History Guy Dan Snow is looking ahead to his Burnley show debut

Dan Snow
Dan Snow

"History is the new rock 'n' roll", so says charismatic TV historian Dan Snow as he pauses our conversation to stop for a selfie with a fan.


Dan, a familiar face on the nation's screens, is talking to me on the phone from, not surprisingly, Lincoln Castle.

The history fanatic is in the medieval city ahead of the latest date in his national tour 'An Evening With The History Guy', which comes to Burnley on March 14th.

Fans of the historian will have the chance to listen to him live including his own exclusive ‘local’ element that will see Dan present historical facts about each town and area on the tour.

I quizzed Dan on Burnley's history, and not surprisingly, he highlighted the town's role in the Industrial Revolution and the impact both world wars had on the borough and its residents.

"Burnley has some fascinating history, not least its close links with the military and the sacrifice of many of its people in the First and Second World Wars," he said.

"I was aware of this from when I visited Burnley last year to make a documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder. I chatted to veterans about their experiences with PTSD, which in the First World War was known as 'shell shock'.

"Burnley is a true military town and contributed many men to the 'Pals' battalions of the East Lancashire Regiment during the First World War.

"Obviously, we must also not forget what initially created Burnley's early growth, its important role in the textile trade. Burnley and Lancashire's mills powered the Industrial Revolution, which helped to power Britain's world domination of the 19th Century."

So why is history, for so long seen as a dusty old subject, now seemingly so popular as the rise of celebrity TV historians such as Dan attests to?

"I think history is the new rock 'n' roll," Dan answered.

"Family history online is bigger than ever and there are lots of good history documentaries on the television. The world has gone a bit barmy at the moment, what with Trump and Brexit, which is obviously history in the making.

"I think people want to make sense of where we're going as a human race, and history helps to do that. It's not just about looking into the past but also the future. Global warming is clearly a key issue for the world at the moment, much like global cooling was in the 17th Century, resulting in the deaths of a lot of people.

"Looking ahead, we have issues surrounding China and Russia, while globalisation is upsetting our political systems at the moment. We can speculate on what might happen in the future, in terms of new technologies such as digital voting and so forth."

I asked Dan how his tour had gone so far, whether he had encountered any tough crowds, and like good stand-up comics whether he had any put-downs for hecklers.

"I tend to use a bit of history banter comparing them to a tyrant or a failed general for instance. Thankfully, I don't get much heckling and I've learned new things at every venue I've played."

One new thing I put to Dan about Burnley that he wasn't aware of was the speculation the town may have been the site of the 937AD Battle of Brunanburh, which he admitted had always piqued his interest.

And on the subject of villains, I pressed Dan on who his favourite and least favourite characters from history were.

"I am a big fan of Lord Nelson, who was a remarkable, charismatic leader. As for least favourites, the 20th Century, sadly, had some pretty terrible despots of all shades," he answered.

Dan himself has a pretty impressive historical pedigree. The son of legendary broadcaster Peter Snow and the nephew of Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow, Dan is the great great grandson of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

He will be appearing at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre on Thursday, March 14th. To book tickets call 01282 664400 or visit www.burnleymechanics.ticketsolve.com.