mon 22/12/2014

BBC Proms Gallery: Horrible Histories | Classical music reviews, news & interviews

BBC Proms Gallery: Horrible Histories

Vicious Vikings and Gorgeous Georgians come to life in the Albert Hall

Vicious Vikings visit the Royal Albert HallAll images © Chris Christodoulou/theartsdesk

After two Proms devoted to Doctor Who, this year's children's Prom ceded the floor today to the hugely popular CBBC television series Horrible Histories. The series is based, in case you don't know your Horrible Histories history, on the books initially written by Terry Deary.

Deary embarked on the books, all with alliterative titles like Groovy Greeks, Rotten Romans and Blitzed Brits, in order to give children a better grounding in history than he had (not) enjoyed at school. "Everything I learnt after 11 was a waste of time," he has said. "It was boring, badly taught and not related to the real world... Who decided that putting 30 kids with only their age in common in a classroom with one teacher was the best way of educating?"

The series has always featured songs. At the Horrible Histories Prom, the musical education went live with the help of conductor Nicholas Collon, the Aurora Orchestra, The Music Centre Choir, Kids Company Choir and the cast of Horrible Histories. For the hard of hearing the performance was signed with his usual communicative flair by Paul Whittaker, artistic director of Music and the Deaf.

The Prom kicks off with a snippet from Also Sprach Zarathustra segueing into the show's theme tune. Children who missed a great entertainment can listen again to the Prom on BBC iPlayer - click for part one and part two. In the mean time, here are some pictures to help visualise the performances.

 

  1. Henry VIII
  2. Gorgeous Georgians
  3. More Vicious Vikings
  4. Stone Age Jazz
  5. Rattus Rattus and Charles II
  6. Death joins the Aurora Orchestra
  7. Charles II is accosted by Henry VIII's executioner

