Baldrick, one of Blackadder’s many memorable inventions, suffered a dwindling intellect over the course of the UK sitcom’s four seasons. Thankfully, the man behind the comic character only grows sharper by the passing year.
At 70, Sir Tony Robinson continues to add strings to his already hefty bow. On top of acting, stand-up and voice work, the rubber-faced comedian boasts success as a children’s book author, a political executive and a historian – the latter of which is on full display in his new series, Coast to Coast.
Here’s everything you need to know about the expansive six-part series.
The whole walk is 290 kilometres
Coast to Coast sees Robinson embark on a walking tour of England’s land mass, trekking 290km from the storied village of St Bees on the west coast through to Yorkshire’s east coast fishing spot, Robin Hood’s Bay. Along the scenic way, he takes a time-out at various places of interest to learn heritage and industry, as well as try his hand at a long list of trades, including brewing beer and beekeeping.
This isn’t the first time Robinson has whacked on a dependable pair of thick-soled shoes in the name of infotainment. Previously, the man’s taken his unforgettable mug and the audience’s minds on similar journeys in Tony Robinson’s Walking Through History, Tony Robinson’s Time Walks and even Tony Robinson Explores Australia.
There is absolutely no escaping Baldrick
No matter how far Robinson walks, his Blackadder days always follow. The first man he sits down to interview in the premiere of Coast to Coast, a physics teacher from the St Bees school, once taught none other than his Blackadder co-star Rowan Atkinson back in the pre-comedic day.
Robinson is just as taken aback by the revelation that Queen Elizabeth I’s confidante Edmund Grindal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, harkens from and was schooled in St Bees. Fans of Blackadder will remember Stephen Fry’s Lord/General Melchett, the buffoonish archbishop who lived to do the same queen’s bidding.
The series is based on a book, kind of…
In 1973, Alfred Wainwright penned a travel book titled A Coast to Coast Walk, based on his tracing of a long-distance route across Northern England. Revised and refined over the years, the book has become a manual of sorts for trekking enthusiasts.
This increasingly official footpath is divided into 12 stages, each culminating in an overnight stopover at recommended accommodations. When factoring in stopovers and rest time, it's estimated as a two-week holiday - if you can call a cross-country walk a holiday. It remains one of the UK’s most popular long-distance footpaths.
Someone did the whole trek in 39 hours and 36 minutes
Over the years, the route has attracted competitive long-distance runners. In 1985, Mike Cudahy completed the run in 46 hours and 49 minutes, before Mike Hartley came along in 1991 and smashed that record – clocking a time of 39 hours and 36 minutes.
In the 26 years since, no exercise nut has managed to touch Hartley’s record.
Watch Sir Tony’s first leg when Coast to Coast hits SBS on Wednesday May 3 at 7:30pm.