Horrible Histories - In The Press

Horrible Histories could be heading to success at this year's British Academy Children's Awards after being nominated in three categories.

Written by Harry Fletcher. Digital Spy, 22nd October 2015

The Horrible Histories author on how the bestselling series began and what West End audiences can expect from Barmy Britain Part Three.

Written by Emily Cole. What's On Stage, 20th July 2015

One of the all-time great kids' shows returns for series six, adjusting to the loss of the original cast by organising itself into special episodes focusing on a single historical figure. Tom Rosenthal is the perfect choice to play crap-haired milquetoast Alfred the Great, thrust on to the throne after the deaths of all four of his elder brothers. He fights a constant battle against both the Vikings and haemorrhoids, and we learn that he didn't burn any cakes and that the Scandinavians brought sarcasm to England.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 25th May 2015

Ben Miller is bringing one of Britain's most loathsome monarchs back to life in Horrible Histories: King John And The Magna Carta.

Written by Vicki Power. The Daily Express, 31st January 2015

The BBC Trust has criticised Horrible Histories for giving the impression that Florence Nightingale was racist.

BBC News, 30th September 2014

Certainly the most irreverent of all the programmes commissioned for the BBC's first world war commemorations, this Horrible Histories one-off is also one of the best, getting across the gravity and grimness of the conflict without compromising on comedy. Expect MasterChef parodies and songs. Lots of songs.

The Guardian, 9th August 2014

Horrible Histories: Frightful First World War Special is not, strictly speaking, last night's TV. It first aired on CBBC at 9am yesterday morning, but it would be remiss of me not to recommend an iPlayer catch up in the strongest possible terms. Nothing can dislodge Blackadder Goes Forth from its place on the informal school syllabus (especially with Michael Gove's enthusiastic endorsement still ringing in teachers' ears), but this would make a very acceptable substitute.

The Horrible Histories team are known for making history palatable for the young 'uns by putting a comical spin on it, but could that approach ever work on this relatively recent human catastrophe?

The sketches included a brilliant Historical MasterChef in which First World War soldier Ernie, impressed the judges with his inventive yet disgusting dishes (Dog'n'Maggot, anyone?). A Charleston-style ditty sung by The Cousins (King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II) and a jaunty commercial for that solution to all trench-based problems - "New World War One Wee Wee" ("And how much does it cost? Why, one pee, of course!" That's a classic seven-year-old's gag, that.)

It was silly, all right, but also appropriately sombre: "But the funny thing about the Somme is... no, I've got nothing, sorry."

Ellen E Jones, The Independent, 4th August 2014

"Sir, why does an Austrian being killed by a Serb in Bosnia mean war, sir?" And so begins the fastest guide to the first world war you'll ever meet, narrated by a rat. As ever, there's an emphasis on gruesome facts and bodily functions, with an advert for World War One Wee Wee, useful for cooling down and softening boots in the trenches. It's not just the children who'll chortle at Historic MasterChef and Emmeline Pankhurst portrayed as a Lily Allen-ish character singing about how fierce suffragettes were.

Hannah Verdier, The Guardian, 4th August 2014

All the regulars are out in force with new sketches in this Valentine's Day one-off special, but don't expect them to go soppy. Not when Rattus Rattus's idea of a romantic meal is "cockroach in jus de rubbish bag" and Henry VIII is taking part in a TV show called Dating in the Dark - where he falls in love with Anne of Cleves. Our advice: don't turn the lights on, Anne!

Anne Jowett, Radio Times, 14th February 2014

The songs are genius. I mean, seriously, you can take the Wiggles, put them in a hessian sack and fire them into space.

Written by Lucy Sweet. The Mirror, 15th December 2013

BBC educational sketch series Horrible Histories has become the first programme to win four consecutive BAFTAs at the Children's Awards, having topped the comedy category yet again.

BBC News, 25th November 2013

An interview with the author of the Horrible Histories books.

Written by Kieran James. The Good Review, 31st August 2013

Popular children's show Horrible Histories has come to an end, with viewing celebrating its humourous take on history on Twitter.

Metro, 17th July 2013

The cast and crew of CBBC's best show explain how they turn musty old history into minor pop classics.

Written by Jack Seale. Radio Times, 6th June 2013

The award-winning Horrible Histories has returned for a triumphant fifth series, putting its distinct comic twist upon epochs long gone, plus a few that are, disconcertingly, more recent.