Comments

The Horrible Histories Prom is on CBBC on Friday 9th September at 5:45 p.m. can't wait!
I would just like to add my thanks and appreciation for all who were involved in bringing the HH prom to life and for giving my family a once in a lifetime experience. We were there!!! We travelled from Scotland without tickets and queued from 6.30a.m. we were No. 20 in queue. My husband and I have 3 kids age 10,6 & 3. I only undertook this madcap action after phoning the RAH 4 times to check that 1) under 5's were allowed 2) that tickets were definitely available 3) that no returns were received. It was only by accident that I was informed of the raffle ticket system that the RAH use to ensure no queue jumping! If you are not in the queue when raffle tickets are handed out, then you are not in the queue and you will not receive a day prom ticket! We were told raffle tickets would be handed out at 8.30a.m. but this got pushed back and then co-incided with the arrival of the cast at the stage door! So we had a melee of kids / parents (mine and me!) and the lovely cast who tried to sign / allow photographs as time ticked down towards the big performance. My son personally witnessed poor Mat Baynton nearly crushed to death with love from his wee fans and teen crushers! (double pun!) All the cast were so polite, patient and (?nervous) but from the Hull family who really did travel all the way from Prestwick, many thanks for an unforgetable experience and wonderful photographs & autographs and for NOT stealing my Sharpie!!!!!!
WOW! What a truely fantastic show - We travelled a 9 hr round trip to see the show (managed to get tickets) & tbh I would happily do it all again - My 2 kiddies LOVED it - It was my Son's 7th birthday yesterday (1st Aug) & he kept saying it had been his BEST birthday weekend EVER - Yes he only turned 7 but as birthday treats go I doubt we will be able to top this one! They dressed up in true HH spirit - My son a mini Charles I Cavileer & my 4 yr old daughter as an Angry Aztec - Face paint & all! The whole show was utterly brilliant & if I'm honest I would have gone without the kids to see these guys perform as in my opinion the cast are some of the greatest characters actors I have ever seen on TV, and throw in the songs & welllll....what more can I say! The way the classical music & history of classical music/composers was fed in throughout the show was genius. It is without question the genius of Mr Deary has brought History to life & made lerning fun...& not just for the kids As for the cast not being able to meet people outside, well I am sure they would have loved to but safety has to be a prority - Maybe the RAH needs to look at selling/issueing 'Meet & Greet' tickets alongside entrance tickets - I'm sure people wouldnt mind paying a few £ for this & maybe even a charity could benefit from this. If it was done in a controlled manner surely this would make everyone happy & safe ?! I would just like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all involved, cast, crew etc you all did a superb job and made a lot of kid (& adults) very happy xxx Oh one more thing - Bob Hale will u marry me? ;-)
I would like to reiterate to words of my friend and colleague Mat Baynton. We were all desperately disapointed not to be able to greet the fans who had traveled so far and helped contribute to what was, and i speak for all of the cast, a highlight of our careers. Its always a pleasure to meet our fans and i'm so sorry that we weren't allowed to do so. My agents details are: http://unitedagents.co.uk/jim-howick Sincerely, Jim Howick
Just wanted to add my heartfelt praise for the fantastic HH cast and crew. It was an amazing show! my 8 yr old son has talked about nothing else since! I'm sorry that KM had such a bad experience at the stage door. I did not hear the security guard announce that the cast would not be coming out but the news did filter through the crowd. I have to say though that a lovely lady from the BBC did come out to speak to the crowd and to explain the reasons why the cast could not come out. She spoke to my sister and I in person and we asked her if she would pass on some badges which we had made for the cast. My son was also disappointed that he did not get the chance to meet his heroes but he accepted the explanation from the BBC lady and was just ecstatic to have had the opportunity to be at the Prom. Thanks very much to Mat Baynton for taking the time to explain the reason behind the decision. It is very much appreciated and it is clear that he values the fan as much as they value him!
Having queued from about 0840 we got into the arena - it was quite difficult for children to see from there - I wondered if they could have suggested that people sat on the floor as I had to hold my children up to see over heads. Fortunately we had noticed that there were empty seats and at the interval we asked one of the staff if we could occupy them and they said yes - so we had uninterrupted views for the second half. If free proms are done again would be nice for those queuing to get more information on what to expect in advance - I am sure there were a lot of people who were not able to get in. Overall the show was great and the kids have been singing the songs almost non-stop - plus they learned a few more facts about orchestras and historical figures. Keep up the great work that HH is doing!
Kip, I believe you were the woman standing next to us in the queue (me being the girl who covered everyone in baby powder and dry shampoo whilst 'powdering' my Roccoco hair). Mat Baynton, thank you very much for explaining the reasons why you couldn't come out. I did see Larry Rickard's tweets on the day saying it wasn't your choice. My friend and I (both in our mid 20s, is that sad?) waited for a while before we saw the tweets and left. As KM says, the RAH staff gave no explanation and in fact almost looked like they were enjoying the schadenfreude. It is worth pointing out though that the vast majority of the crowd waiting originally were in fact parents collecting the children from the choirs. Once they had left there was a much more manageable number of fans waiting outside and I doubt there would have been a crush. But you weren't to know. Anyway, it was excellent and I'm very pleased that I travelled down from Edinburgh for it - worth every hour travelling and more!
I was given my first Horrible History book when I was 7. Terrible Tudors - I still have it 16 years later though it's a little worn around the ages now. I've never seen the CBBC series because I thought it might be a bit young for me (and when I went with a group of friends to the Terrible Trenches Exhibit at the War Museum the staff felt the need to tell us it was a children's exhibit). Anyway, a friend suggested we go because I'd love it and so we left home at 6am, got to the day tickets queue at 8am to make sure we got in (we were 126+127, there were a number of people there before us). It was worth every minute and every can of Mountain Dew to stay awake. The orchestra was fantastic (my friend had Ride of the Valkeries played at his funeral so I did shed a tear during that one), and I for one loved the mix of the music and the Horrible History humour. The violinist pulled out to be executed looked more than a little nervous though - not sure he was expecting that! Richard III throwing white roses into the crowd was a highlight - particularly as one hit my friend in the face :) - and the 4 George's. I will definitely be giving up any pretence of being an adult and look up the TV series. The number of children correcting Henry VIII on his wives was brilliant. I was thrilled to see children interested in history and retaining it at such a young age. The only sour note for me was the number of entitled parents. I was more than happy to let small children (that asked!) stand in front of me. But the number of parents who tried to force their way to the front as well (30 seconds after stating that they weren't even interested) weren't winning their own children any favours. My friend is only 5' so she had trouble seeing even as an adult. But that aside, the day was fantastic. Thank you to everyone who made it happen. And also - if it is Mathew Baynton - that's a wonderful offer and I really hope KM's son takes you up on it. Your Eminem esque Charles II was hilarious (even if I suspect none of the kids even know who Eminem is!)
Thank you to all concerned with the Horrible Histories Prom 20, this was a fantastic show. It was great to see the cast members who are very talented, also the dancers and musicians. There are so few shows that appeal to ALL ages , but this is one, - it is hilarious and educational. My children wish the songs could be downloaded as they are so catchy. We hope the show will be repeated if possible as know a lot of people who couldn't get tickets and would have loved to have gone.
If that really is Mr Baynton, thank you so much for the explanation, my friend and I were also in the crowd and wanting autographs and pictures and were disappointed that we weren't allowed to meet the cast. I think RAH and BBC could have announced that the cast were not meeting fans as soon as the show ended, or organised a system, like book signings, in which fans would have to queue to meet the cast. Regardless of that, the show was a fantastic experience for someone who was not in the least bit interested in classical music and the orchestra. Thank you, Mr Baynton and cast, for putting on a wonderful and spectacular Prom!
Hi KM, Just stumbled across this and happened to read your comment. Very glad I did. We were genuinely gutted that we couldn't sign autographs after the show. Knowing how many people had made the great effort of queuing for hours that morning or travelling from out of london, we wanted to say thank you to as many people as we could. We were told that we couldn't because there was a crush last year after the Doctor Who prom and some children were hurt. So they didn't want to risk that happening again. I must admit that it seemed a little 'health and safety' but had we gone against that advice and children been hurt we would have seemed very foolish. We signed as many autographs as we could on our way in before the show. I'm saddened to hear that the staff did not make these reasons clear. Please write to me via my agent - details here http://www.hamiltonhodell.co.uk/fans - and I will make sure we all sign a personal message for your son when we get together again to start rehearsing the next series. Sincerely, Mat Baynton
Agreed, KM. That sounds about as mean as kicking a puppy. Horrible nonentities. But I find the officials/many of the doorkeepers involved with the RAH - presumably independent of the BBC - horribly officious. The place still isn't a pleasure to visit under such circumstances.
The Horrible Histories prom was fantastic. I would normally avoid an event that required me to stand for three hours (one hour queuing for day tickets plus two hours of the show) but this was so worth it - my eight year old was thrilled and we both enjoyed every minute. The orchestra were wonderful and I will definitely look out for other opportunities to hear them. Only sour note was that after waiting for something like half an hour outside the stage door, a security guard came out and barked 'there will be no autographs and the cast will not be leaving from this door'. Seemed a mean way to treat excited children. Far bigger stars than the cast of Horrible Histories - brilliant though the show is - manage to sign autographs for their fans. At the very least the message could have contained a 'thank you for coming to the show' or even 'sorry'. Such a shame that my son's first experience of waiting to see performers he admires was so negative.

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