Huffpost UK uk

Baldrick Actor Sir Tony Robinson Calls Gove's Blackadder Criticism 'A Very Silly Mistake'

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Michael Gove has made "a very silly mistake" for criticising Blackadder as a "left-wing" whitewash of British pride in World War One, according to Baldrick.

Sir Tony Robinson, who starred in the hit BBC series, said Conservative Michael Gove's comments amounted to "slagging off teachers".

Speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Sir Tony said: "I think Gove has just made a very silly mistake; it's not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War.

blackadder baldrick

Sir Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick with Rowan Atkinson as Captain Blackadder in the BBC TV series

"When imaginative teachers bring it in, it's simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they'll do is show them Blackadder.

"And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it's particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education."

Sir Tony, who is a member of the Labour Party and once sat on its National Executive Committee, added: "Ultimately, if you think about it, what it's really doing is just slagging off teachers. It's just another example of slagging off teachers. I don't think that's professional or appropriate."

in the Daily Mail on Friday, the Education Secretary wrote: "Our understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage.

"The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.

"Even to this day there are Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths."

On Saturday, The University of Manchester's Dr Christopher Godden, expert on early twentieth century British history, told HuffPost UK that representations of the war, like Blackadder and Oh! What A Lovely War, could be useful to academics.

"The fact that none of us experienced the horrors of the war means that we are all engaged in a process of ‘historical remembrance’.

"Some historians are interested in understanding the representations [through films such as Oh! What A Lovely War, television programmes such as Blackadder Goes Forth] through which the general public’s views of, and responses to, the war have been constructed."

Last October, broadcaster Jeremy Paxman criticised schools for relying on episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth to teach pupils about the First World War.

His comments were echoed the following month, when the defence minister said the satire had effectively hijacked the British understanding of war.

Also on HuffPost:

12 Brilliant Rowan Atkinson Sketches
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Michael Gove Attacked For 'Blackadder' Comments On 'Left-Wing ...

We have an Education Secretary who wants to overwrite history with ...

MICHAEL GOVE: Why does the Left insist on belittling true British ...

Baldrick Calls Gove's Blackadder Remarks 'Silly'