top of page

Harriet Munday- interview

Returning for another year the Horrible Histories Terrible Thames Tour is educating and entertaining all as it taking to one of the most famous rivers in the world, and gives a performance to remember about the very places and monuments you pass on the trip, with all the favourites from the past, (gruesome bits included too).

Harriet Munday is part of the cast on board, telling us about her experiences and how the show manages to stay afloat with its unusual challenges!


Please could you tell us a bit about what can be expected from the Terrible Thames river tour, and who would enjoy it?

The Terrible Thames is a 45 minute boat tour along the river Thames with a Horrible Histories flare. You can expect stories, songs, facts and lots of laughs. In typical Horrible Histories fashion, the show is fun for all the family no matter their age. If you’re ready to have a great time, get on board!

What is your role in this, and how familiar were you with Horrible Histories before taking it on the first time?

My character is a rambunctious student called Billy on a school trip. They are accompanied by their teacher who underestimates Billy’s knowledge of the river’s history. I was very familiar with the work of Horrible Histories before joining the cast as I grew up with the books, theatre shows and TV series. In fact, I still remember many of the songs and sketches to this day and still can’t really believe that I get to be a part of its legacy.

Why do you think the concept has been so enjoyed that it is back for a third year?

I think the main reason is it’s such a unique attraction. I don’t think there is anything like it in London or the rest of the country to my knowledge. It brings all the elements you look for in a piece of theatre and delivers them whilst taking a boat trip on one of the most famous rivers in the world. All the stories are linked to actual monuments and places that you can see on the trip bringing history to life right before your eyes.

What considerations have to be made when performing somewhere unusual like on the boat, in comparison to on stage in a theatre, and how have you adapted to this?

We have to consider the tide for each trip and adapt the show accordingly so the stories we tell are relevant to our place on the river at any given time. This means, unlike a regular stage show, we are constantly cutting and changing the script each trip meaning no two shows are ever the same. There is an efficient rain plan in place to account for the pesky British weather to ensure the show can continue come rain or shine. We also use the whole aisle of the boat throughout the performance so there are truly no bad seats.

How important is it to engage young audiences (and adults alike!) in history through new means, and do you think the idea is something that could become more widespread in the future?

I truly think the reason Horrible Histories has stood the test of time is because of that exact point. It’s all about making history, and more broadly learning in general, accessible for all and finding those ways to lift the facts and stories off the pages of a regular history book. It is crucial to engage all audiences, regardless of age, in history as we can use it to inform our choices and actions in the present. The medium of theatre proves that learning and expanding your knowledge can be fun, exciting and without pressure. Something we all need to be reminded of once in a while!

In terms of future development, people are always looking for and creating new and interesting ways to learn and educate - the possibilities are as infinite as your creative imagination.

What are your favourite parts about being involved with this event?

I love the ever changing nature of the show itself as it really keeps us on our toes and everything feeling fresh and spontaneous. You develop a real bond with your cast mate that allows you to swap and change things around seamlessly and trust each others ideas and instincts. It’s also ridiculously fun to spend a summer on the water. Seeing the audiences reactions up close, people singing along and everyone fully engaging with the piece is something you may miss in a theatre setting due to many factors but remains such an integral part of our show. Each audience becomes a new character in the piece which is really fun to play with.

If you could take any historical figure on a Terrible Thames trip, who would you pick and why?

Ah, this is a great question! I think for me personally, I’d bring Boudicca on board as her story features in the show when we pass her statue outside parliament. I’d love to see her reaction to being remembered as an integral part of British history nearly 2000 years later and how she feels

having a statue dedicated to her in the nations capital.


Many thanks to Harriet for her great contributions, and wish you all the best for your next stint in the show- have a brilliant time!

Get tickets here:

Additional thanks to Alice James for coordinating this interview.


bottom of page