Season 4 Episode 6


Aired Wednesday 9:30 PM Nov 02, 1989 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • Blackadder can't die without an heir, else how would one manage to go on an adventure through time in "Back & Forth".

      The show never explicitly shows an heir, but it is always plausible. In this series he has sex with the nurse in the hospital, who is later shot due to her being a German spy. Even if George was a leak, she failed the subtle traps Blackadder left for her, and would still be tried and executed.

    • There is another interesting timeline error in this episode featuring Captain Blackadder's military career. As pointed out below, he mentions Umboto Gorge (1892) and knowing having met Field Marshal Haig twenty years ago (which would be 1897). When talking about his career to George he says that had "fifteen years military service" before the horror of World War I. Assuming he meant the start of the war in 1914, that would mean his career started in 1899.

    • Captain Blackadder says he only met Field Marshall Haig once. "It was twenty years ago." When he calls Haig, he talks about the Battle of Umboto Gorge in 1892. That would make it Blackadder and Haig's first conversation in 25 years, since all episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth were set in 1917.

  • Quotes

    • Baldrick: Shall I do my war poem, sir?
      Blackadder: How hurt will you be if I give the honest answer, which is, "No - I'd rather French-kiss a skunk?"

    • Blackadder: We've been sitting here since Christmas 1914, during which time millions of men have died, and we've moved no further than an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping.

    • Baldrick: I heard that [the war] started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich because he was hungry.
      Edmund: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.
      Baldrick: No, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir.

    • George: The war started because of the vile Hun and his villainous empire-building.
      Edmund: George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved from blame on the imperialistic front..
      George: Oh, oh no, sir, absolutely not. (to Baldrick) Mad as a bicycle.

    • Baldrick: Well, the thing is, the way I see it, these days there's a war on, right? And ages ago there wasn't a war on, right? So there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right? And there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is, how did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs.
      Edmund: Do you mean, how did the war start?
      Baldrick: {thinks hard} Yeah.

    • Baldrick: Permission to ask a question, Sir.
      Edmund: Granted, as long as it's not the one about where babies come from.

    • Baldrick: Shall I do another [poem], sir?
      Blackadder: No, we wouldn't want to exhaust you.
      Baldrick: No, don't worry. I could go on all night.
      Blackadder: Not with a bayonet through your neck you couldn't!!

    • Captain Darling meets Blackadder in the trenches shortly before 'going over the top'.
      Captain Darling: I made a short note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says… 'Bugger.'

    • Blackadder: (upon realizing there is no way he can avoid going over the top) I think the phrase rhymes with "clucking bell".

    • Blackadder: (final words before going over the top) Good luck, everyone.

    • George: You know, I won't half miss you chaps after the war.
      Baldrick: Don't worry, Lieutenant; I'll come visit you.
      George: Will you really? Oh bravo! Yes, jump into the old jalopy and come down and stay in the country, and we can relive the old times.
      Blackadder: What, dig a hole in the garden, fill it with water, and get your gamekeeper to shoot at us all day?

    • Blackadder: Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?

    • Blackadder: Well, George, I strongly suspect that your long wait for certain death is nearly at an end. Surely you must've noticed something in the air.
      George: Yes, of course, but I thought it was Private Baldrick.

    • Blackadder: Now ask me some simple questions.
      Baldrick: What is your name?
      Blackadder: Woobble.
      Baldrick: What is two plus two?
      Blackadder: Oh; woobble woobble.
      Baldrick: Where do you live?
      Blackadder: London.
      Baldrick: (looks confused) Eh?
      Blackadder: A small villageon Mars, just outside the capitol city of...Woobble.

    • Trench phone rings
      Blackadder: Hello? The Sommes Public Baths- no running, shouting, or piddling in the shallow end.

    • Blackadder: And Bumfluff himself?
      George: Copped a packet in Gallipolli with the Aussies. So did Drippy and Strangely Brown. I remember we heard on the first morning of the Sommes, when Titch and Mr. Ploppy got gassed back to Blighty.
      Blackadder: Which leaves?
      George: Gosh, yes. I, I suppose I'm the only one of the Trinity Tiddlers left alive. Blimey there's a thought and not a jolly one.

    • Blackadder: Oh, for God's sake George! How long have you been in the army?
      George: Me? I joined up straightaway. August 4, 1914; what a day that was. Myself and the rest of the fellows leap-frogged down to the Cambridge recruiting office and then playing tiddly-winks in the queue. We'd hammered Oxford's tiddly-winkers only the week before and there we were: off to hammer the Bosh! Crashingly superb bunch of blokes. Fine, clean-limbed; even our acne had a strange nobility about it.
      Blackadder: Yes. And how are all the boys now?
      George: Well, Jocko and The Badger bought it at the first Ypres unfortunately. What a shock that.

