Horrible Histories is a popular British television series based on the best-selling book series by Terry Dreary. The show was produced for CBBC by Lion Television with Citrus Television and ran from 2009 to 2013 with an additional ‘reincarnation’ in 2015. Here in Australia, reruns are constantly being shown and the show is very popular in my home (and not just with the kids!).
The show is ‘hosted’ by a black rat puppet by the name of Rattus Rattus and stars Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond, alongside a large supporting cast headed by Sarah Hadland, Lawry Lewin and Dominique Moore.
Each episode lasts for half an hour and covers different time periods with interesting titles such as ‘Gorgeous Georgians’ or ‘Vile Victorians’. The show consists of Live-action sketches—which often parody other UK media or celebrities—and music videos, intercut with animations and quizzes, with Rattus Rattus explaining the facts behind each segment.
Horrible Histories was a critical and ratings success, winning numerous domestic and international awards (including being the first children’s show to win best sketch at the Comedy Awards) and has been named among the greatest British children’s television series of all time — with good reason, in my opinion. The show is entertaining for all ages, including adults, with the added benefit of being educational. Some of the most popular sketches and songs from the show have attracted more than half a million hits each on YouTube.
Frankly, I have learned more from this show than I ever did in History class. Continue reading