Nick Frost and Kim Cattrall think 'Horrible Histories' could tackle climate change (exclusive)

Hanna Flint

From book to TV screens Horrible Histories is finally bringing its brand of historical fun to cinemas across the UK.

Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans is the first feature film from the franchise which tells the story of Emperor Nero (Craig Roberts) of Ancient Rome and his battle to keep control of Britain after Boudicca (Kate Nash) tries to unite the tribes for an uprising.

The Horrible Histories book series covers the Egyptians, Victorians, Tudors and other dynasties and historical periods as a fun way to educate young children about the world, but could the template be used to educate young people about more modern issues like climate change or the refugee crisis too?

“It's a fantastic idea,” Kim Cattrall, who plays Agrippina, told Yahoo Movies UK. “Educating people with what's going on in the planet, what could be better?”

Nick Frost, who plays Celtic leader Anghus in the film, thinks it could work but the writers would have to be careful to not treat these issues with too much irreverence.

Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans cast discuss educating children

“If it helps then anything is good but I think you'd have to avoid a sense of something like climate change being treated flippantly,” he says.

“Sometimes the fun might be drawn out of it. You'd have to do it very cleverly.”

Read more: Kim Cattrall addresses scat singing meme

The film is one of the few live-action children features to hit the big screen with animation dominating the genre but Frost believes its success comes from giving children “the credit they deserve intellectually.

“I don't think kids are idiots,” Frost says. “I have an eight-year-old who is certainly is no fool, he knows what he likes and it's not all anime.

“Kids are like us. There is a lot out there for them and so they make a choice and that choice is usually whether it speaks to them if its funny and that's what they do with this.”

Craig Roberts and Kim Cattrall in Horrible Histories (Altitude Films)
Craig Roberts as Nero and Kim Cattrall as Agrippina in Horrible Histories: The Movie (Altitude Films)

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Sebastian Croft, who plays Atti, agrees: “It doesn't feel like it patronises [children].

“A couple of years ago I was watching lots of kids TV still,” he continues. “The stories that would treat you like an adult, where it feels like a grown-up comedy that is child-friendly, I think as a young person that is so much more enjoyable because as you grow up it doesn't feel like it's childish.”

For Craig Roberts, he is just as keen on animation as live-action.

“I love animation,”the actor says, “they are so different and can both serve a purpose and both be educational and stuff like that. Why not have both?”

So are they up for a sequel? Frost is and has two characters in mind.

“Who else would you cast as Henry VIII?” the actor says, “it's a role I've always wanted to play, Henry VIII and Winston Churchill.”

Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans is in cinemas from 26 July