Jon Snow on fatherhood at 75

Jon Snow On Fatherhood At 75 Jon Snow On Fatherhood At 75
Ex-Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow (John Wright Photography/PA)
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By Hannah Stephenson, PA

It’s hard to imagine award-winning news journalist Jon Snow chasing a toddler around his London home little more than a year after his retirement from Channel 4 News, which he presented for 32 years.

Two years ago, he and his wife Dr Precious Lunga, a Zimbabwean epidemiologist, had a son via surrogate, which gave him all the more reason to stay fit during his advancing years, although he doesn’t see his age as a barrier to fatherhood.

Now 75, Snow, who has reported from war zones and revolutions during his career, says he doesn’t fear being an older dad – he has two grown-up daughters from a previous long-term relationship – and while he’s no longer jumping on his bike to whizz through the capital to chase a story, in many ways he hasn’t really slowed down.


Jon Snow and his wife, Dr Precious Lunga, had a son via surrogate (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He seems to be thoroughly enjoying fatherhood to toddler Tafara – Zimbabwean for ‘We are blessed’.

“He’s not a difficult child in any form. He has not yet proved to be any kind of a nocturnal disruptor,” he says, wryly. Ever self-deprecating, Snow says he wouldn’t describe himself as a totally hands-on dad. “There’s a lot of chasing,” he says, chuckling. “His mother is a very hands-on mother but I play my part. I’m an attentive dad. We get on very well, we play a lot.”

He continues: “Despite the obvious fact that I was born in 1947 and therefore I’m 75, I don’t feel it. I still feel full of energy and zest and interest. I’m sure one can talk one’s way into elderly life but I have failed to do so, so far.”


He trains every day, cycles wherever he can and walks a lot with his dog and the baby, so considers himself fit. And he doesn’t like to think what the situation will be like in 10 years’ time, when he’s in his 80s.

“I don’t think there’s any point worrying about what it’s going to be like in my 80s. I’m enjoying being in my 70s and having a really good time with him. Hopefully he will have a long and lovely relationship with me. What could be more joyous than to have a very plugged in, very clever, very attractive, very active young man in the house?”


Snow says it took him about a year to ease into retirement in 2021 after his five-decade career, from getting thrown out of university for protesting apartheid to interviewing every prime minister from Margaret Thatcher to Boris Johnson.

He’s kept his hand in with broadcasting, having made several documentaries since leaving Channel 4 and also recently launched his podcast, Snowcast.


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A post shared by Jon Snow (@therealsnowc4)

“The rhythm of life is the issue,” he explains. “If you get up at the same time every day and get on your bicycle (his preferred form of London transport) at half past eight, get in for the morning editorial meeting and then hit the road five days a week, when it suddenly stops it’s definitely a big jump.”

He had been reporting for ITN before presenting Channel 4 News, covering Iran during the revolution and South America during Reagan’s presidency. So leaving hard news was a huge transition.

“The way I coped was to write a book, which was very absorbing, and also the feeling that I could now write absolutely anything I wanted. There wasn’t anybody who was going to go, ‘You certainly can’t say that!’ Liberating is the word.”



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A post shared by Jon Snow (@therealsnowc4)

The book, The State Of Us, is part-memoir, part rallying cry to tackle inequality, fight injustice, diversify politics and recover our sense of community. It’s the first time he’s felt able to vent his own opinions following a career which required him to remain neutral.

It begins with a heartbreaking story in which Snow discovers that a talented 12-year-old from West London, who had won a debating competition judged by himself and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, had died just weeks later in the Grenfell Tower fire.

The sad anecdote – and the fact that Grenfell Tower is in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home of upper-middle classes in picture-perfect Victorian crescents just streets away – is just one of a number of recollections which looks at class inequalities.

“If Grenfell had been occupied by bankers and people from the upper echelons of society, you sense that there would have been fire alarms, self-sealing doors and sprinklers,” he writes.


“I always wanted to write a book once the chains were off, but Firdaws (Hashim, the 12-year-old who won the competition and later died in the fire) was very much a driver. She was a most amazing girl.”

Perhaps some of the driving force which motivates his strong feelings about inequality come from his own admission that his privileged background and public school education gave him an advantage over many others, despite a lack of academic achievement.

His father was a bishop and headmaster of a public school, his mother a pianist. The young Snow was in the cathedral choir at Winchester and went to public school. By his own admission he wasn’t the brightest pupil and ended up scraping some A-Levels at Scarborough Technical College before working with Voluntary Services Overseas in Uganda and later for New Horizon, a charity for homeless young people, of which he remains a patron.

“I encountered people less fortunate than myself. I had grown up in a very comfortable middle-class circumstance. That played a part in the way I approached my journalism. I was always trying to look at the whole picture and recognise that a great deal of it was about inequality.”


In the book he writes about housing, community, Brexit, climate change, the EU and Ukraine, discusses his feelings on gender pay gaps – he took a pay cut in 2018 to support pay equality – as well as issues of ethnicity and the need for diversification.

He’s not quite as obsessive about the news as he once was, he admits.

“I still want to know what’s going on but I certainly don’t have quite the addictive condition that I had when I was working as a full-time journalist,” he observes. “But I am still very interested in the world around me and what is happening. One needs to remain plugged in one way or another.”

He says he misses the team from Channel 4 News but he’s adjusted to life without the programme and has kept his hand in with the documentary, How To Live To 100, screened earlier this year on Channel 4.

“I’ve got lots of of clues and I’m sure I’m going to make it,” he says wryly. “Let’s live optimistically.”

Snow remains a glass half-full person, despite all the horrors and heartache he has reported during his career.

“I live a fairly blessed existence. We live in a nice part of London, we have a little place in the country we escape to from time to time. I’m a very lucky man.”

“The world has always been a challenge,” he continues, “but it is also very rewarding. It’s a wonderful world, as somebody once said.”

The State Of Us by Jon Snow is published by Bantam. Available now

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