“Terrible Tudors, Gorgeous Georgians, Slimy Stuarts, Vile Victorians,
Woeful Wars, Ferocious Fights, Dingy Castles, Daring Knights!
Horrors that defy description, Cut-throat Celts, Awful Egyptians,
Vicious Vikings, Cruel Crimes, Punishment from ancient times.”
These are just some of the characters and events that populate British author Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories series.
While lesser known on this side of the Atlantic, Horrible Histories is an “edutainment” phenomenon in the UK. What began as a tongue-in-cheek series of history books for children is now an educational media franchise of mammoth proportions. The Horrible Histories books have been translated into magazines, cartoons, a live-action TV series, video games, theatre productions, audiobooks, an “online experience,” board games, symphony concerts, museum exhibitions, and now, for the first time ever, a live-action feature film. And what famous historical Briton did they choose to be the focus of their first movie? I’ll give you one guess.
The cast of the immensely popular TV series is reuniting to play multiple roles in what promises to be the definitive Shakespeare biopic. That is, if your idea of the definitive Shakespeare biopic is one in which the bard begins life as a struggling lute player in plots to blow up Queen Elizabeth I, and occasionally dresses up as a tomato.
BILL just started filming, but the first stills are already available, and the small UK towns where it’s being shot are abuzz with excitement. The Horrible Histories crew won’t be on the big screen until next year, so in the meantime I’ll leave you with one of their many hit songs from the television series.