Episode 2: CARPENTER BALDRICK
BALDRICK'S QUARTERS, BLACKADDER MANSION
"I mean, would you believe it, Baldrick? After that civil war you started ended up killing King John, we've now got a King on the throne who's nine years old. Nine!"
"Nein nine, neun!" chimed Baldrick cheerfully.
"What?" asked Blackadder half-heartedly.
"Nein nine, neun!" repeated Baldrick.
"Nein nine, neun!"
"Nine fine loins?"
"Nein! Nein nine, neun!"
"What on earth are you trying to say?"
"It's German. It's means: not nine, neun! Neun means nine in German. I'm learning German. So you said "nine" and I said "not nine, neun!"
"Why are you learning German?"
"I want to go to Germany".
"Stop wanting, then. Baldrick. Come on, pack your toothbrush, or whatever you use instead..." he gazed at Baldrick's brown, rotting teeth "...if anything. We're off to meet our new King. I won't give his age, if you don't mind".
MEANWHILE, THE PALACE OF KING HENRY
"Your Highness. Or, in this case, Your Shortness, King Henry. I am here to tell you that your appointment with Lord Blackadder has been confirmed and will occur in precisely ten minutes," droned Lord Melchettus, who promptly left the royal room of the Palace.
"Adder? I'm scared of snakes! Mummy!"
Isabella of Angouleme, the mother of King Henry III, appeared, in a lengthy, flowing silky cream-coloured dress.
"There are snakes!"
"Snakes? No, darling, it's a man coming to meet you. Goodbye now. By the way, I've arranged for David to come for tea this evening". Isabella kissed her son goodbye and left, just as William Marshal, the King's 'Prince Regent', who made all the important decisions for him, arrived.
"Lord Blackadder is scheduled to arrive in five minutes, Your Highness. He's known for having a bit of a temper, but then again everybody already knows he's a grumpy sod. Good day".
"Indeed," replied King Henry. The massive oak doors to the King's royal room swung open jerkily, creaking madly.
"Sorry, the doors got stuck. And the one on the left really needs oiling," said Lord Melchettus uneasily. "Argh!" he cried as the door jerked backwards onto his foot. Lord Blackadder entered, his shiny boots squeaking slightly on the elaborate yellow floor as he walked on and on and on...
"Lord Melchettus, are you sure the King's throne isn't moving further and further away from me the further I walk?" he inquired, turning around to find Lord Melchettus staring him in the face, his foot still stuck in the door.
"Lord Blackadder, you haven't moved," he replied.
"Oh yes," replied Blackadder, moving towards the King's throne.
"King Henry III, I, Edmund Blackadder, am here to- pay you a visit really. Just a flying visit, nothing much. I'd advise getting a carpenter to sort out the door. Or maybe you could just leave Lord Melchettus stuck there for eternity".
"Blackadder," boomed the King.
"Blimey, that's a deep voice," replied Blackadder.
"Blackadder, you may have thought your escape was finalised. It is not".
"With respect your Highness, what on earth are you on about?"
"Two years ago, you were sold as a slave to my father John. However, it is a family policy that all possessions of the deceased are handed down to the deceased's relatives. This includes slaves. This means that despite the fact that it has been nearly two years since the purchase, and despite the fact I am not John, you remain a servant to the royal family, and a servant to me. However, I have heard tales of your extraordinary bravery and courage".
"From Lord Melchettus, I presume?"
"No," replied Melchettus from the door, still trying to dislodge his foot.
"It is for this reason I do not wish to take you on as a full-time slave, but know that should I call upon you, you must come, and you must pay regular visits to my palace".
"Yes, Your Tinyness- Highness, sorry".
"However, I have hit upon a problem, Lord Blackadder".
"You believe that your reign is pathetic and dwindling, too, Your Highness?"
"NO! I want you to find me a suitable carpenter to sort out these doors. Do it now, Lord".
"Yes, Your Highness".
BACK IN BALDRICK'S QUARTERS, BLACKADDER MANSION
"Baldrick, I have good news and bad news".
"What's the bad news?"
"Baldrick, it is my utter regret to inform you that I have become a servant to a nine-year-old". Baldrick began to laugh.
"What's the good news?"
"Baldrick, you're becoming a carpenter..."
THE NEXT DAY, THE PALACE OF KING HENRY
"Lord Melchettus, you extracted your foot from the door!" beamed Blackadder.
"Indeed I have, Lord Blackadder. I see you have brought a tramp into the Palace".
"Oi, Lord Melchettus! I happen to own two sheepskins!"
"I reiterate: Blackadder, I see you have brought a tramp into the Palace. Why, I wonder?"
"I have found a carpenter for King Henry III".
"With no tools or experience? The King won't like that".
"The King won't like anything but toys and his mummy!"
"Your Highness, Lord Blackadder has returned with a carpenter," announced Lord Melchettus.
"Well, I know that. And why are you calling me Your Highness?" queried Blackadder.
"No, I'm telling the King," announced Melchettus, swinging open the doors again. "You may enter, though I must leave you now".
"Oh, thank goodness," retorted Blackadder, leading Baldrick into the royal hall.
"Your Highness, I have found the best carpenter in the whole of the land. His name is Baldrick, first name... unknown. Species... unknown. His speciality is... um... wooden types of wood. He charges nothing but demands an obligatory fee for his master. That would be me".
"You can start on the two massive doors there, Baldrick First Name Unknown. Shave off a few inches, so they don't asphyxiate Lord Melchettus again".
"But I can't do carpenting".
"Very funny, Mr. Baldrick. Now get to work!"
ONE HOUR LATER
The doors were considerably changed. Baldrick had not taken any wood off the bottom of them, but instead had removed pieces of wood from the door to create an accurate image of his face and the word "BALDRICK" in capital letters, in the door.
The Prince Regent seemed to drone on and on when this was finished. "Mr. Baldrick, the King wishes to inform you that he wishes never to see you in this palace again. Mr. Blackadder, he says you need to learn responsibility. He says he knows you didn't expect to be scolded by a nine-year-old, and concludes by telling me to tell you that he is going to throw a hissy fit at the notion of a peasant's face being carved into his doors. That is all".
BLACKADDER MANSION, LATER
Blackadder was in an unusually jovial mood, or at least that's what Baldrick interpreted it as. "Well, that went great Baldrick, didn't it? Do it all again, tomorrow, I suspect. That would be great. If you don't mind, I think I'm off to asphyxiate myself on the palace doors. Goodbye now".
Lord Blackadder... ROWAN ATKINSON
Baldrick... TONY ROBINSON
Lord Melchettus... STEPHEN FRY
King Henry III... JOHN BELL
Isabella of Angouleme... MIRANDA RICHARDSON
William Marshal, Prince Regent... TIM McINNERNY
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Henry III was nine years old when crowned in 1216. His mother was Isabella of Angouleme, though he probably wasn't scared of snakes. Henry III did have a Prince Regent who basically made all the important decisions for him. Until 1219, it was William Marshal. There is no record of Baldrick becoming the King's carpenter, however. Or of his face being carved into the doors of a palace.