THE DI­ARY

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DAN SNOW

Dan Snow is pas­sion­ate about his­tory, the sub­ject he stud­ied at Ox­ford Univer­sity. As a child his week­ends were spent ex­plor­ing cas­tles, bat­tle­fields, coun­try houses and churches with his fam­ily – his dad is jour­nal­ist Peter Snow – and has his own con­nec­tion with our past as the great-great-grand­son of Prime Min­is­ter David Lloyd Ge­orge.

He is em­bark­ing on a the­atre tour this month with his show Dan Snow – An Evening with the His­tory Guy to try and en­gen­der a lit­tle of his en­thu­si­asm for his sub­ject in all of us. He says he’s look­ing for­ward to the 42-date tour which will take him all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing two Devon dates. “It’s fun,” he says re­as­sur­ingly. “I love be­ing on the road and see­ing new sites. I get up early and have a lit­tle walk and ex­plore, and I visit mu­se­ums and in­ter­est­ing places.

“I love ex­plor­ing and we’ve got an amaz­ing his­tory in this coun­try. Wher­ever you go you’re never far from a world-class his­tor­i­cal site. In Devon that is never more true. It’s been a great joy to ex­plore Devon. Look at Dart­mouth – it’s got ev­ery­thing go­ing for it: Me­di­ae­val his­tory, a con­nec­tion with the One Hun­dred Year War with France, World War Two naval his­tory. It’s all there.”

Dan runs his own on­line TV chan­nel His­tory Hit TV, has a reg­u­lar his­tory slot on The One Show and has many ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­taries on his CV in­clud­ing the Bafta award­win­ning series Bat­tle­field Bri­tain which he pre­sented with his dad.

Dan cred­its his en­tire fam­ily with his in­ter­est in his­tory. “Grow­ing up sur­rounded by peo­ple who loved his­tory, I just drank it all in. We talked about it, we vis­ited places and we were all in­ter­ested in it. What brought it to life was that mum and dad were both great com­mu­ni­ca­tors and they would tell us amaz­ing sto­ries. They were both jour­nal­ists and mum would talk to us about why she was in Libya get­ting bombed and dad would talk about his time in Kuwait.”

Dan will share with au­di­ences sto­ries of their own lo­cal his­tory as well as anec­dotes of his broad­cast­ing ca­reer all ac­com­pa­nied by com­pelling dig­i­tal im­agery. The show ends with a Q& A ses­sion.

Hav­ing grown up sur­rounded by his­tory, Dan is happy to pass his pas­sion on to his own three chil­dren. “They’ve got no chance,” he laughs. “Only last week­end we were in the Ship­wreck Mu­seum on the Isle of Wight. We’re go­ing to sites all the time.” Dan Snow – An Evening with the His­tory Guy is an Ex­eter Corn Ex­change on 23 Jan­uary and at the Princess The­atre, Torquay on 20 March.

MICHAEL POR­TILLO

A week may be a long time in pol­i­tics but Michael Por­tillo has man­aged to sus­tain a ca­reer at the heart of West­min­ster since be­ing elected as MP for En­field South­gate in 1984.

He grad­u­ated from Cam­bridge in 1975 with a first-class his­tory de­gree and rose quickly through the ranks of the Con­ser­va­tive Party as a re­searcher be­fore elec­tion suc­cess. Within four years Mar­garet Thatcher had made him a Min­is­ter. Four years later John Ma­jor brought him into the Cab­i­net and he was ad­mit­ted to the Privy Coun­cil.

Pol­i­tics proved to be a fickle mis­tress – he lost his seat in 1997, fought his way back to join the Shadow Cab­i­net and con­tested party lead­er­ship in 2001. He left the Com­mons in 2005 to work as a writer, po­lit­i­cal pun­dit and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter with the hugely pop­u­lar Great Bri­tish Rail­way Jour­neys.

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