The BAFTA-award winning TV series, Who Do You Think You Are? returns to our TV screens this week and we at Finders International will tune in to find out the families behind the celebrities we know and love.
There’s a great line-up of actors, singers, comedians and others promised for the 15th series, including Olivia Colman, Lee Mack, Boy George and Martin Humes.
WDYTYA? production company Wall to Wall revealed the eight names who’ll be taking part. The series started with a standalone episode last month when Michelle Keegan—star of Our Girl and onetime Coronation Street actor—learned about her connections to the suffragette heroine, Emmeline Pankhurst, through her great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Kirwan.
The other participants are Jonnie Peacock, Shirley Ballas and Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder.
The show was aired early as part of the BBC’s ‘Hear Her’ season celebrating the 100th anniversary of some women winning the right to vote. The first show in the new series on 9 July will uncover Olivia Colman’s roots, and Fatima Salaria, commissioning editor, describes the new series as “must-see TV”.
The celebrities investigating their roots will travel to Genoa, India, Jamaica, South Africa and Latvia, revealing ancestors who fought in the First World War, those who worked for the East India Company and stories of adultery, asylums and more.
Colette Flight from Wall to Wall Productions told Who Do You Think You Are magazine that stars would once more be delving into their family trees and uncovering hidden secrets. The stories, she promises, will be revelatory and affecting.
Before her journey into her past, Olivia Colman admits that she reckons her family is “fairly boring” and that she expects to find family members in England and Ireland, but the programme finds ancestors who were far more adventurous.
Lee Mack (16 July) believes he got his talent for making people laugh from his great-grandfather, Billy Mac, a music hall entertainer. His research reveals that Billy also served on the Western Front during the First World War.
The show is famous for rejecting some celebrities. Michael Parkinson once remarked that Wall to Wall approached him to feature, but initial research revealed his family was too “dull”.
Miners and farm labourers
He told the Radio Times that his own research had turned up miners and farm labourers on his father’s die and railwaymen and domestics on his mother’s.
When the programme makers called him and asked if he was interested, he warned them that his research hadn’t turned up anything of note. The producers said everyone told them that, but they were forced to come back six weeks later and agree that was the case.
Danny Curran, Finders International founder and managing director, said: “As probate genealogy experts, we find Who Do You Think You Are fascinating viewing. Seeing the very techniques we use ourselves to trace ancestors and research family trees on TV is illuminating. I look forward to seeing what this series uncovers.”
Series 15 of Who Do You Think You Are begins 9th July on BBC One at 9pm.