Stephen Fry presents the best sketches from the award-winning comedy show. Prank-loving teenage Emperor Elagabalus hosts a dinner party on Roman Come Dine With Me.
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# Gory stories, we supply
# And your host, it's Stephen Fry
# The past is no longer a mystery
# Welcome to...
# Horrible Histories. #
Hello and welcome to Horrible Histories,
the show where the past lives and breathes,
aided only by the heart monitor of research,
the oxygen mask of analysis,
and the iron lung of downright silliness.
Emperor Elagabalus came to power when he was just a teenager.
And like many teenagers, he enjoyed nothing more
than playing pranks on people.
'Four Romans, four banquets, 400 courses.
'Yes, it's Roman Come Dine With Me.
'Tonight, teenage emperor, Elagabalus, cooks for his guests.
'The young emperor's reputation
'has some of his guests nervous before they even arrive.'
I'm a bit scared to be honest. Elagabalus is a bit crazy.
A friend of mine was invited to one of his feasts
and he made them eat live parrots.
Imagine trying to swallow all those feathers.
It would make you sick as a parrot.
'So, how is the prankster planning to impress his guests tonight?'
Well, tonight, I thought I'd just do something really easy.
It's easy cos I'm not making it, my slaves are.
-What are you cooking?
I'm going to do camel's feet with scooped out flamingo brain
and, er...some nice stuffed snails.
Then we've got the sow's udders, the jellyfish...
I'm going to do a dormouse, which is rolled in...
..I've got jackdaws,
I've got horse-meat sausages and rotten fish guts
and, of course, peas - with little nuggets of gold.
That sounds like a really nice starter. What's the main?
'Agrafina is the first to arrive and there's a shock in store.'
-Don't tread in those!
-Those are the guts of some people I had sacrificed earlier.
They're there to tell the future.
And the guts say...
"My pudding is going to be so scrummy,
"you won't literally believe it."
'Elagabalus checks on the food,
'while his guests snoop round the palace.'
-I wonder what's in here?
-No, no, don't go in there, please.
Oh, come on. It can't be THAT bad!
-LION ROARS >
-Oh, my God!
There's a lion in here!
I hid a lion in there. Ha-ha!
'The guests who survived the lion, join their host for dinner.'
-Arrgh! That's rock hard.
-That's because it is rock.
I gave you bits of wax and stone that are made to look like food,
while I get the real food,
which is actually really nice. Mmmm.
How mad am I? How mad am I? Ha!
'Time for some scores.'
Well, I slipped on human guts.
I was attacked by a lion and forced to eat rocks,
so, I'm going to give him a II out of...
If you give me a bad score, I'll have you executed. So...
-So, I'm going to give him, X out of X.
-I got you a doggy bag because I'm so generous.
It's an actual dead dog.
I'm so random! Stay in touch, yeah?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Elagabalus was eventually assassinated,
aged just 18, after four years as emperor.
His head was cut off and his naked body dragged all over the city
before being thrown into the river,
a fate that no 18-year-old should face -
unless it's part of a university rugby club initiation, of course.
DI Bones, Historical Crime Squad.
Deceased is a male,
Stone-Age cave dweller,
Cause of death... One, two, three, four, five, six...
17 arrows fired directly into the chest.
Oh, no, no, sorry, that was us. We did that when we found him.
You fired 17 arrows into the corpse of your loved one?
It's just an old Stone Age mark of respect.
OK. We'll ignore the arrows. Em...
Probable cause of death is the victim having his head sliced open
and his brains removed.
Oh, no, sorry, we did that too.
You sliced his head open and removed his brains?
Just our little tribute. Another Stone Age ritual for the dead.
Also present, a piece of raw, rotting meat.
-DI BONES SNIFFS MEAT
-Could be poisoned.
Sorry, we left that for him as well.
It's to keep him going through the afterlife till he catches food.
Never mind the afterlife, I'm trying to work out what sent him there!
Ah-ha! Traces of a suspect red powder.
Yeah, that'll be make-up. Us again, sorry.
We wanted him to look his best.
He looks great with 17 arrows in his chest
and half his head lopped off(!)
It's what he would have wanted.
I suppose the dead dog was you as well?
