Lines culled from a sitcom

A couple of weeks ago, Big Brother kindly lent me (i.e. I went to his house, picked up and walked away with) all 4 series of Blackadder on DVD. Coincidentally I’ve since heard it’s 25 years since the first series aired on British TV, and there’s a retrospective on over Christmas, even though it’s now 19 years since it last aired (unless you count the hundreds of repeats). The first series, my least favourite, borrows heavily from Shakespeare (so it says in the DVD inlay – I have little experience and less enjoyment of Shakespeare’s plays) but watching the second series for the first time in years, I realised how heavily I’ve borrowed from it. Some of the dialogue is so spot-on that it’s crept into my everyday stock of borrowed wit and gets used wholesale, frequently. Whether some of the phrases were popular before Blackadder, or whether they were all original I don’t know, but I’d forgotten that’s where I’d picked them up, and in some cases I’m disappointed to find that they’re not mine after all. I have been told (particularly in the case of Resurrection Joe) that I’m not bad at dialogue, but I’ve got a long way to go to match this.

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