I have a cunning plan – A History of Cunning Plans in Blackadder

I have a cunning plan

‘I have a cunning plan’ is the most recognised catchphrase from Blackadder. Let’s look at every cunning plan quote from every episode!

I have a cunning plan

The words ‘I have a cunning plan’ are perhaps the most recognisable from the Blackadder TV series. How many times were they used though, and who used them the most? Let’s take a look.

Blackadder Pilot Episode

The very first time that the words ‘I have a cunning plan’ were used, was in the unaired pilot episode of Blackadder. It was a great little scene (for anyone fortunate enough to have seen it!).
The Black Adder pilot episode

Blackadder Series 1 Cunning Plans

Moving on to the first series of Blackadder, we start to see the word ‘cunning’ introduced in the very first episode.

The Foretelling

Edmund:  Those flags, Percy, are obviously just a cunning trick to deceive us into staying!

Baldrick:  No, My Lord, I don’t think it is a cunning trick.

Edmund:  Well, no, it’s not a particularly cunning trick, because we’ve seen through it!  But obviously they thought it was cunning when they thought it out.

Whist this didn’t use the phrase ‘cunning plan’, we can see that it is well on its way!

Moving on to the second episode of Blackadder series 1, the ‘I have a cunning plan’ phrase from the pilot episode is revived.

Baldrick Cunning Plan

Born to be King

Born to be King Blackadder

Edmund: Ah, yes — a drawback. Yes… Perhaps we need something a little more cunning.

Baldrick: I have a cunning plan.

Edmund: Yes, perhaps, but I think I may have a more cunning one.

Baldrick: Well, mine’s pretty cunning, My Lord.

Edmund: Yes, but not cunning enough, I imagine.

Baldrick: Well, that depends how cunning you mean, My Lord.

Edmund: Well, pretty damn cunning. How cunning do you think I mean?

Baldrick: Well, mine’s quite cunning, My Lord.

Edmund: (fed up) Alright, then, let’s hear it! Let’s hear what’s so damn cunning!

Baldrick: Right, well, first of all, you get him to come with you–

Edmund: Oh yes, very cunning. Brilliantly cunning. I ask
him to come with me and then…then stab him, perhaps. How cunning can you get?

This is the cunning bit…

In the Queen of Spain’s beard,  episode 4 of the first series, the word cunning is used again.

Queen of Spains Beard

Edmund: Oh, please, please tell me what your plan is, please tell me, please tell me.

Percy:  All right: I go along to the Infanta’s room and tell her that you’ve gone mad. She comes to the door, and you meet her disguised as a little pig. Then — and this is the cunning
bit — instead of saying `oink oink’, you say `mooooo’!

A cunning plan that can not fail…

In the Witchsmeller Pursuivant BlackAdder Series I, Episode 5, we get to hear about a cunning plan 3 times.

Edmund: Oh no, I’m doomed!

Baldrick: Wait a moment, My Lord! I have a cunning plan that cannot fail!

Edmund: Oh! What is it?

Edmund: Brilliant! (laughs, shakes Baldrick’s hand) Well done, Baldrick! Very cunning! You may capture the eagle, but you cannot clip its wings!

This one is our favourite though:

Baldrick: My Lord, I have a cunning plan.

Edmund: Oh, Baldrick! I think I might be able to stall him.

Cunning in its simplicity

In the final episode of the first series, The Black Seal, we get some final use of the phrase as Blackadder becomes King (briefly!).

EBA: Very well, the plan is simple.

WD I thought it was cunning.

ALL: Down with the plan.

EBA: Well….. it’s cunning in its simplicity. Tonight, I ride for home…

Blackadder Series 2 Cunning Plans

Moving on to the second series of Blackadder, which is where Ben Elton took on the co-writing. In the very first episode, the phrase was used again, but not by one of the main characters. Instead, it was used by the Wise Woman.

W: Very well then. Three other paths are open to you. Three cunning plans to cure thy ailment.

After this, although the word ‘cunning’ was used in various episodes of the second series, the actual phrase ‘I have a cunning plan’ was not used again until the third series.

Blackadder Series 3 Cunning Plans

By the third series of Blackadder, the writers had clearly paid attention to which catchphrases people used in everyday conversations.  The theme of a cunning plan really started to take off!

Dish and Dishonesty

I’ve got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.
A plan so cunning

Ink and Incapability

I have a cunning plan, sir.

