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  • Entertainment

MOVIE: Horrible Histories movie arrives on the big screen

Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 7:00pm
MOVIE: Horrible Histories movie  arrives on the big screen
MOVIE: Horrible Histories movie  arrives on the big screen

MOST people will probably have heard of ‘Horrible Histories’. 

Beginning as far back as 1993 with a series of books by author Terry Deary which included ‘The Terrible Tudors’ and ‘The Awful Egyptians’, the children’s educational/comical franchise has since moved to stage and small screen. 

The 2009 CBBC series, which ran for five years, was rebooted in 2015 with bigger star names like Rowan Atkinson featuring alongside the original cast, and now a cinematic run is next on the agenda. But is this ambitious move a step too far?

‘Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans’ is the first in what the producers presumably want to be a series of films which delve back into history with a humorous and educational eye. BBC films are involved to provide continuity as is director, Dominic Brigstocke who helmed the TV series, and ‘I’m Alan Partridge’.

The story is a simple one, a comic retelling of the Roman invasion of Britain through the eyes of young soldier Atti who is sent to rainy England as punishment for upsetting Emperor Nero. 

There he’s captured by a Celtic tribe and ends up falling for the charms of the chieftain's daughter, Orla, before having to choose sides at the infamous Battle of Watling Street.

Given that the target audience for the books and TV series is pre teen, the jokes are understandably juvenile with toilet humour high on the agenda. It’s also surprising that the cast is not of a higher calibre. Kim Catrell, Nick Frost, Lee Mack and Alexander Armstrong are certainly recognisable household names, but, like the script, not of a level one might have hoped for. 

The silly story and comical situations are no doubt elements that fans of the TV show will enjoy, but the producers may have missed a trick by not pitching everything slightly older. 

Neither aimed at the very young who need parental accompaniment, or those old enough to visit the cinema on their own, it remains to be seen how successful this film will be. We award it a review score of 3 average, but far from horrible stars.

Paul O’Rourke

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