Last week he was judging a sheep fancy dress competition.

This weekend, superstar author Terry Deary returns to Carlisle to appear on stage in some of his Horrible Histories stories.

Whether it is Awful Egyptians, Vile Victorians or Rotten Romans, Deary’s books and the BBC comedy series based on them have encouraged many thousands of youngsters to take an interest in history without even realising.

Tomorrow he will be appearing at The Sands Centre to perform in the Terrible Tudors and Awful Egyptians and is looking forward to his quick return to the city.

“I was there last weekend judging the Valais sheep fancy dress competition,” he reveals. “I never accept invitations to do anything, I like to sit in my office and write books, or pretend to be an actor-luvvy, but my wife has a Valais sheep and she twisted my arm.”

Deary is a busy man, he has written over 200 books in all, selling over 25 million copies in over 40 languages. He is best known as the writer of the hysterical Horrible Histories series and has produced more than 60, which have been adapted into West End shows, a Bafta-winning BBC TV series, a movie and into magazines.

He tries to appear in the stage version of his stories whenever they are performed in the north.

The 73-year-old, who still lives in his hometown of Sunderland, started out as a country singer, but turned to acting and then writing for a career.

Tomorrow he will appear as Lord Carnarvon, who sponsored Howard Carter’s expedition to discover Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings; as the executioner of Anne Boleyn and as a sailor who fought the Spanish Armada but then left to starve on the streets by Queen Elizabeth I.

“It makes a nice little point about the Establishment,” says Deary who is well-known for his left wing leanings.

“All these historians just look at the posh people involved in history. There are all these books about kings and queens and warriors, but no one says they would not have existed if it has not been for the people at the bottom doing all the work.”

Despite the massive popularity of his books and the huge influence he has had on encouraging youngsters to take an interest in history, Deary insists ‘real’ historians don’t like him.

“Historians don’t like me because I sell more books than they do,” he says.

“I write about real people and not just events. People are more interested in real people.”

Next month he publishes the first of a new series of books for adults under the title Peasants Revolting.

The first book is called Peasants Revolting Crimes and reveals how ordinary folk - from nasty Normans to the present-day - have left an extraordinary trail of criminality behind them.

There are five performances of Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors & Awful Egyptians running from this morning until Sunday morning.

For tickets, go to or call 01228 633766.