Horrible Histories celebrates 15 years of learning, laughter and legacy on the BBC

For 15 years, the award winning comedy sketch show, renowned for its captivating blend of fascinating facts, silly songs, clever parodies, and gruesome gags, has educated and entertained young audiences



16 April 2024 – The multi-award-winning comedy sketch show Horrible Histories celebrates its 15th birthday.

Since its debut in 2009, Horrible Histories has become a staple of comedy entertainment, earning numerous awards and accolades along the way. Through its hilarious sketches, catchy songs, and unforgettable characters, the show has brought history to life for audiences of all ages, spanning generations.

Based on the world’s best-selling history book series by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown (published by Scholastic, https://amzn.to/4aDLO8a), Horrible Histories has become a cornerstone of educational entertainment on the BBC.

The anniversary of the landmark series will be marked with a brand-new episode – Terrifying Tower of London – which is available on BBC iPlayer today and CBBC on Friday (19 April).

The special episode has been filmed, for the first time ever, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and follows the adventurous pair Rattus and current Yeoman Warder AJ Clark, a ‘Beefeater’ from the Tower, as they journey through the Tower's rich history, spanning from its construction by William the Conqueror to the present day.

Along this historical expedition, they encounter famous inmates such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Anne Boleyn. William Wallace, Henry VIII, the Duke of Wellington, and Winston Churchill are also on hand. Audiences can expect signature Horrible Histories' riotous, shocking, and gloriously gruesome escapades as they traverse through time. True to Horrible Histories' style, the episode culminates with a brand-new song performed by a band of historic Yeoman Warders, about Guarding the Tower, and Henry VIII will take audiences through his favourite executions in ‘Top of the Chops’.

With 162 episodes produced to date, Horrible Histories remains dedicated to fostering curiosity, fuelling imaginations, and cultivating a lasting passion for learning through the power of laughter. Horrible Histories' educational impact extends to the highest academic levels, evidenced by its inclusion in a Medieval History Tripos Exam at Cambridge University in 2019.

As Horrible Histories continues to educate and entertain, all archived episodes spanning fan favourites across the last 15 years, are also available on BBC iPlayer.

Since its inception, Horrible Histories has dominated awards categories with 13 BAFTA Awards, three British Comedy Awards, an International Emmy Award, six RTS Awards amongst its many accolades. Last year, the Horrible Histories: ‘Orrible Opera sold out the Royal Albert Hall twice as part of the BBC Proms.

Horrible Histories has showcased a diverse array of emerging talents and esteemed stars on its historical platform. Original cast members Matthew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard, and Ben Willbond are still synonymous with the show's unique blend of humour and historical precision, and today’s cast featuring the likes of Jess Ransom, Tom Stourton, Inel Tomlinson, Richard David-Caine, Harrie Hayes, Ethan Lawrence, Emily Lloyd-Saini, James McNicholas, Paul G Raymond and Timmika Ramsay continue to fly that flag.

Iconic British stars such as Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Dara Ó'Briain, Rosie Jones, Rob Delaney, Fred Sirieix, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Alex Scott, and Jill Scott have also featured in the show in recent years.

Renowned classicist Mary Beard is amongst fans of Horrible Histories and says: "I’m a huge fan of Horrible Histories. They actually get to parts that some grown up histories don't reach. I start my recent book on Roman emperors with the third century emperor Elagabalus, but I admit that Horrible Histories got there first, as that emperor himself says, in the HH song, to another Imperial villain, Caligula…. "Your nastiness was fabulous. But my name's Elagabalus, and I was far far worse." We shouldn't forget that a lot of historical knowledge starts with a joke."

Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories, says: “Having celebrated 30 years of the Horrible Histories books in 2023, it is wonderful to reach the landmark of 15 years of the ground-breaking TV series. Since the start, I have enjoyed seeing the imaginative songs and sketches bring horrible history to life on screen. I continue to be amazed by the appetite for all things horrible from young and old.”

“Reflecting on the show’s impact, Patricia Hidalgo, Director of BBC Children’s and Education, says: “Horrible Histories is a jewel in the crown of our programming offer for children across CBBC and iPlayer. It’s a success story blending comedic genius and educational excellence with a fan base that spans generations. The multi-award-winning show set a precedent for children's programming when it first aired and continues to do so today. It’s a shining example of our public service remit to educate and entertain our young audiences with culturally relevant content – with tons of laughs and great songs along the way!”

Simon Welton, Executive Producer, Lion Television, adds: “This show is a real labour of love for everyone who is involved in making it (past and present), and the fact that it is still so beloved by our audience after 15 years is incredibly rewarding. Balancing both the funny and the factual in every sketch and engaging our audience with History whilst also making them (along with any adults who are in the room…) laugh as much is possible is something that we don’t take lightly, and hopefully we can continue doing that with CBBC for many years to come.”

Based on the best-selling books written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, Horrible Histories is made by Lion TV. Matt Lamont is series producer and Melissa Hardinge is commissioning editor for CBBC. Richard Bradley and Simon Welton are Executive Producers for Lion TV.

Source CBBC

April 16, 2024 4:00am ET by Newsdesk  

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