In tomorrow night’s edition of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1, we’ll see Doctor Who star Alex Kingston – who of course plays River Song in the sci-fi drama – discovering the shocking revelation that her great grandmother was a ‘Madam’ who ran a brothel!
According to the Daily Mirror, as Alex learns more and more about her ancestors, she seems “baffled” by some of the facts that the show’s historians have discovered.
She remarks, “Almost all of the women are heads of the street which seems extraordinary. The men seem absent.”
However, the penny then drops and a stunned Alex says, “Are they prostitutes, are they really? Oh my god, oh no.”
The paper adds, “Great great great great grandma Elizabeth Braham was convicted of running a house of ill repute in Westminster.” Read more & comment »
Digging around in your family’s past can sometimes unearth secrets that are perhaps best kept as just that, and arguably, Coronation Street star Bill Roache – while filming an edition of ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are? – might have preferred not to learn about some of his ancestors and their behaviour…
That’s because Bill discovered that a whole generation of his family was “torn apart” by the spectre of alcohol fuelled domestic violence.
Bill first discovered that his mother Hester was just three months old when her mother sent her to live with an aunt, so as to spare her possible beatings from “horrible” Albert, her father, who was of course Bill’s grandfather.
Of Albert, Bill – who of course plays Ken Barlow – said, “A picture is emerging of a drunken, violent, horrible man… Read more & comment »
Traditionally on Who Do You Think You Are? the famous face researching their family tree tries to discover the mystery behind two or three different relatives, mainly because there’s an hour of airtime to fill. Occasionally there’s an exception to this rule such as in one of my favourite instalments of the programme which featured Kim Catrall trying to find out what exactly happened to her maternal grandfather who left the family home when her mother was very young, however this mystery story was long enough to fill an hour. This week’s subject Sir Patrick Stewart is also interested in one family member that being his father Alfred, a man who he remembers for his wildly vivid stories of serving in World War 2 but also unfortunately for his bouts of violence towards his mother Gladys. He hopes to uncover why the war had such an impact on him and why he often reacted violently towards Gladys ,with Stewart having to intervene from a very young age.
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So this week we continue a good run of TV highlights with a couple of amusing Sky1 shows and some new thrillers from the BBC so let’s get started.
A Touch of Cloth (Sky1, Sun and Mon, 9pm)
Kicking off with a Sky double bill of new crime show A Touch of Cloth starring John Hannah and Suranne Jones. Though A Touch of Cloth isn’t a new crime series but in fact a two-part spoof conceived and co-written by sardonic comic and writer Charlie Brooker who combines all the familiar elements of British cop shows into this pastiche. Hannah stars as DCI Jack Cloth a maverick, alcoholic, widowed detective who has to team up with Jones’ incompetent DC Anne Oldman in order to investigate a series of gruesome murders. As Brooker is a former TV critic, he has watched many of the major British crime shows of the past, including Wire in the Blood and Silent Witness both of which are drawn on here, to put together plenty of plot points that will be instantly recognisable to those who watch these sort of programmes on a regular basis. Jones and Hannah both send themselves up tremendously, and fans of The Naked Gun will love the quick-witted humour that Brooker and his fellow writers employ and after all it’ll be good to cheer yourself up over Bank Holiday weekend as it doesn’t look like the weather will be particularly great. Read more & comment »
It was obvious to me that Masterchef’s Gregg Wallace hasn’t watched a lot of Who Do You Think You Are? in the past as he tells us that the saddest thing that normally happens to him is when someone over-seasons a soufflé. As is always the case with the genealogy series our subject, grocer turned TV personality Wallace, is going through rather public personal turmoil at the moment with the breakdown of his third marriage as well as the fight for the children from his first marriage with his second wife. He hopes to find some solace that his ancestors had more luck but as fans of the show know there is nearly always a moment where tears flow so I was already worried for Gregg before he set out on his journey. He stops by his mother’s house to get some information on her grandparents finding out that his great-grandfather Henry had allegedly left his wife Emily with two children before emigrating to Australia though this is family folklore Gregg wants to know why Henry left his grandpa Wilfred at a young age. He also wants to find information about Emily’s mother whose photograph hangs at his mother’s house without either of them knowing her name so setting off with a bit of information he begins his journey by delving into Henry’s naval records.
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Former EastEnders star Samantha Womack – who of course played the role of tormented Ronnie Branning – has revealed that when she agreed to take part in a new series of BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? she had no idea that she would unearth tragic family secrets.
Sam also explained that she decided to discover her family’s history following her father’s suicide three years ago, and as we’ll see when the show returns next week, her grief for him is still very raw, and Sam often breaks down during the episode.
