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Horrible Histories (2015 TV series)

Horrible Histories is a British sketch comedy children's television series, the second live-action iteration of the book series Horrible Histories written by Terry Deary.

Horrible Histories
Horrible Histories (2015 Revival) - Title Card.png
Logo used for Series 6 and "The Specials II"
Based onHorrible Histories by Terry Deary
Written by
  • Ben Ward
  • Dave Cohen
  • Gerard Foster
  • Steve Punt
  • George Sawyer
  • et al.
Directed bySimon Gibney
Ian Curtis
StarringTom Stourton, Jessica Ransom, Jalaal Hartley
Voices ofJohn Eccleston (Rattus Rattus)
Jon Culshaw
Jess Robinson
Theme music composerRichie Webb
Matt Katz
Composer(s)Richie Webb
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes37
Executive producer(s)Melissa Hardinge
Richard Bradley
Bill Hobbins
Producer(s)Tom Miller
Editor(s)Adam Windmill
Will Peverett
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Lion Television
Original networkCBBC
Original release7 February 2015 (2015-02-07) –
Preceded byHorrible Histories

Produced by Lion Television for the CBBC, it is a revival of the previous live-action TV series, which had formally ceased production in 2013, and treated as a continuation of the show's previous incarnation beginning with "Series 6". Despite this, episodes from Series 6 and "The Specials II" utilize the Horrible Histories Special title card which the earlier series used for one-off programs.

In 2014 CBBC executives announced that, owing to the critical and popular success of the original, discussions were underway regarding some form of return. Original series star Mathew Baynton subsequently confirmed that he and the other five members of the starring cast would not be reuniting as a team for the new project.[1]

The resulting series, while sharing the same core concept, genre and sensibilities as its predecessor—including an original parody song in each episode—follows a notably different format. In lieu of the previous short, unconnected sketches from randomly-selected time periods, the new series consists of specials focusing on the specific life and times of one prominent historical figure. It will also involve a largely all-new production team and cast, while still retaining Greg Jenner as lead historical consultant and many of the original series's writers. In addition, original stars Sarah Hadland, Simon Farnaby, Lawry Lewin and Jim Howick returned in limited roles, with Farnaby in particular reprising his role as Death. Several prominent UK comedy veterans, including Ben Miller, Kathryn Drysdale, Kevin Eldon, Tom Rosenthal and Rowan Atkinson, guest-starred as the spotlighted figures.[2]

In February 2015, the new series debuted with an episode drawing on the events leading up to the signing of Magna Carta, timed to coincide with the BBC's larger commemoration of the document's 800-year anniversary before being followed by a run of fourteen episodes. 2016 saw the broadcast of three specials to mark certain events throughout that year: 400 years since Shakespeare died, the BBC's "Love to Read" campaign, and 350 years since the Great Fire of London. There was a slight change in cast where the main stars Jalaal Hartley, Tom Stourton and Jessica Ransom continued with some of the supporting cast, while a number of the sixth series cast, including the two original members Jim Howick and Simon Farnaby were absent.

A full-length seventh series was aired every Monday on CBBC from June 2017, and it continued into 2018. Hartley, Ransom and Stourton continue alongside Gemma Whelan and Richard David-Caine who stayed on from the 2016 specials; Ryan Sampson now makes up the sixth main cast member. This time, Series 7 focuses each episode on a theme, e.g. music, explorers, medicine, presidents etc. The format is very much the same with recurring sketches, a song or two each episode (with the main songs now placed at the end of each episode, except for Ruthless Rulers and Series 8's Mind Your Manners), animated characters in-between sketches and quiz questions asked by various historical figures. One notable difference is that of host Rattus Rattus, who has his own storyline based on the theme of the episode and is appearing in many different costumes. Guest-stars include Sanjeev Bhaskar with various roles, as he did in Series 6, and First Dates host Fred Sirieix who appears for 'Historical First Dates' sketches to host.

