I always liked history as a kid, but fell in love with it as a subject during my A levels. I was a pretty shy and anxious teen, but thrived at university – both socially and academically – which is why I feel so strongly about giving young people the chance to flourish with a humanities degree.
I have always believed popular culture is the best medium for inspiring people to learn, so – after abandoning plans for a PhD – I sought out work-experience in the TV Industry and had the best time learning hands-on about how historical TV is made.
Once I had completed my MA, I leapt into the industry as a Researcher in 2005, and over the next couple of years I became an Assistant Producer and made historical documentaries and dramas for lots of channels.
But my big break came in 2008 when I was lucky enough to be involved from the very beginning on CBBC’s Horrible Histories. Here, over 5 years, I was the show’s history expert but also learned to hone my comedy writing skills.
Blending my nerdy love of history with my newly-acquired skill as a humour writer, I first became a blogger for the Huffington Post, and then signed a two-book deal to produce popular history books for adults. I now dabble in TV, but mainly write for a living.
Without doubt, my career has resulted from a combination of hard-work, luck and support from talented people who were willing to teach me. Though I put in the hard graft, I could never have reached where I am now without that expert guidance.
If talented people aren’t given the opportunities to flourish, then the wider nation suffers. It’s vital that the next generation of artistic creatives are not stifled before they have had the chance to bloom, so while I’m no expert, I’m happy to offer advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in history/television.