Blackadder is a series of four period British sitcoms, plus several one-off instalments, which originally aired on BBC One from 1983 to 1989. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the antihero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's dogsbody, Baldrick. Each series was set in a different historical period, with the two protagonists accompanied by different characters, though several reappear in one series or another, e.g., Melchett (Stephen Fry) and Lord Flashheart (Rik Mayall).
The first series, The Black Adder, was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, while subsequent series were written by Curtis and Ben Elton. The shows were produced by John Lloyd. In 2000, the fourth series, Blackadder Goes Forth, ranked at 16 in the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes, a list created by the British Film Institute. In a 2001 poll by Channel 4, Edmund Blackadder was ranked third on their list of the 100 Greatest TV Characters. In the 2004 TV poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom, Blackadder was voted the second-best British sitcom of all time, topped by Only Fools and Horses. It was also ranked as the 9th-best TV show of all time by Empire magazine.