Horrible Histories shows, performances on the Thames, new books and another film – Terry Deary is keeping busy – Sky News

The chances are, you’ve watched or read something that Terry Deary has created.

He’s the brains behind, among other things, Horrible Histories – the kids books that go beyond the school textbooks and take a more honest, gruesome look at the history of the world.

Off the back of the books, which he started to write in 1993, TV series, stage shows and big screen films were spawned, becoming one of the country’s best loved franchises.

Terry Deary has had a busy 12 months

Terry Deary has had a busy 12 months

Speaking to Sky News from his home in County Durham, where he has worked for most of his life, Deary was keen to insist he is not a historian.

“I write books about a subject far more interesting – the human experience,” he said.

“Human beings are the most fascinating subject in the world, and if you want to understand how the world works, how people operate… then you look at other people’s experience.

“In Horrible Histories, the experiences just happened to be in the past and because they’re so far in the past, we can tell stories which are probably tasteless… you can always call them insensitive histories, but because they happened a few hundred years ago, we got away with it.”

He might be 75, but work hasn’t slowed down for Deary, telling Sky News in the last year or so, he’s written more than a dozen books, penned his second movie and is working on four stage shows – two of them opening in London soon.

Barmy Britain (part five) will open in July at London’s Apollo Theatre – a two-person, hour-long family show, opening just in time for the school holidays.

Horrible Histories is heading back onto stage

Horrible Histories is heading back on to the stage

“It runs right through the era from the Romans right to the present day, and it’s all fast moving. The actors come on stage and they just simply change costumes, lights, sound, and an hour goes before you know it.

“It’s a great experience. I love that show.”

Not content with a standard stage show, he’s also launching one on the River Thames – aptly named Terrible Thames.

London from the river has a “totally different perspective”, he explains.

“But history’s the horrible history, the intriguing bits, the human interest… the stories of the people behind it.

“While you’re travelling up the river, there’ll be two actors and they’ll tell a story called the Terrible Thames and in a half-hour journey you’ll be entertained and amused.”

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Deary’s shows have spent the last few months touring car parks across the UK in an effort to keep his work alive, but the stage is really where his heart is, admitting a trip to the panto in Sunderland decades ago sparked his love of the theatre.

Elsewhere, Deary has a new book out shortly, based on Henry VIII’s diaries (he calls the Tudor monarch an “obnoxious man” and “a bit of a whinger”), as well as working on a new film about the Great North Run with athletics legend Brendan Foster.

Not only that – he is putting the final touches on a new TV show, which he describes as “Horrible Histories for grown ups”.

Although he can’t disclose the name of the show yet, he revealed the “world has been waiting for it”.

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