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Tony Robinson outraged over politician's Blackadder attack

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Jan 06, 2014 | 4:12am EST

British actor Sir Tony Robinson has branded a leading U.K. politician "irresponsible" for allegedly rejecting the use of his historical sitcom Blackadder as a learning aid in schools. Britain's Education Secretary Michael Gove has hit headlines for criticising Blackadder's fourth series, which was set in the trenches of the First World War, for depicting the conflict as a "misbegotten shambles - a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite". Gove also claimed the show was being used by "left-wing academics" to "feed those myths". His comments outraged Robinson, who played hapless Baldrick in all four series of the BBC show, and he has now hit back, telling Sky News, "I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake; it's not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War. When imaginative teachers bring it in, it's simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders (in Belgium) to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they'll do is show them Blackadder. "And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it's particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education." A spokesman for Gove has since insisted the politician was not "attacking teachers", adding, "He was attacking the myths perpetuated in Blackadder and elsewhere. Michael thinks it is important not to denigrate the patriotism, honour and courage demonstrated by ordinary British soldiers in the First World War."

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