Talk:Horrible Histories (2009 TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Horrible Histories (2009 TV series) is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 16, 2014.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject BBC (Rated FA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject BBC, an attempt to better organise information in articles related to the BBC. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page where you can join us as a member. You can also visit the BBC Portal. WikiProject icon
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Television (Rated FA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Television, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of television on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject British TV/Shows (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject British TV/Shows, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of British TV shows on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the importance scale.
 
WikiProject History (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject History, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the subject of History on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Comedy (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Comedy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of comedy on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
 
FAQ for editors new to this article
If your changes have been reverted with an edit summary referring you to the talkpage, please consider the following:
1. This is not a fan page. Everything in a Wikipedia article must meet the standard of notability, which basically means have proven real-world significance (mentions in reputable newspapers and similarly fact-checked sources, usually). These are not always, or even often, going to be the things a fandom considers important.
2. As per the table headers, only recurring roles--that is, roles that the same actor appears in over more than one episode--are listed for both starring and supporting cast. This was decided upon by consensus of the editors most familiar with the article, and reaffirmed by experienced editors on review. Essentially, it's the most objective way to determine which roles are important enough to be listed. As per above, "fan favourite" isn't an acceptable criteria (and "my favourite" is even less so). Otherwise... well, there were literally hundreds of roles over the course of five series, many of which were un-named. There's simply no way to note them all without the article being completely overwhelmed by irrelevant detail.
3. To avoid creating similar chaos, the cast lists are also organized according to a purely objective ranking of importance. Starring cast are defined as per the show's own credits and then listed alphabetically; supporting cast with speaking roles are ranked below them, first by number of recurring roles, then by length of service. If you are still passionately convinced that [insert your favourite supporting player here] is being unfairly kept down and/or deserves extra-special notice, please consider editing/creating their own article, which is linked from this one.
4. This is a Featured Article, meaning many experienced editors have reviewed it and determined that the version you're reading is among the very best of Wikipedia's several million articles. Therefore, any changes/additions are going to be reviewed that much more carefully--but that's not to say they can't be made. The talkpage below is a forum to which you are not only invited but encouraged, absolutely, to dispute edits, raise questions and just generally make the case for anything you like. All we ask is that you first take a look through the previous discussions to see if your question etc. has already been raised.

Would like to take a crack at a major rewrite as per the warning template[edit]

I've been keeping an eye on this article off-and-on for the last year or so, as a fan of the series and as an editor/creator of some related articles (those for the cast and Yonderland, for instance). At this point I'm confident that I'm experienced enough to at least significantly help to fix the major problems, as listed in the warning template at the top -- especially as I've been reading the talk-page discussion above, also reviewing the recent edit history, and find they also agree with my own assessment of what the issues are and what needs to be done to fix them.

As far as I can tell there's been no further discussion of what to do with the article within the last six months or so. Thus I'd like to propose that, as soon as I can get to it (probably in the next few days), I'll begin an extensive rewrite, subject of course to the longer-term editors' consensus at all times. It's a brilliant show, almost certainly destined to become a classic of children's TV, and it deserves the best Wiki article possible. Shoebox2 (talk) 13:53, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Go for it Shoebox. Ceoil (talk) 13:05, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Definitely. Recapitulating a bit what's been said in previous threads, I think we should keep references to primary sources to a minimum – or get rid of them altogether and put them under "External links", dunno. There are 9 to the Q&A session and ... er... uhm... many! to the ETF Masterclass. Good thing is that various things said at those conferences also appear in the press articles. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 00:06, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

could that include a rewrite of the DVD section to include up-to-date information on the DVD releases, including boxsets? Visokor (talk) 13:58, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

It certainly could. :) Shoebox2 (talk) 21:58, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, great, 'tis in my sandbox and I'm puttering away. Will post any potentially controversial questions/ideas here that I might have in the process. Thanks again. Shoebox2 talk 15:21, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Right, out-denting for new question: how much detail is too much? Specifically, is it strictly necessary to list every single parody inspiration the show ever had (as per 1st paragraph under "Sketches") or every single character the main cast ever played? Asking because it's technically encyclopedic information (and clearly represents a lot of painstaking work) but in practice reads as just meaninglessly huge walls of text that're easier to skip then get anything useful from. I'm thinking reducing both to several major hilights (I've got a pretty good idea of what those are to start) would be a lot more meaningful. Shoebox2 talk 00:42, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Characters: well, you've read my mind, have you? I've been thinking of writing just "Various roles" next to each actor. As for the main cast (seems to me like stating the obvious but as I got reverted twice when I tried it... Can provide diffs if required), we should list just the, well, main cast (ie, MB, SF, MHD, JH, LR and BW). The rest would go as "Additional" (or Recurring, dunno) and "Guests". Thoughts?
I substantially agree. For now I've divided the infoboxes more clearly into 'Main Cast' -- ie. the familiar sextet plus Sarah Hadland in series one, listed under 'Starring' -- and 'Additional Cast', ie. everybody else with more than one role, including Terry Deary, Meera Syal and Dave Lamb. Special guest stars, as defined as 'people whose specific notoriety was a significant point of their appearance', are listed in a section below that, after a short paragraph on the League of Gentlemen's appearance, which I think was notable enough to rate a special mention. Then, as what I hope is a viable compromise, I've listed only recurring roles for the actors that have them -- pretty much every acknowledged major role, save Baynton's Dick Turpin, was reprised at some point -- leaving the rest as 'various'. This also works as a way of indicating relative importance among the supporting cast. The details of one-off roles can always be placed in the actors' articles as needed/wanted. Shoebox2 talk 14:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Sketches: I'm not fussy, really. Probably it'd be better to leave one-offs out, or to incorporate the relevant ones into a general description of the show to contextualise them and avoid too many subheadings. At present it's unsourced – it may fall under WP:BLUE but I'm not sure. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 02:55, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Think it probably does to an extent, although some of the guesses at parody subjects are a bit dodgy. Think it's a good idea to incorporate the most significant -- again, as defined basically by 'most often used', and in this case also 'very obvious source' -- into a general 'Production History' section, which already includes a (massively stripped-down) description of the writing process. Shoebox2 talk 14:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Meanwhile -- on the subject of massive chunks of detailed text -- agreed that there's way too much emphasis on the Q&A & Masterclass conference, and will be cutting a lot of it (might leave it in as sourcing for a few technical/production points not easily found elsewhere). Besides the general problem with primary sourcing I don't like relying so heavily on just one or two POVs, even if one of them is the series producer. Also planning to summarise critical reaction under one heading and generally introduce a much more linear history of the show's production. Shoebox2 talk 00:42, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Progress update: I've just about finished the rewriting itself, save for the (newly-renamed) 'Reception' section, which will like the rest be considerably cut down to a comparative simple, factual summary w/representative quotes. Otherwise, I think it's going pretty well: I've cut way down on the number of headers, removed nearly all of the extensive quotes and unnecessarily-detailed fancrufty stuff, and -- what I'm especially pleased with -- found more third-party sources that give more varied POVs on the show's conception/production history. (Have however left the Masterclass and BFI Q&A in there as sourcing for a few production-related bits that I felt genuinely added to the article, but couldn't source anywhere else.)
I've also as discussed above cut waaaaay down the lists of roles played and individual sketches. Also -- not sure if this'll be too conroversial, but -- removed the elaborate tables showing ratings by episode, on the grounds that a] again, waaaaay too much detail, as confirmed by other TV articles I've looked at; b) the tables were incomplete and I've found no way to recover the missing data; and c) they provide no useful context that a simple summary, which is what I've replaced them with, wouldn't provide just as well. Barring a series-by-series average, which would be wonderful if someone could provide it, there are for now enough reliable sources describing the show as a 'hit' for the reader to get the important idea.
Beyond that, I think the major need for article is a few photographs (there are any number of publicity stills of the actors in costume out there, and it would also be nice to have a visual for the animated titles)... and not much else really, save for perhaps some more genuinely relevant behind-the-scenes details. It seems to have been something of an (understandable) fad among UK television writers for the last few years to comment on the novelty of a children's series with adult appeal, so there's a huge amount of analytical/opinion stuff available; the problem is sorting through the mass to find the comparatively few encyclopedic, factual bits. Shoebox2 talk 14:28, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Good work, Shoebox. Span (talk) 08:51, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Seconded. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 10:22, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you both for your help and encouragement. If any other interested editor would like to review & offer constructive feedback, the article draft is as noted in my sandbox. Shoebox2 talk 19:02, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

[Out-denting for final announcement] OK, after carefully taking into account everyone's feedback and input, I think what I have here is a draft ready to be pasted into mainspace -- after a few final cosmetic tweaks anyway -- as of tomorrow (Sunday) evening. I'm still hoping to eventually pursue Good Article status, but my main concern for now is to see the article repaired, and I'm satisfied that that's been accomplished.

