To mark the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic of British comedy series, a painting was placed in Audley End House in Essex recently. Orchestrated by UK TV’s Gold, the carefully commissioned portrait achieved its purpose as visitors who stumbled across the oil painting hanging in the Great Hall of the historic Jacobean mansion immediately mistook the portrait of Rowan Atkinson’s character for – amongst others – Shakespeare, Sir Walter-Raleigh and even Henry VIII.
According to the British Comedy Guide, the painting, created by renowned artist Tom Croft, shows the much-loved character in his Elizabethan attire, painted in a classical oil on canvas style and completed with an ornate gold frame. Croft painted the portrait across 60 hours, after binging Series 2 of Blackadder repeatedly for reference.
Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the series, says: “What an honor to have been asked to unveil this incredible painting – and what a cunning plan to have it installed by Gold in such an extraordinary location to celebrate 40 years of Blackadder. Tom Croft did an amazing job at capturing Edmund’s witty expression, and I know Baldrick would be thrilled to see his hero hanging at Audley End House.”
In addition to this masterful ‘cunning plan’, UK’s Gold channel will premiere two brand new documentaries Blackadder: A Cunning Story and Blackadder: The Lost Pilot – the latter of which includes the first TV screening of the original pilot. The ‘official’ 40th anniversary date commemorating the first ever broadcast of Blackadder is Thursday, 15 June (1983).