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The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Presenter Dan Snow says always fail with enthusiasm 

The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Presenter Dan Snow says always fail with enthusiasm

  • Dan Snow, 41, is best known for his slot on The One show and History Hit TV
  • Historian claims 99 per cent of things he does is a failure, but that’s OK 
  • He says history is about humans who were caught up in unimaginable maelstrom

Historian Dan Snow MBE, 41, has a regular slot on The One show and runs an online TV channel, History Hit TV. The son of broadcaster Peter snow, he is married to the philanthropist Lady Edwina Grosvenor and they have three children.  

I love the maxim that life should be a series of daring adventures launched from a secure base. The 16-year-old me would be very surprised that I’m married with quite a traditional life.

My wife and I have built a nurturing place for our kids down in the New Forest, overlooking the sea — there’s a lot of reading and crackling fires — but that’s also what empowered me to fly out to Timbuktu with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Dan Snow, 41,  (pictured) who has a regular slot on The One Show and runs History Hit TV, explains the importance of always failing with enthusiasm

I wanted to tell the history of why that area of Mali has been plunged into warfare. Experiencing that contrast is a huge privilege, but also an extraordinary and lucky way to organise life.

Not that everything always goes well behind the scenes. I’m constantly wobbling — 99 per cent of things I do are a failure, but that’s OK. Maybe that’s what confidence is, thinking: ‘Oh well, I screwed that up, but I’ll try the next thing out.’ I’ve released a calendar this year that has sold four copies to date. My new podcast may not go to number one. You’ve just got to keep fighting.

There’s that great saying: you’ve got to keep staggering from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

This year, I’ve made a documentary to mark the 75th anniversary of Guernsey’s liberation from German forces. Military history is all too often painted as men and Spitfires. The fact is it’s about human beings who were caught up in this unimaginable maelstrom.

History is not only about dead kings and queens and parliamentary statutes, it’s about everything that’s ever happened. It’s your parents meeting, and why we are who we are.

Remember you’re totally miraculous. You’re the soldier that didn’t get killed in the Civil War. You’re descended from a person who survived the plague! Our history makes us all extraordinary human beings. Don’t ever doubt that.

Dan’s new documentary, The Islands Of Guernsey — Secrets Of Hitler’s Island Fortress, is available to watch at 


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