Horrible Histories is an entertainment franchise that teaches children the sides of history they don’t get taught in school. The franchise includes many types of media including books, magazines, stage productions, and of course the well-known television series.
Horrible Histories began as a book series by Terry Deary. The first books, The Terrible Tudors and The Awful Egyptians were released in 1993 and 1994 respectively. In 2001, it was adapted into an animated series about Mo and Stitches’ adventures across time, and how they learned lessons that could apply in the modern day.
In 2009, the series we all know and love was born. Over five series, the live-action sketch show gave us some incredible songs and skits, as well as accurate historical facts, culminating in becoming the first children’s show to win British Comedy Awards.
So, although it had a reboot in 2015, numerous theatre productions (that I was lucky enough to be able to see with my primary school), magazines, and more, it should be clear why it’s the 2009 television series I’ll be taking you back to today.
I’d like to begin by thanking whoever wrote the brilliant songs for the show because I’m still singing them now at the age of 20. We all have our favourites, but how could you not love Charles II’s King of Bling? Thank me later when you’re walking around your house singing “I love the people and the people love me. So much that they restored the English monarchy!”
The only reason that I remember why King Charles Spaniels are named what they are is because of this song. Not your favourite? How about Dick Turpin: Highwayman? Or Born to Rule? Or the ridiculously catchy RAF pilots’ song? Here are a few more of the classics:
Out of all of the characters portrayed on the show, the one that brings us ‘Stupid Deaths’ has to be my favourite. There were some almost unbelievable deaths that came up, like a tortoise being dropped on a bald man’s head by an eagle, an inventor dying as a result of his coat parachute not working when he jumped from the top of the Eiffel tower, and a king being stabbed to death from underneath while sitting on the toilet.
“Stupid deaths, stupid deaths, they’re funny ‘cos they’re true, stupid deaths, stupid deaths, hope next time it’s not you!”
So next time you find yourself stuck for something to watch, have a look on BBC iPlayer and reacquaint yourself with Horrible Histories. The hilarious skits include historical parodies of Wife Swap, Master Chef, Fashion Fix, The Axe Factor, and many more, giving you plenty to be entertained with. In addition to the comedy, the actual historical facts they give are genuinely interesting and definitely make for good conversation starters.