Horrible Histories: CBBC meets Royston Vasey
Friday 06 April 2012
At their most grotesque, they possessed imagination dark enough to spew forth the village of Royston Vasey – a place populated by pen-obsessed sadists, an incestuous "local" couple and a magical man who swanned around in black-face, abducting innocent women from their homes. Now, after 10 years, the League of Gentlemen are back ... on a children's TV show.
In a way, there's no better place for them than CBBC's Horrible Histories. Loved by children and adored by adults, its focus on poo, gore and stupid deaths (all told through fantastically clever and hilarious sketches) is precisely the sort of thing Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Mark Gatiss might write if they lowered the age of their target audience.
"We're all huge fans of the show," explains Gatiss. "It's brilliantly written and genuinely, dare I say, Reithian in its aims to inform, educate, entertain. It also doesn't talk down to kids in any way. They're just straightforwardly funny ideas and people of all ages respond to that."
Their sketches, sprinkled throughout series four, see them take the form of a hyperactive panel of film executives to whom historical figures (such as an irate Dick Whittington) pitch their biopics – a spoof of those Orange cinema adverts. "We didn't try to influence or change the sketches at all," says Gatiss. "We just had a laugh – after 12 years together, there's a kind of shorthand that developed. We ended up doing some quite outrageous things, just for fun. Or I did. Maybe I'll never work again. They treated us rather like elder statesman."
Has being back together given them a taste for writing as a trio again? "We'd love to do something together but we're all so busy on separate projects," says Gatiss. "Maybe 'A Return to Royston Vasey' in 2019, 20 years on, to see where the characters have got to?"
'Horrible Histories' starts on CCBC on Monday at 5pm
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre