Monthly Archives: April 2011

Filthy Cities: Medieval London: Episode 1 Review

This post contains offensive language – it’s Dan Snow’s fault

Dan Snow’s disgusting new series Filthy Cities (BBC 2) aired on Tuesday and revealed how London’s 2000 year history is steeped in pooh, wee, beer and animal guts. If ever there was a case for not installing smell-o-vision, Filthy Cities would be it. The episode should also have come with the warning: NOT SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS OR VEGANS. The show was visceral entertainment on an epic scale and contained more footage of faeces than an entire series of Jackass; it was basically Horrible for History for adults.

Animal Entrails!

Throughout the 14th century, London was once a square mile of stinking filth and detritus. Dan Snow travelled about this square mile as it is now, but the modern cityscape soon dissolved back in time to show the city as it really was, with buckets of vomit and pooh flung from windows, and later on the Bubonic plague was unleashed in the Shambles, cue shots of disgusting buboes and snotty sneezes.

Snow’s evaluation of the poop on show was dealt with in a matter of fact way, for him everything smelt “really appalling” but off camera one can assume he used more colourful adjectives to describe the spew-inducing stenches he encountered. There were shots of bums mid-act-poohing, pooh dribbling down people’s homes, pooh in the gutters, pooh on the streets, Snow even dumped 6 tonnes of horse manure in Canary Wharf. Why? Because he was demonstrating how Thomas Mason once cleared 6 tonnes of horse crap from a London street in one night. Continue reading

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