Hold ye front page, carefully

8th December 2000 at 00:00
CHARACTERS including barmy boffin Plato, sexy crimper Delilah and Roman beefcake Antony could have a valuable role to play in school history lessons, according to The Sun.

The newspaper's comedy book hit Hold Ye Front Page managed to gain the approval of Education Secretary David Blunkett last year with its alternative version of 2,000 years of history delivered in 144 pages of racy, two-syllable Sun-speak.

So the paper is confident that its attempt to condense the remaining 21 billion years of history into the style of Britain's biggest-selling tabloid will be taken just as seriously.

With front-page coverage of major events such as the creation of the universe (Bang!), Samson and Delilah (Why, why, why Delilah?) and the invention of Buddhism (You Buddha Believe It!), authors John Perry and Neil Roberts claim the book is perfectly classroom-friendly.

As well as features including one describing Antony and Cleopatra's extravagant lifestyle (Posh' N Pecs: Queen Cleo and Roman beefcake are world's most glam couple), the book also features lists of dates and a concise and serious description of each period.

Mr Perry, the Sun's deuty night editor, said: "We were very chuffed when Mr Blunkett said every classroom in the country should have a copy of the first book and we hope the second will be just as enjoyable and useful to kids.

"Although the right-hand pages of the book feature light-hearted tabloid-style reports, the idea of the left-hand pages is that they provide an accurate and reliable guide.

"It's all about making history more fun and accessible and if kids are able to take things in better by seeing it on a Sun front page, then that's great."

Historians, however, were less confident about advocating the use of such books in lessons.

Christine Counsell, deputy president of the Historical Association, said: "Such a resource, while potentially very stimulating, needs to be handled with great care in the history classroom.

"Pupils find it difficult to spot anachronisms at the best of times and teachers of history have to work very hard, in very limited curriculum time, to give pupils a real 'sense of period'."

A DFEE spokesman said the department was looking forward to seeing The Sun's latest historical offering.

Amanda Kelly

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