Who Do You Think You Are?-UK Series 2 (2004)

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Released 12-Nov-2008
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What mysteries are hidden in old family photographs? Can mouldy old documents reveal secrets, long forgotten by family members? What role does family history play in our daily lives? Can a person know who they really are? Who Do You Think You Are? is a landmark documentary series chronicling the social, ethnic and cultural evolution of national identities through the personal family histories of prominent celebrities.

During each episode one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities traces their family tree to reveal the surprising, extraordinary and often moving stories of their ancestors. At the same time the series has a more universal purpose: to offer an alternative way of looking at the history of modern Britain and to inspire viewers to consider their family’s contribution to the making of Britain.

For this reason each celebrity has been chosen so that their journey unlocks a different theme in British history.

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman is not sure he’s interested in family history, but he does love social history. However, he quickly realizes that his family’s story is inextricably linked to that of Britain, in particular to the tough working class communities in Glasgow and Bradford. He traces the life of his maternal grandmother, Mable McKay, in the Salvation Army; and the migration of his father’s family from Suffolk to Yorkshire’s industrial heartland.

Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock believed that her family’s history was very boring. But she discovers that her grandfather was a successful manager and guide for Thomas Cooks travel agents in glamorous Milan, and that her great-grandfather was the superintendent of the Western Pumping Station, part of the Victorians’ grand sewage scheme.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry knows that people always think of him as being ‘quintessentially English’, that his ancestors are made ‘largely of tweed’, but his mother is from a large European Jewish family. Stephen traces his maternal grandfather, Martin Neumann, back to modern-day Slovakia, and finds out what happened to the relatives who didn’t manage to escape before the Nazi’s invaded. He also solves a mystery that surrounds his father’s mother, and explores her less than illustrious roots.

Julian Clary

Julian Clary concludes that exploring his family tree is like reading a good novel. He brings his ancestors to life by tracing their many experiences and understanding their hopes and fears: his grandfather’s bravery as a flight engineer in WWI; and the prejudice and poverty suffered by his German immigrant great-grandfather. He also uncovers a secret heritage on his mother’s side of the family.

Jane Horrocks

Jane Horrocks’ family history is rooted in Lancashire; three generations of her family lived in the same street in Rawtenstall. Her ancestors form part of the town’s cotton weaving heritage, and Jane’s search focuses on the strong women in the family, particularly her great-grandmother Sarah Cunliffe. She also uncovers some secret, unknown relatives, and identifies the mysterious black sheep of the family.

Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha, the successful director of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, grew up in Southall in West London. But she was born in Kenya, and her family’s story is tied up with the story of the British Empire. Gurinder traces her ancestors’ history, from her father’s life in colonial Kenya, to her grandmother’s experiences during the Partition of India. She tries to uncover a family secret and a mystery African cousin, and finds her ancestors’ home at the time of Alexander the Great in modern-day Pakistan.

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Directed by
Christopher Bruce
Mary Cranitch
Rieta Oord
Ian Leese
Mark Sayer-Wade
The Music Sculptors
Genre Year Running Time Format Region Coding Multi
Disc (3)
TV Series 2004 358 ? 4
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