Blackadders Baldrick star was not Tony Robinson in never-before-seen pilot

Blackadder still stands the test of time 40 years on

The BBC’s Blackadder is celebrating 40 years this month and Baldrick star Tony Robinson is marking the occasion by fronting a new documentary.

In Blackadder: The Lost Pilot, Tony goes on a quest to discover the truth behind the Blackadder origin story.

Tony did not play Baldrick in the pilot as he was busy with other work commitments, and he opened up to about how his role in the show came about.

He explained: “With three days to go before they were due to do the pilot, they still hadn’t got a Baldrick.

“It was a tiny part and I don’t think anyone had paid much attention to getting it cast.

“None of their mates wanted to do it as it was such a small part and out of the blue I was asked to do it.

“I had never met any of them before, the head of comedy had just seen me in something and put me in his list of people who were small and humorous.

“I got the part, I loved them [the cast] from the word go, I thought they were all so talented and so funny.”

However, the day before the show was due to be recorded the head of comedy announced there had been a strike at the BBC and they had lost the studio.

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“Because the strike went on for some time, studio space was at a premium,” Tony continued.

“So we never got to amount the show, I went away and got a job at the national theatre.

“Then they were told they could have the studio but I wasn’t able to do it and they got another actor in.

“He played Baldrick and I presumed that was it as far as I was concerned, if they ever got a series.

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“Then they did get a series and the producer rang me and said ‘Hey, congratulations. We did tell you if we ever got the series we would want you to play Baldrick’.

“And in that moment I remembered yes, they had said that but I thought that was just the kind of bulls*** producers use when they want to get themselves out of an embarrassing situation.

“I never realised they did actually want me to play Baldrick. But in that moment my entire life was transformed, it was a moment out of a Hollywood biopic where suddenly everything happened for me, and it did.”

In his new documentary, he speaks to the series creator and writer Richard Curtis and co-writer Ben Elton, with a special screening of the pilot airing at the end of the show.

Blackadder: The Lost Pilot airs on Gold on June 15 at 9pm.

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