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Cast of Horrible Histories at 2011 Children's BAFTAs

Horrible Histories is a children's sketch-comedy adaptation of Terry Deary's long-running book series, produced by Lion Television with Citrus Television, that ran for five 13-episode series on Britain's CBBC from 2009 to 2013. Like the books, it was intended to foster children's interest in British and other Western world history through factual anecdotes retold with a focus on "gross-out"-style humour and comic violence – "history with the nasty bits left in". The producers of the TV series recruited writers and performers with roots in the adult British comedy community. These in turn took a deliberately non-condescending approach, relying instead on such influences as Blackadder and the Monty Python films. A focus on historical accuracy was combined with a comedy style relying heavily on parodies of current UK pop-culture to make those facts more accessible, leading to takeoffs of Masterchef, The Apprentice and Wife Swap among others. The result won numerous domestic and international awards, including two British Comedy Awards and four consecutive Children's BAFTAs (cast at 2011 ceremony pictured), and eventually garnered respect as a classic from viewers of all ages. (Full article...)

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Today's featured picture

NGC 6357

The star cluster Pismis 24 lies in the core of the large emission nebula NGC 6357, which extends one degree on the sky in the direction of the constellation Scorpius. Part of the nebula is ionised by the youngest (bluest) heavy stars in Pismis 24. The intense ultraviolet radiation from the blazing stars heats the gas surrounding the cluster and creates a bubble in NGC 6357. The brightest point of light above the centre of this image is Pismis 24-1, once thought to be the most massive known star but now known to be a binary system.

Photograph: HST/NASA/ESA

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