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Horrible Histories visits Coventry

11 December 2018

Famous figures from Coventry’s past have been given the Horrible Histories treatment as the team behind one of the best loved children’s TV programmes has been filming in the city.

A crew from Lion TV, producers of Horrible Histories for CBBC, has visited the city to film sketches and songs at St Mary’s Guild Hall, Drapers’ Hall and The Charterhouse.

The show, which airs on CBBC, is based on the bestselling Horrible Histories books written by Terry Deary, illustrated by Martin Brown and published by Scholastic.

The team spent two days in the city filming sketches based on Lady Godiva and Margaret of Anjou as well as a song for Ira Aldridge, after conversations with the team from the Coventry City of Culture and Historic Coventry Trusts.

BAFTA-award winning Jess Ransom will star as Lady Godiva and Queen Margaret of Anjou, Javone Prince plays Ira Aldridge and Tom Stourton will also feature as Sir Henry Beaufort and other characters.

Lady Godiva is known across the world as, legend has it, she rode naked through the streets of the city in protest against her husband, the Earl of Mercia’s high taxes – or did she?  Horrible Histories will be exploring the legend.

Queen Margaret of Anjou was the wife of Henry VI and played an active role in national affairs, including choosing Coventry as the home of the royal family and effectively making it the capital city during the 15th Century.

Ira Aldridge, an anti-slavery campaigner, was the first black actor to play Othello and managed a theatre in the city in 1828.

Jacqui Ibbotson, Great Place Project Manager at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that Coventry is to have its own Horrible Histories sketches.

“It is one of the most popular children’s TV programmes of the past decade, attracting millions of viewers and picking up over fifty national and international awards.

“It is one of those rare shows for kids that manages to entertain and educate in equal measure and this is our chance to showcase Coventry’s rich history to a whole new audience.

“Many of the show’s sketches are normally filmed in studio so to have Horrible Histories on location is a very special opportunity.

Ian Harrabin of Historic Coventry Trust said:

“Inviting Horrible Histories to film in The Charterhouse and Drapers’ Hall– both of which are benefitting from major capital investment ahead of 2021 – will be a great way to attract young people and families to the venues when they open.

“It is especially appropriate that a new song has been created by local composer Richie Webb for Drapers’ Hall as this perfectly matches the vision for the future of the building, as a centre for developing the musical talents of Coventry’s young people.”

Richard Bradley of Lion Television, which makes Horrible Histories, said:

“Lion TV is delighted to be working in Coventry and discovering more about its hidden sites and rich history.  Coventry has been at the heart of so many important chapters of our nation’s history – we so excited to be giving some of those stories the unique Horrible Histories treatment.

The sketches look like they are going to be lots of fun – including an Ira Aldridge song with a 2Tone feel to it!  And we are particularly pleased as Richie Webb – the fabulously talented composer of all our songs is a local boy!”

Horrible Histories has just completed filming series 8.  The series has won over fifty awards including a record number of Children’s BAFTAs, the International Emmy, two British Comedy Awards, the Golden Rose of Montreux, and the Prix Jeunesse, chosen alongside Sesame Street and The Gruffalo as one of the three Best Children’s TV shows of the last fifty years.

The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England through the Coventry Great Place scheme managed by Coventry City of Culture.


Listen to Theo Bosanquet’s podcast on the filming here:


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