The episodes in this series, written by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, were originally shown on BBC One on Wednesday evenings, 21:25 – 22:00. Each episode ran for roughly 33 minutes. The series began on 15 June 1983.
Each of the episodes was based on a medieval theme — the Wars of the Roses, the Crusades and Royal succession, the conflict between the Crown and the Church, arranged marriages between monarchies, and the Plague and witchcraft. The final episode follows a planned coup d'état.
The series was broadcast shortly after the BBC Television Shakespeare productions of Shakespeare's four plays about the Wars of the Roses, the three-part Henry VI plays, followed by Richard III, which was first shown on 23 January 1983. Some of the same actors were used to enhance the parody of Shakespearean history. Ron Cook, who played Richard III in the Shakespeare productions, is cast as the villainous "Sean the Irish Bastard". Peter Benson, who played Shakespeare's Henry VI, played Henry VII in the first episode.
|1-1||The Foretelling||15 June 1983|
|As the Wars of the Roses reach their climax, Edmund finds that he has accidentally killed the King and become a prince of the realm.|
|1-2||Born to be King||22 June 1983|
|Edmund plots revenge when Dougal McAngus, the King's Supreme Commander, is awarded Edmund's Scottish lands.|
|1-3||The Archbishop||29 June 1983|
|With the crown and church at each other's throats, the King decides that Edmund should become the new Archbishop of Canterbury.|
|1-4||The Queen of Spain's Beard||6 July 1983|
|Edmund is to be married to an ugly Spanish princess and tries everything to stop the wedding. First appearance of Miriam Margolyes.|
|1-5||Witchsmeller Pursuivant||13 July 1983|
|Edmund is suspected of being a witch by a mysterious witch-hunter and sentenced to death.|
|1-6||The Black Seal||20 July 1983|
|When all of Edmund's titles are removed except Warden of the Royal Privies, Edmund is furious and decides to seize the throne with the help of the six most evil men in the kingdom.
First appearance of Rik Mayall as Mad Gerald, though the character is credited as "himself".
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Famous quotes containing the word episodes:
“Twenty or thirty years ago, in the army, we had a lot of obscure adventures, and years later we tell them at parties, and suddenly we realize that those two very difficult years of our lives have become lumped together into a few episodes that have lodged in our memory in a standardized form, and are always told in a standardized way, in the same words. But in fact that lump of memories has nothing whatsoever to do with our experience of those two years in the army and what it has made of us.”
—Václav Havel (b. 1936)
“What is a novel if not a conviction of our fellow-mens existence strong enough to take upon itself a form of imagined life clearer than reality and whose accumulated verisimilitude of selected episodes puts to shame the pride of documentary history?”
—Joseph Conrad (18571924)