Battlefield Britain

Battlefield Britain
Genre Documentary
Presented by Peter & Dan Snow
Country of origin UK
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s) Jane Aldous
Running time 60 minutes
Distributor BBC
Original network BBC 2
Original release 6 August 2004
Related shows 20th Century Battlefields

Battlefield Britain is a 2004 BBC television documentary series about famous battles in the history of Great Britain. From Boudicca's destructive rebellion against the Romans to the incredible feats of The Few who saw off the Luftwaffe, these battles all had wide-reaching consequences and implications for the future of the British isles.

The series is presented by father and son team Peter and Dan Snow with Peter explaining the battleplans of the generals while Dan explores the sites to give the perspective of the common soldier, sailors and airmen.[1]

The episodes also featured "interviews" with soldiers from both sides, re-enactments of the battles and computer generated scenes with bird eye views and blocks to show troop movement.

In Australia, all eight episodes aired on SBS TV in its As It Happened history timeslot each Saturday at 7:30pm from 22 January until 12 March 2005.[2]


Dan Snow has stated that he had never intended to work with his father. This, however, had changed when someone at the BBC saw a video-diary about the 2000 Oxford and Cambridge boat race that Dan had recorded. Peter Snow was then telephoned and asked if he wanted to do a history series with his son. Peter originally rejected the proposal claiming that it was a ridiculous idea. Dan was able to talk him round and a pilot was filmed. Dan has stated that he didn’t find the work easy.[3]

I was very wooden and I had to go on a steep learning curve. In the process I developed a huge respect for Dad's ability to explain really complex things in simple language, without ever dumbing anything down.
Dan Snow

After the success of this pilot a full series was commissioned, although Dan Snow has admitted that he was told which battles to discuss by the BBC, rather than being free to select engagements about which he had gained some knowledge from his undergraduate studies.

Media information

A companion radio show Battlefield Ramblings was broadcast weekly on BBC Radio 4 to accompany the series. Each week a guest would join the presenter Muriel Gray for a walk in areas linked to the people and events featured in the TV show.[4] The first episode was broadcast from Boudicca's Way in Norfolk with guests Dan and Peter Snow who argued constantly during the program and drew a reprimand for Peter from Gray for admitting to having carried his son up a Welsh mountain just 27 days after he was born.[5]

Companion book

DVD release

Online game

A popular online game Battlefield Academy was created by Solaris Media (now Playniac) to accompany the series. The game features four historical scenarios based on episodes from the series and was produced with Dan Snow, Matthew Bennett from Sandhurst and the BBC History team.


The series won Best Visual Effects at the BAFTA craft awards in 2004.

Episode listing

Episode 1: Boudicca's Rebellion Against the Romans

Find out what really happened when Boudicca stood up against the mighty Roman Empire in 60AD.

Episode 2: Medieval Warfare at the Battle of Hastings

Heralding the beginning of the Norman Conquest, the Battle of Hastings in 1066, when William the Conqueror faced King Harold on the south coast, was one of the bloodiest and most important battles ever fought on British soil.

Episode 3: Owain Glyn Dwr and the Battle for Wales

A look at the Battle for Wales in 1403 and the leader of the Welsh rebellion, Owain Glyndwr.

Episode 4: The Spanish Armada

England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was a victory against one of the great seagoing nations. The dramatic events helped seal the British reputation as a seafaring people.

Episode 5: Routing the Royals: The Battle of Naseby

The Battle of Naseby in 1645 saw Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army win the decisive battle of the English Civil War, effectively bringing an end to the absolute power of the monarchy.

Episode 6: A Clash of Kings: The Battle of the Boyne

The story of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 - the effects of which are still having consequences in everyday life in Ireland today.

Episode 7: Culloden: The Jacobites' Last Stand

The Battle of Culloden in 1746 was the last pitched battle on British soil and brought an end to Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion, securing the crown of Britain for the House of Hanover.

Episode 8: Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain

The final installment looks to the skies for the Battle of Britain and the RAF's struggle to prevent a Nazi invasion in the darkest days of World War II when Britain stood alone. It looks at the incredible feats of The Few who saw off the Luftwaffe.

See also

External links


  1. BBC Press Office. "BBC Two: Spring & Summer highlights 2004". Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  2. Chowns, Jackie (5 February 2005). "As It Happened: Battlefield Britain". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  3. Fox, Sue (31 December 2006). "Peter Snow and his son Dan". London: The Times. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  4. BBC Press Office. "Alexander the Great won the Battle of Hastings...". Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  5. Campling, Chris (10 August 2004). "Radio". London: The Times. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  6. BBC Press Office. "Battlefield Britain by Peter and Dan Snow". Retrieved 16 May 2008.
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