    • Blackadder: Baldrick, fix us some coffee will you? And try to make it taste slightly less like mud this time.
      Baldrick: It's not easy, I'm afraid, Captain.
      Blackadder: Why is this?
      Baldrick: It is mud. We ran out of coffee thirteen months ago.
      Blackadder: So everytime I've drunk your coffee since, I have, in fact, been drinking hot mud.
      Baldrick: With sugar.
      Blackadder: Which, of course, makes all the difference.
      Baldrick: Why, it would do, if we had any sugar, but unfortunately, we ran out New Year's Eve, 1915. Since then, I've been using sugar substitute.
      Blackadder: Which is?
      Baldrick: Dandruff.
      Blackadder: (disgusted and disheartened) Brilliant.
      Baldrick: Still, I could add some milk this time. (leans in) Well, saliva.
      Blackadder: No! No thank you, Baldrick; call me Mr. Picky, but I'll pass.
      Baldrick: That's probably 'cause you're mad!

    • George: (to Baldrick) Whatever you do, don't excite him.
      Blackadder: Fat chance.

    • Melchett: I'll just going to have to sit this one out on the touchline with the half-time oranges and the fat wheezy boys with a note from matron, while you young bloods link arms and go together for the glorious final scrum down.

    • Baldrick: 'Hear the words I sing,

      War's a horrid thing,

      But still I sing, sing, sing,

      Ding a ling a ling.'

    • Blackadder: The real reason for the whole thing was that it was just too much effort not to have a war.
      George: By gum, this is interesting. I always loved history. The Battle of Hastings. Henry VIII and his six knives, all that.
      Blackadder: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent war in Europe, two superblocks developed: us, the French and Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast opposing armies, each acting as the other's deterrent. That way, there could never be a war.
      Baldrick: But this is sort of a war, isn't it, sir?
      Blackadder: Yes, that's right. You see, there was only one tiny flaw in the plan.
      George: What was that, sir?
      Blackadder: It was bollocks.

    • (While talking about what they've done since the war started.)
      Baldrick: Remember the football match?
      Blackadder: Remember it, how could I forget it? I was NEVER off-side I could not believe that decision.

  • Notes

    • This episode is the only one in this season that didn't have a military rank fitted in the episode title.

    • Rowan Atkinson (Edmund Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Baldrick) and Tim McInnerny (Percy/Lord Topper/Captain Darling) are the only actors to appear in all four seasons.

    • Rowan Atkinson (Edmund Blackadder) and Tony Robinson (Baldrick) are the only actors to appear in every episode.

    • While George was part of "The Trinity Tiddlers," Baldrick was part of "The Turnip Street Workhouse Pals."

    • Bladrick's little animal friends in the trenches were Sammy the Spider, Katie the Worm, Bertie the Bird, and Neville the Fat Hampster.

    • The football match between the British and German forces at Christmas 1914 (mentioned in this episode) actually took place.

    • Originally the end slow-motion scene was to be played at a normal pace and would have the actors charge right up to the camera after coming out of the trench, and then suddenly they would all fall on their backs after all being gunned down by machine gun fire. The producers did not like the scene when it was shot and decided to play the scene in slow-motion and then, after the actors came out of the trench the scene would change to the poppy field. None of the cast knew of this change until it was first broadcast.

  • Allusions

    • Two of George's classmates are lost to poison gas at the Battle of the Somme, which took place over weeks during 1916. It involved an incredibly huge British artillery bombardment, meant to obliterate the German defenses, which was to be followed by a huge infantry attack. The bombardment was ineffective as the Germans were dug in too deep or beyond the range of the British guns. George's chums were "Titch" and 'Mr. Floppy" who were "gassed back to Blighty (Britain).

    • George also lost his classmates "Bumfluff," "Drippy," and "Strangly Brown,"at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915), which was part of an allied effort to force open the Dardenelles strait in order to re-supply Russia from the south and take Turkey out of the war. Most of the fighting was done by Australian troops, as evidenced by his line "Copped a packet at Gallipoli with the Aussies."

    • George: Well, Jocko and The Badger bought it at the first Ypres unfortunately.
      This refers to a battle in Belgium, which occured 31 October to 17 November, 1914.