With that in mind... I have read WP:OWN, and believe I understand it fully... but may need to ask for a teeny bit of patience, regardless. :) Also, to request, please and thanks, that going forward any substantial changes or additions be at least run past the talkpage here prior to posting. I don't by any means claim that my version is the ideal one, or beyond improvement; but I have spent a solid week rescuing an article on a subject I feel strongly about, taken care to have it vetted by interested and experienced editors, and will continue to fight workEditing because damnit, I'm doing it already... as necessary for its improvement. Many thanks again for everyone's goodwill, Shoebox2 talk 04:40, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

S'all right, Shoebox. Take whatever time you need. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 04:52, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely. If an editor is taking on the work of a major re-write, other editors give them space to do it. Span (talk) 11:37, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

OK, everyone, rewrite's up[edit]

See notes above re: my upcoming struggle with WP:OWN, also the many thanks for the help and support. :)

Below, noting a couple outstanding issues that came up during the rewrite process:

1) Images -- The ones in the article now (save for the title card at the top) were sourced and placed by User:Coin945. I'm not sure they're 100% suitable, but admit to finding the whole question of Wiki-images a bit daunting, so would welcome any further input. (Update: OK, have now received further input, from the editors at WP:NFCR, and in substantial agreement with their assessment, and on previous assurances from Coin945, have removed most of the current images... so we're back to square one. Honestly, I'm not sure if any other images at this point are going to enhance the article -- as was mentioned in the image review discussion, pics of people in historical costume aren't exactly going to act as a huge insight in an article about an historical sketch show.)

2) Sourcing -- The previous version of the article had all of 111 sources, and that with heavy reliance on maybe five-ten. I've reduced it to 70-odd. Again, I'll absolutely admit this is by no means my area of expertise and welcome input (especially as regards the need to source awards/nominations), but am also pretty sure that that number doesn't need to dramatically go up again, nor that the wholly uncontroversial material in the Format section especially needs extra citations.

3) Level of detail -- By my best estimate I've removed 30,000+ words from the article, most of which was fancruft-y stuff that -- by consensus, as far as I can tell from the previous talkpage conversations above -- was actually heavily obscuring the readers' getting a decent handle on what the show is all about. What's left is based on and sourced in what's either obviously important to same, standard to Wiki TV articles as far as I can tell, or what reliable media commentaries have considered important. It's also been vetted by interested and experienced Wiki-editors. Please, going forward can we ensure that any further information meets at least one and preferably more of this criteria before it's added?

Cheers, Shoebox2 talk 13:37, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Sterling work, Shoe. Congrats for getting through it all. Span (talk) 15:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, your suggestions and encouragement had a lot to do with it. :) But yeah, this editing thing, it's sort of addictive. Think I might next take a crack at the HH episode and song list articles if I get a chance over the holidays... Shoebox2 talk 16:41, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry too much about images. Span (talk) 23:10, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Very nice article indeed. Many, many thanks. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 15:10, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Again, thanks in significant part to your help. :) Shoebox2 talk 15:41, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Potentially useful sources for article[edit]

It should be noted that most if not all of these were previously suggested during my recent rewrite. I've made notes below as to why I didn't use each one. Shoebox2 talk 16:44, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Comments on HH made by Education Secretary Michael Gove[edit]

  • "In further comments, he suggested that Horrible Histories, the books and television series created by Terry Deary, was a useful tool spark interest in “neglected” periods of history in schools such as the 17th century." "He...said the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War presented an opportunity to "generate empathy" instead of simply viewing it through the traditional "prism" of Blackadder and Oh! What a Lovely War."[17][18]
The first quote is indeed valuable, and I've added it to the 'Historical Accuracy' section accordingly. The second... doesn't have anything to do with HH, as far as I can see. Even given the broadest possible definition of 'opportunity', I doubt very much that the Secretary is even aware that the show is planning a WWI special. Shoebox2 talk 21:31, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Comments by actor Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley etc.)[edit]

  • "My friend's son knows every single king and queen of England because of their song. That is teaching genius."[19]
  • "The show has done for history what JK Rowling did for reading".[20]
Kind words indeed. I gather Williams has quite the reputation as a presenter of history-themed documentary series, thus the second quote has fair validity--and is also nice and pithy--so can be added without too much issue. Unless he has an education-related degree that I'm missing, though, the first quote is pushing it a bit. Don't mean to be over-pedantic, but at this point there's an embarrassment of riches in the 'Reaction' section to begin with, so I think we can at least afford to be picky. Shoebox2 talk 15:20, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I assumed the first quote could be used as an alternative to the source explaining that the songs have great memorisation powers (which if memory serves was flakey once upon a time). In any case his words are rather hyperbolic and enjoyable to read. Hope you had a fun few seconds indulging in his critical praise for HH..--Coin945 (talk)
Oh, I see. Right now I don't think there's anything in the current article stressing the catchiness of the songs--it's not really relevant to anything but the specific memory challenge in the K&Q song, which is already reasonably well-sourced to an interview with the cast, so. Williams' comment doesn't anyway prove anything beyond one kid, and even that's secondhand. Still, as you say, very enjoyable as a compliment. :) Shoebox2 talk 16:26, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is just fancruft of the highest order. We can't cram every comment made by everyone into the article. This is just the opinion of an actor – not an educator or a historian <grumble>(and I won't go into what the comparison with Rowling is supposed to mean)</grumble> Besides, Yahoo! isn't precisely a RS. Anyway, up to you. Sorry but this is getting a tad tiresome. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 02:02, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Objections noted, and valid -- actually, they sound a lot like my initial ones, this morning. The only thing that swayed me into including the Rowling quote was his reputation as a presenter of historical programming and documentaries generally; I got the idea that that might translate into some distinctive authority on the subject, this morning with Google's help, but am entirely willing to stand corrected. Especially because the more I looked at it in-article, the sillier I felt trying to figure out what it meant. Removed, with a self-resolution to look at these things more critically before adding, next time. Shoebox2 talk 05:19, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Popularity of songs (on YouTube)[edit]

  • "songs from the comedy shows have gone on to become YouTube sensations — gaining as many as two million hits."[21] --> I dont think we have a source for this at the moment.
We don't really need a source; the article's current (much more modest) statement that 'the videos have gained a measure of standalone popularity on YouTube' isn't likely to be challenged. And I don't see any reason to change that statement based on the above. The young lady in question clearly isn't an expert on these things, esp. if she thinks 'two million hits' constitutes a bonafide 'YouTube sensation'. (I checked the front page, and noted that something from an obscure magician's channel called 'Walking on Water Prank' already has three million hits.) Shoebox2 talk 16:14, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Possibly noteworthy criticism of the show?[edit]

  • "But not all parents do love Horrible Histories. I've spoken to several who are appalled by the body count in each TV episode and are not convinced that any of the intellectual "bran" is being digested."[22]
Several anonymous parents as polled by an obscure Australian newspaper editor doesn't really count as a noteworthy critique, no. Besides which, content-wise this is a near-duplicate of the Spectator quote that already leads off the 'Historical Accuracy' section. Shoebox2 talk 16:19, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Thoughts on the show from a historian[edit]

  • "Horrible Histories may be a kids’ programme but it’s extremely well made and makes every effort to blend historical accuracy with a novel approach. I have a history degree, but I’ve still learned a thing or two from watching it."[23]
Yeah, no. It's a nice tribute, but it's also an anonymous one (from a reader who claims 'a history degree', which is not quite the same thing as being a noted historian) and doesn't add anything useful.

