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July 26, 2005
Hysterical / Historical

When your cable company provides upwards of three hundred channels, not even a DVR is going to help you find the good stuff on TV... and yes, there are some good things on the air wire.

Historyonics is a BBC production that currently airs on History International, but could just as easily be shown on Comedy Central. It takes a very funny look at some of the major events in English history — the battle of Hastings, the tale of Robin Hood, and so on — while imparting some actual historical knowledge to the viewer.

And when I say it's very funny, I mean it's fall-out-of-your-chair hilarious, if British style humor is your thing. I have the bruised hip to prove it. Examples:

• The Battle of Stamford Bridge rages, set to the song "Everybody was kung-fu fighting...."

• William the Bastard, having just sailed from Normandy across the English Channel with his army, disembarks upon the shores of England; he is about to go through the legal forms required to change his name to William the Conqueror. First, however, he summons his soothsayer to give him the, er, sooth.

William: Bring forth my soothsayer!

Knight: He drowned on ze way over, Sire.

William: As omens go, that's probably a bad one.

If you are fortunate enough to get History International on your cable or satellite system, I urge you to give this program a look. It will probably be listed in your TV Guide as "Almanac." For air times search the H.I. website for "Historyonics."

Posted by Russ at 10:59 AM, July 26, 2005 in History & TV

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Hee! That's almost worth getting a TV for!

Posted by: Cybrludite at July 26, 2005 03:14 PM

I have only seen two episodes, and they're both great. The Robin Hood episode begins with Robin Hood singing a song that is clearly lifted from Monty Python's "Dennis Moore" and goes on to tell the truth about the legend. The part of the Battle of Hastings where King Herold gets the arrow in the eye is one of the funniest moments of the series. If all documentary series were this good, the world would be full of scholars.

Posted by: Edward Cole at August 7, 2005 10:31 PM