To stave off possible boredom while at home, every week Marhaba delves in to the wonderful world of popular culture to find the best new TV series, movies, books and music.

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Horrible Histories is, without doubt, one of the best British children’s television programmes in recent years. Terry Deary’s popular UK history book series has been reinvented into comic genius, with the TV show adding a number of songs and parodies performed by a fantastic cast. It is so brilliant, we Brits consider it a national treasure!

horrible_historiesBoth children and adults will enjoy watching the antics of actors in ridiculous historical outfits bringing notable historical events to life – look out for HHTV News, where reporters are live from the scene of famous historical battles, and marvel at the songs with more than a passing nod to modern pop culture.

The show first aired on CBBC in the UK, and the first four of the five series are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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Gretel_&_Hansel_-_A_Grim_Fairy_Tale_theatrical_posterLast week we recommended the movie version of children’s favourite game character, Sonic the Hedgehog. This week our recommendation is for older children and adults. Gretel and Hansel is based on the well-known and already fairly grim Brothers Grimm fairy tale, reinterpreted in a new, much darker direction. There is no obvious violence or gore; the movie is moody rather than scary, and is therefore rated PG-13.

In this version, two siblings are left to fend for themselves deep in the woods. They discover an isolated house and are invited in by strange old lady Holda, played by the excellent Alice Krige. Hansel proceeds to stuff his face with the never-ending supply of food (you are left to wonder where it is all coming from…) while Gretel has progressively darker and weirder dreams. One part horror, one part a young woman’s coming-of-age, and one part feminism combine to bring a successful retelling of a classic with a few new twists. Available from 7 April on iTunes.

SETTLE IN WITH A CUP OF TEA AND READ THIS:

Also out on 7 April is a book by recent lifestyle phenomenon, Marie Kondo. Famous for Joy at Workdecluttering people’s houses and bringing joy to their lives, Kondo now turns her attention to your desk and your business. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein is another transformative guide by the New York Times bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which had us all organising our sock drawers and asking ourselves if that 30 year-old Metallica t-shirt really did bring us joy.

With most of us working from home at the moment, this is an ideal opportunity to organise and streamline our home work spaces, and the strategies are also invaluable for the use in the workplace. Learn how to be more thoughtful about holding meetings and interaction with colleagues, how to successfully sort through the piles of paperwork and emails we end up with, plus many more handy tips and pearls of wisdom. Maybe then, like so many other people, we’ll discover that having a tidy desk and a tidy mind really does bring us joy.

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Out for release on 10 April is the long-awaited sixth studio album by influential American rock band The Strokes. The New Abnormal effortlessly picks up where the band left off seven years ago – however, despite work starting in 2016, this album nearly didn’t happen due to rumours of the band going their separate ways.

the-strokes-the-new-abnormal-cover-768x768-1Thankfully they didn’t, having popped back on the scene with a surprise New Year’s Eve concert in New York. What we should expect from The New Abnormal is more of the same, yet better, since their much-lauded debut album ‘Is This It’ nearly 20 years ago. This is the album which gave us ‘Last Night’, awarded Best Track of the Decade in September 2006 by NME. Nowadays The Strokes may be older and wiser with kids and mortgages, but the group energy and sentiment is still there. Tracks reference everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, with lead singer Julian Casablancas’ voice never sounding better. The New Abnormal promises to be another instant classic.

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