Saturday, 22 December 2007

Blackadder: war; peace

I have just (once more) seen "Goodbyeee", the last episode in the First World War series of Blackadder, Blackadder Goes Forth. It's a powerful episode and one of the best conversations - stitching together excerpts of the transcript reproduced on, Suslik and Wikiquote - is:
Baldrick: Permission to ask a question, sir.
Blackadder: Permission granted Baldrick, as long as it isn't the one about where babies come from.
Baldrick: No. 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 where there not being a war on went away, right, and there being a war on came along, right? So, what I really want to know is how we went from one case of affairs to the other case of affairs.
Blackadder: You mean, how did the war start?
Baldrick: Yes, sir.
George: The war started because of the vile hun and his villainous empire-building.
Blackadder: 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 we can be entirely absolved from blame on the imperialistic front.
George: [Loudly] Oh, no sir! Absolutely not! [Quietly, to Baldrick] Mad as a bicycle.
Baldrick: I heard that it started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry.
Blackadder: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.
Baldrick: No, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir.
Blackadder: Well possibly. But the real reason for the whole thing is that it would be 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 a war in Europe, two super blocs developed: us, the French and the 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: Except, well, this is sort of a war, isn't it?
Blackadder: That's right, there was one tiny flaw in the plan.
George: Oh, what was that?
Blackadder: It was bollocks.
Baldrick: So, the poor old ostrich died for nothing...


  1. Ha ha ha..... Somehow this reminded me of the plot of the movie "Syriana," which I just watched for the first time last night. No wars make much sense looked at in hindsight. Nonetheless, they seemed inevitable to those who carried them off.

  2. It's only a shame that the joke has worn so well.