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Secret Blackadder script emerges

Obsessive fans of the Blackadder comedy series will be intrigued to hear about the emergence of a script for a Christmas special that was never filmed. Writer Richard Curtis unearthed it for comedy historian Jem Roberts, who was researching a book on the show.

The 1988 script is a kind of Blackadder nativity with Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder as the owner of an inn where Joseph and Mary seek a bed. Curtis scrapped it at the time because it was developing into a "cross between Fawlty Towers and The Life Of Brian." Curtis told Roberts he abandoned the idea, "for fear it would cause too much offence".

"When you write a book about a comedy world, there is a dream that you'll be invited into this Ali Baba's cave of unbelievable archive material," Roberts said in an interview with the BBC. "I always presumed that would never be the case with Blackadder."

When interviewing Curtis though, the writer printed out the script and asked Roberts, "See what you want to do with this." Roberts was stunned when he found himself holding an unknown Blackadder script. "It wasn't a huge script, there were massive amounts missing," Roberts said. "It's the rough workings of a comic genius. If they had made Blackadder in Bethlehem, it would have been very off-the-wall."

The book has been published to mark the 30th anniversary of the original pilot episode, written by a "devoted fan" of the show. The writers, Curtis and Ben Elton, producers and cast have all co-operated in the work.

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