When we were invited to come down to the BFI Southbank to the launch of the new Horrid Henry Netflix series we knew the kids would go crazy with excitement. So much so that we didn’t let them know until we were standing outside. It can feel a bit reckless allowing two highly charged kids to indulge in Horrid Henry – particularly as they are not opposed to calling each other ‘worm’ and taking it in turns to be perfectly horrid. But we also appreciate it’s splashy brash honesty in a world of saccharine sweet or space monster noise cartoons.
When we told them we were going to see the premier of 3 of the latest episodes and take part in Horrid Henry activities they squealed with excitement. After some fun with paints and wearing their Horrid Henry masks we settled in to watch the episodes and were treated to a live audience with the voice talent who delighted the young crowd as they slipped in and out of character.
It was particularly awesome to see the brilliant Lizzie Waterworth-Santo transform herself into Henry. Lucinda Whiteley, Producer and Writer of the television series was also there to meet the super fans, with a talent for capturing family life which is simply brilliant. She was joined on stage by Dave Unwin who shared how they designed the characters inspired by the original Tony Ross drawings, and how each image is hand drawn.
We had a chance to interview the cast who have been working together for years and clearly love their craft. Sue Elliott-Nichols who plays Moody Margaret shared that the great thing about Horrid Henry is that they are a real family with a Mum and Dad that argue, and kids that squabble. Sue and Emma Tate who plays Perfect Peter spoke animatedly about the importance of encouraging the creative side of children and not being scared by it. They emphasised the value – not just of groups and theatre school, but ‘playing’ and reading to your children, with Sue sharing how she would read The Hobbit to the whole family.
We asked Wayne Forrester who plays Dad what advice he would give to real life Dads grappling with family life – and he urged the need to talk to your kids, chat to them and have a laugh, to keep the lines of communication open all the time. As we bundled our noisy twosome out of the BFI and off to Wahaca to blow bubbles in their Sprite and fight over the crayons we felt grateful to Horrid Henry for reassurance that we are normal after all – not horrid, not perfect, but a family in all its scrappy brilliance.
Watch Horrid Henry on Netflix #HorridHenry www.horridhenry.me