Richard Curtis

Best known as the screenwriter of the popular British romantic comedies "Four Weddings and A Funeral" (1994) and "Notting Hill" (1999), Richard Curtis has also worked with some of England's finest comedians and biggest stars, his most frequent collaborator being fellow Oxford alumnus Rowan Atkinson. A New Zealander by birth who lived in various locales due to his father's business commitments, Curtis attended Oxford University's Christ Church College, where he majored in English and met graduate student Atkinson. The two quickly became creative partners, leading to a hit performance at 1979's Edinburgh Festival that brought the pair notice and an offer for the BBC-2 series "Not the Nine O'Clock News." Written by Curtis and Atkinson and starring Atkinson alongside a cast including future director Mel Smith, this irreverent and influential sketch comedy program ran from 1979 to 1982. In 1983, Curtis and Atkinson teamed up to write the 15th Century set comedy "The Black Adder," starring Atkinson as an unsavory son of King Richard IV. The series would be reborn in 1986, with co-writer Ben Elton collaborating with Curtis as "Blackadder II," starring Atkinson alongside Miranda Richardson as Queen Elizabeth I as a lord of her court, a direct descendant of the original series' subject, and equally as slimy and scheming. The following year, Elton and Curtis created "Black Adder the Third," this time with Atkinson playing the butler of Hugh Laurie's Prince Regent in a French Revolution-era England. 1988's special "Black Adder's Christmas Carol" featured Atkinson as old Ebenezer, alongside such British luminaries as Robbie Coltrane, Miriam Margolyes and Stephen Fry as well as series veterans Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie and Miranda Richardson. In 1989, Atkinson and company completed the (to date) last installment, "Blackadder Goes Forth." Also penned by Elton and Curtis, this chapter starred Captain Blackadder, battling on the frontlines of northern France during World War I.