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S02E05

I had just ten years on the throne — do you remember that?
No, all that you remember is…
I was really fat.

An episode-length lesson in the ways well-intentioned ambitions can be memorable for all the — awkward — reasons. Luckily, that also happens to be a pretty good description of King George IV…

In this episode:

Song: George IV: Couldn’t Stand My WifeJim as the Prince Regent/King George IV, Lawry as King George III

Recurring sketches:

Historical Shopping Channel — Pirate Hour

Computer Game: The Real Tomb Raider (“NO zombies! NO mummies coming back to life!” …and more to the point, no Harrison or Angelina.)

Scary Stories — The Curse of Tutankhamun (“I mean, if it’s not a real ghost story, why not get John Barrowman? Or Ant & Dec?!”)

Bob Hale — The Crusades Report (“We apologise for the technical hitch we appear to have with Bob today…”)

One-offs:

Putrid Pirates

Unexpected Treasure — Things that don’t come up often on Talk Like a Pirate Day: once you’ve hauled in the loot, yo-ho-ho, how did the fifteen men  divvy it up?

Incredible Incas

The Incan Family Players: Live Like an Inca — Or, y’know, sort of a rough approximation of an Inca. With a few pieces inexplicably borrowed from nearby cultures. Also, those hairdos. But hey, did we mention they had llamas?!

Incan Rites of Passage — Oh look, it involves a llama sacrifice! And by this point, most of the audience is probably helpfully volunteering to hold the knife!

Gorgeous Georgians

Congratu-very-lations at Last — ‘George IV learns of his father’s death’ is one ride-the-pony move away from a world-storming dance video… until his butt gets involved. (“Um… you know what might help, what if you wore a corset?” “I AM WEARING A CORSET!!“)

Measly Middle Ages

New! Old Crone — “You’ll wonder how you ever survived on a Crusade without one!” (Warning: Old Crone is very old and may not even survive the journey. Always read the label.)

Awesome USA 

Awesome Agent Moses — Sometimes, the life-or-death fight to keep the flame of humanity and equality alive just really requires you carry around a chicken.

Rotten Romans

Poop for Sale — Roman toilet cleaners out to make some extra cash… which goes about as well as you’d expect. (“No thanks, I make me own.”)

How to Behave at a Roman Dinner Party — In which the ‘very height of civilization’ turns out to resemble that of your average four-year-old — only with even more strategic upchucking. (“Well done… that’s my feet, but well done.”)

Field Notes:

