Wednesday, 6 August 2014

History Hunters

So far this summer, the weather has played pretty fair. If you’re the parents of young children this is good news – there is so much more you can do with your days when you can spend them outside.

However, the inevitable happened today as we were greeted by a summer downpour putting an end to outdoor play for the time being. As always, back indoors, one of the first things the kids asked for was to have the TV on.

Inwardly groaning at the thought of yet another afternoon in front of CBeebies (there have been many over the past 6+ years) I decided it was time we broadened our horizons. My kids are six and four now which is getting a bit old for the likes of Mr Tumble and his antics, so I suggested we have a look through the Freeview channels to see if there was anything new to watch.

The line-up of channels doesn't seem to have changed much in recent years, but I was pleased to discover that there’s a new kid on the block by the name of “Pop”. We caught the last few minutes of an interesting looking science show called “Finding Stuff Out” and then it was on to a show I hadn’t heard of before called “History Hunters”.

A refreshing change from CBeebies

Now as you may remember from your own youth, history can be an extremely dull subject if presented in the wrong way. My own memories consist largely of remembering names of monarchs and dates of battles. Well things have clearly moved on in the last 30 years or so, because this new show sets out to present history in a far more entertaining light. I often think the best kids shows are the ones that manage to educate without the kids realising it and this one certainly fits the mould.

The episode we watched was about life in medieval times. Straight away it got a huge laugh from my boys as some animation depicted how people in those times emptied their chamber pots (i.e. out of the window).
The show packed a huge amount of information into its half hour format, covering banquets, jesters, knights, castles and much more. The action switched quickly between the two main presenters, short animations, and creative sections e.g. how to make your own windmill. The light-hearted and humorous style certainly had my boys hooked.  They rarely sit still for a whole half hour. They have already asked if they can watch it again tomorrow.  This is fine by me as I enjoyed it tremendously and even learned a thing or two, myself. Children’s TV has come a long way since I was a kid.

Judging by the opening titles we've got episodes to look forward to about the Romans, Pirates, Ancient Egypt and more.  Just as well, as there are lots of rainy days forecast. If you want to check out History Hunters, it’s on Pop every day at 3pm – Freeview 75, Freesat 603 and SKY Digital 616.

Jason Ayres is the author of three humorous non-fiction diaries and time travel novel "The Time Bubble", available now from Amazon

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