I was having a rummage through the trunk files this evening and stumbled across a oldie but a goodie that first saw the light of day on USENET and that I had to share with y’all. With sincere apologies to Rowan Atkinson and Patrick McGoohan, I’m delighted to present
BLACKADDER 5: THE VILLAGE YEARS
EPISODE 1 – A RIVAL
An Unauthorized BLACKADDER/THE PRISONER parody
The opening sequence is a long, deserted runway. A thunderclap is heard, followed by a haunting trumpet, bongo drums, electric guitar, brass section and snare drum theme. The runway is empty except for one vehicle in the distance, speeding toward the camera. It’s a sporty Lotus 7, driven by a grim man with laser-blue eyes and an intense expression. The car drives under the camera, which then pans off to the left … where a beat-up Citröen 2CV is parked. The wind from the Lotus blows the hood down, whacking the driver neatly in the forehead. The driver straightens up, and we see Edmund Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) glaring down the road at the retreating Lotus 7. He cocks his arm, giving an age-old signal to the driver.
Cut to overhead shot of Blackadder in his Citröen, puttering through the streets of London. While the titles are rolling, he’s cut off by everything from a lorry to a little old lady on a bicycle, before finally pulling into an underground garage directly behind the Lotus 7. As he tries to operate an official-looking passcard slot, it shreds his pass.
Cut to Blackadder walking down a long, empty corridor, extremely angry. Two guards jump out of alcoves and grab him, slamming him against the wall in spreadeagle position. We can’t hear anything, but Blackadder is obviously being frisked in places normally reserved for doctors and customs agents. During the search, one of the guards locates an MI5 pass, and calls off the other guard. They shrug and retreat down the corridor. Blackadder staggers into a small, drab office, where George Hanover (Hugh Laurie) is puttering with a tall stack of paperwork.
BLACKADDER: (throwing himself into a chair) You would not believe what I just went through.
GEORGE: Oh, not the strip search again?
BLACKADDER: Well, no—
GEORGE: With the body cavity probe?
GEORGE: And those cold metal pliers? Gosh, I remember once how they stuck them up your—
BLACKADDER: George, if you don’t shut up immediately, I’ll be forced to rip out your tongue (dramatically holds up office implement) with this staple remover.
GEORGE: (thoughtfully) Ah. Well, then, I shan’t say another word about it.
GEORGE: I know when to keep my mouth closed.
GEORGE: In fact, I once kept so quiet that people didn’t know I was around—
Blackadder throws a dictionary at George.
BLACKADDER: I don’t know how long I can put up with this. (notices paperwork for first time) Oh, God. Please tell me Sir Charles doesn’t want that sorted by the number of vowels per sheet again.
GEORGE: No, Sir Charles’s secretary went on holiday and I was asked to fill in for her. Quite a step up from chief paper shredder, eh?
BLACKADDER: Congratulations—I’ll send fruit.
GEORGE: You know, Blackadder, you might be happier if you showed a bit more team spirit. It’s what’s kept this country great.
BLACKADDER: Along with football riots and pub food, I see. And why should I be happy? Two months ago I was a top agent, knee-deep in danger, excitement, and oversexed women with double entendré names. And now I’m filing reports on “Possible Russian Activity Within the Sussex Dairy Community.” What is there in this miserable existance that I should be happy about?
GEORGE: Well, you have me as an officemate.
BLACKADDER: Remind me to slit my wrists tomorrow. You know, this whole muck-up isn’t fair. How was I supposed to know she was the Russian ambassador’s wife? I thought she was just some Slavic slottie with a newly developed taste for the creature comforts of Western civilization.
GEORGE: Such as?
BLACKADDER: Well, men who bathe, for one thing.
Baldrick (Tony Robinson) enters, dressed in wrinkled slacks and a mismatched sweater vest and shirt that could be classified as being hazardous to the vision of onlookers.
BLACKADDER: Of course, there’s always the exception.
BALDRICK: Morning, Mister B. Here’s another report from Sir Charles to be filed.
BLACKADDER: (looking at it with extreme distaste) “Possible East German Infiltration of the London Underground Buskers.” A real rib-tickler, I see. If you’ll all excuse me for a moment, I’ll just pop around the corner and kill myself.
Cut to scene of Blackadder pouring himself a muddy cup of tea from a communal urn. Agent ZM73 (Patrick McGoohan) enters, obviously deep in thought.
BLACKADDER: (sarcasm dripping from every pore) Ah, if it isn’t “Old Zeddie.”
ZM73: I’m not in the mood, Bladder.
ZM73: Of course, Bladder. (pours himself a cup of tea) You know, old man, I would have thought you’d stop holding a grudge by now.
BLACKADDER: Why on earth would I hold a grudge? Just because our last mission landed you on the French Riviera and me in the Clerkship from Hell, what makes you think I’m maintaining some sort of vendetta?
ZM73: Well, you have been shredding my orders.
BLACKADDER: That’s a standard security practice.
ZM73: I prefer to read the orders first.
BLACKADDER: Picky as well as pretentious, I see. I suppose you’d like me to stop.
ZM73: (gazing at him with mild contempt) No, that won’t be necessary. If things work out the way I’ve planned, we won’t have to see each other anymore.
BLACKADDER: Not that this news doesn’t make my black and shriveled heart jump for joy, but why won’t we have to see each other anymore?
ZM73: Because I’m currently exploring other … career options.
BLACKADDER: Teaching Latin students how to roll their ‘R’s, perhaps?
ZM73: It’s useless trying to explain it to you, Bladder. Then again, any man who consorts with enemy farm animals probably wouldn’t understand words over one syllable, anyway.