  • So… in one of life’s fun little co-incidences, we’ve reached the part of Series Two when I get to be the cultural insider. (No, I’m not American myself, but trust me on this. As we Canadians like to put it, when there’s a elephant in bed beside you, you’re naturally aware of his every move.)
  • Starting with with the ongoing — and, judging by the quality of the execution, hastily-slapped-together — conceit that the Mesoamerican content is an exotic, alien interloper, being beamed from… some sort of pyramid… somewhere… via powerful Von Daniken-esque antennae. All of which leads me to wonder — why include the South American continent at all, exactly? Even if we concede the attempt to widen horizons past Western Europe, then why the Incas/Aztecs?
  • Again, given the unquestioned conscientiousness of the HH production team, I’m willing to assume there’s some sort of obvious connection to Mesoamerica I’m missing here, which some thoughtful UK reader will no doubt explain to culturally-ignorant me at length shortly after post date. But until then, I’m going to go with the theory that somebody on the same production team has an ungovernable llama fetish and figured this was the safest way to work it out. ‘Cos really now, guys.
  • Then there’s their take on the antebellum American South. Which is… a bit harder to wax sarcastic over. Sure it’s not incredibly nuanced, but then trying to work the funny closer to the reality — as per Series One’s experiment with Nazism — would…it just… nobody wants to deal with that. (Hence why Quentin Tarantino won an Oscar.) So the bumbling-but-right-hearted cartoonishness here can be easily excused, especially given that Harriet Tubman’s story is undeniably the most kickass angle possible to approach it from — also that our Dominique is clearly determined to be far more than the local token of diversity, and more power to her.
  • Still… Jim, we can probably get along from here without your Colonel Sanders impression, ‘k? Your average plantation owner may have been morally blind, but they were capable of noticing when being fooled twice by the same damn woman within thirty seconds. Your slaves also need to hitch up their American-ness a bit — I’m still onboard re: dropping the then-authentic-now-unfortunate dialect, but staying within the same continent should’ve been doable. (Protip for any freshly-inspired future UK screenwriters: ‘brilliant!’, in America, has no use except as shorthand for ‘British!’. Go with ‘great!’ instead.)
  • As for the third controversial point raised within this ep: Lawry as George III does not and could never measure up to Simon’s version. Not open for discussion, folks. Not that this diminishes the value of Lawry’s performance; he’s pulling out every tic and twitch at his disposal, which is actually pretty true to the reality of poor George’s affliction, and thus under ordinary circs would be… entirely adequate, and even charming.
  • It’s only that he’s up against Simon’s particularly extraordinary command of crazy, which is like trying to dispute Einstein’s theory of relativity; it’s possible to have fun in the speculation, but the weight of reality itself is against you in the end. Literally, as it happens, given that there exist recordings of the Prom version of this episode’s song, not to mention the inset sketches produced specially for it.
  • Now that that’s settled, we can get on to the stuff universally acknowledged to be wonderful, ie. that same song. Or more specifically, Jim’s performance thereof — and in the lead-in sketch, in which we meet the Prince of Whales in all his sniveling, superficial yet strangely poignant glory. Just when you’re starting to worry, the show offhandedly reminds you that they have available a performer, and vocalist, able to turn what could’ve been one-note childishness into a full-on festival of fun comic nuance. And you instantly resolve to never, ever doubt them again…
  • …of course, you’re also pretty sure they’ll be easing off the llama obsession from here, which also helps a lot. (As do the clever little homages to Indy and Angelina/Lara Croft in the computer game). But mostly, it’s about the comic-nuance thing. I especially like the detail paid in re: making the song just Lite-FM enough for satirical comment, yet substantial enough for the genius to shine through. Lyrically it’s maybe a bit too heavy on the ‘I did design‘ –type forced scanning, but I suppose for once that’s true to the period.
  • Basically George IV represents the apotheosis of Jim’s talents in the same way Charles II did for Mat earlier… you can tell, because the Happy Dance of Hey Dad’s Dead. Improvised of course, because no scriptwriter could possibly have seen that coming, let alone what appears to be a very authentically nonplussed Ben. You can just see him mentally resolving to never work with children, animals or inspired Howicks ever again.
  • Apropos of which… now five of the six have an iconic royal alter-ego, and Lawry has Cromwell. Meanwhile Larry has: Bob Hale. This tells you everything you need to know about our Bobsy, really. Except that he’s received the first, and most dramatic, of his annual age-lifts… which in turn coincide/contrast with his level-ups in manic irrelevance. Since meth is a non-starter, my theory involves Bob’s selling his soul for his historical expertise, on the installment plan (I have a lovely sub-theory in which he finds the contract while lost looking for after-shave in Wal-Mart), and gradually becoming ever-more-aware that he’s got nothing left to lose.
  • In related speculations, I note that his creator — as an offshoot of his role as go-to for all generic types — has somehow also become The One Who Inevitably Works With Children and Animals. Oh, and can’t forget being slathered with poop, because the writers sure won’t; which becomes several different types of amusing when you remember Larry is one of the writers. Not saying a decently-accessible masochistic streak is helpful re: working on HH… I’m just saying.
  • The general extent to which everyone’s personality quirks are starting to shine through is also on loving display in the ‘Pirate Treasure’ sketch. As is is the general level of fun everyone had, being healthy young males wearing swashbuckling costumes and yelling ‘Arrrrrrr!’ a lot. The ending is a bit of a letdown — it feels bizarrely like Mat actually did cop out, leaving the rest unsure how to fill the gap — but s’ok, the pirate sketches are still the gold standard for the HH format: intrinsically fun, funny and interesting. (Especially Mat clearly putting some thought into whacking Larry, in light of the ‘no need to bully me today’ scene in the Series Three outtakes…)
  • One minor weirdness, as per the ‘Pirate Shopping’ bit: forget it, show, that is so not Black Bart. Or if it is, I fail to see why his reputation needs to be stomped all over just because you couldn’t be bothered to respect your own continuity. Therefore, I hereby dub this guy ‘Captain Fancypants’, and now feel much better about him being snaffled by someone named ‘Cutlass Liz’.
  • Apropos of fun, Ben’s having way more of it than you’d expect starring in his own private laundry-detergent advert. I totally approve of this, also note with interest that those are one more thing both sides of the pond have in common… along with (of all things) 50’s social conditioning through hokey filmstrips. Could’ve made a great recurring thing out of that, esp. with Larry as host.

