Horrible Histories- From Manuscript to Multi- Platform

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2011 7:16pm

#tcmc Blogged by Christina Boonstra….   Introduced By:Jeff Norton, Writer / Producer, AwesomeSpeakersKirsty Bell, Research and Insight Manager, YomegoRichard Bradley, Managing Director, Lion Television LtdLisa Edwards, Publishing & Commercial Director, Scholastic Children’s BooksNeal Foster, The Birmingham Stage CompanyDarren Garrett, Creative Director and Owner, LittleloudProduced by:Jeff Norton, Writer / Producer, Awesome The horrible history of Horrible Histories was presented before us this afternoon. As well as a debate about who got the most poo into their adaptation of Terry Deary’s well loved books, we also explored the serious business of comedy for kids. Lisa Edwards from Scholastic Publishing began the story at the 10th anniversary of Horrible Histories. Sales, which had plateaued, received fresh fuel from a magazine along with a whole lot of TV advertising. This led to colour formats, audio books and even themed tour buses in Scotland. But it was Neil Foster who was certain that Horrible Histories could work on stage. The hard bit he said, was creating a whole story, a narrative, a way to take people on a journey using the books as inspiration. Kids don’t understand that if they’re bored in theatre they’re supposed to fall asleep inconspicuously, they’ll start shuffling and sniffing and wanting to wander about. His solution was developing a great story with great actors. But truth be told, he had a secret weapon. The ability to fire cannon balls into an audience, make Sphinx’s crumble before their eyes, and have a giant poo floating out into the audience, all through the power of 3d, probably helped a little. Completely reinventing Horrible Histories, Richard Bradley shaped the content for a new TV version. He proved that its possible to make stuff really funny, even for grown ups, within the constraints of writing for a children’s audience. Richard’s mantra is ‘laugh yourself clever’ and the way this plays out in his adaptation of Deary’s work makes it almost seem easy. Next step was creating an interactive experience for the CBBC website, and today we witnessed the first ever viewing of the virtual world of Horrible Histories. Users are seamlessly integrated into the TV world to become virtual characters in their own story. The website is in BETA format and is set to launch in September, but you can check it out at www.horriblehistoriesworld.co.uk In the end we all laughed ourselves clever by learning about Charles II, if you haven’t seen this before, you need to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R1UAH_A3lA