History Hotties

A couple of weeks ago, Sky TV sent me a kindly email offering me a free two-week subscription to one of a small selection of channels of my choice, on the proviso that they could then snatch it all away from me once the deal was over.

I accepted.  I chose Arts, because I have had it before, but also because:   Andrew Graham-Dixon.

Andrew Graham-Dixon


Andrew Graham-Dixon has long professorial mullety hair, that swings partially onto his navy blue collar and sometimes over the top of his purple Paul Smith scarf arrangement.

I really liked the part where he was in Russia talking about religious icons.  There is nothing more sexually attractive than a hairy man talking about the application of gold leaf, and the sorrow of the Madonna, clearly depicted in the directed linear style of the orthodoxy of the Russian church.

Niall Ferguson


Is he the David Platt of revisionist history?  Probably not, but he’s got the smarts, the wit and is quick as an ermine.

I’ve read most of his books.  He works at Harvard.  He is a Scotsman.  I am not going to stoop to the level of childish sporran jokes, but I bet he looks good wearing a big hairy sporran with his kilt and long socks.  Hmm.  I think this should be a compulsory uniform for all men, the world over.

Simon Sebag Montefiore


Originally a bit of a Stalin buff, Si-Dog has made the switch to Jerusalem and did a ruddy nice job of it too.  I learned heaps from this series, like light blue shirts look great on almost-bald scholars, in a mosque (OR temple ruins, not being partisan here) and that a tan slack can really work in almost any historical flashpoint be it the Middle East or Russian Georgia.  I am prepared to overlook the fact that he is married to some fucking beautiful genius, but hey.

Dan Snow


Absolutely no nepotism or connections here, Dan simply fell into being a hot history broadcaster all by himself.  It was nothing to do with being the son of Peter Snow, nor the great-great grandson of David Lloyd George.  Dan fought hard to break free from his connections and actually wanted to work in a record store, but the calling to fire crude machine guns on national television was too strong.

Anyway, Dan would not get pushed out of bed for breaking wind, and if his connections ever failed him (like they did Bobby in Dallas) he could certainly come and clean my swimming pool, any time.

Roy Bolton


If you haven’t seen his show, Show Me the Monet, it is absolutely brilliant.  It’s like art-making X Factor and it is shit-hard to get your work through to the next round, though some of the people turn up with bits of driftwood and simply cannot understand why everyone hates both them and their crappy interpretation of contemporary art.

Anyway, the one to watch is Roy, who is what is referred to as a dealer, which as we all know is the snake of the art world.  Venom in denim.


Next time on the blog: lines to use when picking up historians.  It’s not as easy as it sounds! They all want to know your primary sources and your stance on the Cold War.

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  1. I’ve often contemplated stumping up for the ‘Arts’ channel, but I can never seem to quite cross the threshold. I remember they made it free for a couple of weeks sometime back and I made a point of watching it just to see what was up. The only thing that stuck in my mind was an excellent documentary on James Whistler, the rest of it seemed a little patchy, but still, compared to the weapons-grade bullshit on the other channels…

    • Weapons grade is right. Mind you, can’t wait for MasterChef Australia. Arts is quite good. The documentaries by Waldemar Januszczak are quite cool. There was one over the weekend about painting that has a night theme; lots of Rembrandt and obviously Van Gogh. Super entertaining. Sometimes he delivers while holding a pint.

      • Oh, I do remember that guy, he was quite entertaining.
        The thing that puts me off subscribing, is that you can get most of the documentaries off YouTube, yeah, the quality is not as good (unless you have some amazing datacap), but they are free. We watched an old documentary on Philip Larkin last night, for example. It nicely filled that odd gap before the mandatory Monday night ‘Grand Designs’ repeat. Lots of good old stuff on YouTube, especially the old BBC ‘Monitor’ programs, lots of pipe smoking hilarity to be had.

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