So I hear the London Dungeon has got itself in a spot of bother. Some of you using the Underground may recall a recent advert for the attraction. You’re just on the escalator, going past one of those funny digital poster displays they have now, when you see this:
Then suddenly… THIS HAPPENS!
Anyway, the high volume of resultant pants-soilings, particularly among children, have led the advert to be banned. I thought it was quite a good advert myself, but then, I don’t actually believe children exist (they’re either puppets or dwarves in makeup).
A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Agency said, “We noted the switch between the passive and frightening face occurred suddenly and unexpectedly, which could increase the shock value.” A spokesperson for London Particulars said, “No shit, Sherlock” and went on to comment about the toilet habits of ursine creatures and the religious beliefs of the Pope.
The London Dungeon has defended the advert, as you might imagine. They described it as “obviously historical and in no way irresponsible or gratuitous.” This is correct, as it is well known that Elizabeth I’s reluctance to name her successor caused her late sister to rise from the grave as a side effect of the Divine Right of Kings. Her bloody rampage was eventually halted by an occult tag-team consisting of John Dee and Christopher Marlowe.
Actually, that would make a damn good film. This idea is copyrighted by me, you hear?
Anyway, what is the justification for this mortified monarch? Well, the London Dungeon’s new exhibition is about Mary’s reign, specifically the number of people killed under her rule. If you recall your school history lessons (I don’t, I was asleep), Mary was the eldest child of Henry VIII and had been raised Catholic. Her dad had converted in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Well, actually, there was a lot more to it than that – long story short, King Harry was tired of having the Pope breathing down his neck. I only got a C in A-level history, so you might want to do the research yourself on this one.
Where was I? Well, Henry’s son Edward – who of course was first in line to the throne – was born after Henry’s conversion, and so was raised Protestant. Edward VI died young, having done pretty much no actual ruling, and so Mary took the throne. And then there was a wailing and a gnashing of teeth.
Protestants in England, of which there were many by now, had to convert, be exiled, or be punished. Out of faith or bloody-mindedness, many went with the latter choice. Nearly 300 were burnt at the stake (exact numbers unknown), and not all were high-level clergy as claimed. The executions were catalogued in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which was published shortly after the end of Mary’s reign.
Following Mary’s death, Elizabeth I became queen and reintroduced Protestantism, and everything settled down. For a while, at least. Until James I and that business with the Gunpowder Plot.
Speaking personally, I’ve never had much time for religious disputes, particularly when the parties involved basically believe two different versions of the same thing and neither can prove their version is the correct one.