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Black Bart: [typical pirate voice] Listen up, ye scurvy scum. It's been many moons since I've had fresh blood aboard my ship. Now you all know me by reputation - Black Bart! The most bloodthirsty pirate ever to sail the seven seas!
Black Bart: Now I don't know any of you, see? So, to ensure we don't have any... misunderstandings... I'm going to tell you how I runs things on my ship! Rule One: Fighting!
Crew:[more raucous laughter]
Black Bart[switches to posh accent] No fighting!
Black Bart: It's anti-social, and a good way to lose an eye, isn't it Mulligan?
The chav version of the story of Helen of Troy...
"Helen... you is well fit. Your face could launch a thousand ships, yeah?"
"Listen up, yeah! I want all us Greek soldiers to march on Troy, you get me? We're gonna tear that city UP! Kill dem all, izzit? Yeah, it is!"
Henry VIII is always a ham-flavoured delight, but the sketch where he learns (via email...) that he has a daughter is fantastic: "God, why have you cursed me with only ladybabies?"
The Historical Desktop sketches generally are wonders of wickedly clever funny. Further gems include King John signing the Magna Carta because "ehhh, nobody reads the terms and conditions anyway" and Neville Chamberlain telling social media that "I believe it is peace in our time (#humblebrag)".
Stephen Fry, speaking of The Blitz: "Up to two million bowels were evacuated... Children! Two million children were evacuated..."
The "You've Been Artois'd!" sketch. "Boom-boom bang-bang, baby!...I know these words, you see? I am 'street', yes?"
This exchange, as quoted in the Fridge Brilliance entry, in the Ancient Greek Wife Swap sketch:
Spartan husband:(holding out a spear) Go get us something to eat.
Athenian wife: But... I wouldn't know how to hunt! Athenian women aren't allowed out of the house, except to meet other women, or to go to funerals!
Spartan husband: You will be going to a funeral. [beat] The rabbit's.
Bitchy Mozart ("So you beat zat...girlfriend!") vs. pompous — and conveniently deaf — Beethoven ("So you just stick zat in your schnitzel!") for the title of Greatest Composer Ever in the Prom special.
A professional leech-catcher from the Middle Ages demonstrates how it's done... involuntarily. Several times. While trying to explain to a sceptical pal how great his job is.
The 'Kidnapped!" sketch, a movie trailer-style spoof on Saxon marriage laws. Mr. and Mrs. Random Saxon are just sitting outside their hut when an intruder suddenly runs up, bonks him on the head and runs off with Mrs. Random, leaving her husband to yell after them:
Husband:Hey! That was a new helmet!
...And I'm quite annoyed about you kidnapping my wife, too!
The 'Silly Tudor Laws' sketch, in which a nobleman is forced by Queen Elizabeth I to first wear a woolly hat, then remove his sword-impeding cloak, and then his royals-only purple doublet... leading inevitably to:
Elizabeth: Cecil, there appears to be a naked man in our throne room.
Cecil: Yes, your Majesty.
Elizabeth: Do we have a law against this?
Cecil: Not yet, your Majesty.
Cecil in general during that sketch—his repetition of Elizabeth's every decree, and the fact that he just happens to have a spare woolly hat on his head. "Ta-da!"
Also, the outtake from the 'naked' scene, as included on the DVD: "Now, Mat, if you'll just put your fingers back on your nipples..." "Well, THAT'S a direction I never thought I'd hear."
Greek ruler Draco sentences a hapless apple-snatcher: "Guards! Take him away and make him dead! Oh... and if you can think of anything worse than death, do that too, OK? OK."
A sketch pointing out that nobody really knows whether King William II's hunting accident was deliberate or not: "Oh, dear. I appear to have shot the King. That's bad, isn't it?"
The Historical Paramedics.
Geoff: Man-child! Do you wish to be a gallant hero?!
Modern boy:(nods eagerly)
Geoff: Then you must wee on this man's head!
Historical Masterchef. Just... all of it. Particularly Jim Howick's portrayal of Greg.
The increasingly strange introductions are a highlight though:
This World War II sketch. With the British government having had all the road signs and place names blacked out to prevent German spies from knowing where they were, we are shown a train carriage on a train at an undetermined location somewhere in England. The passengers and the conductor must frantically work out ever-increasingly complicated cryptic ways of announcing the name of the next station in a way without revealing it to any German spies. At last the one passenger who hasn't said anything, thoroughly fed up, says "I'm the German; would it help if I left the train?" and proceeds to jump off, at which point the conductor simply tells the remaining guys that the next stop is Coventry.
Caligula declaring war against Poseidon.
General: (shows a spear with fish) We...ah... got some of his soldiers?
Caligula in general is a laugh riot.
Intuitive, revolutionary. Ancient Rome is delighted to announce the launch of the all-new aBook, the take-anywhere reading solution. aBook is amazing. Up until now, the only way to get your poetry to the masses was by writing it down on long awkward scrolls OR BY SHOUTING REALLY LOUD!! Now aBook has changed all that. With the new aBook, you simply turn the page, using the unique turnable pages to reveal new information. And by writing data on both sides of the page, the new aBook holds more information in less space than anything that's gone before it. What's more, the unique hardware and cover means your writing is safe from anything the Roman world might throw at it. [An arrow impales the display aBook and pierces through the pages] Well, within reason. Incredibly clever and incredibly simple, aBook is the new book that rewrites the book on writing books.