He might get lonely in the afterlife.
-What's the big bear for?
Oh, no, that wasn't us. That's what killed him.
Cause of death was the big... BIG bear!
Big bear! Big bear! Big bear...!
Yes, what you saw there were all burial phenomena,
discovered on different Stone Age skeletons from across the globe.
Finds have revealed that cavemen
used to practise trepanning,
wherein a hole is cut in the skull, exposing the brain.
It goes without saying, you should never attempt this technique
without a qualified caveman.
It's amazing what they managed to get up to
with only stone tools available.
'New from Stone Age Tools, comes a brand new set of Stone Age tools.
'Yes, it's the all-purpose Stone Age Tool Set
'for all those Stone Age tasks that need doing around the cave.
'Useful for cutting.
'Good for slicing.
'Great for hammering.
'That's not all, because order today
'and get this Sharp Stone free!
'Be the sharpest tool in the box,
'buy the Stone Age Tool Set, today!'
'Sharp Stone can cause injury.'
'Sharp Stones and Blunt Stones.'
Oh! Primitive as Stone Age tools may seem,
recently, some archaeologists have argued
that the use of these tools shaped the way we evolved,
making our nails less sharp, our eyesight less keen,
our jaws less robust and our brains smaller.
In short, technology simplified our bodies.
I dread to think what my iPad's doing to me.
Hello and welcome to The News At When.
When? The 1000s. In South America the Incas have emerged
and set about building their very own empire.
They have an incredible story of how it all happened.
Some of it is true, a lot of it probably isn't.
Here, anyway, is Bob Hale with the Incan report. Bob...
Thank you, Sam. Well, the year is 1070 or thereabouts.
That is Peru and the Incan people
are about to magically appear from a cave.
It sounds weird and you don't have to believe the story,
the important thing is, the Incans did.
One generation told it to the next, who told it to the next,
just like I'm telling it to you now, but without the fetching tie.
First out of the cave we have Manco, followed by his brothers, sisters
and the rest of the Incan people.
Manco appoints himself leader and to ensure he stays that way,
promptly kills all his brothers. Better safe than sorry!
Then he marries his sister, yuck! They have children, yuck!
They settle in a place called Cuzco, yuck!
It's yuck for the people who live there
because the Incans kick them out. See ya!
So, Manco becomes the first Lord of Cuzco.
The Incans have a place to call home and that is the end of that.
But not for long! When Manco pops his socks,
there's an argument over which son will replace him.
Mrs Manco sorts it out. She wants it to be her favourite son, Sinchi.
So, she dresses him up in this pure gold tunic,
one that's almost as fetching as my tie,
and pretends that he's the Sun God, a plan which unbelievably works.
No-one argues with a Sun God and Sinchi becomes second Lord of Cuzco.
But not for long!
After inventing the official royal haircut,
Sinchi is replaced by Lord Lloque, who is so ugly
-his wife can't bear to look at him.
He looks like a plate of mince. Unlucky, Lloque.
Then comes this big bully, a chap called Mayta. He's big!
By the age of one, he was the size of an eight-year-old child.
Just imagine the nappies. Yuck!
Then comes his son, Capac, known as the Unforgettable Prince
and is then...promptly forgotten about. We know nothing about him.
-He was followed by his son, Roca...
-BOB IMITATES GUITAR THRASH
..who was followed by his son, Yahua,
who was murdered by his son Viracocha,
who, unsatisfied with being Lord of Cuzco, insists on being called God.
Big headed? Much!
Think that's arrogant? Check out what he gets up to.
Not content with ruling Cuzco, he takes over neighbouring lands
and soon, bullying becomes the family business.
Yes, along comes his son, Pachacuti and his grandson, Topa
who take over enough land to create the one and only...
TA-DA, Incan empire!
And that is the end of that.
Or so we thought! Then in 1493, Huayna becomes the Incan emperor.
While he's off conquering Ecuador, up there,
trouble turns up, back down in Cuzco, trouble that looks like this.
ALIENS! No, no, not really. It's germs.
A plague from Bolivia, sweeps up, killing thousands of Incans.
What does Huayna do? He rushes home, catches the plague, and dies.
What an idiot! While the Incans die of plague, more trouble turns up.