95% Accu-rat:

  • OK, Rattus, it’s an easy mistake to make, but just so everyone’s clear prior to embarrassing themselves at their next pretentious gallery opening: Agent Moses = Harriet Tubman, incredibly awesome hero of the abolitionist movement who would occasionally motivate her terrified ‘cargo’ with a loaded pistol, telling them they would ‘be free or die.’ Grandma Moses = Anna Mary Moses, incredibly cute little old lady who became an American folk-art sensation at age 78.
  • Oh, and Tubman’s newspaper distraction? It worked because everyone knew she couldn’t read, not the other way around. A white Southerner of the period, however easily amused by poultry, would never take a ‘negro’ woman for an ‘educated lady’.
  • Right, the Incans… without further editorial comment, may I just point out that:
  1. Their average day did not, in reality, consist entirely of finding new and increasingly mundane reasons to sacrifice llamas.
  2. The beer (called chicha, and still brewed among many South American peoples to this day) was not made of human spit, it was made with human spit, ie. they would — and occasionally still do — chew up some corn to kickstart the fermentation process. A seemingly subtle distinction, but an important one, given that the alcohol thus produced would naturally kill off any residual ick. Think of it as the way the American political process eventually killed off any residual Todd Akin; in both cases the way is now much clearer re: enjoying a refreshing beverage.
  3. The mass heart-ripping — as the show will concede next series — was the Aztecs’ schtick, and to a lesser extent the Mayans’, not the comparatively peaceful Incans’. Ironically, in making that mistake the show missed the chance to hilight the uniquely horrific nature of Incan sacrifice, which involved literally fattening small children up prior to leaving them on a mountain to die of exposure.
  • On the other hand, the show is if anything massively understating the loathing George IV felt for his consort. Caroline, Princess of Brunswick was actually his first cousin, and their home ties were extremely important to the elders of the House of Hanover. The kids, on the other hand, were frankly enjoying the English scenery — especially the giggly, good-natured part of it wearing low-cut blouses.  So yeah, the whole thing started as “Son, why don’t you settle down and marry a good German girl?” and deteriorated from there.
  • It was and is generally conceded that Caroline was not the world’s most loveable personality; it has been suggested that she suffered from a mild version of whatever afflicted Uncle George III. Her escort to England, Lord Malmesbury, recorded that she lacked judgment, decorum and tact, spoke her mind too readily, acted indiscreetly, and often neglected to wash, or change her dirty clothes. He went on to say that she had “some natural but no acquired morality, and no strong innate notions of its value and necessity. Or, as my Treasury of Royal Scandals puts it, a ‘crude, foul-smelling exhibitionist’, whose hobbies — after her inevitable separation from her royal husband — included sending ‘obscene and harassing’ letters to her new neighbors.
  • Regardless of all of which — and a lot more she never bothered to hide — the public inevitably took her side in every effort her husband made to rid himself of her for good, simply because they couldn’t bear to think of taking the Prince of Whales’ part in anything. Jane Austen, summing up the general theme, sniffed in a letter: Poor woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman and because I hate her Husband. (Which incidentally became a problem when the object of her hatred revealed himself as one of her *ahem* biggest admirers, for which etiquette demanded Emma be dedicated to him.)
  • The show’s portrayal of George IV is an exaggeration based on that perception: as the man himself claims, despite his pathological self-indulgence, he was neither unintelligent, uncultured nor unkind… and frankly was quite the ‘stunning show pony’ for much of his life. As time wore on, however, it became increasingly harder to find any of it under all the chomping, slurping and… other stuff. The famous Voluptuary Under the Horrors of Digestion by James Gillray about sums up the result — note that among the bottles are remedies for venereal disease.
  • Yeah, the Curse of Tutankhamun, pretty much entirely discredited for the reasons outlined. I mention it here mostly as an excuse to share this even more hilariously OTT cursed-mummy story, which is of about the same vintage and hauls in the Titanic for good measure.
  • The Real! Tomb Raider business rather overstates the case, inasmuch as in the real reality, you’d have a brace of native labourers to do most of that grunt work for you. Your job would be basically to stand around barking directions and generally being all White Man’s Burden-y until there were signs of a significant discovery being made. At which point poor dear you also took on the wearisome business of taking all the credit and becoming an international celebrity. (One thing you would probably not be doing is wandering around in full formal dress — even Victorians knew not to wear black-tie in the desert!)
 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Series Two

 

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S02E04

“Stay calmer when you want to harm a llama — call a llama farmer!”