Look, Coin, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here, but trying to catalogue every single random online mention of the show isn't helping anything. We already have a lengthy and legitimate reception/criticism section in the article. At this point any additions made to it are going to have to come from legitimate, notable commentators who have both authority on the subject and something interesting to say on it. Shoebox2 talk 16:01, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Putting these quotes in this talk page isn't hurting anyone. I see no reason why you should be getting upset or annoyed. I'm simply sharing some bits and pieces that I've found. If you don't think they'd work in the context of the article, simply don't use them. But don't be offended. There is no agenda behind my edits so please don't create one.--Coin945 (talk) 11:46, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not offended... just honestly bewildered as to why you'd even bother so carefully cataloging these obviously unusable 'bits and pieces'. I appreciate your posting them to the talkpage instead of straight into the article, but if this is your ongoing idea of effective sourcing or additions then yeah, I do have to admit to being a bit concerned about that, if only as regards the integrity of other articles you may be working on. Shoebox2 talk 12:17, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Proposed Horrible Histories Interactive paragraph for article[edit]

The Terrible Treasures bit hangs off the end. I should know... I put it there in the first place when I wrote it. These should be more than enough for some sort of paragraph.section about all the interactive/web content and games provided by the TV show.--Coin945 (talk) 18:09, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Again, this was already discussed on -- and I think is posted wholesale from -- my sandbox talkpage. I admit to remaining entirely baffled (as among other things a Canadian who can't access most of it) as to why this particular part of the HH TV experience is such a huge deal, so would welcome third-party opinions. Reposting my original rationale for not including any of this:
OK, had another review of the marketing interactive media and I'm sorry, but I just don't see it as notable in the context of the show itself. It's a marketing campaign as all TV shows have, involving online-based multimedia as most marketing campaigns do these days. An apparently successful and even award-winning campaign which is great... but it's just not unusually innovative or otherwise very remarkable -- as demonstrated by the fact that 99% of your sources are primary, ie. the ad agency itself. Nobody else seems to have cared, to put it bluntly, so it's unlikely the reader will consider it essential either.
(back to present) Since then, have had a look through a representative sample of other TV articles, and as far as I can tell the precedent appears to be that, outside significant standalone notoriety (a la the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Boston LED debacle, or Mad Men's various kerfuffles re: deliberately provocative imagery) marketing campaigns/promo spinoffs typically either aren't included (Breaking Bad) or rate no more than a basic, factual summary (The Walking Dead). And this, mind you, is for hugely popular international mainstream series. Meaning the existing short section here is, clearly, already more than enough. Shoebox2 talk 17:09, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
ETA clarification re: the related question posed in article's latest editing summary: Yes, the existing couple paragraphs ultimately survived because awards/nominations. I left them under 'spinoffs' as a compromise, because as noted above I don't think a fuller Marketing section is anywhere near warranted. Note that I would not at all be crushed if future consensus was to eliminate the existing paragraphs altogether. Shoebox2 talk 23:12, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
What I would say in response to your logical and entirely correct comments is that the two paragraphs, as they stand, go into probably too much detail about a comparitiely small part of this topic. Even a mere line about the marketing/interactive stuff in general, shoehorned in in somewhere in the production section, as opposed to a short explanation of one of the many games, would seem to be more justified..at least to me. I acknowledge its relative insignificance in regard to the series as a whole, but it seems to have driven substantial traffic to the show and created a web interactive community, so it would seem just as unbalanced to not include info about it at all, than if it was granted its own full paragraph. So, as I said, swapping the Terrible Treasures info for a more general aside about this thing would be the preferred option, and would also serve the article by getting rid of the weird addition to the spin-off section.--Coin945 (talk) 16:17, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
In any case, I'll write a little something for the Horrible Histories franchise article, which previously was utterly woeful, and is still quite a big mess (althoguh considerably neater). It'll go under the "Games and toys" section.--Coin945 (talk) 17:01, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
A general aside? So basically leaving us with 'Horrible Histories had a marketing campaign consisting of some extra content and some games, which were nominated for some awards'? Sorry, not quite seeing how that's an improvement. Coin, what you don't seem to be getting here is that online marketing/community-building of this type, successful or no, is an extremely routine element of any modern TV show -- in particular children's TV shows. (Besides the CBBC/CBeebies sites, I suggest you also have a look at the website for the corresponding Canadian cable channel, www.treehousetv.com).
Even that it was successful only becomes interesting if HH were to become an international multimedia phenomenon whose every move is mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter (a la The Walking Dead). Or maybe if you could otherwise somehow prove (from a neutral non-primary source, ie. other than blatant ad agency puffery) that HH's campaign was unusually successful in comparison to all the many, many others. (Note however that the marketing for Breaking Bad inspired entire entire Forbes magazine articles about its effectiveness, but still doesn't rate an automatic mention in its Wikipedia articles.) As it stands here and now, the only way the HH online experience stands out in any form or fashion is the awards...
...Y'know what? You've about convinced me to remove the existing paragraphs and just leave the awards table to tell the story. I apologise for treating a subject you so obviously care about so bluntly, but as I mentioned below -- and I believe others have mentioned to you in the past -- there are lots of fan-run wikis where this kind of thing would be appropriately given entire articles. Based on what I've seen of your editing philosophy so far, I strongly, and very sincerely, urge you to look into editing of that type, rather than continually trying to shoehorn blatant fancruft onto Wikipedia. Shoebox2 talk 18:08, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
Discussion is all about ideas being proposed and the bad ones being filtered out. I have no sense of defeat or inferiority as a result of what you have just said. We are all working in service of the article, and your reasoned critique of my suggestion is completely justified. I now see this section in a new light and acknowledge that it truly is run-of-the-mill for shows such as these. As I said, removing the paragraphs would clean the spin-off section and if that is what you think is best, then so be it. I may still add a little mention to the HH page though. Unless of course you think it doesnt deserve a place there. After all, I am making judgements on what sort of info should be in the franchise article, but other opinions are most certainly welcome. After all, how can the bad ideas be filtered out if there's noone to do the filtering...--Coin945 (talk) 19:06, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
To be fair, however, routine or no, Red Bee Media has picked up a reasonable number of nominations and awards, and as previously acknowledged both Horrible Histories Interactive and the Terrible Treasures game have their own accolades... so I dunno... is it really undeserving of at least a mention? The Red Bee Media stuff has NEVER been added to the article, even though it's the company behind pretty much all of it and has received the most accolades. So I wonder if it was simply a case of retaining what was already in the article, rather than shrewdly assessing the sources and deciding if anything had to be included or removed.--Coin945 (talk) 20:18, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
...Seriously? At your insistence I've looked at the same sources three times now, and likewise written my opinion based on them, in full, with extended rationales backed up with examples, three bloody times. I'm not continuing with this nonsense. Coin, if you're honestly wondering why editors have a problem being civil with you, a close reading of this discussion might just provide an answer. Shoebox2 talk 20:56, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
So, I've been blowing hot and cold about these awards (some of them appear to be notabl-ish) and finally came to the conclusion that they're not worth including. Having awards received on account of actory/writery abilities all lumped together with marketing campaigns seems a bit clumsy, especially now that the section providing some sort of context has been deleted –something I completely agree with, btw. Anyway, leaving it up to you. I'm not that fussed. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 23:40, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Coco. Actually, having discovered that Red Bee Media has their own Wikipage, I think I might have come up with a decent compromise: Coin, why don't you create a little 'Awards' section on that page, and place the HH stuff therein? You might need to do a bit more research into these (and other awards RBM has possibly won) just to make it all plausible, but I can't imagine anyone on that article objecting. Meanwhile, I'll add a short line in this article under 'Production' to the effect of 'Interactive marketing for the show was handled by Red Bee Media', providing Wikilink to further info. What say? Shoebox2 talk 00:27, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Hmmmm, I can't see its relevance and, as you've said, common-or-garden marketing campaigns are generally not mentioned at all. --Coco Lacoste (talk) 01:04, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
I know, and I still agree. In fact, I like the idea of removing the marketing awards from the table altogether, but as this all seems to be so desperately important to Coin, I thought to see what could be done to salvage them first. On the other hand... I also see his proposed 'little something' on the HH franchise page has now turned into a full-blown section -- which seems even more dubious to me than its inclusion here. However, that's for the concerned editors on that page to take up. For now I think we can fairly remove the awards from the table here, and let Coin make the case for them as he likes either there or on Red Bee Media's page. Shoebox2 talk 03:33, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

OK, so back on the subject of that episode list article rewrite...[edit]

I've commenced merging/rewriting, having given it a week as promised and no objections as yet (or response at all other than Coin's, actually). Results (for Series One half-way through Two) can now be found in my sandbox. Summary of the proposed changes can be found on the episode article's talkpage. Feedback welcome either here or there. Thanks, Shoebox2 talk 04:33, 31 December 2013 (UTC)


GA nomination[edit]

I've gone ahead and submitted the Good Article nomination. Now that the rewrite's completed and everyone interested has had a chance to tweak and improve, I'm genuinely curious how close we all are to being rewarded for the hard work. :) Shoebox2 talk 19:54, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Congrats on getting it prep'd Span (talk) 01:45, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. I had a close reading of the criteria before nominating, and it seems like we're at least within range. :) Shoebox2 talk 03:36, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Horrible Histories (2009 TV series)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Christine (talk · contribs) 06:05, 25 January 2014 (UTC) Hi, I'm reviewing this article. Please note that this review is being used for the GA Recruitment Centre [4], so there will be more explanations included. It's my practice to first fill out the template, and then include a more thorough prose and source review. I look forward to this review, since my niche on WP is American (and one Aussie) children's TV shows. It should be fun learning about UK kiddie's TV. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 06:05, 25 January 2014 (UTC) 699 0180 GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria


Interesting and fun article, very close to GA. There are a few issues that are easily addressed.

