Blackadder writer gives class First World War talk

John LLoyd with Kirstie Cronin in the classroom. Picture: Deadline
John LLoyd with Kirstie Cronin in the classroom. Picture: Deadline
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He’s the comedy legend famous for helping to create one of the most iconic TV shows of all time.

Now one city teacher has told of how she hatched a cunning plan to get Blackadder’s John Lloyd to talk to her class about the First World War.

Lloyd, who co-wrote and produced the historical sitcom – as well as working on Spitting Image, Not The Nine O’Clock News, and QI – was in Edinburgh to perform at the Fringe when he was ambushed by history teacher Katie Hunter last week.

Katie, 34, who teaches at St Thomas of Aquin’s in the centre of the city, said she “stalked” Lloyd after going to see his sell-out show, adding: “I went to it and it was really funny. I sat there thinking, ‘I would love for him to come and speak to the pupils’.”

She said: “I got him in the queue after the show, where he was signing autographs.”

And unlike Baldrick’s numerous failed “cunning plans” in the TV series, this one actually worked, with Katie managing to persuade the TV legend to help teach her S3 pupils about the Great War in a more creative way.

Lloyd duly turned up at St Thomas of Aquin’s on Wednesday to talk about the difficulties of commemorating the war.

In a candid discussion with the class, the 63-year-old revealed that people were “concerned” about the Blackadder team tackling the sensitive subject of the First World War when they first made the decision to create the series.

Lloyd told the class: “When they decided to do Blackadder Goes Forth, their relatives who were in the war were worried it would be done distastefully.”

And Lloyd also discussed the unforgettable final scene of the fourth series, in which Blackadder and Baldrick go ‘over the top’ and charge in slow motion to their probable deaths.

Lloyd said that the last scene had been widely considered to be a “shambles” when they first watched the footage back, but after slowing it down and adding the iconic poppies it had become a piece of TV history.

The unexpected history lesson went down a treat with pupils, with Lloyd even taking time to pose for a few selfies before leaving.

Pupil Michael McDonald, 14, said “When we had our recent discussion with John Lloyd it completely changed my perspective of the First World War and I learned a lot about the background and how they had to make the show historically accurate.”

Fellow pupil Santiago McCafferty, 14, said Lloyd was “a great role model, with intellectual insight [and] he is also a great teacher, explaining to us all that went into creating Blackadder”.

Meanwhile, Kirstie Cronin, 14, said: “John was such a down to earth and genuinely nice guy. I took a selfie with him and got an autograph on my essay. ”

And Rose Inglis, 13, said: “He was very kind and funny and you immediately felt comfortable talking to him.

“I thought that it was fascinating how a show that is perceived by some as insensitive is actually an intellectual and light-hearted remembrance of a historic event.”