Nob and Nobility

I’m I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words “I have a cunning plan” marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
I have a cunning plan quote from Blackadder

Amy and Amiability

B: Don’t worry Mr B., I have a cunning plan to solve the problem.

E: Yes Baldrick, let us not forget that you tried to solve the problem of your mother’s low ceiling by cutting off her head.

Duel and Duality

Well, Your Majesty, I have a cunning plan which could get you out of this problem.

Really. Just tell him to meet me here at 5 o’clock, will you? To
discuss an extremely cunning plan. If all goes well by tomorrow the clan of McAdder will be marching back the high road back to glory.

So tell me cousin, I hear you have a cunning plan.

Blackadder Series 4 Cunning Plans

The final series of Blackadder is some of the funniest and well written comedy to ever come out of the UK.

Most people think of Baldrick cunning plan quotes from series 4.

It goes without saying that the phrase ‘I have a cunning plan’ was used multiple times! Here’s some of the best, including Baldrick quotes about cunning plans.

Captain Cook

Baldrick: I’m carving “Baldrick”, sir.

Blackadder: Why?

Baldrick: It’s a cunning plan actually.

Blackadder: Of course it is.

Baldrick: Permission to speak sir.

Blackadder: Granted, with a due sense of exhaustion and dread.

Baldrick: I have a cunning plan to get us out of getting killed sir.

Blackadder: Ah yes, what is it?

Baldrick: Cooking.

Corporal Punishment

Do not despair, sir. All my talk of food was just a dead herring. In fact, I have a cunning plan. This is not food, but an escape kit.

Major Star

Not any-more sir. May I present my cunning plan.

General Hospital

I, too, have a cunning plan to catch the spy, sir.


This episode includes the very famous Baldrick cunning fox quote from Blackadder!

Baldrick: Well, I have a cunning plan, sir.

Edmund: All right, Baldrick — for old time’s sake.

Baldrick: I have a plan, sir.

Edmund: Really, Baldrick? A cunning and subtle one?

Baldrick: Yes, sir.

Edmund: As cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?

Baldrick: Yes, sir.

Voice: On the signal, company will advance!

Edmund: Well, I’m afraid it’ll have to wait. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Cunning plan quote from the last episode of Blackadder

Blackadder Cunning Plan Quotes

If you enjoyed this history of cunning plans, be sure to add it to your Pinterest board if you have one!

Blackadder Cunning Plan Quotes - A collection of I have a cunning plan quotes throughout the ages

Talk Like A Pirate Day with Captain Redbeard Rum

Talk like a pirate day with Captain Redbeard Rum from Blackadder

Talk like a pirate day happens September 19th every year, and what better example of pirate talk can you think of than Captain Redbeard Rum from Blackadder?
Talk like a pirate day

Talk Like A Pirate

Captain Redbeard Rum was played with utter brilliance by Tom Baker in ‘Potato‘ from the second series of Blackadder.

Described as the worst mariner in the world, Blackadder and the boys used his services to sail into the unknown.

Tom Baker play Captain Rum in Blackadder although is best known for Dr Who

Sailing with Redbeard Rum

Rum: A masterly plan, me young master. And one that leads me
to make an announcement meself.

Blackadder: What’s that, Rum?

Rum: Truth is, I don’t know the way to the Cape of Good Hope

Blackadder: Well, what were you going to do?

Rum: Oh, what I usually do. Sail ’round and ’round the
Isle of Wight ’til everyone gets dizzy. Then head for home.

He also doesn’t believe in having a crew!

Pirate Talk With Rum

Rum: Aaaaaaahrrrrr Aaaaaaahrrrrr Aaaaaaaaaaahrrrrr. Me laddy.

Perhaps the best examples of how to talk like a pirate with Redbeard Rum come from the protracted ‘Arghhh Arghhs’.

Now, if you’re a Blackadder fan, you already know what this is all about.

We’ve got a special treat for you though. An entire two minutes of ‘Arghhh Arghhs’!!

Captain Redbeard Rum’s Tall Stories

In addition to being able to talk like a pirate, Captain Redbeard Rum also had a series of tall stories.

Blackadder took most of them with a pinch of salt, until Rum revealed he had lost his legs. The Captain was literally legless!

Rum: aah-ahhh! You have a woman’s hand, milord! I’ll wager these dainty pinkies never weighed anchor
in a storm.