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose is "clear and concise", without copyvios, or spelling and grammar errors:
    There are a few minor problems with the prose; see my more thorough prose review below.
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. Has an appropriate reference section:
    B. Citation to reliable sources where necessary:
    Some work needs to be done on using more reliable sources. See source review below.
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
    Stable, with one main editor, the nominator of this article.
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    Only 2 images, both are tagged appropriately.
    B. Images are provided if possible and are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions:
    I agree with the reader comment; there should be more images, at least of some of the actors involved. I think that you could also include images of some of the historical figures mentioned.
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    On hold until prose and source reviews are completed, and then until comments have been addressed. Thank you for your patience.

Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 00:35, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for these initial comments (and commendations), I await your more thorough prose and (especially) source review with great interest.
Meantime, re: images, I absolutely agree that more are needed. Up until recently the article did in fact include a group shot of the starring troupe as well as a couple of the cast in historical costume. Thing is, these were all non-free images, which has kicked off a bit of a merry-go-round of confusion:
  • Immediately they were published, all the images in the article were challenged at WP:NFCR on the rationale that non-free imagery wasn't justified re: a better understanding. It was decided that the logo, title page image and a group shot of the cast could stay, but that the others were irredeemably superfluous.
  • More recently, another admin abruptly deleted the cast shot as well, again citing lack of justification (his full rationale is visible on the first page of the edit history). He replaced it with a free image of one of the cast, but it's my feeling that given the ensemble nature of the show to single out one performer would be even more confusingly irrelevant, so I deleted that in turn.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to search since, there doesn't seem to be any plausible free imagery along the appropriate lines (unless, and this is something I actually can't find a good answer for, photos the cast themselves share on Twitter count as usable?) And given my experiences to date (plus a close reading of the relevant Wikipolicies) I am also loath to start messing about again with non-free images. Would welcome any guidance you could provide. Shoebox2 talk 23:20, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I wrote the below content before I saw your response, so I'll respond to this now. I feel your pain regarding images; I've had fits trying to find appropriate images for the children's TV show articles I've worked on. Producers of these programmes are notoriously protective of their images, for good reason, but the quality of their articles here have suffered. I've even resorted, on the advise of other reviewers, to write Sesame Workshop requesting that they release images to WP, but I've never received any responses. So I don't blame you for being skittish about trying to add more images. One "solution" I've found is the use of quoteboxes, which serve the same purpose of images: they break up the prose and make it more readable for modern audiences. I've looked over the article some, and don't have any suggestions you've probably haven't thought of yourself. Sometimes it's not possible to include images, and this may be one of those situations. I sympthatise, really. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:42, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Prose review[edit]

I tend to be somewhat thorough in my prose reviews, but I promise that the end result is a stronger article. I review articles with the perspective of someday going through the FAC process (which this article has the potential for), so I try to prepare the nominator for it. Consequently, some of my comments and suggestions apply to the FA criteria, but again, the goal is a higher quality article. I go through each section, like they do in FAC. Please feel free to disagree; if you give me a good and logical reason not to follow my suggestions, I usually accept it. I look at the lead last, since I like to be more familiar with the article before I judge if it summarises the article. Let's begin.

I think that you should seriously consider changing the structure of this article. According to MOS:TV, "The structure of television articles, season/series articles, and episode articles are all relatively identical. The sections below will map out the basic structure for these articles. The basic order of these pages tends to follow: Lead, episode plot, production, and critical reception; with any other miscellaneous sections coming afterward. This is because Wikipedia uses plot information as context for understanding the real world information in the article" Children's TV shows require a different structure, of course; instead of a plot section, we need to include "Format". (It's my educated opinion that for these kinds of shows, format is king.) In the kids' TV show articles I've written (i.e., Sesame Street and Blue's Clues, both of which are FAs), I've placed the "Format" section after the "History" section, which you call "Background", since I don't think that you need to have an understanding of the shows' format to understand the show's context; rather, I think that an understanding of the genesis and development of the show is necessary to understand everything that follows, including the format.

This is the structure I advise for this article: I'd put your "Background" section first. Then I'd put your "Format" section second. For the SS and BC articles, and on the advice of other editors, I included an "Educational goals" section after because including a discussion about curriculum and the producers' goals seemed to fit best here. Your "Content" section seems to discuss the producers' goals; I'll leave it up to you to rename it. Then I'd move the "Production details" below "Content". Actually, the section you've named "Production details" reads more like "Production history"; I suggest you move it further down in the article in the the MOS refers to as a miscellaneous section. "Process" seems like it would go in "Production details", with "Music" and "Cast" as subsections, although I think that your "Cast" section is fine as a stand-alone section. The order of the rest of the sections look fine.

At this point, I'd go through the sections, but I think that I'll stop for now, to give you time to re-structure, if you wish, since if you re-structure, you may need to move some of the content around. Remember that these are just suggestions. I make them because I'm not sure that FAC reviewers would find the current structure of this article acceptable, since it doesn't follow the MOS. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:27, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

You think this article has the potential for FA status?! *prepares to happily follow your every instruction* OK, seriously, thanks so much for taking this on in such depth.
I've taken most of your advice above, and can indeed see the overall good sense of the suggestions more and more as I go along. Am not completely sold on renaming 'Content' to 'Educational goals' in this particular case, inasmuch as the section is basically about explaining that there weren't any, at least not formally... but am at a dead loss as to what else to call it (which is largely how it ended up being named 'Content' to begin with), so am willing enough to follow the accepted convention. The only major deviation I've made is with the Music section. It's a deeply integral part of the show's format, so I've left the bulk of it as a subsection there, and moved the one paragraph detailing the actual creation of the songs to 'Process'.
As for images -- thanks for understanding; 'fits' is a good description of what I've been having as well. I do though have an idea about sourcing that might just help find a free image of the cast at least... Shoebox2 talk 04:00, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
ETA: I've moved the notes re: consciously maintaining accuracy into the 'Educational goals' section, which I think makes that title look much more plausible. The remaining stuff under 'Process'--which was frankly looking less and less like it needed its own section--has been merged into 'Production' and 'Cast' as needed. Very pleased with the result, pending further review of course. :) Shoebox2 talk 04:33, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
ETA2: Right, have sourced a free image of the cast from a friend, a personal photograph. Have explained (via Facebook, as we're on different continents) the concept of crediting under CC license, and she's fine with that as long as she's credited. Hopefully all is OK from there... Shoebox2 talk 22:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Ha ha you're cute. Yes I think that this could be a FA; it certainly has the content. I'll be able to make a better assessment as I get further into the review. And now I'm all puffed up about how some of the developments I created about formatting children's TV articles is being carried on! ;) Give me some time to decide about what you've done so far, but I agree that it's looking much improved. I think that the image is fine, although to be honest, I've never been the best judge about images. I suggest that you ask someone more knowledgeable about images, and see what the FAC reviewers say when you get there. I hope to have some time tomorrow to look more closely at the prose. I appreciate your patience with me; it's been an unusually busy week. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 00:18, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
No worries, under the circs I'd rather wait for an exhaustive review. Just wondering though, is there anything else I could be doing to address your concerns in the meantime? You mentioned problems with sourcing -- anything in particular I could be strengthening? Thanks much, Shoebox2 talk 01:55, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Again, my apologies that this has taken so long. Now I'll start on the thorough prose review, in which I'll go through each section and make suggestions. Thanks for following my suggestions about structure; I agree that it looks much stronger now. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 22:23, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Whew, you weren't kidding about 'thorough'! Some really good suggestions here tho, much appreciated. Individual comments marked with a Green tickY below. Shoebox2 talk 15:39, 3 February 2014 (UTC)


Background

  • I think you should include 1-2 sentences introducing the book series, and a link. Something like "Horrible Histories is based upon the long-running series of illustrated history books published in the United Kingdom by Scholastic." (I took this directly from the book series article.) I'll look at the lead last, as per my practice, but I think you should also include the about template at the top of the article, like what's there at the book series article.

Green tickY Agreed, both good (in fact, rather embarrassingly obvious in hindsight) ideas. Done.

