Historian becomes viral singing star

A member of the School of History and his family have become overnight viral stars thanks to their quarantine-themed musical video.

Dr Ben Marsh, Deputy Head of the School of History and his wife Danielle, a member of the University’s School of English, have launched themselves and their family into the heights of viral popularity overnight with their unique and quarantine-themed rendition of the musical hit “One Day More”.

Taken from the historical musical Les Miserables, the Marsh family’s version replaces lyrics with such gems as “I have no football match today, how can I play when we are parted” and “Our grandparents are miles away, they can’t work Skype, we’re broken-hearted”.

With the original video of the singing family having reached over 3 million views in just over 24 hours on Facebook, the Marsh family have since appeared on BBC Breakfast and ITV’s This Morning to talk about their experience and why they chose to create the masterpiece.

The video has resonated with people across the UK, with many commenting that it perfectly reflects the frustrations of living on lockdown, whilst being able to bring a moment of humour and levity that perfectly suits the nation’s mood.

However, such innovative means of engaging with an audience far beyond the academic world isn’t unfamiliar to Dr Marsh, as his previous work shows. Within the past 12 months, he has launched a graphic novel on the Peterloo Massacre, and worked with toy company Winning Moves and the Age of Revolution project to create over 6000 free historical Top Trumps packs for schools, based on historical figures of note.

As of today, Ben was scheduled to be in the USA, launching his latest book: Unravelled Dreams: Silk and the Atlantic World, 1500–1840. Ben and Danielle said: ‘We are very grateful for all the positive responses we’ve had and that we’ve reached so many people who are, like us, separated from friends and family at the moment. If we’ve made some people smile at such a stressful time and shown the positives (as well as a few negatives) of family life, then it was well worth the effort.’

The full clip can be found on YouTube.