Rum: Ha ha ha. -Aah! Your skin milord. I’ll wager it ne’er
felt the lash of a cat, been rubbed with salt, and then flayed off by a pirate chief to make fine stockings for his best cabin boy.

Rum: Ha. -Aah! You have a woman’s purse! I’ll wager that purse has never been used as a rowing-boat. I’ll wager it’s never had sixteen shipwrecked mariners tossing in it.

Rum: Oh! You have a woman’s mouth, milord! I’ll wager that
mouth never had to chew through the side of a ship to escape the dreadful spindly killer fish.

Rum: Ah! You have a woman’s legs, my lord! I’ll
wager those are legs that have never been sliced clean off
by a falling sail, and swept into the sea before your very eyes.

Captain Redbeard Rum from Blackadder

Pirate Talk from the other characters

Some of the other characters in the episode also give their attempts at speaking pirate including the Queen.

You can check out some great Queenie quotes here.

Queen: Ahoy there, me shivering matey, heave-ho!

Queeniw wearing eye patch in Blackadder - Talk like a pirate

Queen: Splice me timbers, Sir Walter, it’s bucko to see you,
old matey!

Melchett: Well indubitably no sea-dog, Ma’am. With a Yo-ho-ho
and perhaps, I might venture, a bottle of rum into the

More Blackadder Series 2

Before you go, check out these other funny moments from Blackadder series 2.

The Blackadder Dictionary – What do pericombobulation and contrafibularities mean?

A look at the Blackadder dictionary

When Blackadder met Dr. Samuel Johnson in Ink and Incapability, some beautiful un-words were created. Here’s a look at the Blackadder dictionary.

What does the word contrafibularities mean

Blackadder Samuel Johnson

Dr. Samuel Johnson is played by Robbie Coltrane in the third series of Blackadder. The plot of the episode revolves around Samuel Johnson having written a dictionary, and it then being mislaid by Baldrick.

The Blackadder Dictionary

Have you ever wondered what contrafibularities means? What about interfrastically?

Of course, it is an un-word, a word created for the show. It is also a play-on-words, and is all the more brilliant because you can guess its meaning from how it sounds.

Ink and Incapability

In Ink and Incapability, a number of these words were created. let’s take a look at what they could mean.

Blackadder Dictionary Words and Definitions

Contrafibularities: ‘Contra’ can be taken to mean ‘against’. The ‘Fibula’ is a bone in the leg. Contrafibularities can be taken to mean ‘pulling ones leg’. It also has tones of the word ‘apology’, making it all the funnier. Note: Contrafibularity is the the singular.

Anaspeptic: ‘Ana’ can mean back or up, and the ‘peptic’ part can mean the stomach. This word can be taken to mean throwing up, or being sick

Frasmotic: The words ‘frazzled’ and ‘spasmodic’ seem to be combined here, implying a frenzied fit.

Compunctuous: The main part of this word would seem to be ‘compunction’. It also seems to be mixed with ‘contemptuous’. The meaning of the could be taken as ‘being drawn to do someone harm’. It does go a little against the meaning of the sentence it is used in though.

Pericombobulation: ‘Peri’ can mean ‘around’, and this seems to be combined with ‘discombobulation’. The meaning could be something like causing someone to go around in uncertain, needless circles.

Extramuralisation –  This word from the same scenes rarely gets mentioned. The meaning of ‘extra’ can be taken as ‘outside’, whilst the source of ‘mural’ might be wall. Thus, this means oustide the building.

Pericombobulations from Blackadder

Pendigestatory – The ‘Pen’ part of the word could be taken from the Latin meaning almost and the ‘digestory’ indicates digestions. So, the meaning is ‘a small snack’.

Interludicle – A short interlude, or break.

Interfrastically – The ‘Inter’ part of the word can be taken as meaning ‘among’ or ‘in the middle of’. The ‘phrastic’ part of the word is a clever combination of both ‘phase’ and ‘phrase’. The word then means in the middle of phases of talking.

What a wonderful word! This is from Blackadder series 3 episode 2 called Ink and Incapability. Read the full script for this Blackadder episode at Blackadder Quotes.

Add your definitions to the Blackadder Quotes dictionary

What do you think to these definitions of the un-words made up by Blackadder? Let us know below!


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Lessons in Leadership by Military Genius General Melchett

The military genius of General Melchett

General Melchett combines his university experience, knowledge of rugby and even flower arranging to display some unique leadership skills in Blackadder.