  • The initial impetus behind the TV series was LionTV executive producer Richard Bradley, whose company had previously produced several adult history-themed programmes and whose son was a fan of the Horrible Histories books. Passive sentence; it'd be tighter if you said something like this: "LionTV executive producer Richard Bradley, who had previously produced several adult history-themed programmes and whose son was a fan of the Horrible Histories books, came up with the idea of creating a TV series."
  • While disclaiming any active role in developing or creating the new series, Deary himself would eventually appear in several small roles as well as contributing to the writing. Although starting a sentence with a conjunction is grammatically correct, I don't think that it's very encyclopedic. You can discount this advice, but I think you should fix it here. (Remember, you can not follow any of my suggestions, but it's polite to explain why.) How about: "Deary denied that he had an active role in developing or creating the new series, but he eventually appeared in several small roles and contributed to the writing."

Green tickY I've rearranged and slightly reworded these sentences along the lines suggested.

  • Overall, to ensure the show would be recognisably respectful of the Horrible Histories brand, then in its second decade, the producers determined to maintain the franchise's already familiar visual style and content. I'm not sure what "recognizably respectful" means, and is the use of "determined" a Briticism? If so, how about, for clarity's sake and to tighten up the prose, how about: "The producers were determined that the show would pay respect to the Horrible Histories brand, then in its second decade, by maintaining its well-known and familiar visual style and content."

Green tickY I've never been particularly happy with this sentence myself. It's an attempt to concisely summarise the idea that producers wanted to ensure the show would be recognizable as and respectful of the already familiar, best-beloved concept. ('Determined', meanwhile, isn't so much a Briticism as a symptom of my fondness for obscure word usages. Will try and keep that to a minimum going forward.) Think I've now come up with a clearer variant with your help.

  • Eventually Bradley with director Dominic Brigstocke concluded that the material was strong enough to stand on its own, developing the idea of a live-action sketch-comedy showcase in consultation with CBBC executives. How about: "Eventually Bradley and director Dominic Brigstocke concluded that the material was strong enough to stand on its own, so they developed, in consultation with CBBC executives, the idea of a live-action sketch-comedy showcase."

Green tickY Used this nearly verbatim. Much nicer phrasing.

  • Wanting to do the material full justice, Brigstocke and newly appointed series producer Caroline Norris next made the decision to use their existing contacts to put together a veteran creative team which would have roots almost entirely in the adult UK comedy community. I think this sentence is too long. I don't think you need to state that Brigstocke was "newly appointed", since everyone was because it was a new show and everyone was new. How about: "Brigstocke and series producer Caroline Norris wanted to do the material full justice, so they used their existing contacts to create a veteran creative team with roots almost entirely in the adult UK comedy community."

Green tickY Another sentence I've been wondering uneasily about for some time. Happily revamped along the lines suggested.

  • The BBC readily approved this cross-demographic experiment, along with the concurrent wholesale adoption--insofar as was possible in a programme aimed at young children--of the core franchise concept of "history with the nasty bits left in",[6] which frequently involved the use of "gross-out"-style bodily-function humour and comic violence. Again, too long. How about: "The BBC readily approved this cross-demographic experiment, insofar as was possible in a programme aimed at young children, to fully and concurrently adopt the franchise's core concept of "history with the nasty bits left in". It also frequently involved the use of "gross-out"-style bodily-function humour and comic violence.

Green tickY Yeah, I had a feeling after reading WP:MOS that my sentence length was going to get me into trouble. :) Will go through the rest of the article and attempt to mitigate similiar issues. Meantime, have split this sentence into its component clauses (the approval of the adult-focused creative team and the 'grossology' are actually two different things; I agree that possibly wasn't clear enough, but do think it's important to keep them separate.)

  • Without specifically including references aimed directly at adults, the entire team was also determined from the beginning not to adapt the humour to children or otherwise patronise their audience, but rather to simply make the best comedy series possible with the material. Again, another conjunctive phrase and too long, and some of this is repetitive. How about: "The team was determined to not include references aimed at adults, but not adapt the humour to children or otherwise patronise their audience. Instead, they sought to make the best comedy series possible with the material."

Green tickY Nnngggghhh... OK. I think the original version gets the point across more elegantly, but can also see your technical points. Decent compromise hopefully achieved. :)

  • Next sentence: more of the same. How about: "According to the creators and commentators, the team was inspired by classic adult satires such as Blackadder and the Monty Python films, as well as by the Carry On series and the League of Gentlemen."

Green tickY Have separated this sentence into component clauses. I still think it's worth separately hilighting the two concepts -- the fact that the team specifically watched Life of Brian etc initially to set the tone, and then the ongoing influences.

That's all I have time for now, so I'll stop here and continue at a later time, probably tomorrow. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:50, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Looking forward to it. Meantime, as noted, I'll go through and see if I can head off any further problems along the lines mentioned. Thanks again, Shoebox2 talk 15:39, 3 February 2014 (UTC Format

  • The most frequently seen subjects are... Wow, that's a lot of subjects. It seems like this is an exhaustive list rather than a list of the most frequent subjects on the show. How about: "The show has focused on the following subjects: ..." Link WWI and WWII, please.

Green tickY Heh... you want exhaustive, you should've seen the original list it was cut down from. But yeah, a few more can be taken out. Have reduced the list to only those eras seen over all five series, and linked those last two as requested. ETA: Added a few important later ones back in, hopefully in a way that will still maintain readability. I feel like it's useful to help demonstrate the scope of the series' ambitions.

  • While largely maintaining Deary's initial philosophy of not poking fun at events too prominently within living memory, in the fifth and final series, this timeframe was broadened to include some of the more important milestones of the immediate post-WWII era, including the civil rights movement and the space race between the US and the USSR, under the banner of "Troublesome Twentieth Century". Again, too long and wordy. Remember, short and concise sentences are best. How about: "Although they maintained Deary's practice of not poking fun at more-recent events, the producers began, during the fifth and final series, to focus on the post-WWII era (or the "Troublesome Twentieth Century"), including events such as the civil rights movement and the space race between the US and the USSR."

Green tickY Reworded along the lines suggested above, with minor modifications; I think 'within living memory' is more to the point, and it wasn't really a 'focus', more a matter of a handful of sketches. ETA: Removed the first bit altogether. Deary eventually broke that rule himself, and it's always bugged me anyway that the claim wasn't sourced -- in fact there's no real evidence that the TV show producers were following that concept specifically.

  • Each episode randomly features six to eight... What do you mean by "randomly"? I would think that the periods were chosen carefully. Do you mean that the periods have no relation to one another?

Green tickY Pretty much, yes. As noted in the article, the choice of time periods was overwhelmingly derived directly from the books, with a few unique ones added in the last two series. Which ones were used seems to have had no particular rhyme or reason beyond the natural 'we haven't tried this yet..." inherent a five-year run.

Beyond that, episodes were cut together by the producers, entirely on their whim, after the sketches were filmed en masse. Meaning any era was just as likely to show up next as any other, and no quota of appearances per episode or series was imposed. (If you look closely it's possible to discern creative commonalities in the content of some episodes, but it's not something any but the most devoted fan would pick up.) Basically, the show resembles a conventional British sketch-comedy much more than it does an 'educational' series. I've added what I hope is a bit of clarification to this effect in the article. ETA: Also renamed the 'Educational Goals' section to more accurately indicate what the show was trying to do. 'Goals' implies a level of deliberate structure and care that this show just doesn't have.

This article really shows the differences between American and British children's programming. Of course, I think that both approaches have their place, and after watching the the List of Monarchs clip, I wish that some of U.S. shows were more like HH. All that to say I agree with your change of title, although part of me thinks that there's a better alternative, which I'm unable to come up with at this time. Perhaps as you go farther, someone else can come up with a better idea. I also like what you've done here; it's much clearer. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, and that's exactly how I feel about the section title (and the differences in programming approaches) as well. Shoebox2 talk 23:19, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm a little unclear about how the segments are presented. Are all the time periods presented together, or do they jump around from period to period?

Green tickY All sketches within a given era tended to be featured together. But otherwise, again, there was no set structure; Tudor segments might be followed by Ancient Egypt which in turn would be followed by the Stone Age and then the Victorians.

As the later 'Educational Goals' section also hopefully makes clear, any actual teaching was done on an informal and decidedly unprofessional basis. There was no vetting to determine optimal audience impact, in the Sesame Street vein; British children's edutainment just doesn't work that way, or at least has distinctly different priorities re: what's considered optimal. As it was once explained to me, the British emphasis is on avoiding modelling dangerous/destructive behaviours that could plausibly be imitated (and/or would advance understanding unacceptably, ie. swearing or sexual activity) otherwise it's largely assumed that the kiddies will either be OK with it or won't get it anyway.

