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To that end, adult historical satires such as Blackadder and the Monty Python films were shown at the first writers' meeting to demonstrate the proposed tone, and these influences would be visible throughout the show's run.The divisions by historical era or civilisation in the book series are carried over in the TV show, focusing on events in or directly affecting Great Britain and (to a lesser extent) the larger Western world.

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Instead, they sought to make the best use possible of the material.The books and subsequent spin-off materials are intended to pique young children's interest in history via short, factually based but humorously told anecdotes highlighting aspects of the subject not usually covered in more traditional educational sources.Lion TV 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, was the initial driving force behind a new TV adaptation.Early concepts for bringing it to the screen involved framing or interpretive devices, including a ghostly train carrying children into the past, or a wizard storyteller to act as their guide.Eventually Bradley with producer/director Dominic Brigstocke concluded that the material was strong enough to stand on its own, so they developed, in consultation with CBBC executives, a live-action sketch-comedy showcase.While disclaiming any active role in developing the subsequent series, he would eventually contribute to the writing as well as appearing in several small roles.

The producers were determined that the show be respectful of audience expectations for the Horrible Histories brand, maintaining its familiar visual style and content as far as possible.

To do the material full justice, Brigstocke and series producer Caroline Norris used their industry contacts to put together a creative team consisting mostly of veterans of the adult UK comedy community.

The BBC readily agreed to this cross-demographic experiment.

A new series of special episodes began airing in 2015, featuring a new format and cast.

Horrible Histories is based on the British children's historical-comedy book series by Terry Deary, first published by Scholastic UK in 1993 and since expanded into a multimedia franchise.

The starring troupe are Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond, alongside a large supporting cast headed by Sarah Hadland, Lawry Lewin and Dominique Moore.