What do you know about The First World War?
Do you have compulsory military service in your country? Do you think this is a good thing?
For what things might a soldier be court-martialled?
court-martial somebody to hold a trial of somebody in a military court. E.g. He was court-martialled for desertion.
the evidence: information given in court that proves that someone is guilty or not guilty
a courtroom: a place where cases of law are judged
sentence: a punishment that a judge gives to someone who is guilty of a crime
trial: a legal process in which a judge and jury examine information to decide if someone is guilty of a crime.
1 the deceased
2 a witness
3 the defendant
4 the case (for the prosecution/the defence)
Captain Blackadder is on trial because he shot General Melchett’s pigeon.
go forth: to go out. E.g. the army went forth to battle.
private: /ˈpraɪvət/ a soldier of the lowest rank in the army. Sp. soldado raso. E.g. Private (John) Smith.
carrier pigeon: a pigeon that has been trained to carry messages.
The BBC comedy Blackadder was first screened in 1983. It is a historical comedy, with four series set in different periods of history. It was written by Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson and Ben Elton, and stars a number of well-known British comedians: Rowan Atkinson (who later became
internationally famous as Mr. Bean), Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Tony Robinson. In 2000 the fourth series, Blackadder Goes Forth (where the clip in this unit is taken from) was ranked 16 in the ‘100 Greatest British Television Programmes’ list created by the British Film Institute.
Captain Blackadder is not given a prison sentence. He is condemned to death.
alarm call: a telephone call which is intended to wake you up. E.g. Could I have an alarm call at 5.30 tomorrow, please?
General Melchett – 1, 7
Captain Blackadder – 8
George (the defence lawyer) – 3, 5
Captain Darling (the prosecuting lawyer) – 2, 6
Private Baldrick – 4
spot of something (British English, informal) a small amount of something. Bit. E.g. He's in a spot of trouble. Would you like a spot of lunch? She's gone out to do a spot of shopping.
callously /ˈkæləsli/ not caring about other people's feelings or suffering. Cruelly. Unfeelingly. E.g. If I had known that you loved me, I should never have behaved so callously.
beastliness: behaviour typical of a beast.
with malice aforethought (law) with the deliberate intention of committing a crime or harming somebody. E.g. the accused has caused death but did not have malice aforethought.
counsel: a lawyer or group of lawyers representing somebody in court. E.g. to be represented by counsel. The counsel for the defence/ prosecution.
get on with something: to continue doing something, especially after an interruption. E.g. Be quiet and get on with your work. (Informal) Get on with it! We haven't got all day.
bank on somebody/something: to rely on somebody/ something. I'm banking on your help. ‘I'm sure he'll help.’ ‘ Don't bank on it (= it is not likely to happen).’ Bank on somebody/ something to do something I'm banking on you to help me. Bank on somebody/ something doing something I was banking on getting something to eat on the train.
on the ropes: (informal) very close to being defeated. E.g. I had him on the ropes.
batman: the personal servant of an officer in the armed forces.
1. a dog that can run fast and has a good sense of smell, used for hunting. E.g. The hounds picked up the scent of the fox.
2. a despicable or contemptible man.
contemptible: not deserving any respect at all
rotter: a person who behaves badly towards other people.
plump: having a soft, round body; slightly fat. E.g. a short, plump woman. A plump face.
speckly: covered or marked with small spots or patches of colour. E.g. the eggs are large and brown and speckly.
hand-rear: (of a person) feed and care for (a young animal) until it is fully grown. E.g. the baby gorillas were hand-reared by zookeepers after being rejected by their mothers.
aforementioned: (also aforesaid) mentioned before, in an earlier sentence. E.g. The aforementioned person was seen acting suspiciously. Insurance is included on all aforesaid items.
What type of crimes do you think should receive these punishments?
pay a fine
a prison sentence
a suspended sentence
a suspended sentence is where the convict doesn’t go to prison, but is given a warning and monitored, so that if they commit another crime during the period of the sentence, they can be recalled to prison.
restorative justice is when the convict has to meet their victim, and listen to them describe how the
crime has affected them.
the death penalty
spare somebody/something (from something) (formal) to allow somebody/ something to escape harm, damage or death, especially when others do not escape it. E.g. Spare somebody/something (from something) They killed the men but spared the children. During the bombing only one house was spared (= was not hit by a bomb).