ZM73 smirks in his special, enigmatic way, and leaves.
BLACKADDER: (shouts after ZM73) It wasn’t a farm animal, it was a horse! A thoroughbred! (catches himself) Oh, God, what am I saying? (to himself) If it wasn’t for that blue-eyed weasel, I’d be engaged to Janet right now, lazing about in the good will of Sir Charles. I’ll bet Old Zeddie never gets a paper cut from filing, does he? Other career opportunities, indeed…
Blackadder snaps his fingers.
BLACKADDER: Other career opportunities, eh? Perhaps in a certain country known for bad borscht and gulags? I think A Certain Director should hear about this…
Blackadder smiles evilly.
Cut to Blackadder returning to his office, where George is now stacking paper in orderly piles.
BLACKADDER: George, I need you to get a message to Sir Charles. It’s come to my attention that one of our top operatives (looks around) may be going over.
GEORGE: What, you mean he’s spoiling?
BLACKADDER: No, you abysmal git, I mean he’s defecting.
GEORGE: Oh! Well, then, we’re going to look pretty silly if the Other Side finds out about that!
GEORGE: I mean, one of our top spies, not potty-trained yet.
BLACKADDER: George, how did you get into MI5?
GEORGE: I was recruited.
BLACKADDER: From the Home for Mental Defectives, no doubt. Never mind—just get this to Sir Charles.
Blackadder hands George a note.
BLACKADDER: That is absolutely vital to my career, d’you hear me? So make sure it’s delivered right into Sir Charles’ own sweaty hands.
GEORGE: You can count on me, Blackadder.
BLACKADDER: That would be your first involvement with maths, wouldn’t it? Meanwhile, I’m off to buy a new holster, some throwing knives (pauses thoughtfully) and perhaps some underwear. The sexy kind.
GEORGE: But your work—
BLACKADDER: Oh, bugger the work. I’m not going to be here for much longer anyway, tra la.
Blackadder leaves in a very good mood, and George glances at the note before putting it down on the pile of paper he’s shredding. Baldrick walks in.
BALDRICK: Well, Mr. B’s certainly feeling chipper about something.
GEORGE: (continues to shred) Yes, he said something about sexy underwear. Maybe he finally got that date with Gertrude from Central Filing. Too bad, really. I was getting rather fond of her.
George notices that he’s just shredded Blackadder’s note.
GEORGE: Oh. That was (points towards the door) and he said (claps hand to his forehead) Oh, dear. Well, it couldn’t be all that serious, could it?
Frantically, George plows through the huge pile of shredded material, but it’s an impossible task. He finally gives up.
GEORGE: Well, maybe I can reconstruct it. After all, I did go to Cambridge. Let’s see—Blackadder said that one of the top agents wants to resign. And he said that he wasn’t going to be here much longer… (a dim bulb dawns) Why, that must have been his resignation! It’s a good thing he has a friend like me looking out for him.
George picks up another sheet of paper and starts writing.
GEORGE: Gosh, with someone as important as Blackadder, I can imagine the stir this is going to cause in Sir Charles’ office.
Cut to the interior of Sir Charles Portland’s office. The head of MI5 and an aide are reading over George’s memo, laughing heartily.
SIR CHARLES: (wiping a tear from his eye) So Blackadder wants to retire, eh? It’s about time—I was running out of mindless makework for him.
AIDE: I did like the crypto assignment with the Sunday Times’ crossword puzzle, sir. Sheer brilliance.
SIR CHARLES: And having him translate declassified documents to Esperanto was rather inspired. (sighs) I’m almost sad to see him go—he was such a wonderful test subject for subliminal torture methods.
AIDE: Quite true. Then again, Blackadder did have access to certain levels of information. I know we aren’t exactly talking about ZM-73 here, but it may not be a good idea to have Blackadder leave the organization. A loose cannon, one might say.
SIR CHARLES: A loose popgun is more like it. But you’re right—it’s not worth having him on the streets. Get me Number One. We’ll have to make some special arrangements for our Mr. Blackadder.
Cut to a large room filled with filing cabinets. Close up on a small passport picture of Blackadder with the word ‘RESIGNED’ stamped on it. A large overhead robotic arm grabs the photo. Across the aisleway, a file cabinet drawer automatically opens–the robotic arm moves towards the drawer, passes over it smoothly and heads for a small wastebasket, where the picture is finally deposited. Close up of the picture sitting in the middle of old tea bags.
Later that evening, at the Hope and Anchor pub, Blackadder is working on his fifth lager of the evening and is comfortably sloshed.
BLACKADDER: Maybe I should just chuck it all. Buy myself a chicken farm in Kent, find some oversexed milkmaid with the IQ of straw, and settle down to a mindless life of abusing farm animals.
FRED: Good work if you can get it, mate.
BLACKADDER: Obviously a man who speaks from experience.
Baldrick comes in.
BALDRICK: Good evening, Mr. B.
BLACKADDER: Ah, Baldrick, my little whippet, so good of you to join us. Hold my seat, won’t you? I feel the need to release some vitriol in the Gents’.
Blackadder weaves his way to the men’s room. Cut to the interior, where he locks himself into a stall. Silently, two men dressed as undertakers enter the room and stand outside the stall.
A sudden burst of yellow gas is released beneath the bottom of the stall.
BLACKADDER: Oh, God. Someone had the curry and chips, didn’t … they…
There is a thump, and Blackadder pitches forward. The undertakers smile at each other.
(Sudden break to opening credits)
He said he wanted to resign,
And find a farmwife to encumber;
But in the Village he will find
Blackadder’s just another Number!
The shame of MI5!
He won’t get out alive!