Welcome to my brand-new column for 2013! It’s called Fan Girl Friday and here’s how it works. Friday is the day I rave about something I love – it can be a song, a book, a movie, a product, a website… anything! And so no-one gets bored hearing me go on about stuff I love (although there are many, many things I *squeeee* girlishly about!) I’ve invited a bunch of writer friends to guest blog about their fangirl loves too. So you need to follow the blog and make sure you check in every Friday for a new post.
So, seeing as today is my very first post, I’m taking the wheel and waxing lyrical about my latest favorite TV show and one of its fabulous actors.
My son and I stumbled across this BBC program before Christmas and we are totally addicted to it. I’m familiar with the books by Terry Deary, which teach kids history with all the yucky bits (like beheadings, plague and poo) kept in. But the TV series, I think, is way more fun. It’s a comedy sketch show, featuring actors Jim Howick, Mathew Bayton, Ben Willbond, Martha Howe-Douglas, Simon Farnaby and Laurence Rickard, who play all the characters – from Charles II, Henry VIII, vikings, Elizabeth I, plague victims and more. I love history, but I can tell you I’ve learned more in these last few months than years at school 😀 And with a score of BAFTAs and Brit Comedy Awards up their sleeves, it’s not hard to tell why. It’s funny, clever and extremely entertaining, a historical lesson with a modern telling. Kinda Python-esque, which appeals to adults as well as teaching kids in a fun way, with headings such as Slimy Stuarts, Cut-throat Celts, Terrible Tudors, Vicious Vikings, and Measly Middle Ages. Their only guideline is they cannot lie about the historical detail. And thanks to the genius series songwriter Dave Cohen, they also rework popular songs into hilarious versions to suit the characters, like Charles Darwin singing Natural Selection to the tune of David Bowie’s Changes. Or a bunch of Victorian children with a different take on Food, Glorious Food (reworked as Work, Terrible Work). Or my two favorites: Dick Turpin with a reworked Adam Ant’s Stand and Deliver and King Charles II’s homage to Eminem’s My Name Is… rap (this one I’ve been singing constantly for the last two weeks :grin:). I love all the actors, but I’m here to tell you about one in particular – actor and singer, Mat Baynton.
Just look at him. :sigh: No, really, LOOK AT HIM!!! I could just take him home and stare at his lovely , expressive face for ever… although I suspect he may find that just a tad too
creepy disturbing unnerving. In a HH cast interview, when asked what made the show so successful, fellow castmate Larry Rickard admitted “Matt’s eyes. They’re minstrel eyes.” Can I get a hell, yeah?
Another fellow actor Jim Howick has said that Mat is the backbone of their show and it’s not hard to see why when you see him in the show. And yes, as you can imagine, he has quite a fandom on Twitter, plus a mass of Facebook and Tumblr fan sites. There’s also a following called ‘baybond’, which is a collection of photos and gifs showing the onscreen bromance between him and fellow HHer Ben Willbond… o.O
Here he is playing the totally dreamy Dick Turpin (I suspect casting him to convince people the violent highwayman was no hero slightly backfired here). And bonus – all the Horrible Histories songs come as an added extra on the DVDs, so I can watch this over and over… which I have. I admit my addiction and find no shame in that.
His other roles in the show include a caveman, a French peasant, a camp fashionista, snobby Victorian, a Celtic warrior rapping with Jim Howick in ‘Boast Battle‘. Here’s a few shots of him:
And because you can never have enough Mat, here’s my bestest song of all time, with King Charles II as the King of Bling (phwoar!).
Apart from Horrible Histories, Mat has also acted in Gavin & Stacey, Ashes to Ashes and Peep Show, plus he features in the new Brit sitcom, Spy (just starting here in Australia), about a single father who inadvertently gets recruited by MI5 (Mat plays best friend Chris). Oh, and he’s also starred in a few music videos – Listening Man by The Bees (I loooove this clip!!) and Dan by Grovesnor (you can buy the Listening Man vid on iTunes but sadly, not Dan which is quite annoying because he looks so damn fit in that clip!).
But wait – there’s more! Mat’s also a solo artist, under the name of Dog Ears. If you like your indie music with a melancholy feel to it, you can take a listen here and also download the EP for a bargain £2.50. I wish I lived in the UK and could actually see him perform live… 😦
So there’s my fan girl moment! Now, excuse me while I go and watch King Charles sing and dance, because oh, happy day, there could be a Horrrible Histories movie in the future!!! Party, anyone?