ALIENS! No, not really, it's the Spanish Conquistadors,
who want the Incan gold. What do they bring with them?
ALIENS! No, just even more germs, diseases from Europe this time.
Smallpox, which should've been Big Pox, cos it killed many Incans.
So, after going from one tiny cave to an entire empire,
the Incans are all but wiped out by Spanish greediness,
Incan weediness, wheezes, sneezes and diseases.
Not by knobbly knees-es, short-term leases, ceaseless sea breezes,
winter freezes, the Japanese-es or this selection of Greek cheeses,
including this crumbly feta to which, I am horribly allergic.
Ach, ach! Oh, no, I'm fine actually.
-OH, NO, I'M NOT!
One of the most brutal Incan emperors was Pachacuti
and he found some very creative uses for dead enemies.
# I'm Pachacuti - the Incan Lord
# All other tribes dreaded
# My name means "he who shakes the earth"
# Not that I'm bigheaded
# When it comes to claiming nearby lands
# I was the type to risk it
# But it's how I treat dead enemies
# That really took the biscuit
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# Once on a hillside my troops hid
# To cause a rival strife
# And when they jumped out it looked like
# The ground had come to life... #
# The rocks they are my warriors
# I then used to boast
# And that little lie helped us win wars
# But violence helped the most
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# If you were a rival chief
# We'd kill you first and then
# We'd stuff you like a scarecrow
# But one for scaring men... ½
# Then we'd rest your bony fingers on
# The stretched skin of your belly
# And in the breeze they'd tap that tum
# Like a drummer...but more smelly
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# Do the Pachacuti
# Pachacuti. #
Pachacuti's greatest achievement was the magnificent Peruvian city,
Machu Picchu, built on top of a mountain ridge
nearly 2,500 metres above sea level.
It was never found by the Spanish Conquistadores,
so it remains in good condition to this day,
safely preserved under a layer of soot from all the tourist buses.
The origins of the so-called Great War are really simple.
Hmph. No, they're not.
They're complicated, really complicated
and by really complicated, I mean really complicated.
So pay attention. Over to you, General.
Gentlemen, we face a most difficult decision, most difficult.
-Oh, dear, sir.
-Yes, now, tea or coffee?
-That is difficult, sir.
-That's not the decision, you fool!
-Isn't it, sir?
-No, we face a much more difficult decision.
Gentlemen, we are facing a Great War.
Because an Austrian has been killed by a Serb, in Bosnia.
-And that means war.
Why does an Austrian being killed by a Serb in Bosnia mean war, sir?
Because of Russia!
Because Russia supports Serbia and Austria supports Bosnia, and so on.
-I support Arsenal.
-Shut up, Blenkinsop.
So, an Austrian has been killed by a Serbian in Bosnia,
which means Austria might invade Serbia,
and then Russia will invade Austria?
-Correct! Any questions?
-What is it, Meltravers?
How does this involve Britain, sir?
Well, Meltravers, who is your best friend?
Oh! Blenkinsop, sir. He's a spiffing fellow.
If I were to punch Blenkinsop in the nose, what do you think you would do?
Well! Nobody punches Blenkinsop and gets away with it!
Thanks, old bean!
So, Russia threatens Austria,
Austria's best friend will offer support.
-And who is Austria's best friend?
Germany is Austria's best friend, Meltravers.
Austria and Germany sitting in a tree,
Yes! So, if Russia were to attack Austria, Germany would attack Russia.
But that would leave Germany undefended on the other side. So!
If Germany were to attack Russia, she would also have to attack France.
And if Germany were to attack France, it would leave Belgium threatened.
And Belgium is our friend. So, we would hop in there to defend them.
So, we've all got to go and fight in a war because of that, sir?
-Well, I might get killed, sir!
Yes, you might, Meltravers, but it would all be for a good cause.
So, where is Bosnia, again?
The traditional image of pirates is from Stuart and Georgian times,
buccaneers wearing dandy outfits,
which they'd stolen off their rich victims.
You see, pirates didn't just steal gold coins and jewellery,
they stole anything that was considered valuable at the time,
including sugar and maps.
Let's face it, who doesn't like sugar and maps?