Poking about in the more diverse corners of their mandate, the show turns up a wealth of good fun… also, seriously, more than you ever wanted to hear about llamas.

In this episode:

Song: We’re the WWII Girls (Original Girl Power) — Alice as a factory worker, Martha as an ‘Air Force miss’ and Katy as a Land Girl.

Recurring sketches:

Historical Hospital — Islamic healer vs. European ‘doctor’: who’s the dangerous alien now? (Hint: probably the one calling the other “You crazy Arabian hippie!”)

Stupid Deaths — Humphrey de Bohun (took a pike up the bum while fighting his way through the Battle of Boroughbridge)

Scary Stories — The Cabinet of Mystery (“I don’t want to do a show called ‘Boring Stories’. I did that last year for the other channel, and frankly it sank like a stone.”)

Historical Shopping Channel: Inca Hour (“And remember, these drums are made from real human skin — so you can go on beating your enemy all day long!”)

HHTV News — Jack Sheppard, Escapologist Extraordinaire: Will He Cheat the Gallows Again? Spoiler: No.

HHTV Sport — Trojan War Special: Hector vs. Achilles, literally for all the marbles. (“And who’d’ve thought that Achilles’ Achilles’ heel would be his Achilles’ heel?”)

Dodgy War Machines (animated) — No.14: Greek War Elephants

One-offs:

Gorgeous Georgians

The Legendary Lord Nelson — Luckily, when you have big honking cannons, being personally imposing is optional… and no, that’s not a euphemism. (“How did you lose your legs, sir? They seem to be cut off at the knee…?” “Psst, no he really is that short…”)

Incredible Incas

Llama Sacrifice-a-rama-lama-ding-dong – Of the livestock, the viewer’s sanity, whichever.

Vile Victorians

Tapeworm Trap — “I once caught a tapeworm this long!”

New! Victorian Beer — Tastes better than the water! Less likely to fill you with loathsome diseases! There’s just one itty-bitty problem…

Woeful Second World War

Churchill Plans D-Day – All you really need to know about this take on the Great Bulldog’s workaholic tendencies: “…So we can continue this meeting in our jim-jams!”

Field Notes:

