Sunderland’s Terry Deary: ‘Why I decided to call it a day on Horrible Histories’

editorial image
Have your say

WEARSIDE author Terry Deary has announced he is set to close the book on his multimillion-selling Horrible Histories series.

The Sunderland-born writer, who has penned more than 60 of the children’s books, said he believed he had reached “saturation point” and that his latest instalment, Deadly Days in History, would be his last.

Launched 20 years ago, Horrible Histories proved so successful, selling more than 25million copies in 40 countries, they were turned into a TV series and stage show.

The 67-year-old said: “It has naturally come to an end, the way things do. It has had a good run. It’s had a better run than most children’s series.

“Things do have a saturation point after which they become taken for granted.

“It would a shame if that happened.”

Terry, the son of a Hendon butcher, said that although nothing certain had been decided between him and his publishers, Scholastic, there was a “general feeling” there would be no more Horrible Histories.

Over the past two decades, he has tackled everything from the Savage Stone Age to the Blitzed Brits in an effort to make history accessible.

His output has been prolific and at one point he was writing 14 books a year. Famous for their alliterative titles, the series has been a huge hit ever since The Rotten Romans and The Vile Victorians.

Although Terry admitted he would “never say never” to a comeback, he maintained he wanted the series to be more “Fawlty Towers than Last of the Summer Wine”.

“It is always best to leave the audience wanting more,” he said.

Terry has already signed up to write a four-part history series for adults on the Roman Empire, the Elizabethans, the Vikings and the Victorians.

He said that while Horrible Histories had done well, he would not miss writing it, often being asked by publishers to complete one in just a few months.

“You have to immerse yourself in a new subject and hope there’s something 
horrible to write about,” he said. “There usually is.”