Bear in mind that Doctor Who, for all its intense and often dark sci-fi/fantasy themes, is still considered 'family entertainment' in UK terms. HH, meanwhile, in only the third episode happily explained the Vikings' concept of heaven and Hell to seven-year-olds, complete with cute (and frankly hilarious) little Up/Down infographics... then followed that up with a sketch featuring Nero using Christians as 'Roman candles' (although in that case they did spare audiences the visuals).

Ah, invoking my favorite series, are you? And I love British humour. As I say above, there's a place for this kind of kids' TV, and I think you do a good job describing how culture affects the production of these shows. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Heh. Actually, I'm a major Sesame Street fan myself... or at least of the classic 70's-80's version that represents my childhood. As I said above, I do agree that both approaches have definite benefits, but... well, I get nostalgic for what seems like positive freewheeling anarchy in comparison to Elmo's World. That's part of my affection now for Horrible Histories, I suppose -- that sheer sense of having fun with learning, regardless of anything else. Shoebox2 talk 23:19, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Many are specific parodies of other familiar aspects of UK popular culture, either programming or personalities. You don't need the word "specific". What do you mean by "programming"? TV or movies?

Green tickY 'Specific' switched out for 'recognizable', which was the intended concept. 'Programming' refers to TV, now that I come to think of it. Edited a bit to make all that clearer.

  • Sketches are divided by short quizzes and interludes featuring puppet Rattus Rattus, played by Eccleston to fit the general theme as a knowledgeable but deeply cynical little rodent who unabashedly enjoys both filth and bad puns (his oft-repeated catchphrase is "That's 100% accu-rat!"). This is the first time you mention Eccleston, so please list his entire name and briefly identify him. What general theme? If you mean that he goes along with the scatological humour, you don't have to hit us over the head with it. You could just cut the phrase "to fit the general theme as". I suggest omitting the words: "deeply," "little", "unabashedly". Also, when you use a parenthetical as a complete sentence, it's better to punctuate it that way. In this case, you could put a full-stop after "puns" and make the sentence within the parenthesis into a complete sentence.

Green tickY Fixed ref to Eccleston, that was a problem caused by the restructuring. I'm going to argue that 'deeply' and 'unabashedly' help enhance understanding of the subject. Removed the rest without qualm, tho.

  • This entire section has no references. I realize this is like the "Plot" sections in other articles, and they don't necessarily need references, this concerns me a little. Where did you get the list of sketches?

Green tickY Erm... off the top of my head, basically, as bolstered by, if I may say so, my unusually detailed knowledge of the show (having previously undertaken an episode-by-episode review of same, like so: http://hhreviews.wordpress.com/. No I don't have a life, thanks for asking.)

Again, the list here has already been reduced considerably from a massive, uber-fancrufty wall o'text that attempted to catalogue every single possible sketch inspiration. I've tried to refocus on only the legitimately notable recurring sketches (they're easy to pick out in context, as the most frequently-seen and/or elaborate) and mention only those parody inspirations that are really, really obvious. I can see myself removing a few entries if the list is too long (or changing the descriptions if too informal), but all the details in this section can be verified as important plot points by even a casual viewer of the show.

Ha ha, I have the same issues regarding not having a life. I'm glad to hear about the process, and that you've worked hard on getting rid of the fan-cruft. However, it comes dangerously close to OR, but I'll take your word that casual viewers could verify them. If I were being picky (har-har), I'd tell you to look for sources for all of them, but I don't think it's necessary for GA. You might want to think about it going forward, though. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks much for the trust. In return, for the meanwhile I've gone over the list and tightened it up some more, so as to eliminate as many OR-ish overtones as I can. Hopefully it now looks more like a proper plot section, and less like I've substituted one form of cruft for another. :) Shoebox2 talk 14:18, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Music

  • Original music plays a large role in the show, to the extent that it was showcased for the BBC Proms' annual children's concert series in 2011. I don't see how the two phrases in this sentence are connected. I wonder if the info about the Proms should go into the "Reception" section.

Green tickY The idea is that the music stood out as notable and popular to the extent that they devoted an entire prestigious public concert to it... however, on second thought, yes that is a bit obscure as written. I've clarified it while keeping the Prom info in-place; an attempt to move it to the Reception section just felt too weird, as if I were suddenly switching focus to an entire other production in the middle of this one.

  • Next sentence: unsourced. I think that this is important enough to have a reference here, especially the part about episode 5 of Series 1.

Green tickY Slight problem; I have added a ref for the song-per-episode and the format of same, but there is none for the missing song in S01E05 (in fact the ref in question refers to 'every episode' having a song). It's a bit hard to explain, but most media commentators came to the show around Series Two or later, after the music really started to become special. Frankly nobody but devout fans really care about the Series One songs save for 'Born 2 Rule'; they're otherwise so comparatively nondescript that a missing one just isn't worthy of note. Could we consider this a plot point, verifiable at the source? ETA: I do have a source indicating a missing song, but not where it's missing from: http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/16/horrible-histories-mourned-after-last-episode-airs-3885552/ . Otherwise, the episode itself is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMXi5UAkm70

  • In the first series, these generally had no particular satirical slant... What are "these"? If you're referring to the above paragraph, perhaps this sentence better belongs there (i.e., combine the 1st 2 paragraphs).

Green tickY 'These' are indeed the previously-mentioned songs, have clarified and moved the YouTube ref to a less confusing spot. Think the paragraphing works better as-is, tho.

  • ("Born 2 Rule", which featured King Georges I-IV performing in the recognisable style of a modern boyband) You don't need the word "recognisable". "King Georges I-IV": I know you have this linked, and you should, but I don't know about "George" as a plural. This is just a suggestion: how about changing it to "the first five English monarchs named George".

Green tickY I'm going to argue this one. 'Recognisable' helps make the point that the parody was deliberate, and understood as such. The plural on 'Georges' I think is OK, as it seems to be acceptable if not actually common UK usage, and in fact is used within the song in question ("We were born to rule over you/Georges I, III, IV and II...").

  • The "Savage Songs" info should be sourced.

Green tickY Not sure how broad a source you need here? I've provided a ref for the existence and name of these specials, in the form of an episode guide from the generally respectable British Comedy Guide, is this OK? Will keep looking for something more substantial.

Here's what I think about using these kinds of sources: for GAs, they're fine. I also think they've okay for FAs, if you can make the case that you need to source for comprehensiveness. It also depends upon the kind of article; for ones about TV shows, using a list like this one is often acceptable. So I'm fine with using this source here. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • These songs have grown generally to be among the most critically praised elements of the show, both for the cleverness and complexity of the various parodies and the skill with which they are executed. What are "these songs"? The ones on YouTube? Again, suffers from wordiness, but I can't suggest anything until I ask a question. When you're talking about the parodies, are you talking about how the songs parody the historical events or the musical genres (i.e., boybands)?

Green tickY Another sentence I was never happy with. :) Ended up rewriting the entire section pretty extensively in the wake of fixing the Prom ref, hopefully all is much clearer and more informative now.

  • "Adult demographics": I hate that phrase, because it tells me nothing. How about just calling this group "their adult audience"?

Green tickY Done.

  • One third-series tune, "The English Kings and Queens", which lists all of the British monarchs since William the Conqueror in cumulative style, was written as a specific memorisation challenge to the show's young audience, whom the creative team had noted were often inspired to memorise lyrics to previous songs. Again, long and wordy. How about: "One third-series tune, "The English Kings and Queens", lists all of the British monarchs since William the Conqueror in cumulative style. The creative team wrote the song to challenge the show's young audience, whom had been inspired to memorise lyrics to previous songs." (I just had to go on YouTube and find this song! Great stuff. You really shouldn't use a YouTube video as a reference, but I think you could put it in a note.)

Green tickY Really glad you liked it. :) Have taken up your suggested phrasing in turn... would be very willing to include a note as well, how do I go about doing that?

It's very easy; just treat it like a reference, with the ref tags opening and closing it. Then you could say, "See here [with a link] for YouTube clip." Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Great, done. I've also (for now) done something similar with the YouTube clip of the episode with the missing song -- will keep looking for a proper cite on that one tho. Shoebox2 talk 23:19, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Educational goals

  • 1st sentence: I'm not sure what you mean by "curriculum". I suggest that you go back to the source and describe what it says about it.

