#20 – Lord Percy Percy

I actually see the value in a lump of purest green...

“I certainly did. Many was a time, Percy, I say to myself, ‘I wish Percy was here… being tortured instead of me.” – Lord Edmund Blackadder

I’ll come clean with you; not all of these unsung heroes just came off the top of my head. Shock and/or horror. As anyone who researches their craft does, I’ve looked through various online lists to give me some ideas and any interesting ones that have popped up that I’ve found quite intriguing, I’ve read around to find out a lot more about them and whether they truly deserve to be an unsung hero.

Derek Arch, for instance, came from reading this list from a Sky News story a few years ago, and I found his place on there fitting. Stephen Merchant’s less so. However, there was another inclusion that irked me a bit more (other than f**king Banksy). At number six sits a dirty little man named Baldrick. Now sure, he comes from a series named after its main character, but he’s an immediately recognisable character. If you’re going to include anyone from the Blackadder series on a site like this, it has to be one Lord Percy Percy.

How to describe a 'Banksy' - Boring, boring and boring

Like Baldrick, Percy is an idiot. But he’s a likable idiot. Time to make a comedy confession; Baldrick is my least favourite character in the whole of Blackadder. I honestly want to pick him up and throw him into the clutches of some crazed Bieber-fans and tell them he’s been stalking him with intent. That or good old fashioned murder. I find him instantly dislikable, thoroughly unengaging and just plain boring (coincidentally, just like Banksy).

Percy, on the other hand, I could feel sorry for. Sure, he may have been just an upper class guy with the same intelligence as Baldrick, but there is much more to him. He wants to be accepted as a friend to Blackadder and goes out of his way to help him even at his own expense, both personal and economical.

However, the main reason I think Percy is an unsung hero is because although appearing in two series, he isn’t even the actor’s most memorable character, that instead being Captain Darling (and all the associated jokes that go with his name). But this is probably why I like Percy far more than Baldrick; Percy didn’t get stale because he wasn’t around for long enough. Baldrick was the same character for 4 seasons and a special; even Blackadder evolved over that time. Tim McInnerny had the good sense to walk away and only come back to a different character. But this double-edged sword has lodged the ‘most-recent character’ memory in people’s head and has forgotten previous roles. How can you look over the man who discovered green?!

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2 comments

  1. Dear Steve,

    I disagree so much! I abhor the character of Percy. He is painful to watch. He is no hero, he is the worst (major) character in the whole of Blackadder. His character is one of many poor aspects of the first series. In the second series he is terrible again, but now that the rest of the show is starting to work so well his cringe-inducing presence stands out glaringly. So the character is, understandably, scrapped. And in the 3rd series, into the equivalent role (the Prince Regent), steps Hugh Laurie, who is brilliant and whose performance is probably a demonstration of what was being aimed for with Percy, but which Tim McInnerny failed to deliver. Imagine McInnerny as the Prince Regent! They probably wouldn’t have got a fourth series.
    Baldrick does evolve, to the same degree that Blackadder does, in that their intellects are reversed at the end of series 1. From then on their fundamental character traits remain unaltered.
    And Baldrick didn’t get stale, he got better with each series. And the reason for his longevity? He acted as the perfect dim-witted foil for Blackadder. Percy did not, Curtis and Elton realised this and he was axed. Surely you don’t really believe that “Tim McInnerny had the good sense to walk away and only come back to a different character”??
    I am just pleased for McInnerny that they brought him back and he was able to recover from/atone for the disaster of Percy by giving us the fantastic Captain Darling.

    Rant over. Sorry.

    PS – I very much enjoyed your excellent Danny Wallace blog, and found nothing disagreeable in it whatsoever.

  2. Hi Jack, thanks for the comment.

    I do entirely agree that Hugh Laurie as Prince Regent was absolutely brilliant and probably wouldn’t have been able to be matched by McInnerny. However, Tim was originally offered that part but declined it for fear of being typecast.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest 😉


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