I’ve only just come across this feature from last weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine.
It’s a well-constructed piece by Matt Rudd about Terry Deary and his Horrible Histories colleague Martin Brown, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the series, “aimed at 8-to-12ers, that wonderful age when your children read autonomously and you can, finally, have some you-time.”
Today, when I meet him and Brown at their publisher, the irascible 72-year-old is quoting Primo Levi within five minutes. “It’s the duty of righteous men to make war against all undeserved privilege,” he says. “And that’s what we do. We make war against the undeserved privilege. I want children to understand that people in alleged power are not necessarily entitled to it. That’s why it’s odd having Horrible Histories adopted by schools. Don’t these teachers understand that we’re training kids to question authority? And they use them in schools. Bizarre. Occasionally somebody picks it up and understands, then sends me offensive emails.”
He is amused when I tell him my eldest son has become something of a flag-burning socialist since reading his books. “Don’t worry,” he says. “He’ll get balance. The schools will teach the conventional stuff. We are the counterbalance.”
Recommend reading the whole piece, if you have a means of getting past the paywall: