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# 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
# Punishments from ancient times Roman, rotten, rank and ruthless
# Cavemen, savage, fierce and toothless. Groovy Greeks. Rainy sages
# Mean and measly Middle Ages Gory stories we supply
# And your host is Stephen Fry The past is no longer a mystery
# Welcome to Horrible Histories! #
Hello and welcome to Horrible Histories.
The show that lets us, for a moment,
forget about the madness of the world around and focus instead on
the complete and utter madness of the world as it used to be.
Wolsingham, what happened to you?
The Queen threw a slipper at me...
-What did you do this time?
I told her she had a short temper.
-You idiot, you know that makes her angry.
-Have you finished her portrait yet?
-It's getting there, but...
I'm petrified, what if she doesn't like it?
-You'd better hope she's in a good mood.
-Is she ever?
'Where's my portrait?'
I can't look, it's grotesque!
The hideous nose, rotten teeth and pockmarked skin.
Wolsingham, have that man relieved of the burden of his head!
-Ma'am, you are looking into a mirror.
-This is the portrait.
Petite nose, perfect teeth, porcelain skin.
Why, however did you manage to capture my good looks?
Well, my lady, I just did an exact copy of
the only portrait you've ever liked.
-As per your order.
Do me another, and see if you can capture my regal beauty again.
I think it looks nothing like her.
I heard that!
Elizabeth I very carefully stage-managed her image.
Her looks had been destroyed by smallpox scars
and the ravages of lead-based make-up, so she issued
facsimile portraits of herself from earlier years,
rather than letting people see how she really looked.
Elizabeth was a great patron of the arts, and towards
the end of her reign, became a big fan of William Shakespeare.
Largely because he, too, made her look good.
Whilst Shakespeare may not have given us the word sycophantic,
he clearly understood the concept. Though there are a great many words
and phrases that the Bard can rightly call his own.
May we have our next contestant, please?
Hello. Your name, please?
-And your occupation?
One that doth make words to dance upon the page
and thence into the ear of the throng.
I'm sorry, I don't quite...
-I write plays.
-Right, well, why didn't you just say so?
-And your chosen specialised subject.
-Phrases what I made up.
William Shakespeare, you have two minutes on
phrases what you made up starting from now.
-To be or not to be, that is the question.
-I know it is.
I know that's the question, you've just asked me it.
No, the question is, did you make it up?
You just said the question was to be or not to be.
To be or not to be, that is the question IS the question.
Oh, yes, I see. I did make that up.
Correct. Good riddance.
-I've only just arrived.
-No, did you invent the phrase good riddance?
-Yes, I did.
-Correct. Heart of gold.
Thank you, that's very flattering.
No, were you the first person
-to use the phrase heart of gold?
-Yes, I was.
Correct. Dead as a doornail.
Yes, that is one of mine.
Henry VI, Part 2, the sequel.
Correct. Wild-goose chase.
Oh, yes, that's mine. Are they still using that?
They are indeed. Correct. Knock knock, who's there?
That's wrong. You say "knock knock," I say, "who's there?"
No. Did you invent it?
-Did you come up with the phrase
-"knock knock, who's there?"
-Yes, I did.
Correct. For goodness' sake!
-That's one of mine, too.
All the world's a...
-I've started, so I'll finish.
-No, that's one of yours.
Correct. William Shakespeare,
at the end of that round, you've scored eight points.
Sorry, is this what you do for entertainment nowadays?
Yes, it is, yes.
-I think I prefer the theatre.
-Mmm. "I think I prefer the theatre."
-Get out of the chair now.
Diseases were rife in the Middle Ages.
You could get a nice dose of scurvy, a spot of leprosy,
or some good old Black Death, which, in 1348,
killed more than half of all the people in Europe.
So, thank heavens for cutting-edge Middle Ages medicines.
Can you hear me? Don't worry, darling, the ambulance is on its way.
Make way, make way! Historical paramedics.
-Are you from the hospital?
-No, the Middle Ages.
-What's happened here?
-It's my husband, he went all dizzy and he passed out.
-What be his name?
-Paul, hear ye!
-Hear ye, Paul!
-Can ye hear me, Paul?
He looks like he's fainted. Nigel, I need a dead chicken.
A dead chicken, what on earth is that going to do?!
-Nothing, it's dead.
-It's not the chicken we need, it's the feathers.
We just burn the ends of them like this.
This should bring him round almost immediately.
-No, it's not working.
-Had he shown any other symptoms before this day?
-I suppose he hasn't been sleeping too well.
-Sleeplessness? Nigel, treacle.
-No, get the treacle.
Don't worry, treacle is the latest Middle Ages cure for sleeplessness.
Hang on, what are those markings?
Could be bruising from the fall. I'll get the flour and bacon fat.
-Hang on, they're kind of blotchy.
Skin disease... No!
-I'm all out of wolf skin.
-Where be a wolf?
-Where be a wolf?
-This might work.
-Actually, it looks like ringworm.
-I concur with thee.
-There's only one thing for it. Man-child,
do you want to be a gallant hero?
Then you must wee on that man's head. Nothing cures ringworm
-like a hair wash in boys' wee.
-He's not weeing on my husband's head!
You're not weeing on my husband's head!
Don't worry, I always carry a fresh jar of boys' urine, just in case.
I do need a shower, though.
-Our work here is done.
-D'you mind filling this up while we're here?
-Stop it. Don't...
-Is that not...?
-it sounds like a proper ambulance.
-We must flee this place!
Ian, bring the clean-up kit!
Those historical ones have been here.
Treacle, in the Middle Ages, was not actually
treacle as we know it nowadays, rather it was a name for a medicine
containing up to 65 ingredients. It was sometimes called mithridatum,
after the famous ancient Turkish ruler Mithridates VI.
He had, according to legend, made himself immune to all poison
by regularly taking
tiny amounts of whatever his doctors feared might be used to kill them.
A practice which also works well for kebabs. Mithridatum
became popular for centuries. But I don't think the concoction
would have been of much use to this chap.
# Stupid deaths, stupid deaths They're funny cos they're true
# Stupid deaths, stupid deaths Hope next time, it's not you! #
And you are?
-Humphrey de Bohun, leader of the rebel army.
-And how did you die?
With great stupidity, I hope.
I was leading a rebellion against King Edward II.
My army was fighting his at the Battle of Boroughbridge.
-Not stupid enough.
-I was leading my troops
across the wooden bridge. The enemy was defending it fiercely.
-I decided to charge them head on.
I was killing everything in my path,
battling them to the right, fighting them to the left.
You're losing me, pal.
Then suddenly, I... felt a terrible agony in my...
-in my bottom.
-Yes, an enemy soldier had hidden himself
under the bridge and he'd shoved a pike right in my bottom.
Look, there it is!
Ooh! Hey, that must have been a real pain in the neck!
-Don't you mean pain in the backside?
-That's what I said, wasn't it?
-No, you said pain in the neck.
-I said pain in the backside.
It would have been funnier if you'd said pain in the backside...
-You're through to the afterlife.
-Off you trot.
Hey, he got a real bum deal!
Oh, I should have said that when he was in the room. ..Hey, you!
You got a bum... He's gone. Why do you always think of things too late?
# Stupid deaths, stupid deaths Hope next time, it's not you! #
Welcome to the News at When.
When, the 1600s, when the people of Britain went to war with each other
to decide whether they wanted the country ruled by a king
or ruled by Parliament.
With more details, it's over to Bob Hayle, with the civil war report.
Thank you, Sam. Well, it's 1625 and I hope you're dressed smartly,
because here comes the King. Yes, it's King Charles I,
and from day one, he is stirring up trouble.
Mainly because he's supposed to be a Protestant,
like the Church of England, but he keeps doing
very Catholicy things, like marrying a Catholic, praying like a Catholic
and wearing an I Love Catholics T-shirt, except not the last one.
And Charlie's behaviour annoys an awful lot of people,
especially in Parliament down here in London.
So Charlie tells them to take some time off, about ten years,
leaving him in charge of the entire country, which is jolly good fun!
But not for long. First, the Scots, sick of this bossy,
Catholic-loving King, start a war against him.
Then the Irish, sick of English people stealing all their land,
start another war against him, and wars are very expensive.
So Charlie brings back Parliament, so he can ask them for some money.
They say, "No, because you tried to get rid of us, remember?"
They give him a list of everything they don't like about him.
Well, talk about trouble. Over the next two years,
the country divides in two, with some people siding with Charlie -
the Cavaliers - and others siding with Parliament - the Roundheads.
Until in 1642, here in Nottingham,
Civil War is declared, and what a war it is!
If we look at the fight-o-meter, we can see the first major battle,
Edgehill, victory goes to no-one at all. Very dull, it's a dead heat.
But in round two, in London, the winner is...
Oh, a great result for the Roundheads there, followed by...
a real killing for the Cavaliers in the West Country.
And then another win for the King up North, taking Bolton, Preston,
Wigan and Liverpool, where my cousin Ted runs a dry-cleaner's just off
the High Street, half-price shirts on Wednesdays - worth remembering.
But the King's luck can't last. It's complete murder at Marston Moor,
followed by a knockout at Newbury and annihilation at Naseby.
In fact, he's doing so badly, he's broken our thingy!
But Charlie has an idea. He'll make a truce with the Scots if they'll
help him fight the Roundheads, which is absolutely brilliant.
Except it doesn't work at all and they just hand him over to Parliament. Whoops!
So the Roundheads win, the Cavaliers lose, and that is the end of that.
But not for long. It soon becomes clear that the Roundhead leader, Oliver Cromwell,
is about as much fun as stinging nettle underpants,
so the Scots form an alliance with Charlie to overthrow Cromwell.
Yes, it's Civil War Part Two. With the Scots and the Cavaliers
fighting on the same side, there's no way they can lose.
Or so we thought. Cromwell completely crushes both of them and it's goodbye civil war,
goodbye Charlie's head, and goodbye kings and queens altogether.
Yes, Cromwell is now in charge of the country.
And with all the warring over, Olly can stop being mean to the Cavaliers
and start being mean to the rest of us.
He turns Britain into a puritan state, which means banning pretty much anything fun,
including sport, theatre and Christmas.
And then he runs out of stuff to ban, gets bored and dies.
So his son Richard takes over, but he's about as much use as a jelly pickaxe.
Before long, the people of Britain just want the petty puritans out and the crazy kings back.
Yes, Prince Charles is welcomed home with open arms.
He becomes King Charles II and the monarchy is restored!
It's the Restoration, which gives us all sorts of fun things -
Restoration comedies. Restoration fashion. Restoration furniture.
Including this delightful mahogany bureau. £750 for the bureau?
750 at the back.
I've got 800 for the bureau. Going once at 800.
900 for the bureau, 900 at the back. 950 at the back. I've got £1,000.
Once at 1,000, twice... Sold for £1,000 to the beautiful lady with a beautiful bob haircut.
Back to you, Sam.
After 11 years in exile in France,
Charles II was crowned in Westminster Abbey on St George's Day, 1661.
# My name is, my name is My name is...Charles II!
# I love the people and the people love me
# So much that they restored the English monarchy
# I'm part Scottish, French, Italian A little bit Dane
# But 100% party animal. Champagne?
# Spaniels, I adore Named after me too
# Like me, they were fun with a natty hairdo
# Is today my birthday? I can't recall
# Let's have a party anyway because I love a masked ball
# All hail, the King of bling!
# Let's sing! Bells ring! Ding ding!
# I'm the king who brought back partying
# King Charles, my daddy, lost his throne, and kings were banned
# They chopped off his head Then Olly Cromwell ruled the land
# Old Olly wasn't jolly He was glum, and he was proud
# Would be miserable as sin Only sinning's not allowed!
# When Olly died, the people said, "Charlie, me hearty
# "Get rid of his dull laws! Come back, we'd rather party!"
# This action's what they called the Monarchy Restoration
-# Which naturally was followed by a huge celebration!
-The King of Eng!
-# No sin! Too sing!