General Melchett wearing a moustache net

About General Melchett

One of the best characters in Blackadder Goes Forth was General Melchett.

Reflecting a time when it wasn’t what you knew, it was where you went to school, he epitomises our image of World War 1 Generals.

Namely, they didn’t have a clue what they were doing!

Some people say it’s still like that today. We couldn’t possibly comment!

General Melchett Wants You!

Lessons in Leadership

Let’s take a look at some of his genius moments in leadership when it comes to sending Blackadder and the boys into battle!

Never ignore a pooh-pooh. Blackadder quote from series 4

Improving the men’s morale

Before the General sends anyone into battle, he aims to improve the men’s morale!

Tally Ho General Melchett style

Even if he can’t join them himself…

I’m just going to have to sit this one out on the touchline with the halftime oranges and the fat, wheezy boys with a note from matron, while you young-bloods link arms and go together for the glorious final scrumdown.

Good Maps Are Key

The General also makes sure he consults a good map before he starts any planning.

General Melchett barren featureless desert

A Carefully Formulated Tactical Plan

Of course, General Melchett didn’t come up with all the battle plans by himself. Field Marshall Haig also lent a hand.

If you want to read a little more about him, this is interesting – Was Field Marshall Haig a hero or dunderhead?

Would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches, and walking very slowly toward the enemy, Sir?

Be Innovative

General Melchett likes to be innovative when it comes to battle tactics.

Make a note Darling! Heavy machine guns for fullbacks.


Once the General has made a battle plan, security is vital!

Secuirty isn't a dirty word Blackadder

Celebrate Every Victory, No Matter How Small

The General knows just how important it is to celebrate a victory.

Advanced World War 1 Battle Tactics With General Melchett

Here’s all the clips of General Melchett and his military genius in one place!

And finally, remember one thing when it comes to essential leadership skills…

General Melchett Quotes

More fun stuff from Blackadder Goes Forth

Don’t go! You might also be interested in these other Blackadder posts.

Hugh Laurie | Blackadder characters and funniest moments (video)

Hugh Laurie in Blackadder

Hugh Laurie made his first Blackadder appearance in the series 2 episode ‘Beer’, and went on to feature in every episode after that. Here’s a look at his characters and funniest moments.

Hugh Laurie in Blackadder Series 2

Even the most ardent super-fan sometimes forgets that Hugh Laurie actually had two appearances in Blackadder Series 2.

The first one was in ‘Beer‘, where he played Simon Partridge, otherwise known as ‘Farters Parters’.

Hugh Laurie in Blackadder Series 2 Beer as Farters Parters

The second character he played, was in the series finale ‘Chains‘.

As Ludwig the Indestructible, he imprisoned Blackadder in a commode, and revealed himself to be a master of disguise.

Prince Ludwig from Blackadder Series 2 Episode 6 Chains


Shorty, Greasy, Spot-Spot

The Prince Regent in Blackadder Series 3

Hugh Laurie joined the cast of Blackadder as a full-time member from series 3 onward.

As the dimwitted Prince Regent, he ranks only just slightly above Baldrick in terms of intelligence!

Hugh Laurie as Prince George in Blackadder series 3

Our favourite episode, is where he meets Doctor Johnson and talks about words in the dictionary!

But this is a great line as well..

Tally ho, my fine, saucy young trollop. Your luck’s in. Trip along here with all your cash and some naughty night attire, and you’ll be staring at my bedroom ceiling from now till Christmas, you lucky tart. Yours with the deepest respect etc. Signed George. PS Woof, woof!

Lieutenant George in Blackadder Goes Forth

The entire fourth series of Blackadder is a work of genius, and Lieutenant George plays an integral part in it.

George in Blackadder goes forth

As the product of a public school and privileged university education, his naive approach to the War is both sad and amusing.

University education - You can't beat it

This is our favourite scene featuring Hugh Laurie in Blackadder Goes Forth.

I feel Fantastic

Hugh Laurie Blackadder Specials

Hugh Laurie also featured in the Blackadder specials, that included Blackadder’s Christmas Carol as Lord Pigmot, and Blackadder: Back & Forth as Major George and Consul Georgius.

Hugh Laurie in Blackadder Back and Forth

Do you have a favourite episode of Blackadder that features Hugh Laurie? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.