Richard Herring on childhood, Subbuteo and the meaning of Christmas | ActionAid UK

British comedian, writer and podcaster, Richard Herring, shares his take on the best things about childhood and Christmas. Read this exclusive Q & A below and find out how you can help give a future to a child living in poverty.

Photo of Richard Herring in his school uniform in his school days
Richard Herring in his school days

Being a child

What three things were best about being a child?

I loved school (I know), being cheeky and being able to spend all day playing.

When you were small, what were the three things you couldn’t live without?

Subbuteo, jokes and family.

Imagining the future

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

A clown to begin with, then I wanted to write stories. Then be a comedian. So I essentially knew what I wanted to be at four years old.

How did you envision the future as a child, what did you think it would be like? How is it different to what you imagined?

I wrote a story called ‘Time Bomb’ in which the future was exactly the same as the 1980s, as science had run out of inventions. Embarrassed by their failure to live up to sci-fi predictions they painted everything silver and put switches on things and pretended they worked automatically. I was wrong. Turns out we had a lot more inventions in us.

What piece of advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?

Never listen to advice sent back through time by your future self.


What were the best and worst Christmas presents you were given as a child and why?

6 x 3 snooker table was the best. Book tokens instead of a Scalextric was probably the worst!

What one thing would you change about Christmas?

It comes round too fast. Once every two years.

What if Richard hadn’t gone to school?

We love the fact that going to school was one of Richard’s favourite things as a child. Let’s face it, without going to school, it’s unlikely he’d have become the succesful comedian and writer he’d apparently dreamed of being from the age of four.

Millions of children in developing countries don’t get to go to school. No education often means no livelihood, fewer choices and a bleak future.

This Christmas, we’re asking you to help a child go to school and, like Richard, realise their dreams. Please consider giving a child the chance of a better future this Christmas.