Charlie Higson on new children's novel Worst. Holiday. Ever & being better off staying a kid

Virgin Radio

27 Apr 2021, 10:52

Prolific author, entertainer and The Fast Show legend joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about his latest kids’ book based on himself as a boy and why kids shouldn't rush to grow up.

He told Chris about his latest novel: "The first kids' books that I wrote were the Young Bond books and Bond is this fantasy figure. He's incredibly confident, brave, tough and I'm not.

"Most writers sit in our rooms and we make things up and I was a very shy, skinny little boy, very self conscious and I thought I would like to write a character like that, the opposite of James Bond and that's what Stan is.

"So I just channelled all that and also it's about a kid going on holiday with another kid's family so without his parents, so that was like a worst nightmare for a shy boy and I just channelled all the funny things that I remember from when I was a kid going on a holiday and from taking my own boys on holiday and the things that happen to them.

“I have a place in Italy and every year we take the boys out there and they would often bring a friend with them completely separated from their normal life.

"Here they are thrown into this world of adults, having big communal meals around the table and I would often sit and look at them and think what are they making of this? As a writer you put yourself into the mind of someone else. 

"So all these little things happen and I started thinking I'm going to write down all the things that happened and then Stan seemed to be the ideal character because he's me in many ways."

On whether kids are better at being kids than grown ups are being grown ups, Charlie explained: “On the whole, yes. When you're a kid, it does seem like it goes on for years and years.

"It seems like a much, much longer time those years between five and 15 in one's mind seem incredibly longer than from 30 to 60 years because you're seeing things for the first time.

"Everything is a new experience and so much changes in a year when you're a kid.

“We all remember that all you wanted to do is to grow up, to be a bigger kid and then you look at people in their 20s, wow, it looks so exciting and of course as soon as you get there you think, doh!..

"And then when they leave school. It's always like, no, schools great - the real world is terrible."

He continued: “One of the themes of the book is Stan wishing he could grow up and therefore he wouldn't have to worry about all the things that he does as a kid.

"Then he looks at all these adults - because the book is in many ways that tradition of kids looking at the adult world and trying to make sense of it - and by the end of the book he realises that these adults have not got anything sorted out."

On parenting and grandparenting, he said: “You learn a lot when you bring up kids but you learn it a bit too late. You look back, you think if I'd just done that a bit differently... 

"So by the time you get to be a grandparent you think all those things I really worried about and got anxious about, that was pointless. Kids grow up anyway - let them do what they like.”

Worst. Holiday. Ever. is out on Thursday 29th April.