Apart from failed geography teachers with diabetes.
However, you might be a little surprised
at something that one pirate thought would make him a bit of cash.
SWAB THE DECK!
This time I've excelled myself, Fisher.
Other pirates have got it all wrong.
Why risk life and limb, attacking ships on the high seas?
When you can just steal a herd of cows from a field on dry land?
Captain Basil Hood, pirate extraordinaire!
Check on the cows, will you?
-We'll sell these cows for huge profit.
This is quite simply my best plan ever.
Oh! The cows seem to be a bit seasick, sir.
-There's a lot of spewing going on down there.
I've got vomit on the walls, on the ceiling,
-got some vomit on me.
And the stench is... Oh, no!
Go clean it up, man!
OK, maybe this wasn't my best plan...ever.
It's no good, sir, there's just too much of it.
-Like a volcano of vomit, down there.
I can't take this much longer. Ugh, what are we going to do?
Over there, sir, on the horizon, the Navy!
If they see us, they'll arrest us.
BOTH: We're over here!
We're over here!
Pirate Basil Hood, I'm arresting you for being a pirate.
-Do you surrender to the English Navy?
-I do, thank you very much.
Now please, can you take us on your nice, clean ship?
-What was that?
Just ignore it. We'll board your ship now and surrender at once. Come on.
-Stop! I definitely heard something.
No, that was Fisher's stomach. FISHER GRUNTS AND GROANS
That smell! What's that terrible, awful smell?
My word! There's cattle down here and they're puking and spewing
and...spewing and puking!
This ship is disgusting! We're leaving!
And you, Hood! You're free to go! Take your vomit ship with you!
No, please don't leave. Please!
Next time, let's just stick to stealing treasure.
HOOD AND FISHER VOMIT
It doesn't matter how sick you got aboard ship,
you really, really wouldn't want to have to see a pirate doctor.
Oh, you poor thing! That looks nasty. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.
-I'll just see if there's a doctor around.
-Yarrgh! Morning, nurse!
-Morning. And you are?
-One-eyed Ned, pirate extraordinaire!
I've got my chest, full of the finest pirate medicines.
Argh. Sea water.
That's poisonous, isn't it?
Only if I don't read the instructions, which I won't,
cos they're all in Latin and I can't read anyway! Ha-harr!
Right. Let's have a look at you, me young swabby, argh.
Touch of scurvy, eh?
Well, there's not much a bit of blood-letting won't cure!
Removes all the toxins, so it does.
-But I haven't got scurvy. I've just got a cut on my leg.
Why didn't you say so?
-We'll have it off in no time!
Don't want a rotten leg aboard a ship, do you?
-It's only a little cut.
-Well, better safe than sorry.
Trust me, I'm a carpenter.
A carpenter? Thought you said you were a doctor?
We had a doctor, but he died!
He just sawed off limbs, anyway.
And I'm the ship's carpenter, so - I know me ways about a saw.
You're a chatty one, ain't you?
Anything you can give him to ease the pain? Anaesthetic?
-No, I never heard of 'em.
Don't mind if I do.
Not so fast, laddie! Better see if he survives, first.
No good wasting rum on the dead.
The leg. Almost finished.
All we've got to do now, is seal the wound.
-With stitches and a clean dressing?
-NO! With a load of hot tar.
Ah! Good thinking, nurse!
Here's your new leg.
After winning the English Civil War, and executing Charles I,
Oliver Cromwell ruled England as Lord Protector.
Being a strict Puritan, he disapproved of anything fun.
# On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me...! #
-BOTH: Cousin Olly!
-Merry Christmas, old bean!
Oh, relatives. How did you get past the guards?!
-Thought we'd pop by to wish you a merry Christmas.
I'm a Puritan, I don't celebrate Christmas. I've had it banned.
Well, you won't say no to a spot of Christmas dinner, will you?
-We brought you a goose!
-What are you doing?
Christmas dinner is banned. It's sinful!
I've ordered the army to confiscate ALL roast geese. Guards!
Whoa, whoa, we'll lose the goose. It's fine.
-Why don't we all go down the pub or something?
Pubs are banned. They are sinful.
-Fine. Why don't we go to the theatre?
-Let me guess, banned?