# All say, I'm the King who brought back partying
# Great London Fire was a whopper
# In my reign London city came a cropper
# So this king did what was right and proper fought the fire
# Proved I'm more than a bopper I'm a fire stopper!
# Married Catherine Braganza She was a love so true
# There would never be another Well, maybe one or two!
# Lucy Walter, Nell Gwyn Moll Davis, Barbara Villiers
# You think that's bad but her name's not as silly as...
-# Hortense Mancini!
-As King, I must admit I broke the wedding rules
# But who cares when I brought back the Crown Jewels?
# I reinstated Christmas, makeup sport and even plays
# I was the Merry Monarch They were good old days
-# When said and done King Charles...
# England for fun
# I was the King loved by everyone My song is done. #
'This is Victorian Dragon's Den.
'It's Victorian Britain, an age of enterprise and industry
'when many great inventions were, well, invented by inventors.
'So, can any of tonight's candidates
'convince the Dragons to put money behind their ideas?
'First up, it's Mr Nathaniel Twonk.'
Gentlemen and lady. Allow me to explain
a most efficacious devised that I have invented.
I call it the automatic bottle washer.
This device will automatically wash bottles for hours on end
without the need for attention or adjustment.
Marvellous. Yes, I'm in.
'Our next hopeful inventor is Mrs Edwina Gruelbucket.'
Gentlemen and madam, I wish to present you
with a golden opportunity to invest in my most marvellous invention.
The automatic potato harvester.
-'Well, it's been a good day for our hopefuls so far.
'Let's see if Sir Chesterton Widebelly can make it a clean sweep.'
Lady and gentlemen.
I have invented something which I believe will truly change the world.
I call it the vacuum cleaner.
But what does it do?
-It sucks all right.
'The dragons aren't impressed.'
-'Can Chesterton win them round?'
You could use this instead.
Ah, now, you see, that's more like it. Yes, I'm in.
-I'm in, yes.
Children in Victorian times were used for all sorts of jobs.
As a child, Charles Dickens was forced to work in a warehouse
putting labels on shoe polish.
Dickens, though, was one of the lucky ones.
He never had to do this job.
Hi, I'm a shouty man
and I'm here to tell you about New Victorian Child,
the chimney cleaning revolution.
New Victorian Child cleans even the most difficult of bends. Don't you?
And you can really see it working.
The chimney flue on the left is clogged with dirt and soot,
whereas the one on the right is completely soot-free.
It's been cleaned with New Victorian Child.
There it is now.
Help! I'm...I'm stuck.
And just look at the results.
Well, Victorian Child now has eye infection,
skin irritation and breathing problems.
But when you're chimney's this clean, who cares?!
We'll even throw in this pack of pins
to make sure your child remains motivated.
Up you go, little fella!
And what's more, New Victorian Child comes with a full guarantee.
If it's injured, falls to its death, suffocates, is badly burned
or gets too darn big,
we'll just replace it with another poor child, free of charge.
So, go on, try New Victorian Child today.
Shove a kid up your chimney and the dirt is gone.
Use before 1864, because then it's abolished.
One of the most important events in Greek mythology is the Trojan War,
which centred around that legendary beauty, Helen of Troy.
It's a highly complicated tale, so here's the abridged version.
Daughter, it is time to choose a husband
from all the kings and princes of Greece.
Yeah, whatever, I'll have that one.
Menelaus of Sparta is chosen.
Sweet as a nut, mate. Yes!
you is well fit.
Your face could launch a thousand ships, yeah.
What is that supposed to mean? I think I've married an idiot.
But then...another suitor turned up.
Sorry I'm late, yeah.
I'm Paris, Prince of Troy.
I'm here for the husband choosing.
Mate, you is too late, yeah.
This ship has already sailed and it's mine.
That Paris, he is well fit!
Menelaus won't mind if I run away to Troy with Paris.
He'll forget about me in, like, no time.
Listen up, yeah.
I want all us Greek soldiers to march on Troy, you get me?
We're going to tear that city up.
Kill them all, is it!
Yeah, it is.
Sorry, started a war!
Menelaus has brought a huge army to take you back to Greece, yeah.
He's surrounded Troy.
We is going to war!
Helen, I've got well bad news. Paris is dead.
Which one's he again?
My brother, the prince.