But among some of the biggest shocks for her were in discovering that her great-great-grandmother was forced to abandon a daughter to a “squalid children’s home” and that her great grandfather had a criminal past.
During the show, an emotional Sam says, “My own past has been very fractured… Read more & comment »
When controversial artist Tracey Emin looked into her family roots on BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? she was happy to discover that her ancestors were gypsies.
Before she embarked on her quest to learn more about her family tree, Tracey said, “If I discover I’m from a simple, ordinary family from suburbia I’ll slit my wrists.”
However, she needn’t have worried because as well as being descended from gypsies, some of her forebears were witches who sold broomsticks.
The Daily Mirror adds, “The Turner Prize winner’s journey begins in London’s East End where she finds her great-grandfather, Henry Hodgkins, who was at reform school from 13 to 16 for stealing… Read more & comment »
Former EastEnders star Larry Lamb makes some startling discoveries about his ancestors when he appears on genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are? including the fact that one of his forebears was a lion tamer!
The Daily Mail states that before he took part in the show, Larry – who of course played Archie Mitchell in EastEnders – knew next to nothing about his heritage, since his mother Jessie was adopted as a baby.
However, after some digging, it transpired that his great-great uncle, Thomas Day, was also known as Martini Bartlett the Lion King, and was widely regarded as “the best tamer in Britain 100 years ago.”
Of the discovery, Larry said, “To be related to these people, the same clan – wow.
“My mum always nursed this dream that she would meet her mum again so when this programme was offered I thought this would be a good thing for her… Read more & comment »
Harry Potter author JK Rowling weeps openly on a forthcoming episode of family tree show Who Do You Think You Are when she discovers that her grandfather was a WWI hero.
The Mirror states that Rowling “burst into tears” when she heard that her grandfather Louis Valont was part of a unit that protected a French town from a German First World War invasion.
In the episode, we’ll see how 46-year-old Rowling discovers how her granddad was a waiter who went to war aged 37. He was part of a unit of older and untrained men, used not for fighting, but to protect bridges and roads… Read more & comment »
J. K. Rowling has reportedly signed up to appear on BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’.
The ‘Harry Potter’ writer will have a bit of free time on her hands, now that she has finished writing the series of popular novels and the movbies on which she was consulted have come to an end and insiders say she is keen to delve into her family history on the TV show. Sources report that Rowling’s episode will see cameras following the author to both UK cities Edinburgh and London before travelling to Paris.
J.K.has previously admitted that she is devastated her mum – who died from multiple sclerosis aged 45 – never witnessed her ‘Harry Potter’ success.
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Actor Rupert Penry-Jones investigates his family’s link to India. He begins by researching the work of his grandfather, who was a doctor in the subcontinent’s medical service, and travels to Italy to learn about his role in the campaign at Monte Cassino during the Second World War. He then follows a trail of documents and discovers his great-great-grandfather was involved in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Monday 16th August, 9pm BBC One
I’ve always liked Chris Moyles; he’s large, he’s gobby, he’s down to earth and he’s funny, and, judging by last night’s latest instalment of Who Do You Think You Are, he’s done well to overcome the misery and adversity – DNA-wise – that dogged his ancestors.
His forebears all hailed from Ireland and according to Chris, “Before I came along, I don’t think our family amounted to anything.”
Well, maybe not, but they were sorta busy coping with famines, wars and rampant dying from TB.
Chris’s family history is liberally littered with sad stories, one of which was that of his granny who grew up in the slums of Dublin and ultimately found herself sharing one room with her very large family. Also, Chris’s great-grandmother was just 33 years old when she died of TB in a workhouse. She’d been sent there so as not to infect her children. And on his paternal side, things weren’t a whole lot better… Read more & comment »
Tonight Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles traces his Irish roots by travelling to Dublin and Ballina, Co Mayo, where he uncovers the trials and tribulations of his ancestors, including those of his maternal grandmother who was separated from her parents at a very early age.
He also discovers the fate of his great-grandfather, who fought in the World War One
Tonight at 9:00pm – BBC1
Former chat show king, Michael Parkinson has admitted that he lost a slot on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are because his ancestors are too boring.
Parkinson revealed that he was approached by the BBC about appearing on the show but then dropped after they failed to dig any dirt on his family.
Speaking to the Radio Times, he explained: “I’m addicted to Who Do You Think You Are?. It’s the fascination we all have for our roots – the intriguing story of our lives.”
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Radio One DJ Chris Moyles has admitted that he broke down in tears whilst filming for BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are.’
He told ITV1′s This Morning: “I did cry at the end … it was long 12 hour days, all done in a week, and you know nothing – you’re drip fed bits of information, and it is information overload.”
“I had to sit in my hotel at night and make my family tree to remind me who all these names were, and there’s a bit right at the end of the show where I get upset.
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