Monday, March 30, 2015


The doctor who unwittingly gave us one of the top names in TV comedy has died.

Dr Eric Sutton Blackadder, of Pittenweem, a village on the Fife coast, was in a nearby nursing home, and died on March 18, at the age of 87.

He was the BBC's Chief Medical Officer in 1982, when Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson and John Lloyd were first working on The Black Adder. He said he knew something was up at the time, as he was being teased in the senior management dining rooms. "The banter went on for months and I remember asking my secretary to see if she could find out if my name was being used in television."

In 1983, the Doctor and his wife Jean went to a preview screening of the first two episodes. "We were invited to the Greenwood Theatre and wined and dined with the cast. Then they sat us down in front of a large television screen and ran through the first two episodes and watched my reaction very closely."

Apparently neither Dr Blackadder or his wife were impressed.  He tried to persuade Alasdair Milne, then Director General, to re-name the show. "I spoke to the BBC solicitors, but was told that I had no copyright in my name".

The following year, he left the BBC to become group medical director of BUPA.

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