And coming soon from the makers of aBook, anotherBook.
Oh no! I just got used to using this one and now they're bringing another one out?
"Don't Wake the Fuhrer" is about how the German reaction to D-Day was delayed thanks to his guards' reluctance to disturb Mr. Grumpy Pants while he was sleeping. "Ooh, he will get in such a paddy..." "Such a paddy he will get in!" Bonus points for the little 'ADOLF'S ROOM' plaque on Hitler's door behind them.
As the messenger gets insistent, suddenly a soldier stationed in the Fuhrer's room comes out and says that the Fuhrer is awake and has issued his order. Specifically, his breakfast ordernote marmalade on toast und apple strudel, which must be acted on immediately!
This advert for John Joseph Merlin's newest innovation: roller skates! Featuring their inventor, a very slippery floor, and the inevitable. By the end, all of the falls he's taken in this ordeal have left him with a bruised right eye and a bloody nose.note Warning! Early roller skates do not include stoppers or brakes!
The bit where he pops a paper bag to wake them up is especially precious. "That's not funny, sir! There is a war on..."
An old but good one, from the 'Columbus Finds Land' sketch:
Crewman: Can't you just for once admit that you're wrong?
Columbus: Never! I am Captain Christopher Columbus, the finest sailor and navigator on the planet, and if I go looking for India, India is what I find! Good day!
*turns around, sees the wall and stops, then looks around*
Columbus:(very quietly) Door?
Crewman: It's over there.
Columbus: I know that. It's my cabin.
In one 'Court of Historical Law' sketch, they showcase the Saxon methods of determining guilt for the crime of horse rustling. The first two are these torturous endeavors that would cripple the defendant regardless and rely on divine intervention, so the defendant sensibly refuses. The third trial? Eating a cake without choking. The defendant happily takes it, starts choking, and finally admits that, yeah, he stole the horse.
The Wonders of the Universe sketches. The basic premise of these sketches is supposed to be various ancient scientists extolling their respective cultures' technological, architectural, and astrological feats... right up until they begin babbling about their mythologies as if they were genuine science and eventually have to be pulled off the set by the crew.
The Georgian Crimefighting sketch about Jonathan Wild, the Thief Taker General who, in the 1710s and early 1720s, amassed an illegal fortune while appearing to work on the right side of the law. We start with a Lestrade-counterpart and Dr. Matson bringing Wild to a ransacked office. Once he enters the room, Wild uses Sherlock-white text to illustrate his thoughts and then proceeds to rapid-fire reveal the locations of every single one of the criminals he hired, while acquiring multiple finders' fees. Even acquiring one by pickpocketing the inspector's wallet and then "finding" it.
Jonathan Wild: Pat's under the desk, Mickey's behind the bookshelf, and Dave is robbing someone in the street! Or he will be in a minute. I'm guessing about the names.
*a woman's scream is heard*
Dr. Matson: Yes! Brilliant, Wild!
Inspector: It's almost as if you knew where they were hiding all along!
Jonathan Wild: Three more finders' fees, your grace.
Salesman: Hi there. We've just come back from a Viking raid, where we nicked tons of monks, which is great news for you if you're looking for a nice, well-behaved monk-slave, because...
[stands up and joins in a group of monk-slaves dancing to a rap melody]
Voiceover: We sell any monk! Any any any any any monk! We sell any monk! Fat ones, slim ones, bright ones, dim ones! We sell any monk!
[music stops. The salesman quickly returns to his desk to start the next part]
And the guy who gets his limbs amputated:
Voiceover: We sell any monk! Bright ones, grim ones, chopped-off-a-limb ones! [A Viking cuts off a monk's right arm with an axe]
Monk slave: Ow!
Even better is that guy at the end of the video:
Director: And cut!
[The Viking cuts off the monk's left arm with the axe]
Monk slave: Ow!
Director: Uh, I meant, "That's a wrap!"
Viking: Oh, sorry.
Aesop is sent to distribute alms to a Greek city... unfortunately his idea of crowd control involves increasingly patronising reminders of his "moral tales". The crowd's (hilariously matter-of-fact) response: "Have you ever heard the story about the fable writer and the cliff? It's a story about a highly annoying fable writer who gets thrown off a cliff by an angry mob." "Yeah, it's a moral tale about not annoying an angry mob."
Hi! I'm Paul Revere! Are you fed up with cleaning your teeth using your finger? A piece of rag? Someone else's finger? Or nothing at all? Then help is at hand, thanks to my amazing, not-in-any-way effective All-American Toothpaste! The unique three-stripe formula delivers complete mouth freshness. The white stripe is sugar, the yellow stripe is butter, and the brown stripe is breadcrumbs. Say "bye-bye" to cavities and "Hello!" to totally rotten teeth! And not forgetting Paul Revere's special not-at-all secret ingredient: gunpowder! For that bright yellow smile that will blow your friends away, *BOOM* you'll never need to use another toothpaste. Paul Revere's All-American Toothpaste: Because teeth are overrated!
The advert for the new English postal service—actually designed to catch Mary, Queen of Scots in the act of plotting with her Catholic supporters—by Elizabethan spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. "Wait, if we say we're not using spies, it's pretty obvious we are using spies, isn't it." Then again at the end, "We're Reading Your Mail!"