the best sword, the best shot, the best sailor and the best kisser in the Kingdom," much to Percy's disappointment.

The wedding however does not go as smoothly as planned. Edmund bribes Kate's father to leave before anyone sees him, and Lord Flashheart doesn't show up. With no best man Blackadder reluctantly asks Percy to fill in. At that moment Flashheart crashes through the roof, throws Percy out, and begins chatting up every woman in the room, including Nursie ("Nursie! I like it firm and fruity!") and Baldrick ("Hey, Bridesmaid, like the beard!"). He is quite taken with "Bob" and proceeds to steal her from Blackadder. The two of them appear wearing each others clothing, announce they are running away together, set off a bomb, and disappear. Melchett reminds Edmund that it is customary in these situations for the groom to marry the bridesmaid; a suggestion positively received by Baldrick.

Comic Relief

In 1993, in conjunction with Comic Relief, this episode was given away free on cassette tape with boxes of PG Tips tea. [ [ "Comedy Recordings"] . November 17, 2007.]


As with all the episodes in this season, there is a distinct song sung describing the story in that particular episode. In this episode, it goes:: Lord Flashheart tweaked the Adder's beard.: From now he always shall be single.: To fall in love with boys is weird,: Especially boys without a dingle.: Black Adder, Black Adder, his taste is rather odd.: Black Adder, Black Adder, the randy little sod.: Lord Flashheart, Lord Flashheart, I wish you were the star.: Lord Flashheart, Lord Flashheart, you're sexier by far.


External links

* [ Blackadder: Bells] at
* [ Bells] at the Internet Movie Database

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