  • Great rejoicing in camp: The show has finally come flat out and acknowledged the existence of Horrible Herstories — well, the process really started last episode, with Pearl Hart, but it reaches full flower here. And speaking as a fully representative female, let me tell you, it is about damn time. Just a marvellously catchy, upbeat, accurate song, neither too strident nor too apologetic, beautifully performed in honour of entirely deserving subjects.
  • Now, I ordinarily don’t like to get too excited about deep cultural significance in goofy comedy. Esp since there is maybe a fraction too much emphasis here on how icky hard and uncomfortable it all was — “manual labour hurts!” is uneasily reminiscent of that ‘Math is hard!’ Barbie of the ’90’s. But I still can’t help it, it’s just that amazing to think of little girls being taught to consider these women as cool – as their role models even – as opposed to… right, yes, that’s another blog entirely.
  • Interestingly, this same episode also hauls in British comedy’s incomparable Vaguely Ethnic Middle-Aged Guy, Alexi Sayle, to play the, well, middle-aged ethnic guy. This is a vast improvement on the usual, and not only because you just know option B was Mat in a turban. As the Arab healer in a sketch whose strident — if fully justified — political correctness is the point, Sayle gracefully transcends same to create a character I’m genuinely sorry to leave. It’s a wonderfully innovative use of the Big Name, and I find myself desperately wishing they’d explored the possibilities further. Surely Lenny Henry, say, would be open to persuasion?
  • As a side note, Lawry as a helplessly cranky patient has finally found a role I can totally believe him in. One who even has the good sense to object to amputation — not to the extent of getting up off the bed and running for his life, or anything, but then Mat’s French accent is hypnotic like that.
  • Meanwhile, David Baddiel is still gamely making it work. This is probably the definitive Scary Story, both in terms of actual content and auxiliary hissy-fits (bonus: now with 75% more awkward f/x!). Did it end right here I’d be complimenting the writers on another fun and effective use of the Big Name and moving on. As it stands, however… I’ll probably just be moving on. Except in re: chronicling the various snipes at his ‘producers’, as per above, that will never not be mildly amusing. (‘Other channel’ — wonder who that’s directed at?)
  • Elsewhere in the Great Ethnographic Adventure: the Incan sketches, maybe a bit too blandly authentic, and cliched, for their own good. Albeit again, probably much less so to a European audience which hasn’t also assimilated, say, Handy Manny. To me it just all comes across a trifle… unimpressive, let’s say, alongside the fierce and nuanced celebrations of diversity going on elsewhere. Ben especially could not be less convincingly Hispanic if he’d actually attended Oxford and played cricket and — oh, wait. Yeah, this is clearly another cultural discrepancy I need to get used to.
  • Mind you, where the makeup’s concerned bland represents a massive step forward for international goodwill all by itself (stupid and unfortunately permanent Lego-block hairdo on Martha notwithstanding). All the bonus points besides for bunging real live llamas in there — that’s appreciated more than I can say, given my near-total certainty that none of the cast or crew has experience as a South American camelid wrangler. (I have learned to assume nothing where Simon is concerned.)
  • I can also acknowledge that, once having come up with the ‘stay calmer if you want to harm a llama’ slogan, the only way short of exorcism to remove it from the writer’s head would’ve been this sketch. And even then, the poor man, having to write it…! (I picture him eventually grabbing producer lapels and whispering, Alien-style, “Help me… oh God get it oooout…”) More seriously, it’s a nice offbeat note in what’s increasingly becoming the homogenous in-house comedy style. Especially the lovingly detailed bouncy cartoon llama, which is just begging for accessory status in an HH toyline.
  • Oh, and speaking of which… OK, I guess the idiot-chav thing has a continuity excuse this time (albeit if so, what happened to all the blonde curls? Was the pinnacle of Greco-Roman civilization really the discovery of L’Oreal?) Everybody appears to be enjoying themselves so much in the latest Illiad takeoff, in fact, that the viewer can’t help but do the same. It works really well as a sports segment, too; with Larry around, the offbeat always has context.
  • Also: extensive bonus material for non-UK viewers, who get to envision street toughs calling each other “You flannel!” with apparent deep sincerity; in fact entirely as though they have, sometime in the recent past, been totally disrespected by plaid pyjamas. Trust me, this is appreciated even more than the llamas.
  • And oh, speaking of animal adventures, also my general policy of saying something nice about the animations whenever I can, even if I’m not totally proud of myself for admitting it: the image of flaming charging pigs is about 1000x funnier than it has any right to be. Come to that, why pigs, specifically? First time I’ve ever heard of elephants being particularly spooked by pork. I suppose mice wouldn’t last nearly as – oh God, I’ve been spending far too much time with these people, so sorry, really…
  • Larry generally continues to solidify his position as star player in the Non-Sequitur Theatre that clearly is his imagination (seriously, if you’ve not subscribed to his Twitter feed yet, now’s the time.) In this latest installment, he unveils a note-perfect drunk act, which is never quite as easy to make funny as you’d think… although [insert joke about it likely being easier for British comedians here]. Fully three of the six-member HH troupe have now demonstrated remarkable proficiency at it, is all I’m gonna say. Meanwhile, Ben plays a perfect counterpoint: a veritable masterclass in how desperately trying to keep a straight face can usefully pass on-camera as real discomfort.
  • Elsewhere, Mat’s boyish cute and Ben’s unctuous streak both get a good workout in the otherwise rather disappointingly pointless Nelson sketch (see below). And Jim… doesn’t  look or sound like Winston Churchill at all, really, but is somehow still so utterly convincing that the equally dubious ‘workaholic’ sketch — seriously, the toothpick business is lifted straight from 1940’s cartoons — is raised to positively classic heights. (Apropos of which, have I also mentioned how much I love Ben in WWII uniform? “That’s not funny, sir. There is a war on!”)
  • Oh, and yay! brief glimpse of classic crazy Simon! (“You sir [Mat]! You look like you have a tapeworm!” — oh, hardy-har-har). Come to that, pretty sure there’s a brief glimpse of Sarah as well. Possibly to make up for the tapeworm crack, Mat also gets a lovely gurgly death scene that’s sure to delight the kiddies no end… although the brighter of them may wonder along with their parents why nobody — up to and most definitely including Death Scene Guy — doesn’t just pull the trap out via the damn string still dangling from his mouth.
  • Still, it’s amusing to see how comfily the show’s settling into the groove where Mat is concerned. The Jack Sheppard bit is a nice parody matchup once again, effectively recreating the seventeenth-century equivalent of tween Twitter accounts even without access to emoticons. On the other hand: “Thousands of people have turned out for [his execution]”?! Jessica, love, there aren’t enough trick camera angles in this life or next to make that happen.

