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Never mind big hairy blokes with horned helmets on their heads – this documentary revealed the reality behind the Viking legends, depicting a civilisation far grander and more ambitious than we ever realised.
In a nutshell
Dan Snow is the perfect man to present a show about the Vikings. With proud, shelf-like jaw and ruggedly handsome features, he could probably play a Viking if he let his beard grow out to sufficiently barbarian/hipster length. He’s also got a boy’s own sort of passion for the past – more Ben Fogle than David Starkey, he clearly delights in the outdoorsy, globe-trotting aspect of his field, making him the ultimate fit for a show about warriors who took to the high seas and went a-pillagin’ and a-plunderin’.
That said, this programme gave us a far more nuanced and fascinating portrait of the Vikings than what we’re used to. With the aid of Dr Sarah Parcak, who has the marvellous show-off job title of “space archaeologist”, Snow looked into the hidden history of the Vikings, including accounts of how they actually headed West long before Christopher Columbus, even creating early settlements in the North American continent. A far cry from the European rampagers of myth, then, and the delight in Dan’s eyes was clear as he laid bare a rather monumental era of the past.
What's the verdict?
Taking us to picturesque corners of the world, and gushing forth with facts, Dan Snow opened our eyes to the truth about the Vikings. As if there weren’t already enough reasons to think of them as unfeasibly awesome.