Say ‘history lesson’ and most people think of stuffy classrooms and teachers wearing tweed jackets. Horrible Histories, however, believes history is better taught with witty gags, toilet humour and silly skits.

The hugely popular BBC TV show, based on the best-selling books, has branched out into live stage shows and returns to Dubai this month with a warts and all examination of the conquering Romans called Ruthless Romans. The Horrible Histories gang were last in town a few years ago with Terrible Tudors.

The author of the books upon which the TV show is based, Terry Deary, explains, “These aren’t history books. They are stories about people, in dramatic situations, in the past. With jokes. I don’t want to write history. I’m not a historian, and I wouldn’t want to be. I want to change the world.”

Having sold more than 25m copies in 40 countries, he’s well on the way to doing just that.

And what did we learn? Well, it seems the Romans did do plenty for us, like…

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Sewers: While the world stank, the Romans were lemon fresh
Concrete: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but concrete helped
Baths: Conquering can be a dirty business
Socks: Roman tootsies were toasty
Roads: They invented ways for us to get to work quickly – thanks a lot, guys
Calendar: An Empire needs a schedule
Books: After a hard day on the battlefield, they liked to curl up with a good book

Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai
Tel: (050) 8805074. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.
October 23-27. Dhs90 to Dhs115.