Green tickY From the context of the source the specific reference is to a formal teaching lesson plan, such as would be applied by government authority to UK grade-school settings. Asked if the show is consciously following 'the school curriculum', the interviewee (Jenner) essentially laughs and says no, they're just out for the funny. I frankly have no idea how to summarize this concisely and was hoping the info at the 'curriculum' article would do the job for me. ETA: Have now attempted a rewrite myself along the lines suggested.

  • 3rd paragraph: needs a source.

Green tickY So you're not going to let me off the hook on this one, eh? *pauses hopefully, while making doe eyes* ... Fine. :) Will need to go back and review a few things, but that should be doable. ETA: Reviewed and done.

  • Perhaps most explicitly, both a sketch and later song champion Scots-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole, casting her as an undeservingly forgotten heroine in the shadow of Florence Nightingale. Incomplete sentence; please fix. "Song champion"?

Green tickY The sentence is actually complete, just maybe obscure phrasing-wise ('song' and 'sketch' are the nouns, 'champion' is the verb). Have reworded it a bit more conventionally.

  • In addition, a deliberate attempt was made to counteract what the producers saw as the traditionally male-dominated view of their subject by highlighting distinctively strong, active female historical figures, such as Boudicca, Joan of Arc and Elizabeth I, along with songs detailing women's work on the British homefront during WWII and the British women's suffrage movement. Guess what? Long and wordy. How about: "In addition, the producers consciously counteracted what they saw as the traditionally male-dominated view of history by highlighting strong, active female historical figures, such as Boudicca, Joan of Arc and Elizabeth I. They also wrote songs about women's work on the British homefront during WWII and the British women's suffrage movement."

Green tickY Right, so I clearly have a problem. :) I can't help it, short sentences tend to feel stiff and boring to me. Your suggestion here, however, doesn't, and so has been happily adopted mostly as-is.

  • The association with a proven and popular children's brand enabled the TV series to deflect any serious controversy regarding potentially sensitive subjects, on the assumption that they had thus already been presented to children without any overt ill effects. And again. How about: "The association with a proven and popular children's brand enabled the TV series to deflect controversy regarding sensitive subjects because they had thus already been presented to children without any overt ill effects."

Green tickY Sure, again, makes sense. High time I realised this isn't my blog. :)

Cast

  • 1st sentence, 2nd paragraph: replace "otherwise" with "in addition"; it just reads better, I think.

Green tickY Done.

  • Outside this need to maintain factual accuracy, the performers were given ample leeway to improvise. Again with the prepositional phrase. How about: "The performers were given ample leeway to improvise, as long as they maintained factual accuracy."

Green tickY Much better phrasing, adopted as-is.

  • Last sentence in section: Did they create both projects just so they could continue working together, or just Bill? Did they work on other projects together?

Green tickY They created both Yonderland and Bill explicitly so they could continue working together as a troupe. Have reworded that a bit for more clarity.

I'm almost done, but I'll stop here for now. I may have more time to finish the prose review, and start on the source review, day after tomorrow. Again, thanks for your patience with how slow this has been. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:52, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Heh, no worries -- I'm thinking I should be thanking you for your patience with me, at this point. I am learning lots about writing for an encyclopedia, honestly, and am carefully squirrelling same away for future use. In my defense, I did have a couple of veteran editors go over the rewrite prior to moving it out of my sandbox, and neither seemed particularly bothered by my prose... albeit this was after a week's worth of hard rewriting in which I removed approx. 30k words--mostly the aforementioned fancruft--from the article, so it's entirely possible they were just impressed to be able to read it at all.
At any rate, I'm confident that what we've got thus far is an improvement, and look forward to your further comments with real interest. Thanks again, Shoebox2 talk 05:52, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we're working towards a better article. I strongly believe that's the most important thing, and that's nothing wrong with helping my fellow editors move toward that goal. Plenty of other editors mentored me here, so I like to pay it forward. I appreciate your patience with me; it's been crazy-busy around here. I'll continue in a little bit, I promise. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 21:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Let me reiterate how much I've appreciated your thoroughness. As prophesied, it's been a very useful learning experience from both sides of the coin. As I mentioned above, I needed a bit of perspective knocked into me from a writing standpoint at least, and you've certainly -- not to say kindly -- provided that. I'm rereading the result and am really, honestly impressed with how much of an improvement it really is. Much obliged. Shoebox2 talk 23:11, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Reception

  • 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence: You don't need the word "serious".

Green tickY Agreed, removed.

  • Reviewing the third series, Clare Heal of The Express agreed that "There's no particular target audience but pretty much anyone of any age will find something in there for them", specifically praising the show's "spot-on spoofs of modern telly". Awkward wording. How about: "Clare Heal of The Express, in her review of the third series, praised the show's "spot-on spoofs of modern telly" and agreed that "There's no particular target audience but pretty much anyone of any age will find something in there for them".

Green tickY Much better phrasing, used verbatim.

  • I just noticed, after going over this section, that it sounds like the series has ended. Bummer! Is that accurate? I ask because there's no mention of it ending in previous sections. I suggest that you add something about it earlier, or something about its status.

Green tickY Yes, afraid so, except the couple of specials to air this year (combining a mix of old and new sketches). I don't mention specific reasons why in the article because there's never actually been a formal 'this is why we stopped' announcement -- just informal statements from producer Norris -- but the generally accepted gist seems to be that they'd just run out of facts they could make funny, and Norris at least was concerned about the quality potentially dropping off because of it. There was much lamenting across the UK when the end was announced and even more when it aired, believe me. As for an earlier mention, the lead does say right off the top that it ran for five series, with dates. Will that do? And, come to think of it, should I elaborate on those reasons why after all?

Spin-offs: You should have some prose in this section. I suggest that you include at least a few sentences about the shows.

Green tickY Agreed, done.

Finished with prose review. Now, I'll move onto a source review. I've already seen some issues, which I'll address next. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:46, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Lead

  • Sorry, I forgot about the lead, which I look at last, after I've looked at the rest of the article so I can be more familiar with it.
  • You say that the show focuses on history up to WWII, but later on you say it handles more recent history. Please change to reflect this.

Green tickY Done.

  • Last paragraph: This content doesn't appear in the article's body. I'd either add it to the body, or remove this paragraph.

Green tickY Given that I've now added content to the 'Spinoffs' section, is the lead paragraph OK? I wouldn't be crushed to remove it, as it still has very little to do with the article, but was told that it's best practice to make mention of any associated programs in the lead.

  • Remember that the lead is a concise overview of the article. I suggest that you add a few sentences about how it appeals to all ages, and that it's a good example of British comedy. There's nothing in the lead about any content in the "Reception" section.

Green tickY I've added a sentence or two as per (my understanding of) suggested. Not sure how to go about further working the 'Reception' content in beyond what I've already said re: critical praise. From what I can tell from the WP:MOS the lead is already dangerously close to overlong -- can you advise? (Maybe this is where we sacrifice the spinoff info?)


Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:57, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Source review[edit]

  • I've done a few spot checks, and they check out. (I usually do that because I figure that if what I look at works and that it's used well, I AGF that most sources are fine.)
  • If you're going to use the citation templates, make sure that they're complete. For example, ref 1 doesn't include the author's name. Please go through all your refs and add any and all missing information.

Green tickY *phew* OK, all done. I wasn't able to find all the info for every ref but it's complete and consistent as I can make it.

  • Ref 8: YouTube clips belong in the medium tag, not publisher.

Green tickY Fixed.

  • Ref 9: Personally, I don't like linking to Google books, mostly because the links tend to be undependable and often not accessible anyway, although I recognise that it's just a style choice. There are all kinds of missing information here (page number, place and date of publication, publisher).

Green tickY Removed -- I left it in there thinking it would be nice to have an actual book as a ref, but on closer inspection it's really just the briefest of mentions, so.

  • Ref 24: Not the most reliable source, plus (again) it's formatted incorrectly. I suggest that you replace it with a better source, which I think should be easy because I'm sure you can another source that supports the statement easily.

Green tickY Found the same press release being hosted by what seems like a much more respectable aggregation site. Is this OK? As you say, there're dozens of alternate cites for the bare statement itself, but I like having the extra info in the release.

  • Ref 28 has been removed from YouTube. (Note: using YouTube as a source isn't always looked well upon, but I think that in this case you could support using it.)

Green tickY Found a new YouTube version. Have cited it pointedly as a DVD extra clip, hopefully that helps the credibility a bit.

  • Ref 36: Remember that you're not supposed to use user-generated sources. Is there another source that supports this statement? If not, I'd allow it for GA.

