I tuned in to CTV News this morning and heard a very familiar voice narrating an ad hawking a replica of Kate Middleton’s wedding ring. I wasn’t surprised, but shocked. Atkinson is of course a long-time royalist, friend of Charles and he even reprised his Blackadder character at a charity event early on in Charles and Diana’s marriage, so that’s why I wasn’t surprised. I was just shocked to hear his voice.
Of course, Atkinson’s voice is unmistakable. Absolute precision in delivery, controlled speech, now a bit lower in register but you know his voice if you’ve heard it even once. I think the world of this man; for me, the Blackadder series is at the pinnacle of comedy. The writing made all four series, but Atkinson’s pitch-perfect delivery defined them—through timing and that sense that he was getting everything possible from each line.
So, you see, I’m a fan of his. But I’m not a royalist.
It isn’t just that I was born and raised in the US. I just never understood why any single family should be able to claim that by the will of God they should be privileged over the rest. Noblesse oblige is a dreadful notion. “That’s just the way it is” isn’t enough of an explanation for me. So, yeah, I’m not a royalist….
Still, I can’t put down Atkinson for taking this particular job; it’s ironic, considering how often his characters in particular made great sport of the royal figures they encountered. To be honest, as I listened to the commercial I kept waiting for a punch-line that never happened. I felt slightly disappointed, but it’s understandable. You don’t muck about with a royal wedding, I should guess. That whole Tower of London thing and all….
BTW, I visited the Tower once on a tour; one Beefeater told us that there was a room set aside for Hitler. I believed him. Hitler would not have enjoyed himself.