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The very latest news from the world of genealogy

Who Do You Think You Are? 2018 UK TV series celebs revealed

Today  we found out which celebreties are going to feature on our TV screens this summer.

The Press Release tells us that it includes stars from the world of music, comedy, sport, television and film.

The line up for the 15th series of the BAFTA-award winning genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? from Wall To Wall (a Warner Bros Television Production UK Ltd company) when it returns to BBC One this summer includes multi-awarding winning actor OLIVIA COLMAN, musician, DJ, fashion designer and British icon BOY GEORGE, Strictly Come Dancing’s Head Judge SHIRLEY BALLAS, comedian and Not Going Out actor LEE MACK, presenter and former JLS member MARVIN HUMES, barrister and television personality ROBERT ‘JUDGE’ RINDER, Our Girl star MICHELLE KEEGAN and gold medal winning Paralympian JONNIE PEACOCK all discover their families’ pasts in this year’s series.

Series fifteen reveals shocking discoveries, laughter and tears along the way, as our eight celebrities travel around the world to unearth the secrets of their ancestors.  Michelle Keegan uncovers some exceptional women on her family tree as she unearths a special connection to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst. Olivia Colman’s journey is one of equal contrasts as she voyages from her family home in Norfolk to India, discovering that her ancestry is more diverse than she had originally thought. While Lee Mack’s investigation brings to light a comedy connection to his great-grandfather who performed on the frontline during WW1.  From adultery to asylums, illicit drinking dens to revolutions, our celebrities travel round the world, from Gibraltar to Genoa, India, Jamaica, South Africa and Latvia, as they solve the mysteries in their family trees.

By Sarah Winterman (Flickr: Me & Michelle Keegan (Corronation Street)) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Michelle Keegan by Sarah Winterman (Flickr: Me & Michelle Keegan (Corronation Street)) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


The series will air on BBC One over the summer with Michelle Keegan’s episode launching the series in June as part of the ‘Hear Her’ Season on the BBC which marks the centenary of women getting the vote.

The BBC is set to showcase women's voices in a dedicated season of content across TV, radio and online to mark 100 years since suffrage and the centenary anniversary of women being able to vote in the UK.


Executive Producer for Wall to Wall, Colette Flight, says: “Britain’s best loved stars are once again delving into their family trees, uncovering hidden secrets and solving mysteries. The stories they unearth are revelatory, often unexpectedly humorous but always affecting.”

BBC Commissioning Editor Fatima Salaria says: “The enduring appeal of Who Do You Think You Are is set to continue as BBC One broadcasts a huge host of names in series 15 including Olivia Colman, Boy George, Marvin Humes and Judge Rinder, which are guaranteed to move and entertain audiences. We’re particularly honoured to launch the series with Michelle Keegan’s episode which uncovers her special connection to Emmeline Pankhurst, as part of the BBC’s ‘Hear Her’ season. This is must see TV at its best.”


Series 15 was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director, BBC Content and Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual. The Commissioning Editor is Fatima Salaria.

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Was Twiggy's ancestor a victim of fashion?

'Twiggy', the fashion icon and model from the 1960s and who appeared in a recent BBC Who Do You Think You Are? programme on the TV, had an interesting family story to tell. Twiggy uncovered the sad truth that her ancestor's family were torn apart by illness, poverty and crime. Her search took her into the Victorian's bleakest institutions, the workhouse and the prison, something she had never heard about previously in connection with her family and on to her great-great-grandmother whose life ended in a tragic way, shopping for clothes and being killed in a "bargain sale" stampede.

Twiggy's family history story

Twiggy's family history story

Twiggy whose real name was Lesley Lawson (formerly Lesley Hornby) appears in a fascinating piece in the Featured Articles on TheGenealogist.
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Billy Connolly next to feature on Who Do you Think You Are?

Tonight on BBC1 at 9pm sees the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring legendary comedian and film star, Billy Connolly. With a family history stretching far from his native Scotland via Ireland to India in the mid 1800s, in a time of rebellion and turmoil, it’s a fascinating tale. TheGenealogist has produced a preview to read before the programme  in their Featured Articles pages on their website.  Here you can read about Billy Connolly and also the other celebrities featured in the excellent series so far which has kept the programme as popular as ever.

Billy Connolly family history

Billy Connolly discovers his Indian heritage in his feature on Who Do You Think You Are?

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Another fascinating episode..

The episode featuring Lesley Sharp this week on 'Who Do You Think You Are?' was certainly different but none the less just as interesting for family historians. Looking at the issue of adoption firstly (as Lesley was adopted at just 6 weeks old) and then as Lesley delved deeper into her paternal side, looking at the early fostering of children around 1900 as part of the Barnardo's scheme to help children in poverty, it was a very emotional programme. The series has been excellent so far and hopefully the remainder of the series will be just as good! If you'd like to read a bit more about Lesley and her family, including the tale of fostering young George Maybury before he was sent to Canada, there's more details at TheGenealogist website.

George Maybury

George Maybury, fostered by Lesley's great great grandfather, Charles Patient

 
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Next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? features Lesley Sharp

Episode 4 of Who Do You Think You Are? continues tonight on BBC1 at 9pm with actress Lesley Sharp. Widely acclaimed star of films such as The Full Monty, Vera Drake and the Scott and Bailey TV Series, she has played many varied roles. Adopted at just six weeks old, the show promises to discover the family of her birth father whom she knew so little about. As well as Lesley's own adoption, the programme also covers her great great grandfather and his work taking in Barnardo's children. Although not a wealthy man, he looked after a number of children before they were shipped to Canada to work as farm hands and provide much needed labour for Canadian farmers. It promises to be an other fascinating episode in an excellent series so far. Will you be watching? TheGenealogist has taken a look into Lesley’s family history, if you’d like a preview before the show tonight, go to http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/wdytya2013_sharp.php

Lesley Sharp

Lesley Sharp, featuring on Who Do You Think You Are?

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New series of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' continues tonight

The second episode of the popular series 'Who Do You Think You Are?' continues tonight on BBC1 at 9pm. Featuring actor Nigel Havers, it promises to be another great episode after the emotional and 'coincidental' journey of Una Stubbs last week. Nigel Havers has played many upper class roles over the years and it was assumed his family history would produce a long line of aristocratic characters. However, despite his immediate family consisting of a number of high profile, successful legal professionals, it appears Nigel comes from a family of far more humble origins! TheGenealogist has looked into his background if you'd like to know more before the show tonight. The featured article can be found here.

Nigel Havers

Nigel Havers features tonight on Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 at 9pm

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First episode of Who Do You Think You Are? starts this week with Una Stubbs

The first episode starts this Wednesday on BBC1 of Who Do You Think You Are? and it's eagerly anticipated by family historians throughout the UK. The first celebrity, Una Stubbs has an emotional journey, that features both estranged families and a look at a visionary ancestor who was instrumental in designing some of the England's new towns of the early 1900s. TheGenealogist has a feature on Una Stubbs in their 'Featured Articles' section and you can view it here.

Una Stubbs and father

Una Stubbs and father Clarence pictured around 1938

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