Horrible Histories: Gory Games

Horrible Histories: Gory Games

Title logo
Genre Game show
Written by Giles Pilbrow
Sarah Morgan (Series 4)
Dan Gaster (Series 4)
Laurence Rickard (Series 1 - 3)
Directed by Dominic Brigstocke
Presented by Dave Lamb
John Eccleston
Scott Brooker
See Cast
Theme music composer Richie Webb
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 56
Executive producer(s) Caroline Norris
Giles Pilbrow
Richard Bradley
Producer(s) Candida Julian-Jones
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Citrus Television/Lion Television
Original network CBBC
Original release 30 May 2011 – Present
External links

Horrible Histories: Gory Games is a children's game show, co-produced by Citrus Television and Lion Television for CBBC, that debuted in 2011. It is a spin-off of hit children's sketch comedy Horrible Histories and is a product of the same creative team.


The show featured music by Matt Katz and Richie Webb, produced at Noisegate.[1] The gameshow's participants are aged between 8 and 12.[2]

The gameshow was adapted into an iOS/Android app, allowing players to play along with the contestants. It was available at Google Play or the Apple App Store. The premiere app by the creative tea, SyncScreen was in charge of app design and user experience, and they used their proprietary SyncScreen Framework API technology. The app also used Civolution’s SyncNow Automatic Content Recognition, which increased the synchronicity of the experience.[3] It was the " first mainstream “second screen” apps for kids", and was designed to be used by children while they were watching the show.[4]

Game play

Gory Games is co-hosted by comedian Dave Lamb and Rattus Rattus, the rat puppet who also "hosts" the parent series. The show revolves around "horrible facts".[5] Gameplay involves three child contestants (called "Horrible Historians") trying to obtain "Year Spheres" by completing either an historically-themed physical challenge or a quiz. Each Year Sphere contains a year which is either A.D. or B.C.. If it is A.D., the year is added to the player's score at the end of the show; if B.C., it is subtracted from it. The player with the highest overall score after three rounds is the winner.

The games are divided into six categories: "Brainy", "Messy", "Scary", "Silly", "Death" (hosted by Death himself) and "Gory". Quiz questions manifest as either multiple-choice or true-or-false questions and may be asked either by Lamb, Rattus, a live-action or animated character from that period, or—in Series 3—Death. "Prop questions" are also asked.

Similarly to its parent series, the games are grouped under randomly selected historical eras or civilisations based on Terry Deary's original books. To date the eras used in Gory Games are:

Cast members from the parent show make frequent cameo appearances as the historical questioners, as does Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.[6]


Series 1 - 3

Simon Farnaby
Jim Howick
Terry Deary (Series 1 - 2)
Laurence Rickard
Martha Howe-Douglas
Ben Willbond

Series 4

Jalaal Hartley
Lawry Lewin
Dominique Moore
Jessica Ransom
Tom Stourton

Celebrity special

For episode 15 of series 4, a celebrity special was held. Lamb and Rattus presented the show as usual with the following celebrities taking part:[7]

The usual games were played and the format was kept the same, with the play along compatibility still being used too.


To date four series have been aired across 2011-2016.[8][9]

Series 3 was re-edited in 2014 under a play-along format with an accompanying downloadable app from the CBBC website. Series 1 was also re-edited in 2016 under the play-along format. Series 4 is the only one to have only been made in the play-along format.

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4


Julia Raeside of The Guardian commented that the show has "no bleepy, flashy nonsense", and added that it "would have enthralled 20 years ago and is all the better for it."[10]

The Guardian deemed the Gory Games TV Play-along app the 25th best app for kids for 2014, deeming it impressive that the technology that allows at-home children to play along with contestants in real-time also worked with repeats.[11]

Awards and nominations

In 2013, the show was nominated for a Children's BAFTA award in the category of Entertainment.[12][13]

See also


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