Included among the Slimy Stuarts, Smashing Saxons and Vile Victorians was the Troublesome Twentieth Century, featuring Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 weight-loss programme from 1969 - no willpower was required, but you did need a 36-storey-high space rocket to get you to the Moon, where minimal gravity reduced your weight by 82%.

I'm not sure how I feel about Horrible Histories catching up with my own era - who knows, the next step could involve my featuring in the show's Stupid Deaths slot - but I am definitely a big fan of the show.

Quite apart from being very funny, constantly inventive and subliminally educational, it also has the courage to tackle potentially controversial events head on. Re-imagining Rosa Parks' celebrated civil rights protest as a soul number explained a complex issue in a clever, concise and accessible way without trivialising it.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 31st May 2013

It's no secret that many alleged "grown-ups" are supplementing their haphazard history educations with CBBC's Horrible Histories, back for its fifth series with lovely, daft input from The League of Gentlemen. Tiny, mighty Sarah Hadland from Miranda and funny, clever Alice Lowe, writer of Sightseers are regular faces too. To adult eyes, Horrible Histories has the distinct feel of a group of bright, young, erudite, writery-actory sparks having a tremendously good time. One that they probably wouldn't be permitted to have anywhere else on telly.

Kids love them as they are the most peculiar sort of grown-ups. The sort of wonky uncles and aunties who turn up to tea with mild hangovers, scant regard for etiquette and a host of stories about idiot highway men, Second World War bat bombs (bombs attached to bats, prone to exploding before they left the American base) and an imaginary CD compilation called Now That's What I Call Spartan Warrior Music.

There's something about the Horrible Histories gang I find terrifically, stupidly, funny. They're the best bits of Monty Python, Roald Dahl, Tiswas, BBC2's The Tudors and The Young Ones all shoved into a bin and bashed with a stick. "Divorced, beheaded and Died! Divorced, Beheaded, Survived!" is the song that carousels in my mind whenever anyone mentions Henry VIII. Horrible Histories drummed the order of Henry's wives and their fates into my mind where A-level cramming failed forlornly. If only Mathew Baynton and Ben Willbond had shown up at my school in the Nineties and sung a few songs about the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, I could have a proper job now. Not just writing down stuff I think, drinking Earl Grey and taking Yodel deliveries in for neighbours.

Grace Dent, The Independent, 31st May 2013

We celebrate five glorious years of Horrible Histories with 40 frankly fantastic facts, but can you spot the one fake?

Written by Greg Jenner. Radio Times, 27th May 2013

"Gory stories we do that - and your host's a talking rat!" The return of the best thing on telly, this week featuring Smashing Saxons (and their superhero-style Gods), Vile Victorians, and Gorgeous Georgians. But the stand-out highlight is Dominique Moore as civil rights icon Rosa Parks, singing a frankly brilliant Motown-style number called I Sat On The Bus: "I made a stand in my home town of Montgomery, Alabama/Refused to stand/For a white man/So they put me in the slammer"

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 27th May 2013

Nothing falls flat in this rambunctious sketch show, which 'makes history look less crap' with dazzling writing and pop pastiches.

Written by Sarah Dempster. The Guardian, 25th May 2013

The Horrible Histories author is struggling not to say something outrageous. Just don't mention schools... or libraries... or football.

Written by Cole Moreton. The Daily Telegraph, 11th May 2013

Popular children's book series, Horrible Histories, is to end after 20 years according to author Terry Deary.

BBC News, 2nd April 2013

Horrible Histories has evolved into a phenomenon encompassing books, stage shows and a children's TV series as funny as anything aimed at adults.

Written by Richard Preston. The Telegraph, 21st February 2013

Authors, including artistic director of Bath Children's Literature Festival David Almond have criticised Horrible Histories author Terry Deary's comments that libraries are damaging the book industry.

Written by Daisy Bowie-Sell. The Daily Telegraph, 14th February 2013

Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain, the children's history show currently showing in the daytime slot at the Garrick Theatre, will embark on a tour to the Middle East before returning to its West End home in October.

Written by Kieran Corcoran. What's on Stage, 29th August 2012

The wildly successful Horrible Histories books and TV shows - facts boosted by lots of jokes - are adored by children and adults alike. Writer Terry Deary thinks it's because his characters often subvert authority.

Written by Jon Henley. The Guardian, 14th July 2012

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