95% Accu-rat:

  • Wow, turns out there were actually a lot of Humphrey de Bohuns running around out there in the Middle Ages, just generally being all heroic and knightly and stuff. Only one seems to have got it up the bum, though. Our Humphrey is actually the IV on the list, and so should probably be pronouncing it ‘Boon’ (although Ben’s version here is an acceptable later variant). At any rate, yeah, on the scale of Romantic Knighthood, if not actually seated at the Round Table, still fairly well up there. His Wiki article, which includes a graphic description of the fatal ambush, is worth scanning in full — including the usual notation that said Stupid Death may-or-may-not have actually happened. Medieval historians: sucking the fun out of grade-school history since basically forever.
  • Medieval Islamic medical practices: like most of their scholarly knowledge a firm corrective to stereotype both then and now. Although the full story inevitably involves a lot more intercultural exchange and subsequent advancements in learning on both sides, Arab physicians seem to have been much more effectively able to sort the spiritual out of of the physical than their Western contemporaries. Thus they not only were free to apply basic common sense, but were able to experiment in directions that the latter held as taboo. (‘Anatomizing’ corpses, for instance, which up to the nineteenth century the Western world saw largely as horrific desecration, to the extent that it helped spawn Burke & Hare.) The resulting classic Muslim medical texts thus read as strikingly modern to our ears.
  • What’s specifically retold here — albeit with a much more upbeat ending than the original — is a famous anecdote from an Arabic healer describing his visit to a Christian European hospital. Which after much searching I regret I’m unable to find online, but check your appropriate HH book, I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. Meantime, have this similarly charming scoff from one of Dr Ossmer’s contemporaries: It is a foolish custom to have blood let out of the body when it is not needed… The expert physician has no need to choose times for blood-letting. To test this with horoscopes is a vain idea.
  • HH’s ability to highlight amazing achievements that would otherwise remain obscure is one of the most endearing aspects of the concept. Exhibit A: Dr. John Snow — and even more so when you realise he jammed all that pioneering work in hygiene and epidemiology into only a couple short decades, dying a true sciencey-type hero at the tender age of 45. Not from cholera; he pointedly boiled and drank the local water to the end of his life. Although he did eventually relax his temperance stance after some years to the extent of taking meat and wine for his health.
  • Meanwhile, as Wiki points out, the wholesale consumption of ale didn’t actually result in an entire nation of dipsomaniacs, albeit… [insert joke about possible ancestry of English football fans here]. Although the hard stuff certainly existed, what’s described here was basically the forerunner of Bud Light, brewed with other considerations in mind entirely: Ale, along with bread, was an important source of nutrition… particularly small beer, also known as table beer or mild beer, which was highly nutritious, contained just enough alcohol to act as a preservative, and provided hydration without intoxicating effects.
  • Small side addendum: The favourite tipple of your average slum drunk, which Ms. Guttersnipe’s clearly supposed to be representing here, would be gin, not Guinness. Much less expensive to produce and hence to purchase; important considerations because, y’know, Victorian slums. The denizens therein weren’t picky about how they escaped from it, just as long as it was fast and cheap.
  • Besides the Nelson sketch’s highly questionable premise, especially for this particular ep (wow, a legendary naval hero’s taken some damage from all the important battles he’s fought, how whacky! /sarcasm) I’ve never been quite sure where Mat is supposed to fit into the naval scheme of things as it existed at the time. He’s a bit old to be a rookie midshipman (the standard entry-level position), and even if he is, if he’s meeting the great Nelson on his first day he should definitely have a much posher accent.
  • On the other hand, there’s no question Jack Sheppard was as real, and as entertaining, a phenomenon as you like — well, the entertainment value might vary a bit depending on your stance re: the human tendency to idolize unworthy celebrities, but at the very least he gave more value for glitter than, say, your average Kardashian. This lovely page has lots of pictures testifying to the enormous hold he had on the popular imagination. (Oh, and it also mentions the 200,000 people that turned out for his final execution attempt. I’m thinking HH might just want to leave actual figures out of their execution-scene scripts from now on.)
 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Series Two

 

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