‘The actor Terrence Hardiman, who terrified a generation of children in the titular role of the CBBC series The Demon Headmaster in the 1990s, has died aged 86.’ What does the Guardian mean? A generation of children? Yes, I dare say, but what about the parents? I was terrified too. Can’t have been the only one.
We always came home from school and put on the television with our post-educational snack. We usually enjoyed most things that were on. Did we enjoy The Demon Headmaster? I couldn’t say. We survived it.
Actually, I vaguely recall a Blue Peter interview with Terrence Hardiman, where although he still looked like the headmaster, he seemed quite nice. He might even have been a vegetarian. (I don’t know if this is a recommendation, but I took it as such.)
Many years later the Bookwitch read one of the books [by Gillian Cross]. It was set much later, and it sort of explained some of the horrors from the television series.
You’d be tempted to think that made it all right, but in actual fact, it was bloody terrifying. Still. Too. And being a book it didn’t have Terrence Hardiman in it, except in my visual memory of what the Demon Headmaster looked like. Those eyes!
But thank you Terrence, for what you did. It was Very Memorable.
The Demon Headmaster is back! Yes, Gillian Cross has written another book about the man with the scary eyes.
Back in the day I used to semi-watch the Headmaster on television when we got home from school. That will be why I feel I know the man so well, while never really understanding what he did or how and why. I only knew he was creepy as h*ll. Actor Terrence Hardiman did a great job of frightening at least this parent.
So it’s his face and eyes I saw as I read this new school horror. But do you know what? It is better to read. Now I get what he was and what he was trying to do. And why the children at his schools acted all funny, but also why he needed to be outwitted.
In Total Control we have siblings Lizzie and Tyler returning to school after an absence, and finding the place transformed. Their new friend Ethan has become a super soccer player and all the other children excel at something, including their old bully who has become quite polite and charming.
Once Lizzie works out that this is all wrong and it must be stopped, we have a race against a hypnotist Headmaster; someone who appears to be able to read minds and is always a few steps ahead.
It’s scary. Yes. A bit. But also exciting, and hilarious.
I should have read the books much sooner.
And no, I will not look into your eyes.