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About the Show
Minor Character Spoilers
Character
History.
I first caught Horrible Histories on TV as I was passing by a few years ago. You know one of the programs that just gets you to sit down and watch? The more of the program I saw, the more it got me hooked. I really liked it and I thought it was one of the funniest programs I'd seen for a long time. Which is strange in itself as I’m not a big fan of comedy shows.

Although I suspect I'm in the minority, but I never could get into the original Horrible Histories books. Some of the illustrations were quite funny, but I just didn’t get the written content (even through I read quite a few books). When I discovered that show I was watching was based off the same series of books I disliked, call me surprised!
Quote The show is made of little segments, or sketches, only lasting a few minutes each. The first five seasons are spilt into different time periods, whereas each show from season six onwards is dedicated to a particular time period like the books. These segments show a title card comes on screen, usually with a brief introduction to the sketch by an animated character from the time period. Variety is a good word for Horrible Histories, as things never get too stale because of the fast paced nature of clips.

This also is do with the type of segments that appear. You have your normal normal sketches, but you get a lot of sketches that are spoofs from modern day programs or modern TV, which add a ton of variety in the show. Some of the most common are: HHTV News, Historical Hospital, Shouty Man (spoof of various adverts), Historical Masterchef and Historical Paramedics. The way they use the original format and add their own flair using history is always a treat. Special mention goes for Stupid Deaths, where figures from across history explain their stupid deaths to a figure called “Death”. These are all true, making them even funnier!
[The Vikings] Vikings are LITERALLY my favourite warriors of all time. It has nothing to do with being AXED from my job...
Speaking of facts, Horrible Histories brilliantly mixes true facts with er… funny facts. If your thinking “they just make up facts on history” then you’re half right. The show is stuffed with true facts, which the shows mascot (a talking rat) appears on screen with a little true sign, to state if the facts are true. I would say its 70/30 split of true facts and made up facts, so if teachers say that you learn nothing from television, you can tell them differently! It’s an entertaining way of learning about history.

Like the original books, the show has lots of sketches from all over history. Including eras coming from the Romans, the Stuarts, the Tudors, the Georgians, the Middle Ages, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Vikings, the Saxons, the First World War and the Second World War. This isn't a complete list, there are dozens more time period's in the show. The most recent time period is the Second World War, with later episodes having Troublesome 20th Century sketches, because you were dying to know that! (Did you get that? Dying, horrible histories? Yes? No? Sheesh, I tried...)

A show like this cannot work without great actors and actresses to act out the roles of various people in history. Charles II of England, Henry I of England, William Shakespeare, George II of Great Britain, William the Conqueror, Hippocrates, Elizabeth I of England, Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, George IV, Henry the VIII, William II of England, Julius Caesar and Oliver Cromwell are just a few of the people from history that are represented in the show. All of the actors and actresses are fantastic of the playing the parts. Each character in history (with one or two exceptions) are usually played by the same actor, so there is continuity to be had.

And I come to the songs. The songs are one of the best aspects of the show, mainly because of the high production values of the tracks. I generally don’t like spoof songs in programs, but the ones in Horrible Histories are brilliant! They spoof loads of popular songs and make it there own at the same time. Each episode has a new song, either based on a particular character, event or time period. The way the songs are edited and sang, you could class them as proper songs!

Although the show with the original cast has ended (with new specials now airing with a different cast), the consistent quality of the show is to be awarded – which it was! It has won numerous awards including a BAFTA - which a child's program had never won before. If that doesn’t show you how successful the show is, I don’t know what will.


Closing Thoughts
Very Good Very Good
So to sum up, a show that features dozens of time periods throughout history, with dozens of high class actors and actresses, who spoof dozens of popular shows and songs along the way, with loads of laughs AND loads of facts!

[say in a deep voice] Welcome to Horrribbble Hisssstorrrieeessss!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman Every person watching Horrible Histories will have a particular favourite time period that the show covers in it's unique comedy style. Mine is the World War Sketches, and in particular the Prisoner of War Escape sketch. This clip shows a British officer continuously escaping from the office of the head of the prisoner of the war camp. With the funny reactions from both the British solider and the German General, it perfectly sums up what the show is all about.
Elephant In the Room
elephantSome shows have an excellent first season, and then other seasons pale in comparison. Horrible Histories is exactly like that… just the other way around. The first season isn't terrible, but the first season doesn't have the same amount of polish (especially the songs) as the rest of the series. So bare that in mind. From the second series onwards it remains awesome.