Green tickY Huh, not sure who added that. As originally written, the statement was I figured already supported by the entire section immediately following. Is a cite needed beyond that? This one is just a recap of the same cited/quoted articles, so doesn't support the specific statement anyway.

  • Ref 64: Incorrect format.

Green tickY Repaired.

  • My main problem with your sources is that they either aren't formatted correctly and that they're inconsistently formatted. I also have issues with the reliability of some of your sources. For GA, they're acceptable, but I'm not sure they will be going forward. One of the things you can do is to see if you can find better, more reliable sources for your statements. Sometimes, with articles like this one, you need to use less-reliable sources if you want comprehensiveness, so I wouldn't remove them at this point.

Green tickY Understood, will continue to improve the reliability as suggested.

Review is now complete. Again, thanks for your patience with how long it's taken. I've had fun and I hope that we've made a better article. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 01:43, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Green tickY All done on this end as well, I do hope anyway. It has been fun; you're an amazing editor to work with, and I do definitely think we've got a much better article because of it. Thanks again for all your help. :) Shoebox2 talk 17:22, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
And thanks for your kind words and openness. So refreshing! ;) There are a few more unresolved issues that I'll just address here at the end, to make things clearer.
  • Lead: I wonder if it'd be best to cut a few things. Here are some thoughts: Cut everything in the 2nd paragraph after "post-WWII", since you state that the show is based upon Western European history curriculum. 4th paragraph: Don't bother listing the awards, but keep the last sentence. Last paragraph: Just state that the show has had two spin-offs, and then list them without describing them. I dunno, you can leave or take my suggestions, up to you.

Green tickY Ah, the ol' Gordian knot approach, works for me. :) Have reworked the header along the lines suggested.

  • Refs: This is being picky, I know, but the format for authors in sources is last name, first name. But good effort to make sure they're complete.

Green tickY Done.

Once you take care of these few issues, it's good to go and I will pass to GA. Nice work! Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 23:16, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Yay! ... And now I will collapse in an exhausted heap, in the style of the performers in the 'English Kings and Queens' video. Seriously, thanks a million, so pleased and proud I can't tell you. Shoebox2 talk 00:56, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Haha, my new favorite video! I liked it so much I put it on my FB feed! ;) I'm glad jumping through hoops gives you so much pleasure! I will go and pass this now, and then we'll move forward in the GA Recruitment Centre. Give me a couple of days, please. Christine (Figureskatingfan) (talk) 04:54, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's my first one after all. Give me a few more, and I've no doubt my userpage will be full of cynical userboxes. :) For the moment, it'll be nice to have some breathing space to consolidate everything I've learned. Thank you one more time for everything, and I'll look forward to going on with GA recruitment. Shoebox2 talk 17:25, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Additional notes from 2nd editor[edit]

Hi. Coin945 here. An on-again-off-again editor of this page. (Cleaned up much of the fancruft back in the day, but apparently added some of my own. Kudos to Shoebox for taking the reins off of me and turning my mediocre article into GA standard stuff. :D). My role no longer includes editing this page, but seeing viewing the sources I couldnt help noticing some things.--Coin945 (talk) 11:17, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Coin, thanks for your ongoing interest. Your help with sourcing is always welcome, however at the moment I think we've got things more or less under control. See my replies below. Shoebox2 talk 13:05, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Ref 18 is a dead link.

Green tickY Hmmmm. It still works just fine for me -- and I've tried it now in Chrome, Firefox and IE. Did you test it in a different browser? It's a very basic mp3 file, so should be playable under most standard PC/mobile circumstances. Shoebox2 talk 13:05, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Odd... I get the message in this image here, which reads: "video can't be played because the file is corrupt". *shrugs*--Coin945 (talk) 16:10, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Maybe that's the problem, it's not actually a video. In Chrome and Firefox it should come up as just a basic audio player, no visual. IE used Quicktime to open it, but again, no visual. Maybe check the browser settings? Shoebox2 talk 17:15, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • There is discrepancy between things like: "Retrieved 11 December 2013" and things like: "Retrieved 2013-07-31".

Green tickY Yes, that's one of the inconsistencies that as noted above I'm still in the process of fixing. Shoebox2 talk 13:05, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Just out of interest, what referencing style guide are you following Shoebox? Not sure I'm aware of this one. The FA people will probably want it to follow one of the main ones so we may as well fix it up now.

Green tickY As far as I can tell from WP:CITE/ES, there doesn't seem to be a particularly favoured standard, but the one in use on this page seems to follow the guidelines pretty closely. At any rate, for the moment--as per the notes from an experienced GA/FA reviewer above--I'm just trying to ensure all cites are as complete as possible, which should be easy enough to build on in the event the article does move to FA review and encounters specifically concerned editors there. :) Shoebox2 talk 13:05, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Ref 67 (http://www.liontv.com/London/About/Awards) was always intended to be a placeholder for notable sources for each individual award. It started off referencing about 20 or so, and then someone (Cocolacoste?) started collecting those individual sources. The remaining 4 probably need their own sources rather than that list from LionTV.com.

Green tickY From the edit history (including Coco's efforts) it appears there were originally individual sources for most if not all of the individual awards, before someone swopped them out wholesale for the LionTV link. I agree that although it's not apparently a GA requirement each award should ideally have its own cite, and if you can find the remaining ones, please do. ETA: Never mind, found them myself. In fact, three were already covered by an existing BAFTA reference. Shoebox2 talk 13:05, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Some links that might be of use:[edit]

Came across these whole scouting Google books for a different article. Who knows.. Maybe they have some useful info. (There's a bit in one about the Stephen fry version - sown thing that I know was a topic for debate during the ga review).--Coin945 (talk) 03:40, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks much for the thought, Coin, we definitely could do with some extra book/scholarly article-type sources. Unfortunately though I don't see anything useful here beyond--just possibly--the mention of the show being 'considered very successful' in that first link. Not sure where the Stephen Fry reference comes in, the first book doesn't appear to mention him and the second has no preview at all. Shoebox2 talk 23:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh. He was mentioned in the second link in regard to how his role as host played a part in the repackaging of the series. But in retrospect it was no more than a mention. The bit that also stood out to me in the first link was that it took 4 years for Bradley to finally get the rights.--Coin945 (talk) 00:32, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Interesting comment on violence used on the show in the context of the historicalness (and therefore emotion distance) of its subject matter: "Horrible Histories is a great example of pre-modern nastiness as entertainment: the books and TV series replay usurpations, gladiatorial combat and tyrannical lunatics as slapstick. The formula works because kids just love anything that involves blood and guts. As such, Horrible Histories has probably done more to educate people about history than a million PhD theses. But it’s odd that there isn’t more complaint about its carefree violence." http://www.historytoday.com/tim-stanley/forgiving-crimes-past--Coin945 (talk) 21:24, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
A viable point it may or may not be (personally, I'm sceptical that the reasons for emotional distance from history are all that difficult to find, unless one's starting from an ivory tower to begin with), but it's a point connected to a larger argument that correctly belongs in a scholarly discussion, not a factual article. And without that context there's nothing here that hasn't already been said about the show ad nauseum. Shoebox2 talk 20:50, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Not quite. The article simply mentions in passing that some of the troupe members have prior experience on the show. Which is even less interesting than what wasn't very interesting to begin with. We have enough trouble prioritizing the speaking cast to everyone's satisfaction; unless one turns out to be the ghost of Henry VIII himself, I categorically refuse to start researching the extras. :) Shoebox2 talk 20:50, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Not sure if theres a source for this, but i was just thinking about the fact that the show incorporated new historical facts into the show, such as the discovery of Richard III's remains under the carpark - it was one of the multiple choice questions quite soon after it happened.--Coin945 (talk) 21:24, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, yes, but that was both a strikingly important addition to historical knowledge and something the show was already invested in, having inadvertently become relevant to it by virtue of the song. At any rate, how recent or not the show's scholarship might be is a non-issue; the accuracy is the point.Shoebox2 talk 20:50, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Does it not suggest that if something in the HH books became obsolete due to newly uncovered knowledge, the Tv series would have chosen the fact over the literal interpretation of the books' content? For example, if something was considered true when the book came out but now not so much. --Coin945 (talk) 18:10, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
It may well do--and I agree it might make an interesting point if there were any kind of source confirming it--but it's literally never come up as an issue in any of the many interviews with either Greg Jenner (whose job such updating would've been) or anyone else. There is in fact an equal amount of evidence that they repeated mistakes/outdated scholarship from the books (severely underestimating the height of William I's bride Matilda, for example). Shoebox2 talk 19:09, 29 April 2014 (UTC)