Produced by Wall to Wall, the two-time BAFTA award-winning genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? returns to BBC One in the UK this October with another star-studded line-up.
The celebrities set to unravel their family history in this four-part series of the UK’s Who Do You Think You Are? will include: Jodie Whittaker, who faces some fraught family history; David Walliams, who uncovers a relative’s traumatic experience during WWI and learns that entertaining runs in the family; Liz Carr, who investigates an ancestor’s role in an attempted murder; and Ruth Jones, who unearths a family connection to the origins of the National Health Service.
Doctor Who and Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker learns the poignant reality behind a family myth surrounding her great uncle’s sacrifice in WWI while unearthing some uncomfortable truths about her great-great grandfather in Yorkshire.
Jodie Whittaker says: “Who Do You Think You Are? took me on an incredible journey through some of my family history. I discovered people and events that I had no idea existed before this. I was lucky to go home and see my Mum and Dad, lucky to see places I’d never been to before, and lucky to meet and shake hands with (!) some wonderful and intelligent people whose insight into history blew my mind. And only in February did I embark on this journey, and knowing where we are now, it feels even more special to have had this adventure.”
From his home town in Surrey to the First World War Battlefields in Belgium, actor, comedian and television personality David Walliams delights in discovering a great-great grandfather who, after becoming blind, forged a career as a travelling entertainer. Walliams also uncovers a more tragic story surrounding his paternal great grandfather’s experiences following WWI.
David Walliams says: “I’m delighted to have taken part in the series. I started off the journey knowing very little about my ancestry. In making the programme I found out lots of family history I would never would have learned of. I was pleased to discover that being an entertainer runs in the family.”
More Great War history is uncovered by Silent Witness actor and activist Liz Carr, who learns of her paternal grandfather’s experiences in the Royal Navy’s Northern Patrol. Carr also travels to Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, and gets forensic, exposing an ancestor’s role in an attempted murder.
Liz Carr says: “I’ve watched Who Do You Think You Are? over the years so to be selected to have the show research my family history has been a wonderfully surreal experience. An armchair genealogist, my mum has dragged us around graveyards in search of our ancestors but to no avail so I’m hoping this will now all stop (probably not – knowing my mum!) I have loved every moment of discovery, of following in the footsteps of my ancestors and learning how the past really has informed my present. All of the experts were generous and fascinating as they guided me back in time to introduce me to my family. Before doing Who Do You Think You Are? all I really knew about my ancestors was that they had died but now I know that they lived and how they lived. I like knowing that, I like knowing who they were and I feel very proud to be related to them.”
Gavin and Stacey star and co-creator Ruth Jones learns that her paternal grandfather was a key player in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales, which provided a model for the National Health Service. She also discovers a lineage of world-travelling mariners on her mother’s side.
Ruth Jones says: “Filming Who Do You Think You Are? was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I feel so privileged to have been taken on this spectacular journey into my heritage and to have discovered so much about my ancestors. I’ve probably been guilty of assuming people from by-gone generations were stuffy, two dimensional and a bit dull. But my trip on Who Do You Think You Are? has proved the opposite to be true. I feel like I’ve got to know the real people behind the fading sepia photographs and it’s made me want to find out more. Ancestry is where it’s at!”
This highly anticipated series of Who Do You Think You Are? will deliver laughter, tears, tragedies and shocks, as the celebrities uncover and share emotional stories and surprising revelations about family members both beloved and unknown.
Abigail Priddle, BBC Commissioning Editor for Specialist Factual, says: “We’re so excited about the return of Who Do You Think You Are? one of our most watched history series. Viewers have much to be excited about too, with an amazing line-up of celebrities set to delve in their ancestries and uncover lost connections and unfamiliar histories.”
Executive Producer for Wall to Wall, Colette Flight, says: “Who Do You Think You Are? Is back with more of our best-loved celebrities discovering incredible ancestors in their family trees. In these challenging times, the stories of courage, sacrifice and resilience they uncover are all the more resonant, but there’s also plenty of humour along the way too.”
The new series of Who Do You Think You Are? launches in the UK on BBC One on Monday 12th October with Jodie Whittaker’s episode.