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Tropes features in all versions

  • Complete Monster: Plenty, and Played for Laughs.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The original Angry Aztecs book was unusually inaccurate and many criticized that installment in the series The later books and both of the TV series depict the Aztecs more sympathetically and accurately.
  • Periphery Demographic: Particularly the Live Action series. It's on CBBC, the intended audience could stretch to high-schoolers but assume for the most part they're looking at the 9-12 demographic. The show beat out other adult comedy shows for an award, and the first two series have been re-edited into an adult version hosted by Stephen Fry. Arguably, the writing allows for more of a Multiple Demographic Appeal, but its popularity is largely this trope. Also counts for the books.
  • Tear Jerker: In some books, especially the ones about the World Wars.
    • Terry Deary has a real gift for finding the humour in the worst possible situations in Horrible Histories, but in Frightful First World War, he manages to sum up the worst part of the war after telling the story of men making new friends during the Christmas Truce.

 "Having to kill somebody you like, that's the horriblest history of all."

Specific to the TV series

  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: The League of Gentlemen are going to do some sketches for series 4.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The "Dick Turpin" song is all about Dick Turpin not deserving the Draco in Leather Pants reactions he apparently gets. Of course, given their plan for this was to take the resident Mr. Fanservice, dress him up and put eyeliner on him, then have him sing about it, one can wonder how well they actually thought this through.
  • Ear Worm: "Stay calmer when you want to harm a llama, call a llama farmer!"
  • Fridge Brilliance: Some of the aforementioned musical references, by matching historical ideas with comparable modern day genres. For example:
    • Charles II, a king known for his excesses and love of partying, is portrayed as a rapper.
    • Cleopatra with her squicky romances and love of fashion is portrayed as a Lady Gaga Expy.
    • The women of World War Two are in a girl group ("Original Girl Power!")
    • The Viking invaders of England are a hair metal band (the ancestors of Spinal Tap?).
    • Blackbeard the pirate captain sings Gilbert and Sullivan-esque operetta.
    • The best example may be the song I'm a Greek, which extols the virtues of Ancient Greece in the style of Flanders and Swann. Donald Swann was a great admirer of Greek culture, and would no doubt heartily agree with the sentiments.
    • A few are much more blatant, like a song about Dick Turpin to the tune of Stand and Deliver.
  • Growing the Beard: As of the second series, or more specifically as of all the awards the second series won, and the adult adaptation that resulted there from.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: in the live action version, there was one scene where someone shouted 'Austria and Germany, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!'. Then if you have watched Axis Powers Hetalia... It becomes hilarious.
  • Ho Yay: Yes, it's there. Check out the hair-sniffing business in the Alexander the Great sketch for a start.
    • A very weird example is Death asking for a "kissy" on an autograph from Draco (the ancient Athenian law-maker, not the kind in leather pants.)
    • In the "Phillip and Mary" sketch, Phillip responds to the Priest saying "how about a kiss?" at his and Mary's wedding by kissing the Priest. On the cheek, but still.
    • Also, the Historical Paramedics:

 Geoff: Nigel, treacle!

Nigel: (puts hand on his shoulder, tenderly) Yes, honey?

Geoff: No, no, get the treacle.

    • And Admiral Nelson's death and last words. Especially the hug he gets from his 'captain'.
    • Charles II and Thomas Blood ("The man who tried to steal the crown jewels"). Charles -- while looking like a puppy -- is saying "I love him". Or earlier: "You must come round to the palace for tea."
    • The camp Pharaoh who clings to the Viking's arm in the cosmetics ad sketch.
    • Read up on Spartan pederasty. Then watch the "Spartan High School Musical" number.
    • Danke magazine.
    • And then there's the extremely camp Georgian gents Lord Humbertold and Lord Cumberland in Series Four who somehow manage to ooze Ho Yay by doing little more than standing next to each other.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The show's version of George IV has overtones of this. It helps that Jim Howick has a singing voice fine enough to actually make fits of royal self-pity touching.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Scary Stories tales hosted by Vincenzo Larfoff, which don't turn out to be scary in the end... much to the host's vocal frustration.
  • Tear Jerker: It's mentioned the Heartwarming page, but the sketch based around the Christmas truce turns right into this towards the end. After the soldiers have exchanged their greetings, we return to the modern day sports announcers. What really makes the scene a tear-jerker is the look on their faces, but what they say counts as well, especially with the quiet pause after it. After all, they know how it's going to turn out.

 Steve: Touching scenes there. It's hard to know how these troops are going to go back to trying to kill each other tomorrow.

Other Announcer: Maybe they won't, Steve. Maybe they won't. *pause* Merry Christmas.

Steve: Merry Christmas.

    • Another good example comes in the first series, after a skit about children signing up for the Hitler Youth. It's a shining example of Mood Whiplash done well, as the usual background music drops, and there is not a single pun uttered as we are informed of how children in the Hitler Youth were effectively the only protection for the German capital by the end of the Second World War.
  • What Do You Mean It's for Kids?: Mostly averted; yes, it's theoretically aimed at eight-year-olds, but the Parental Bonus is so very obviously deliberate -- up to and including Word of God insisting that it's a 'family show' -- it doesn't become a major issue.
  • The Woobie: Poor vilified Richard III.
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