COLCHESTER was transported back in time for a very special TV recording in 1989.

It's not everyday that comedy legends roll into town but that was the scenario when TV icons including Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry came to north Essex to film hit BBC show Blackadder.

The opening and closing credits to Blackadder Goes Forth were recorded on location at the former Colchester Cavalry Barracks, at the Garrison.


Fifty members of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment were used in the production to represent Blackadder's men, suitably attired in First World War uniforms.

It must have made a striking sight, with the battalion's band providing a musical backdrop.

And with Colchester featuring in the opening credits, it meant all the show's big guns were involved in the filming, from Atkinson and Fry to Tony Robinson (the brilliant Baldrick) and Hugh Laurie (Lt George Barleigh).


The show was set in 1917 during the First World War.

Blackadder (Atkinson), now a captain, was stuck uncomfortably close to the Front Line and his prime concern was to dissuade General Melchett (Fry) from sending him and his men "over the top".

Although there were lots of laughs, the overall tone of the final series was much darker and more satirical, questioning the madness of war.


The final episode, where Blackadder and his men were forced to go over the top, concludes with a frozen frame that dissolves into a field of poppies.


It is regarded as one of British comedy's most poignant moments - making the Colchester connection even more significant.