Horrible Histories achieves that elusive alchemy of ostensibly being for children but giving adults plenty to learn and laugh about too. The programme makes the leap from small to big screen this weekend when Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans hits cinemas nationwide. Actor Nick Frost spoke to Maggie Doyle about history, his creative partnership with Simon Pegg and who he’s rooting for on Love Island.
Nick began by telling Maggie how the film isn’t just educational for audience members – the cast picked up a lot along the way too.
“You’re going to be learning something and not even realise it. We actually had a historian on set all the time, so sometimes we’d be sitting talking and a question would come up between the cast. We’re not even shooting and someone would say, ‘Andy, tell us when were cats introduced to Britain?’ ”
Turns out watching Horrible Histories is exactly how Maggie learned that the Romans had brought cats to Britain in 6BC too. Seriously – if you’re at all patchy on your history, you could do worse than binge watching the Horrible Histories back-catalogue, and of course, catching this movie.
Nick has famously collaborated with best friend Simon Pegg on projects like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and more. Maggie wondered whether it was ever weird working with his best friend.
“I actually found it very comforting in the sense that being on a film set and acting was something that I never, ever wanted to do. Then to find myself doing it was really quite traumatic. I had Edgar there, the director, who was my mate, and Simon, and between them, they guided me through it… I think they saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself and they helped to bring it out.”
Nick’s rise to fame was swift. Given that he hadn’t even wanted to act in the first place, there was a possibility that this new found recognition could be overwhelming. Nick maintains that his route to acting gave him the perspective necessary to manage it.
“I think I’m fortunate that I had a whole life before I became an actor and got famous. I think it allows you to put it into perspective, you know… I think once I realised that I wanted to do this and I loved making films and TV, it wasn’t about fame or celebrity, it was about the process which I completely love. I think I’m very lucky that I had a whole life to work out what was important really.”
You can hear Nick and Maggie’s conversation in full – including his take on who should win Love Island and what he makes of Longford’s Maura Higgins – on The Ryan Tubridy Show here.
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