A sketch in the CBBC show “Horrible Histories” has provided us with a new catchphrase over the last 12 months. It’s a reworking of the phrase that most of us first heard in childhood, “easy peasy, lemon squeezy”.
The sketch is titled “Francisco Pizarro’s Very Rough Guide 1526” and involves two Spanish Conquistadores, Pedro and his Boss, explaining their intentions in the New World. The Boss tells us that they are there to explore, to meet new people and to “find out about their magnificent culture”, but repeatedly Pedro interjects with, “And steal all their gold!” The Boss shushes him, says things like, “No, don’t mention stealing their gold”. They speak with Spanish accents. After explaining how they made their voyage to what is now Latin America the Boss tells us, “Easy peasy, squeeze the lemon”.
As a family we now use this same phrase, spoken with a Spanish accent, to describe something that is, well, easy. It has taken its place alongside “The world is your lobster”, which is how Arthur Daley (as played by George Cole in the 1980s ITV series “Minder”) reworked the more usual expression, “The world is your oyster”. I have been corrected more than once for saying “lobster” instead of “oyster”, but only by people who were unfamiliar with Arthur Daley-isms.
Late last year I found a YouTube clip of the “Horrible Histories” sketch but the content had been removed at the request of the copyright holder. Here’s a 27-second clip that shows an excerpt from the sketch. Does the brevity of the video mean that it is subject to different copyright rules or will it also be removed in the near future? We’ll find out in the weeks ahead but either way here’s a transcription of the dialogue contained in those 27 seconds.
Boss: The journey here was very simple. All we had to do was sail 5,000 miles from Spain to Panama, travel overland through the dense jungle, then build a whole new boat and sail down the coast to Peru.
Pedro: It only took us two and a half years!
Boss: Easy peasy, squeeze the lemon. And now we are going to meet some local Incas, see how they live and find out about their magnificent culture.
Pedro: And steal all their gold!
Boss: Pedro, please don’t mention the stealing the gold, okay?