Mathew Baynton's experience on Horrible Histories helped prepare him for Wonka's musical numbers

The actor reflected on how his time on the CBBC show helped him when it came to the new film

Watch: Mathew Baynton share how Horrible Histories shaped his Wonka performance

Mathew Baynton found his experience on Horrible Histories helped him immensely when he joined Wonka, in which he stars as a member of the Chocolate Cartel, and villain, Fickelgruber.

The actor tells Yahoo UK that he felt prepared for the elaborate musical numbers featured in the film because of the many performances he did for the CBBC show, which he starred in from 2009 to 2014 and saw him play historical figures like Charles II.

"I had years of doing songs on Horrible Histories, very silly with lots of choreography. Some of them were completely free form, but some of them were choreographed."Mathew Baynton

"I don't know, I think I'd got past any discomfort I ever had about that stuff so I just was really excited and particularly excited because Neil Hannon had written the songs for this who was a huge fan of so I was just delighted that we got a number.

Wonka (Warner Bros.)
Wonka actor Mathew Baynton was ready for anything when it came to the musical numbers thanks to his time on Horrible Histories which he starred in from 2009 to 2014. (Warner Bros.)

"I remember finding out that there were songs and that Neil had written them and then the next thought is, 'but do we get one?' And we do. So it's just pure joy for me."

Baynton's co-star Paterson Joseph, who plays fellow villain Slugworth, admits that he didn't have quite the same reaction to being part of a musical.

"Whereas I was in terror, because I find it very [hard] I don't do musicals, I didn't want to burden everybody with my weeping and my 'I don't do this.'"Paterson Joseph

Wonka (Warner Bros.)
Baynton felt "pure joy" that he and his co-stars Paterson Joseph (right) and Matt Lucas (centre) got a villain song, whereas Joseph said he was filled with "terror" at the prospect (Warner Bros.)

"And then as soon as we sort of got the choreography together and I realised I could remember the steps more and more, I started to [become] more and more [of a] show boy and then I was just in front doing a lot of [jazz hands]."

"But I did, I loved it and the song itself is like an ear worm."

The fun they had playing villains

Baynton and Joseph had the enjoyably task of playing ridiculously comical villains for the production alongside Matt Lucas' Prodnose, who try and thwart Timothée Chalamet's Willy Wonka at every turn to stop him from selling chocolate and putting the three of them out of business.

Wonka (Warner Bros.)
The Chocolate Cartel try and thwart Wonka at every turn to stop him from selling chocolate and putting them out of business (Warner Bros.)

And it proved quite delightful to try and make them stand out characters in the film, Joseph says: "I always think that whenever I do something it's got nuance.

"I know I'm fooling myself, but I always think, hey this character is meant to be this person but I agree with the the [Laurence] Olivier story of 'where's somebody bad, where are they good? Where are they old, where are they young?'

"You know, I thought I'm gonna get that with Slugworth. No, he's [a] completely two-dimensionally horrible person with no redeeming features and fun to play."

Wonka (Warner Bros.)
Patterson Joseph said the characters were 'fun to play' because of how over-the-top they were with their villainous nature. (Warner Bros.)

Baynton, meanwhile, felt the character was almost complete by the time he read the script and it took little effort from him to become the final piece of the puzzle: "For me I just thought of it as a kind of a playground, I guess.

"Being given this fantastic suit and the pencil moustache I have, it felt like I just needed to finish the last piece of that picture, and I speak funny!"Mathew Baynton

Joseph joked that "there's no words that come out of [Baynton's] mouth that sound like normal speech", with Baynton adding: "I speak funny and pull faces, and there's really nothing deeper than that."

Wonka premieres in cinemas on Friday, 8 December.

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