-Yes. It's sinful!
Why don't we go and have a festive kick about in the park?
-You can't ban sport it's...
You must understand, these frivolous events
distract us Puritans from our devotion to Christ.
We have to do something, Lucy's all made-up.
-Oh, come on!
Make-up is sinful!
-Especially that eye shadow with that top.
Wait a minute. I've got it! Why don't we go to church?
-Church isn't sinful, is it?
-No. Of course not.
-Well then, let's all go to church!
-Guard! Seize them.
It's against the law to go to church on Christmas Day.
-Take these sinners to prison!
Now lock 'em up and throw away the key!
After Oliver Cromwell's death,
his son, Richard, took over but he turned out to be...useless.
So by popular request, the monarchy was restored.
There were still plenty of Puritans in the country,
particularly in Norfolk, who weren't very happy,
but then, that's Puritans for you.
And that's Norfolk for you.
'This is Mr and Mrs Miserable,
'the deeply religious, Puritan family from Norwich.
'And they're doing a Wife Swap with...Mr and Mrs Merry,
'the party-mad, Restoration family from London.
'The Puritan family want to ban parties
'and the Restoration family want to party all the time!
'I wonder how they'll get on?'
Oh, hi, hi, hello! Pleased to meet you.
-I'm Mr Merry. Call me Jamie. And you are?
Surely you have a first name? We're very informal here.
Yes, I do, it's Fight The Good Fight Of Faith, a wholesome Puritan name.
Mrs Miserable it is, then.
'So, did things get off to a better start in the Puritan household?'
How do you do? I'm Mrs Merry, Jeanie Merry.
-You must be Mr Miserable.
Well, let's get to know each other a bit better.
I've just got my first part as an actress in a Restoration comedy.
Acting is sinful. You should be whipped and put in the stocks.
OK. So far so good.
Truly these are terrible times.
I can't believe they brought back theatre
after we Puritans banned it!
Next thing you know, they'll be bringing back...Christmas!
Oh, hello! What an adorable baby. What's her name?
-No, Silence is her name.
-Oh, I see. Sorry, sorry.
Her full name is Silence Discipline Search The Scriptures.
My husband chose it.
Obviously, you would have chosen something a bit less gloomy.
Yes, I wanted to call her, If Christ Had Not Died Thou Has Been Damned.
-Ha-ha, would be ridiculous!
-After my mother.
Perhaps silence is the way forward.
What a terrible, ungodly man.
Since Parliament decided to restore the monarchy,
England has gone to wrack and ruin!
Mrs Mis just needs to lighten up a bit,
catch up on all the fun she's missed.
Oliver Cromwell's dead, Puritanism is history.
Hooray for Charles II! The Restoration's here.
'Things aren't going much better for Mrs Merry.'
-Sorry, what's this?
'Mr Merry has laid on a party for his honoured guest.'
CHEERFUL MUSIC PLAYS
-Not enjoying the music, Mrs Mis?
-Music is sinful.
-Don't suppose you fancy a dance, then?
-Dancing is sinful.
-But at least let me get you a drink.
-Drinking is sinful.
-What do you Puritans do for fun, then?
-Fun is sinful.
'It's time for the Puritan family and the Restoration family
'to settle their differences.'
Oh, King Charles II! A curse on your restored monarchy!
A curse on your so-called Restoration.
Your sinful ways are an abomination.
And those that sin shall burn in hell!
You like telling people off, don't you?
Well, yes, we do.
And that was fun, wasn't it?
-Yeah, I suppose.
And just remind me, isn't fun sinful, hmm?
You sinful Jezebel!
Well, you're going to burn in hell.
As we approach the finishing post of our perilous pilgrimage
from the past to the present,
I'll leave the final words to famous hotel owner, Conrad Hilton,
who, when asked if he had any worldly wisdom to impart
on his deathbed, said...
AMERICAN ACCENT: "Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."
With that, goodbye.
# 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. #
E-mail [email protected]
In this episode, prank-loving teenage Emperor Elagabalus hosts a dinner party on Roman Come Dine With Me, some British officers try to get their heads around the complicated causes of the First World War, and some Roundheads and Cavaliers take part in Historical Wife Swap.