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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?


A whole forest of family trees is set to flourish throughout Britain, thanks to a unique BBC initiative this autumn aimed at inspiring the nation to explore its roots.

A major new series on BBC TWO – Who Do You Think You Are? – delves into the family history of ten familiar faces, tracing their ancestry and revealing secrets and surprises from their pasts.

And the series gives viewers the tools to dig into their own pasts and uncover the part their ancestors played in shaping the nation of today.

This emotionally charged ten part series traverses the globe as each celebrity – from Bill Oddie and Vic Reeves, to Lesley Garrett and Moira Stuart – explores their personal history and discovers fascinating facts that had been hidden by the passage of time.

Bill Oddie  (follow link)discovers the tragic reasons why his mother was institutionalised, while Amanda Redman uncovers family secrets about illegitimacy and Ian Hislop‘s research takes him back to the Boer War.

Others embarking on a voyage of personal discovery include David Baddiel, Sue Johnston, Meera Syal and Jeremy Clarkson.

The ancestors of these well-known faces were part of the warp and weft of the fabric of Britain’s social history, just as the ancestors of everyone had their part to play.

After each programme viewers will be shown practical tips on how to trace their own family history, linking their lives to the nation’s turbulent past.

Says Roly Keating, Controller of BBC TWO: “People are fascinated by genealogy and family history these days, particularly since the internet became a mass medium, but television’s never really tackled it.

“With Who Do You Think You Are? this autumn we’re aiming to get the whole nation excited about their family history – firstly by watching other people go on their own personal journey and then by giving them the guidance and tools to be able to go and explore it for themselves.

“The series sets the tone for a season that takes a challenging look at where we have come from and the society we have created.”

Complementing the BBC TWO series, Family Ties on BBC FOUR is a collection of moving and inspiring stories of ordinary people who have discovered extraordinary events through their own genealogical research.

The ten, 30-minute programmes involve physical journeys which reflect the emotional ones, returning the contributors to the sites where their ancestors would have lived, loved and died.

They are aimed at inspiring as many people as possible to retrace the footsteps of their family journey to the 21st century.

Those interested in finding out more about their family history can get help at, where specially created web pages feature interactive guidance and tips on where to look and how to interpret the wealth of information available.

Visitors to can collect resources and create their own personal folders of archive material.

And by pressing their red button digital viewers will be able to enjoy a series of interactive television programmes and services on BBCi featuring a fascinating range of helpful information from genealogist Dr Nick Barrett.

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