That bloke you ran off with, the reason for this whole ten-year war.
Oh, yeah, I remember.
Oooh, you is well fit.
-Do you fancy getting married?
-Yeah, if you like.
Me name's Deiphobus, by the way.
-Friends call me Phobie.
Don't really care.
All right, Menelaus? What is up, boo?
I is destroyed Troy, Paris is dead, Dies...Daeus...
that one is dead as well,
and it's all cos of you, girl.
What is you got to say for yourself? Ah!
Oh! You're really fit when you're angry.
-Do you fancy getting back together again?
What am I like!
Nobody really knows how much of the story of Troy is legend
and how much fact.
One of our literary sources is Homer's epic poem, the Iliad.
But he was around
some 450 years after the Trojan Wars had taken place.
Indeed, he was an oral poet, so the Iliad wasn't even written down
until some years after that,
making the Iliad a somewhat unreliable historical source.
It's a little like a tabloid journalist today
reporting on the early earthworks at Stonehenge...
but with more fact-checking, and less libel.
On Viking expeditions we could work out where we were
by dredging up mud from the sea bed and looking at its consistency.
Not just a pretty face, eh?
Yeah, we Vikings had some very cunning ways of navigating.
Come on! We must be close to land.
-What are you doing?
-Are we lost?
-Don't be silly.
You're supposed to be navigating.
If you've got us lost, the captain'll feed your arms to the sharks.
We're not lost.
That's the sea and that's the sky and we're in-between them,
on the sea and underneath the sky, which is where I thought we'd be.
Look at me. Are we lost?
Right. Thought so.
Good thing I brought this, then, innit?
-What's in there?
We're in the middle of the sea, what use is a bird?
It's the latest Viking trick. This raven is very hungry.
When I let it out of the box, it will soar up into the sky
and if it sees land, it'll fly straight for it looking for food.
All we have to do is follow.
Sat rav. Wow, what a good idea.
-We'll find land in no time.
Fly, raven, fly!
I think it's a bit too hungry.
I probably should have fed it a little something.
Yes, Vikings really did use ravens to navigate.
They used birds like ravens
because they prey on land animals rather than fish,
which means they would soar up high and search for the nearest land.
It's actually a technique most of us are familiar with,
as it was first mentioned in the Bible
when Noah sends a dove to look for dry land
and it returns with an olive branch,
proving that either land WAS nearby,
or that somewhere floating out in that floodwater
there was an olive tree.
Now, the Vikings were very good at finding land,
which was very bad news for those who lived there.
# Was the summer of 793
# When we sailed across the great North Sea
# Comets crossed the skies that night
# Must have known something wasn't right
# We arrived upon your English shore
# And you offered friendship But we wanted more
# Yeah, so much more, whoa-oh-oh
# We're tearing up this place tonight
# We're gonna set this sleepy town alight
# We'll kill and steal and burn and drink
# Cos us Vikings don't care what you thi-i-i-ink
# Let me in now, won't you, please?
# We're here to raid your monasteries
# We're primed and ready to attack
# And we love how monks just don't fight back
# You'll die or become a slave to me
# Though our slaves often get chucked in the sea, yeah
# If the boat's heavy, yeah, yeah
# You're gonna lose your head, my friend
# We're gonna getcha in the end
# Then I'll drink a toast from your skull
# Cos we're Vikings
# And that's we ro-o-o-oll
# Play that axe
# We're gonna paint
# The whole town red
# With the blood of the dead
# We'll take everything that you own
# And get back on our ship and go back ho-o-o-ome
# We're going ho-o-o-ome
# We're going ho-o-o-ome
# We're going ho-o-o-ome
# We are going home. #
Well, that's it for this ramble through the more ridiculous recesses
of the remote and more recent past.
I thought I'd let the final words go to Groucho Marx
who, on his deathbed, said,
"Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do."
With that, good bye.
# Tall tales, atrocious acts
# We gave you all the fearsome facts The ugly truth, no glam or glitz
# We showed you all the juicy bits
# Gory, ghastly, cruel and mean
# Bursting out your TV screen
# The past is no longer a mystery Hope you enjoyed...
# Horrible Histories. #