An eighth series began filming in September 2018, and began airing on 3 June 2019 on CBBC, with a similar concept to Series 7 (each episode focusing on a theme) whilst also occasionally featuring guest co-hosts. The series had two special episodes: the first one being Football with Alex Scott, a special where a guest star and footballer named Alex Scott appeared and hosted her own episode and recounted skits in the show about football (US: soccer) from seasons from the original 2009 Horrible Histories show and the sixth season of the 2015 reboot. The second special episode is the newest episode to come out of Horrible Histories, being aired on CBBC on the 15th of August 2019 - guest star, actress and comedian Emily Atack hosted her own episode called Back to School with Emily Attack. The episode consisted of her recounting skits from the original 2009 Horrible Histories and the 2015 reboot's seventh season relating to school and education.


These are the cast who have appeared in all or most of the episodes:

Supporting cast:

Guest starring:



Year Nominee / work Award Result
2018 Horrible Histories Series 7 BAFTA Children's Award for Best Writing Nominated[6]
2018 Tom Stourton as Henry VIII BAFTA Children's Award for Best Performer Nominated[7]
2018 Horrible Histories Series 7 BAFTA Children's Award for Best Comedy Nominated[6]
2018 Horrible Histories Series 7 Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme Won[8]
2017 Horrible Histories Special: Crooked King John and Magna Carta International Emmy Award for Best Kids Factual Won[9]
2017 Horrible Histories Special: Sensational Shakespeare Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme Nominated[10]
2016 Horrible Histories Special: Sensational Shakespeare BAFTA Children's Award for Best Comedy Won[11]
2016 Tom Stourton as William Shakespere BAFTA Children's Award for Best Performer Nominated[11]
2016 Horrible Histories Special: Sensational Shakespeare BAFTA Children's Award for Best Writing Nominated[11]
2015 Horrible Histories Series 6 British Comedy Guide Award for Best Sketch Show Won[12]
2016 Horrible Histories Special: Crooked King John and Magna Carta Kidscreen Award for Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series Won[13]
2016 Horrible Histories Special: Awesome Alfred the Great Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme Nominated[14]
2015 Horrible Histories Special: Crooked King John and Magna Carta BAFTA Children's Award for Best Comedy Nominated[15]
2015 Jessica Ransom as Mary, Queen of Scots BAFTA Children's Award for Best Performer Won[15]
2015 Horrible Histories Special: Crooked King John and Magna Carta BAFTA Children's Award for Best Writing Nominated[15]

DVD and online releasesEdit

The series, treated as the sixth of the original 2009–2013 run, was released on Region 2 DVD on 31 August 2015. Episodes are also available online through UK iTunes as "Series 6: Rotten Rulers". The 2016 specials were released on DVD under "The Specials II" on 12 September 2016. The seventh series, including its then-unaired episodes, was released on DVD on 6 November 2017 for regions 2 and 4.


  1. ^ "Horrible Histories Series 6 in planning". British Comedy Guide. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Top comedy stars join CBBC's Horrible Histories". BBC Media Centre. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Tom Miller Linkedin". Linkedin. Retrieved 19 March 2016.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Horrible Histories TV". Series 7 Cast. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Series 6, Magna Carta Special: Crooked King John and Magna Carta". CBBC. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Children's Awards Winners 2018". 17 October 2018.
  7. ^ /
  8. ^ 2018-02-07T21:54:00+00:00. "Best children's programme: Horrible Histories". Broadcast.
  9. ^ "Nominees – International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences".
  10. ^ 2017-02-01T22:02:00+00:00. "Children's programme: The Boy on the Bicycle". Broadcast.
  11. ^ a b c "Horrible Histories, TrueTube lead BAFTA Children's noms".
  12. ^ Guide, British Comedy. " Awards 2015 results". British Comedy Guide.
  13. ^ "The 2016 Kidscreen Awards winners are…".
  14. ^ "shortlist".
  15. ^ a b c "Children's Awards 2015". BAFTA. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2016.

External linksEdit