Much like location, location, location is key to retail, when writing a book, the key is promotion, promotion, promotion. Or, have an event occur at the time of release that will send book sales into orbit. In the case of the upcoming book, The History of the Black Adder, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
As being reported by the BBC, what has now surfaced is a ‘lost’ Richard Curtis-penned partial script for a Blackadder Christmas special, Blackadder in Bethlehem, in which Rowan Atkinson’s ‘loveable’ Edmund Blackadder character surfaces as the owner of the inn where Joseph and Mary seek a bed for the night. Ultimately abandoning the idea “…for fear it would cause too much offense“, Curtis opted for the ‘safer’ Dickensian-themed Blackadder’s Christmas Carol that went into production, and was broadcast on 23 December 1988 in the UK.
Set on 24 December at the Blackadder Inn in Bethlehem, the opening scene features an exchange in the foyer between Blackadder and Baldrick about getting a turkey for the “most important night in the history of this hotel”. In the next scene, Baldrick is in the kitchen with a turkey which starts to remonstrate with him about being plucked and eaten. Later, Joseph arrives looking for a room. Blackadder offers him Baldrick’s lodgings.
BLACKADDER: How about I offer you this young man’s room?
JOSEPH: That sounds excellent.
BLACKADDER: Yes. It’s not that excellent – less of a room, more of a manger.
Comedy historian, Jem Roberts, who wrote the book which includes portions of the lost script and is scheduled to be released later this week, was given the script by Curtis at an interview at his Notting Hill offices. Roberts said: “He printed out a document from his computer and said, ‘see what you want to do with this’. My jaw dropped when I saw I was holding a lost Blackadder script. Roberts then added, “He wrote on the script that one of the reasons it didn’t get used was because it was a strange cross between Fawlty Towers and Life of Brian. He didn’t think he was going to make it compare to either of them. That’s his reason for it never getting any further than it did“.